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This World Belongs to the Mad; open
Topic Started: Oct 3 2016, 03:14 PM (1,481 Views)
Yugikun
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Josh had died.

((Jeremy Frasier, continued from Two Mules for Sister Sara))

Jeremy had learned about that a couple minutes ago. He closed his eyes slightly, looked down. It seemed right. He didn’t have a watch or anything and he never would but around fifteen minutes or so seemed right. He had been alone since he had left the church. Alone to ruminate in the thoughts he wanted to keep himself away from. At least, he was stuck there until the outside became cold. Then his thoughts changed to him trying to find a suitable place to sleep. He found a place. A room with a giant mirror in it. That worked for him well enough. It was fairly easy. Once he closed his eyes he didn’t have to keep them there for long. All his thoughts were drifting away then, images slowly replacing them. He couldn’t tell you what they were. He couldn’t really remember that well.

The next thing he knew, the speaker was clearing. The man that had given the presentation the day before started speaking. Reading off the names of those who died.

It was… okay. For the most part. There wasn’t a real way that he could give what he thought without sounding horrible. He knew that people had to die. He knew that people were going to die. So, when the names of the dead came up, Jeremy was slightly relieved at who they were. They were… neutrals. People Jeremy honestly didn’t really care about. Abby stung, just that tiniest bit, but the names after - Conrad, Rea - were able to push him back. They weren’t really names that he liked all that much, in all honesty. Did Jeremy want them to die? No. That was a stupid question, but if he had the choice between them and a friend of his, he didn’t think it would be too much of a decision.

And then Josh’s name was listed among the dead and everything came crashing back.

His fists had clenched. His breathing had changed. He could feel the verges of tears and anger on his skin and in his body, because fuck, Josh was already dead. Not one day in and one of his closest friends was already gone. Stabbed. Killed. He was a face that Jeremy would never see again and now Jeremy would never get that closure that he wanted and needed because he knew he was going to die and he knew that he had no shot and the best thing that could happen in this goddamn place was that he’d get something out of it and now he couldn’t and he couldn’t think properly because he could see the images and he could hear the names of the dead and he woke up on that beach and he stared at the sky and he couldn’t-

Think. He couldn’t think properly. He couldn’t stay calm. He knew he needed to, especially at that point because they were watching and if he couldn’t he’d be giving the people on the cameras what they wanted, but he couldn’t.

And you know what the worst part of it was? He was dead. That was obviously the worst part but there was one part that stung just that little bit harder. Jasmine. She was the one who killed him. No, not the snooty underclassman. The person that always hung out with Cadeyn. The person who followed her everywhere she went and gave her all the attention she craved and enabled her just because she was on the bottom with her. Her bitch, basically. Puppy dog. Just did what she did. Just reminded him of other times. Worse times. The time when he wasn’t him and he wasn’t thinking and no.

He just had to think. Stay calm. Josh was dead.

That meant that he just had to find the rest faster.

He had a list to fulfill, after all.




He had walked around, since then. Explored the place. He was… as fine as he could be. Bitter. Sad. Annoyed. Maybe a little bit of determination underneath that. Josh died, but there was a slight positive side to that, right? This was just all an act to give him some goddamn motivation to find the rest of his soon to be dead friends! It’d be all okay once he did that! It wouldn’t even matter that one of his best friends died before Jeremy got a chance to say goodbye to him! Never mind the fact that he was probably going to brutally die within the next two weeks or so. He’d do it, and it’d all be just fine and dandy.

He knew that it wouldn’t work out. He knew that he wouldn’t succeed, as he walked and saw the person in the room with the corpse. He jumped, slightly. Stopped. Took a closer look. The dead person in the room was Conrad, it seemed. Looking at him… he supposed he was sorry for what he was thinking about him earlier. That was all he could cover, as he recognised the person standing above him. Alex Tarquin. Someone he recognised the face of, not someone he knew much more than that though. Well, that wasn’t fair. Jeremy knew of him, considering he was one of the people who had killed a person yesterday.

One part of Jeremy said to get away and hope that Alex didn’t see him. He was a murderer, after all. It’d probably be best that Jeremy not die before he was able to find another one of his friends.

