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El Manana; G022 oneshot, night of day 7/morning of day 8; CONTENT WARNING
Topic Started: May 29 2017, 05:22 AM (162 Views)
KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Emma Luz continued from Rear-End Collision))
((Content Warning: Gory imagery, suicide/self harm themes. Reader discretion advised.))

Emma wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to go back to the depot. Whether or not Jaime would even be there, or whether she’d move on, Emma wasn’t sure. Nor was she sure whether she could face her if she did. Would Jaime confront her on being a coward? She had no idea. She wasn’t sure if she could trust her anymore, or even… anyone.

Everything that happened at the dorms stuck with her. Finding Lily, trying to save her. Failing. Finding Jae, then encountering Dorothy. Being threatened. Learning… the truth. That’s the only way to describe what she learned. Running away.

Like always.

Her legs felt weak. When she was finally out of the dorms, she’d collapsed again. It was only a few seconds, and the sword had clattered to the side, so she was okay. Well, okay, as far as she could possibly be given the circumstances. She’d panicked, though. What if Jae and Dorothy were on her tail? So when she had tried to pull herself back up, she kept looking behind her. Hoping they weren’t there.

By the time she found her way back into the vehicle depot, every part of her body ached with exhaustion. It didn’t help that the sword was heavy, too. She tried switching hands, but that didn’t work. She tried hoisting it over her shoulder, with the blunt end facing away from her, but that only made things slightly more manageable. Slightly, as in her shoulder started hurting after a while. Emma, once again, needed to find a place to stop. It was getting dark, too.

She found the truck she’d slept in the other day again. It was still in the garage, where she’d left it. Not like it’d go anyway, though. Emma placed her bag and sword on the ground, and opened a back door, her fingers slipping on the handle for a second. She put the bag and sword in the front seat, and leaned back into the upholstery. Emma’s heavy eyelids closed. Once again, images flickered behind her eyes. She saw Lily, still slumped onto the ground.




When she opened them again, it seemed like some time had passed. Emma rubbed her face for a second. She knew she was awake, but she still didn’t feel completely alert. It really was a bad day for her, wasn’t it?

Emma pulled off her glasses, and gently put them in the driver’s seat. Hopefully they’d be alright there. At least, it was better than wearing them while sleeping, right? No need to let them get bent out of shape.

She pulled herself into a prone position, her chin resting on her bag. One thing that wasn’t good about sleeping in a car: it was cramped. It wasn’t the first time Emma had slept in a car. Growing up, she’d fall asleep in the back as her family drove home from trips. As she got older, it sometimes happened even when the ride was relatively short. So, Emma knew how small a place the back seat could be if you wanted to lay down. Better than nothing, though.

She folded her arms in front of her, the backs of her hands touching her mouth.

Emma thought about survival of the fittest. It wasn’t the game itself, though that had to do with it. Instead, it was the concept. Emma knew about natural selection. It wasn’t something hugely covered in class, but it was something that she’d learned about a long time ago. How it works is this: if you take a population of animals, they will all have their strengths and weaknesses. The ones who are best adapted to their environment survive, and pass on their genes to their offspring. Those offspring will have the abilities and genetics needed to survive, and in turn be able to reproduce themselves. It was a simple enough concept.

Did she believe in a God? To be honest, she did. Some part of her hoped that it was true, that one day, after she died, there would a loving God and an afterlife waiting for her. Emma knew of a few Biblical stories. She knew of Adam and Eve, of how they ate the fruit of knowledge and got punished for it. Growing up in a predominantly Christian town meant that she knew the story of how, generations later, God sent his son to die for humanity. But, to be honest, she always found the other story more appealing. The more scientific one.

Once upon a time, there was a bunch of bacteria. That bacteria struggled to survive, until it evolved. It evolved into invertebrates, then fish, then amphibians. It continued to evolve for millennia, until one day, circumstances were just right for a primate species to develop sapience. Those primates eventually became mankind, who continued to evolve. They invented, they thought, they wondered. They continued reproducing, adapting with each generation.

She never admitted it out loud, but she liked the idea of that. How long had there been life on Earth? Something like 3.8 billion years? Humanity, in contrast, had only been around for something like 200,000. But those were 200,000 years of struggling, of surviving, of living. It was a miracle, in a sense. That things would be just right for there to be life at all, that bacteria would last long enough to become more complex animals, that one animal would have all the right things needed to become a fully sapient species, that they’d last 200,000 years at all. In a way, it was beautiful. That generations upon generations would struggle to survive, against the odds.

Emma then thought of Grandpa Gregory. It wasn’t the first time since she’d first woken up in the operating room. She still remembered the joke about his blood being motor oil. Emma honestly didn’t know as much about the Aguilar side of her family, but she knew a lot about the Luz.

It was a story she was familiar with for as long as she could remember. Each time she heard it, she felt like she could take on the world, couldn’t she? He fought, he struggled, too. He made a name for himself. Even during stuff like the Great Depression and World War II. She wondered what he thought. What went through his head, once he found out his grandchildren had been taken away to die? That one by one, they had all been picked off in some way or another? That Lily had apparently helped Isabel?

