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Until Then, You Are Free; Day 6; open
Topic Started: Mar 23 2017, 10:13 PM (326 Views)
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((Georgia Lee Day continued from Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying))

If Georgia Lee had expected to emerge from their shelter of nearly a week to find an apocalyptic wasteland, a decaying ghost town containing only hints of its previous inhabitants and their sad fates, the library did not disappoint.

She might have been horrified once, to see a place that she thought ought to be a sanctuary defaced. Shelves had been toppled, bodies littered the floor. The stench of death was inescapable. She was preoccupied, however.

The announcement of the fire had awoken her yesterday, but her concern wasn't who was setting fires or what their intent was. If it was a rescue beacon, good; when rescue arrived - if it arrived - Georga Lee would lead the way. She would be vindicated in all the choices that she had been questioned for here, all the slight blemishes she had inflicted on her image, because though not all of them had been done with the purest intent, she had survived. She hadn't harmed or killed anyone. Not only that, but she had kept a dangerous, unpredictable woman from harming or killing anyone by keeping Fiyori contained for several days. Georgia Lee had been smart, and she would have emerged the most unscathed of anyone save for the pain of lost friends.

But those were thoughts for when - if - that time came. Georgia Lee's thoughts now were focused on that morning's announcement, because that had brought with it another, smaller reassurance and vindication.

It wasn't just the innocent losing their lives anymore. The killers were beginning to die too.

Olivia had had her bad experiences, but she was unhurt. The both of them were. They hadn't encountered anyone with malicious intent, save Fioryi, and she had thankfully made herself scarce. Slowly but surely, the ones who played stupidly, recklessly, and maliciously were being eliminated.

Georgia Lee had been smart. She wasn't on anyone's list. She had her sanctuary, and she just had to hope that both the terrorists and her fellow students forgot all about her as she had once desperately fought for them not to.

She could get through a few more days, slowly but surely. And it would help if she had something to read, so she did her best to ignore the smell and started scanning the shelves that had been left upright.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Georgia Lee paused in her perusal of the shelves at Olivia's question.

"We just happened to wake up near each other," she said, realizing how unconvincing that sounded despite its truth. "I... found her glasses and was holding onto them for her. For my safety, too, you know how she's unpredictable - and we decided to stick together for a while. We agreed that wandering around with almost no idea of what's out there was more dangerous than staying together."

She ran her fingers down the row of books, feeling the faded words on their spines. "Things were starting to come apart by the time you came along, though. Fiyori... when she took her glasses back, I think she had decided that I had an ulterior motive." Easier to say that than to try explaining that ulterior motives weren't always bad, easier than trying to explain that it was better for everyone if some people had others to guide and restrain them. There were too many ways that could be spun to make Georgia Lee herself look bad and too many angles that could be read into her bizarre, complex relationship with Fiyori.

"But you know, I- I'm glad that she stayed with me for a few days. I'm glad that I wasn't alone." Glad for the protection more than the company, glad that she hadn't been left to go mad in isolation and paranoia. Nobody watching the cameras would know anything more than what they had seen and what she said. "I don't know what she'll do now that she's out there now, but I'm trying not to worry too much about it."

Whatever it was that Fiyori ended up doing, Georgia Lee intended to be safely back in their hideout by the time she heard about it. All that Fiyori was now was one more name that she would not open her doors to welcome in.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Georgia Lee did not like where this conversation was headed.

The more she had to try to explain and justify it all, the more it would sound like she was making excuses. It would sound like she had been more underhanded than she really had been, like she hadn't been doing what was necessary for her safety and survival.

"I just picked them up when I first woke up. I nearly stepped on them - they had fallen off and were in the dirt, and I just picked them up." She caught herself before she could begin rambling, stumbling. "By the time I remembered and gave them back, she had gotten angry."

She wouldn't mention the tape, the hiding place, Fiyori's slithering, scuttling movements when she saw her goal. Olivia wouldn't understand.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Look, I..." Georgia Lee was getting agitated, and that wasn't good. It wasn't necessary, but neither were Olivia's incessant questions. Did it really matter how long she had held onto Fiyori's glasses? Hadn't Fiyori made it perfectly clear how she would behave when given any bit of power?

"I can't say that all the decisions I've made so far have been the best. We were out in the open, all alone, and we had to rush to find somewhere safe, and I wasn't sure what she would do if I gave them back right away, you know she's always-" Georgia Lee cut herself off.

What good would this do? The more reasons she gave, the less convincing she sounded. The easiest thing in the world to find is an excuse. "I just forgot, after a while. There was so much going on."

"We've stayed safe this long," she said finally. She and Fiyori, she and Olivia. It was Georgia Lee that had kept them out of danger, and just look how they resented and suspected her for it. No good deed Georgia Lee did ever went unpunished.

"That's good enough."