The other part wasn't really interested in that option. He was a murderer, after all. It’d be interesting to get that perspective. Figure out why, so long as Alex didn’t try to stab him, either.

Two options. Each with their own benefits. No real drawbacks to each. There was one he was leaning a little towards, however.

He had a list to fulfill, after all.

He walked up, behind one of the walls. Alex voiced out a comment about the corpse.

Jeremy figured that he could make a decent enough entrance.

“I presume that you’d understand it a little better than I would.”
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Yugikun
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“Depends.”

He had stepped out into view at this point. Alex seemed willing to not cut him open with the machete he had, so he figured that it was only fair. Polite. A nicety, or something like that. The both of them seemed to be okay with talking with each other so it was probably for the best that they do it the proper way. Look at him in the eye when speaking or when he’s speaking, or else he’d get reprimanded by his parents. Still a good lesson, probably. One of the few good things his parents actually taught him. But anyway, Jeremy wasn’t quite sure what Alex meant by that, because no, Jeremy didn’t really understand it. He wasn’t a murderer - and ideally wouldn’t be - so he was yet to know what that feeling was like. Sympathy v.s empathy, except the moral opposite.

Still, even though Jeremy couldn’t say he felt whatever the equivalent of empathy was in this scenario, that didn’t mean he wasn’t interested. Just had to feed him a line. Pretend that he understood what understanding was in this scenario.

“On the person, I mean. Everybody’s different. Depending on who did it, we’d have a whole range of different reasons as to why he was killed.”

He had to admit that the machete was a little disconcerting, though. Just a little twinge on the back of his neck. On his throat.

The machete wasn’t where his eyes were focused, though.

“The corpse there was of Conrad. According to the announcements, he was killed by Isabel. Judging from what I could see…”

The twinge felt slightly larger. The machete was one thing. Seeing what he was seeing right now, he really didn't hope that Isabel found him alone in the middle of the night.

“I’m assuming that Isabel wanted him to suffer.”
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“I think so. Not sure what the point would be of doing it after he died.”

Kind of a hilarious thought, though. ‘Hey fuck you corpse I really hate your guts I’m just going to use whatever this weapon is to just tear you apart and stuff.’ Okay, not that hilarious phrased like that and probably kinda tasteless especially since it was an actual corpse of someone he knew right in front of him, but you got what he meant, right? Besides, the main goal was to have fun here. Apparently more important than finding the people that were likely going to die alongside him within the next few days before someone like Isabel did. Anyway, the main goal was to have fun, and holding himself back based on what others could think or based on what could happen was something that Jeremy highly doubted could give him what he wanted. It’d be the equivalent here of working in an office all your life. Wouldn’t give him that fulfillment, and it’d give him those regrets he didn’t really want.

Case in point, Alex standing right in front of him, same as Conrad. If he avoided the situation based on the thought that he might have been attacked, he would have missed out on this conversation he was very much enjoying right now. He hadn’t gotten any sort of motivation yet, but hey, this was pretty fun in itself. Just so long as that machete didn’t turn on him, he could temporarily forget just where he was.

“Burn bright, burn fast,” he said, taking one or two steps closer. “They might have all the screentime now, but it’d be odd if they lasted much longer than that." He knew a couple examples of that. They were normally gone by episode… four? Four seemed to be a common number. Regardless of whether he was correct or not, they didn’t tend to last long.

He smiled, as Alex turned back around to the corpse. He came here looking for fun, and he was getting it right now. Maybe he didn’t get a motivation, but he was definitely getting perspective. Personality. This guy had one, part of which seemed to be a bit of a showman. Jeremy was down with that. If Alex wanted to entertain him, even if Jeremy was wrong and that wasn’t quite his attention, then entertained Jeremy shall be.

It was a better prospect than being worried about the future at hand, at the very least. Alex had said something as he looked down on his sword. Vaguely threatening. Vaguely disturbing. Gave Jeremy the vague idea that maybe this wasn’t the best idea he had for his long term survival.