That last one hurt worst of all.

She still hoped that was some kind of misunderstanding, or something Jae made up. Something to make himself feel better. Maybe Emma had been right, and Lily had simply tried to put Lizzie out of her misery. But doubt had crept in.

It was funny, wasn’t it? You could talk all day about family, and sticking by your loved ones. You could talk about how important community was, or how good it felt to do the right thing. But the second everything hits the fan? People just… rip each other to shreds.

In hindsight, she should have seen this coming. She’d done a Social Studies assignment on SOTF. This entire time, she’d been focusing on that one ray of hope. That one way that she could live without hurting anyone, and everyone else could be safe and sound. Escape. She knew that it was possible. A group of kids did it in 2008. With each passing minute, each passing hour, each passing day, she’d wonder if someone was looking for them. Sometimes, she’d even dream about it. A small handful of times, she’d dream about someone putting everyone on a boat, and then leaving the island. Only then, she’d open her eyes, and realize that she wasn’t home yet.

The thought of going home had slowly drifted away from her. It was still there, of course. It was just… at this point, she had huge doubts about whether they were going to be rescued at all. She wondered if she should have remembered something else: that people were dangerous. They were like Kaitlyn, or Jae, or Dorothy. They were like Nancy, or Isabel. They were monsters. While some people wouldn’t kill, others would go out of their way to do something absolutely disgusting. Emma remembered, while reading about the 2008 escape, that there was an offhand mention of a boy from Britain who killed about ten people. Ten people, gone, just because he felt like it. The same thing happened in 2012. Another boy, fifteen people, gone.

Why did she even think Cochise would be any different? Maybe because it was hopeful thinking? Maybe it was naivete. Maybe she was just dumb.

Emma remembered why she ran for Student Council President this year. She was an inherently ambitious person, of course, but there was more to it. She enjoyed council work because she felt like she was making a difference. Looking back, there were still things she had wanted to fix or address in some way. The library was still full of outdated books, for one. She’d made it a goal to fix the lunch line issue, and while there was progress, there still needed things to make it so it moved quicker. But, she felt that once she’d graduated, she’d look back and feel proud of what she managed to accomplish. To be honest, it had been stressful, especially with her health issues. But it felt like it was worth it. At the time.

So Emma had spent her highschool years trying to improve Cochise within her ability. Even if she was just a student with a council position, she still had to make it count. Do whatever she could, you know? Was it really worth it when everyone turned on each other with a drop of a hat?

Emma turned, facing the interior ceiling of the truck. For a few seconds, she stared at the gray upholstery. Then, she let out a long breath. She still didn’t feel comfortable. Too cramped. She sat up, and removed her jacket. Maybe it would feel more comfortable if she wasn’t wearing it.

Once she laid back down, she continued staring at the ceiling. A few minutes later, she went back to sleep.




It was another dream about coyotes.

She’d sat there, watching them cavort along the desert landscape. It was dark, but not night. Sunset, she guessed. There were a lot of them. Maybe hundreds, who knew? She used to like coyotes back home. It wasn’t just because it was the school’s mascot. Sure, they were pests that you didn’t want in your chicken coop, but Emma was fond of them for what they were.

So Emma watched. And watched.

The coyotes turned towards her with yellow eyes.


Emma opened her eyes. She intuitively tried to push herself up, only to realize her arms were once again stuck. Deep breath, deep breath. Wiggle your toes, try to break out of it. Her eyes darted along the interior ceiling. She needed to break out, she needed to-

She blinked.

Someone was in the car with her.

Something was in the car with her.

Hello again.

Emma knew its voice.

It was the same beast as before. A coyote. The coyote. It was on top of her, compressing her chest. Keeping her immobilized. Its claws dug deep into her shoulders. It felt real. Too real. Keep breathing, keep breathing. Try to move your fingers and toes. It’s not real, it’s not real. It can’t hurt you, it’s not real.

The coyote looked at her, into her, with those yellow eyes.

No. I’m real. And I can hurt you.

Its lips curled, like a grin. Please keep breathing. Keep trying to move. She had to, she absolutely had to.

No, it won’t work. You can’t escape. You’re stuck here. With me.

The coyote’s claws sunk deeper into her. It felt like it’d pierced the skin. She wanted to struggle, scream, do something. Anything. But she couldn’t, she just couldn’t. Then, it moved. Its claws pulled off her shoulders. However, it didn’t move away from her. Instead, like a flash, its head was lowered towards her abdomen, below her rib cage.

The coyote gave her an ultimatum.

Kill, or be killed. Eat, or be eaten.

When it moved again, it didn’t hurt much. Emma felt its jaws pierce the skin, and its snout burying deep into her. She felt its teeth tearing, ripping. It didn’t hurt. But, she could only watch as it lifted its head, innards hanging out of its mouth like sausage links.

Emma blinked again.