And she moved off among the shelves, scanning for any familiar titles, to signify that the conversation was over.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Olivia was crying again. Georgia Lee was annoyed with herself for feeling guilty over it; why couldn't Liv have just left well enough alone? But all the same, Olivia was a friend where Fiyori hadn't been.

"Liv, I... I'm scared, okay?"

She spoke, shielded from view by the shelf that she had moved behind. Reason hadn't worked, so maybe she could appeal to emotion. She needed Olivia on her side, even if it meant playing up all that which she had suppressed in Fiyori's presence. She wanted to add more, to clarify that she would never do to Olivia what she had done to Fiyori, because Olivia had never looked at Georgia Lee like she was something to be eaten. Continuing to bring up the issue of Fiyori's glasses would do no good, though.

"I've been scared this whole time, and... maybe I've made mistakes. I can admit that." Even if she didn't believe they were mistakes, even if this felt like the time she had been dragged to detention because of Fiyori's actions all over again. At least in detention, she would have company. That was better than the times in class when they were told to find a partner and Georgia Lee was left sitting by herself, raising her hand and willing her voice not to shake with humiliation, May I work alone?

She couldn't work alone this time. Not here.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Oh, Liv..."

Coming of Age in Samoa, the book in front of Georgia Lee read. It was faded but looked undamaged. She had heard the title but never read the book before. Something about a young woman traveling to Samoa in order to study the lives of the adolescent girls there. Something about disproving the notion that all teenagers experienced the kind of turmoil that American youths did.

Georgia Lee tucked the book under her arm and composed her face into an appropriate mask of sympathy before she rounded the shelf to where Olivia was again. It wasn't an act; just exaggerated, again.

"I won't leave you," she promised. "We're still friends, right? We're in this together."

Neither of them could afford to try and make it on their own. Not yet. Georgia Lee knew it, and Olivia clearly did too, on some level.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Georgia Lee wasn't sure how to react when Olivia hugged her out of the blue. When she hugged Olivia upon first seeing her a couple of days ago, it had been brief, calculated. This was desperation and fear, a reminder of the things that Olivia had been through that Georgia Lee had been fortunate enough to avoid. A reminder of how fragile Olivia was, how much she needed Georgia Lee to support her.

It felt good, to have someone rely on her and acknowledge how essential she was.

Georgia Lee hugged Olivia back with one arm, careful not to drop her book. "It's okay," she soothed. "As long as we stick together everything will be okay." She made a conscious effort not to protest as Olivia squeezed her, though she did wrinkle her nose at the smell of someone who was going on a week without a bath. She had to be just as bad herself, if she bothered to give her clothes a whiff. After several long moments, Georgia Lee eased herself back out of Olivia's grip, laying her hand on the other girl's shoulder.

"Did you find something you want to read or look at? We can stay in here a while, enjoy the sunlight." Nevermind the smell of bodies rotting. Nevermind the destruction around them. "It doesn't seem like anyone has been in here too recently, and nobody tried to get into the cafeteria until you came along. We should be fine in here for a little while, and we can barricade the door while we're here, like in the cafeteria."

They moved the chairs against the door, enough to deter anyone who came looking for entry. Georgia Lee was careful not to look too closely at the body under the table as they did so, but she still caught sight of Joshua Bracewell's distinctive cardigan and her stomach lurched. They found a corner far from the doorway, nestled behind a shelf and out of sight of most of the damage, and they sat and talked and eventually Georgia Lee settled down to read while Olivia occupied herself. It was almost enough to forget, for a little while.

Georgia Lee would curse herself for that little bit of enjoyment that she managed to squeeze out of those hours when they tried to return to the cafeteria after darkness fell.

Their sanctuary had been compromised. The door was standing open, when they had left it closed to keep up the illusion that it was still occupied. There might have been a noise from within. Georgia Lee didn't waste any time trying to determine whether there was or not, seizing Olivia's arm and pulling her back towards the library.

"It's not safe," she hissed. She didn't want to raise her voice any more than that, hoped that her grip on Olivia's arm and what they had both seen would be explanation enough.

They would have to wait out whoever had intruded on their hideout in the library. Surrounded by the smell of death and the shadows of disrespected knowledge, Georgia Lee sat awake throughout the night, hand on Olivia's arm. This was the price she paid for trying to break out of the routine, the price she had always paid for trying to make things better for herself. Nobody respected her space or her efforts.

Whenever she began to nod off, she would shake herself awake, straining her ears for the sounds of conflict down the hall, feeding on her own bitterness and fear to fuel her. Morning would come. They would make it through the night.

But come morning, Georgia Lee would have shadows under her eyes and another reminder of how things worked here and everywhere else in the world: when she stopped being practical, when she took her eyes off the goal for even a second, she suffered for it. The past several days of relative safety had spoiled her and made her forget that here.

She wouldn't forget again.

((Georgia Lee day continued in Cast in the Name of God))
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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