He snorted, slightly. That didn’t matter. What did was what was happening in front of him. If worst came to worst, he had the gun in his pocket. Right now, it hadn’t gone to worst, so he supposed he’d keep responding.

Get him to elaborate on a little something, as well.

“So,” he said, as he leaned his left shoulder on the wall, “I’m assuming that someone is you?”
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Jeremy got what Alex meant there, in terms of control. It was a reasonable motive for Isabel (of course, it was still more of a guess than anything, he’d have to go and talk to Isabel if he wanted the truth), although he still didn’t know why she would do it to a corpse. If she wanted to make him suffer, and if she wanted to exert her control, wouldn’t it be better to do it to someone still alive? Even with the further explanation that Alex gave him, he still wasn’t convinced. Yeah, she got to remove the corpse of its dignity, but what point would that prove? Not one that Jeremy could really see. Still, he wasn’t going to argue back. It ran the slight risk of annoying him, and the conversation seemed to be moving into more interesting waters, so he was happy to just let that happily slide.

Interesting waters, however, turned out to be a deal. Work with him, and they could keep each other safe until the final two.

His foot shifted. His breathing stopped. Started again, by his action.

If he accepted that deal, would that mean he would have to kill people?

He didn’t know. Alex was vague on that part. If the answer to his question was yes, then the answer to Alex’s offer was no. He knew that. It was the right thing for him to do.

But still…

He didn’t know. Everything rational in his head told him that the answer to this was no, but there was something. Couldn’t say what. Couldn’t name it. Something telling him that the answer to his offer was “yes.” It didn’t give a reason why, it didn’t tell him about any consequences, but it was there. And it was telling him to say yes.

But there are people out there, right? People you know who you care about who are going to die before you get the chance to say goodbye. Don't you care about them, Jeremy?

He did. He…

He didn’t know. He needed to think. Have more time. He just needed to stall, for a bit. Get Alex to respond so that he could give Alex and answer and possibly get further elaboration.

Further elaboration. That was it. Maybe it wasn’t what he needed, but it might just be able to give him it.

“Depends. Would I have to,” he paused. Looked down, for a slight second. “Uh, you know.”

There were eyes. Standing in front of him. He didn’t know whether to look at them or not.
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Alex’s sudden outburst had caused Jeremy to look up, again.

Wait, no, that wasn’t all of how Jeremy reacted. There was more, for better or worse. A feeling. Tingly. Alex did not react the way that Jeremy had expected him to, and that plus the out-of-nowhere nature of his threat gave him a feeling of surprise. Wait, no. Not surprise. Something else. His arms were tingling. The hair on them was raising. It was like what happened if you put your arm near static electricity except he didn’t do it voluntarily and they were moving on their own and the feeling was invading him and Alex was standing in front of him holding a machete and he couldn’t look at anything beyond that and if he didn’t do anything he’d get cut and-

He shook his head, slightly. He just needed to think. Stall. He still couldn’t think about what choice he wanted to make because of the machete so he just needed to stall him. Ideally without inviting his wrath.

He just needed to say something.

But what?

He wasn’t sure. Nothing was coming up.

But if he showed too much fear, then he would be cut down.

Wait, that was it. Fear. He had an idea, he just needed to think about it, for a little.

Something that would stall.

Something that would feed him.

Something that would work.

“You think I don’t have the guts?”

He leaned onto the wall, again. Smiled, slightly.

Any trace of seeming fear had disappeared after the first syllable.

“Allow me to tell you otherwise. You know how there was that bell that rang, yesterday?”

A slight pause. A snort, from his side. Hopefully Alex knew what he was talking about.

“Yeah. That was me.”
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Oh thank god. It worked. Now he could relax. Wait, no. He couldn’t. Now he could think. About what, though?

He didn’t know.

Wait, he did. Alex had asked him a question. It was an easy answer though. Just state why he did something. He could do that.

“I mean, anything could have happened, depending on who came. That bell was pretty loud. I could have attracted someone like Isabel or Kimiko or Jasmine and I probably would have been on the announcements today. But you know who did come? Wait… uh…”



Oh yeah. That was right. Just a bit he forgot the moment Josh’s name had come up.

“Instead I attracted Nancy! And Conrad! I saw Barry there as well so I’m half sure I got Alvaro as well!”

He paused, slightly. To rest his mouth, not because he needed to figure out how to get to his point. Admittedly, messing up made it slightly easier there.

“But you know what? I’m still alive,” he continued, excitedly. “And I wouldn’t have known what would have happened if I was too scared of what would happen to ring the bell.”

One more pause. He swirled his tongue around his mouth, a little bit.

“And that is why I was a brave man for doing it.”

Why was he saying this, though?

Oh right. The deal. The offer.

He should probably make a choice regarding that.

Because honestly, he still didn’t really know what to do there. There were two options. None made it obvious that he should pick the other. The rational part of him, the little white guy on top of his shoulder, was screaming at him. No. Don’t ally yourself with the known murderer. You’ve got goals to accomplish. There were so many ways that saying yes could go wrong that it wasn’t worth any of the upsides. He could stab you. He could stab one of the people who you’re looking for. Emma. Junko. Serena. Cadeyn. Al. Clarice, he supposed. They were still out there. They were still out in the open possibly dying in front of all these cameras. You have to find them as soon as possible. Dying or even watching the person you’re allying with kill them would mean that you failed to do that. No. Don’t do it. There is every possible reason for you to say no and there’s absolutely no reason for you to say yes to it.

Well.

That statement wasn’t entirely true. The little red guy on his other shoulder told him that. There are reasons for you to say yes. You’ve got goals to accomplish. It might go wrong, but you won’t know what’ll happen until you’ve tried, right? It’s just as you’ve said. You did it and you were brave for doing it. If you back out now, what does that say? What would Alex think? How would he react? You have to say yes, Jeremy. You have to ring that bell again. You have to be brave. You can’t show fear. It’d be wrong.

But no, you can’t do it, can you? There are people out there. People you have to find. There’s a list. You need to tick as many items off of it as you can.

Well.

Yeah.

So what? There’s a list. You have to tick as many items off of it as you can.



He supposed that was his choice, then.

“Now, there are a couple things I wanna do, and I’m pretty sure dying would be counterproductive to some of them.”

He paused. One last time.

“But I’m pretty sure a final two deal will help to fulfill others. I’m in.”
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He had said it.

He had done it.

And the regret immediately came flooding into his system. Why did he say yes? Why did he agree to a deal with a known killer? He knew what he had to do. He knew that he wasn’t long. He knew that the people out there weren’t, either. He knew that he had to find them. So why? Why did he just do what he just did?

The third voice came and he jumped right out of his thoughts. He turned. It was Lily. Insulting him, although that wasn’t the part he was paying attention to right now in favour of the fact that she had been behind him while they were talking and had surprised him. She was a junior. Not really someone he interacted with. She was away from school a lot, and that was all Jeremy really personally knew about her. She was alone, holding a glass shard in her hand. She didn’t look like she was going to attack, but Jeremy was just that slight bit of wary considering what she was holding. Then again, he was the one who casually had a gun in his pocket. He couldn’t really judge others in that area.

...Also, did she bring an army helmet on the trip with her or something? Whatever, didn’t matter. Just answer her question.

“Same difference,” he replied, accompanied with a shrug beforehand.

And then Alex started speaking again, and apparently Jeremy didn’t actually get what Alex’s idea was. That was… interesting. Apparently he might be wrong about Alex. If that meant that he wouldn’t have to kill other people, then it meant that-

The idea was a killsquad.

So much for him not having to do anything.

The options came up in his mind again. One screamed. One whispered.

And as much as he wanted to conform to his screams and do the right thing, he knew that he couldn’t. He had made his choice.

He couldn’t go back on it now.

“I mean, the main gist of it is still the same. All we’ve done is add more people, so I’m still in.”

He paused. Looked down. Sighed, slightly.

“For better or worse.”
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Jeremy frowned. Was Lily trying to throw him under the bus?

That wasn’t very nice. Best to disprove her accusation while it was standing.

“I mean,” he replied, trying to push the gun slightly further into his pocket. “Just because I have it doesn’t mean I’m going to use it.”

Wait, maybe he should elaborate a little on that last bit. He revealed a little too much there. Alex might not like the fact that he wasn’t all that into wantonly killing people he had known for the last four or so years. Well, maybe he had changed his mind, but given that it had been like forty seconds since Alex had gotten angry he doubted that that had happened. Best to keep pretending he was okay with it.

“Like, I’m not a gamebot. I’m not going to be someone who just mindlessly does what they need to do to get further ahead. That’s called being a sociopath, and if I don’t end up being the fittest I’d rather not spend my last days being considered that.”

Then Alex took over. That was good. Meant that he could just take the backseat. Rest his tongue. Alex probably had the better points to give, anyway. And he did! Well, whether or not he had the better points or not was up to Lily or any other third party but Alex probably did a better job at convincing her. Maybe he was edging a little bit too far into the personal attacks but honestly Jeremy wouldn’t be surprised if he happened to be on the debating team.

And then he asked Jeremy whether they should just kill Lily.

This was going to be a recurring thing, wasn’t it?

Immediate reaction was an internal ‘what?’ Next one was an internal big ‘no.’ But obviously he couldn’t say those out loud. Then Alex would get mad at him and Lily would probably make something out of that. So no, as much as he liked to say he was okay with dying he wasn’t okay with it happening right now. So, he just had to give a better version of ‘no’ and if Lily was actually smart she’d book it.

That sounded like a good plan, yeah.

“I dunno. Is she a lunatic? I thought we were going after the lunatics, here.”
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Jeremy, uh…

Jeremy just sorta stopped understanding what this conversation was a bit ago.

Because he said his thing, Lily said her thing, and then Alex responded to Lily. He got that he was mocking her for calling him a lunatic but then he started talking about a family? Was he referring to Jeremy or Lily there? He didn’t know. He probably should know in the case that Alex was actually referring to him there but if he were to put a bet on it he’d say that Alex was talking to Lily. Which was good, because if Jeremy had to respond it’d show that he didn’t really have an idea of what he was talking about, which considering that it was Alex probably wasn’t a good thing.

So he just stood there, as Alex and Lily had their small argument. Leaned on the wall, once again.

Until the conversation went back to him. A question, directed at Jeremy. Or rather, an idea of Alex’s, which was up for Jeremy to agree or disagree with. Jeremy’s opinion on the idea leaned very, very heavily towards agree. Killing Lily was probably not that good an idea.

Although…

Yeah, hang on. Maybe he could give a better reason for it. Maybe something to consider so that situations such as these didn’t happen. At least as often. Wouldn’t be too hard to say, either.

“I don’t think we should take her out. That’ll just advertise to everyone that hey, Jeremy Frasier and Alex Tarquin are probably not the good guys. If we wanna make it so that we’re final two, we stay under the radar, or something.”

Maybe now he wouldn’t have to question his morality every time Alex opened his mouth.
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Quite a lot had happened within the last minute or so.

Lily had left, spewing some gamebotty nonsense as she did so. Had she ever considered the idea that maybe there were people out there who weren’t really interested in winning? He didn’t know. He didn’t think so. He honestly didn’t really care. Lily wasn’t on his list of friends, and if the future decided that they were going to meet again before one of them met their end, then so be it, really. She was quickly replaced by Michael. Crowe. Not someone on Jeremy’s list of friends, either. Not on Jeremy’s list of enemies, either, but MIchael stood fairly close to it. He imagined back then that he wouldn’t exactly feel comfortable hanging out with someone who bullied other students. He could have been wrong, of course, but he could have been right back then. It was a risk he deemed best not to take.

But anyway, back to the main story. Michael was here. Said some… weird things. Asked Jeremy if he had killed Conrad.

Apparently he was Isabel, now?

But he stayed silent. Maybe he could have made a little comment mocking him for his really bad assumption, but he imagined that it wouldn’t go over well. Besides, Alex had gotten in front first. He was the first one to start arguing. Maybe it was best for him if he just stayed quiet. Stayed back. Good plan? Yeah, good plan.

He did have to admit though; he giggled, slightly, as Michael had thrusted his pelvis at Alex.

But the laughing stopped as soon as Alex responded. Stepped forward.

So much for staying under the radar.

And now there was yet another choice on his hands, as Alex got hit. There was a gun in his pocket. He could use it. Help someone else in this fight. Or he could run, leave them both alone.

But he couldn’t run. They were in the way. If he wanted to get through the fight had to end.

There was a gun in his pocket.

Alex had killed someone.

The right option was standing right in front of him.

The gun was in his hands now, he was raising it.

But…

There was something telling him otherwise. Again. He had made a deal. He couldn’t go back on it immediately after he’d made it.

And besides, he had a list he had to fulfil.



“I suppose I’m obligated to fulfill my part of the agreement we had.”

Two steps forwards. The gun was pointed out. Past Alex. Towards Michael.

“I’d suggest you hold it.”
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Michael immediately freaked out the moment the gun was pulled. Fear. Visible. Not fake. Not the type of mocking fear you expressed whenever something didn’t actually scare you. This was like that moment in the chapel when Jeremy suddenly realised what had actually happened. This was real.

And Michael was scared.

Jeremy immediately felt regret about the decision that he had made. But he kept the gun up. He had made his decision. Now he had to stick with it.

...He had to say something. Michael was scared. Jeremy didn’t really want to see that.

“Sorry,” he said. He meant it. Regardless of how either had acted or was acting right now, this wasn’t a nice scenario. Even in the case that it wasn’t enough, he had said it. That had to mean something.

A voice re-entered the conversation. Alex had gotten up. Started saying things. Started taunting. Michael responded. Backtracked. Probably made jabs on his own, though the references he was making, although they weren’t ones that Jeremy really understood. They were rivals, of some sort, apparently.

...Not for long though. Alex was there. He had a sword. Jeremy had a gun.

...But Michael was scared. Michael was going to die. That wasn’t something Jeremy really wanted to see. There was a list, in his head, and watching someone die in fear right in front of him, watching a face he knew disappear while he did nothing but help, that went against what the top item of that list was.

He thought of something he could do. It would work. Definitely. Hopefully. Ideally.

“Look. This doesn’t have to happen,” he said to Michael. “Just let us pass, and nobody here has to die.”
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Steel.

Finger.

Blood.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Michael screamed and Jeremy fell back and his foot touched the ground and his body went back against the wall again. The gun dropped. He had done that. He had allowed that to happen. This was just like Clarice where he did nothing but let the situation get out of control and someone he knew had just paid for his inaction. Wait, no, not inaction. His action. His assistance. He had helped Alex. He had allowed it to happen. He made the wrong choice and now he had helped a killer and let someone he knew get injured and scream in pain. Just like Clarice. Worse than Clarice. He could have helped. He could have done anything other than what he did but he didn’t and now there was blood on the floor and a person screaming and he didn’t know what to do and he was scared and he just needed to not think about this go away for a bit and-

He shook his head. No. He couldn’t do that. It was here. It was now. He couldn’t just bar himself away from his thoughts again. He had to own up. Apologize. He messed up, and he was sorry, and-

But Michael was gone. It was just him and Alex. Just like how it was before. The obvious thing to do was screaming through his head. The right thing to do was doing the same thing.

But just like before, there was another voice. Whispering to him. Through his ear. Little red guy, on his shoulder.

You’ve made your choice, Jeremy.

You’ve acted on it.

You can’t go back on it now.

Besides, you have a list you need to fulfill.



The gun went up off the ground. Back into his pocket. Jeremy looked around. Corpse to his left. Entrance to his right.

“We probably shouldn’t stay here. More people will come. We need to like, fortify someplace better, or something.”

There was a choice, and he had made his decision regarding it.

For better or worse.

He looked Alex in the eyes.

“There’s a weapon stuck in Conrad, might be worth it if one of us tried to get it out of him.”

He looked away. From Alex. From the corpse of the person he once knew.

“I’ll keep watch.”

((Jeremy Frasier, continued in Woof Woof, I'm a Dog. Kill your Friends.))
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