She let out a gasp as she realized that it was gone. Nothing was there. Was she okay? Slowly, she sat up, clenching her head. Deep breath. Another, another. Her heart was still pounding, her skin was slick with sweat. It wasn’t real, she tried to remind herself. But she had to make sure. Emma lifted up her tank top, and pressed her hand against her stomach. Nothing was there. No sign of a wound or anything. She wasn’t hurt.

“Okay, okay, I’m okay…” she whispered, pulling her top back down.

She fully pulled herself upwards, wrapping her arms around herself.

Emma remembered how, back home, she would have episodes like that. The first times she had them, she didn’t know what they were. She’d felt she was losing it, but once she got diagnosed? She’d looked into it, and found that it was possible to manage it. After learning what caused her symptoms, she started to become more open about it. It took some time to admit that she was having these kinds of issues, but more and more people understood. A few times, when it got this bad, she’d have to wake someone up because she didn’t like being alone afterwards. Emma always felt so bad waking them up, sometimes in the middle of the night, but sometimes they listened. Usually, when she did, they didn’t talk about her experience. Sometimes, it was good just to have someone to talk to.

Emma curled into herself.

She just realized she had no one to call on, no one to help her through it.

Was it okay to say she actually did miss everyone? Sabrina was supposed to meet Gordon Ramsay, and study under him, and go on to become a chef. Tina, Tina wasn’t as academic, but she’d been shaping up in that area, and was helping Lily with her Etsy. Lizzie was supposed to travel the world, meet new people, explore. Lily, she remembered, wanted to go to a trade school. She wanted them back. Her friends, too. Everyone had ripped each other apart, and abandoned each other, and was generally awful. But the thing was, she wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

She wasn’t ready to be alone.

Emma let herself cry.




"Good morning children. I hope you are appreciating your life currently because as ever since the last time we spoke some more of you have moved on. It's tragic I know but that's life for you."

Emma groggily opened her eyes. It must have been morning. She’d fallen back asleep, still curled up in the back of the truck. She leaned back, and listened to what Danya had to say.

Amanda and Jeremy were dead. She’d remembered that they both got awards for killing. What’s more, Jeremy had killed again, too, before he died. Ben Fields, one of Cris’ team mates, apparently. She didn’t know how, but it sounded like Ben had “challenged” Jeremy. Danya talked about Lily, too. All he had to say was that she turned her back on Jae and got shot.

There were a few others of note. Georgia Lee died, having been shot in the leg. Someone got hit with a jeep by Serena, one of her band mates, of all people. Someone else got killed with a bag.

The announcement clicked off.

Emma scooted closer to the left door, and leaned her head against the glass. Her vision was blurry from not wearing glasses, but she stared out the window. There was nothing interesting out there. Just cars, and more garage.

She let out a huff of breath.

Once upon a time, she would have been horrified at the news. That Amanda and Jeremy had died, that Jeremy was confirmed to be just like them. At this rate, though, Emma realized something.

She wasn’t surprised.




It took what felt like an hour later until something else happened.

Someone was coming in. Who, Emma couldn’t tell. Maybe she was too tired, maybe it was because she wasn’t wearing her glasses. But she knew it was a person. They’d come in through the open garage door, and, judging by their head movements, they were looking around, searching.

Emma could see that they were holding a knife.

She snapped up, and reached into the front seat for her glasses. Even with them on, she still couldn’t figure out who they were. It didn’t help the garage was dark, as well. She reached into the front again, pulling out the sword. Still heavy, but it was something.

Was it a good idea to talk to them? They probably weren’t friendly, at this rate.

But she opened the door, and stepped out of the truck. Her cowboy boots squeaked underneath the concrete. The person turned their head, looking at her. They smiled, as if it was the funniest joke ever. Emma lifted the sword, as much as her arms ached doing so. She didn’t want to fight them, but she knew that they, regardless of who they were, were dangerous.

She continued staring at them, trying to discern who they were. Then, they were gone. They didn’t walk away, or run. They were just… gone. Nothing was there, they just disappeared quietly.

Emma lowered the sword.

A soft chuckle left her lips.

“Seeing things, Emma. You’re… you’re seeing things. There’s nothing there. Nothing… there,” she muttered to herself.

Then, her eyes widened. Her body shook. Her lips tightened.

She was seeing things.

When she first got diagnosed, her doctor had told her that it was possible for her to experience hallucinations, even outside of sleep paralysis. While it’d never been an issue for Emma, she’d warned her that it wasn’t anything unusual for people with her condition. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was stress, maybe it was something else. But Emma knew one thing.

She wasn’t going to make it.

She was vulnerable, and sick, and easy pickings. If she couldn’t trust even herself at this point, she was going to go, and go quickly.

Emma sat down, feeling the cold concrete underneath her. Everything felt still, and dead. It was over. Someone was going to find her like this, and take her. She had no one to turn to, no one who’d want to see her even alive. Perhaps they never did to begin with. Maybe Amanda, Jaime, and Lucilly only put up with her out of obligation. She’d only been a burden to them, overall. And then what? Two were dead, one was a murderer beforehand, one was still out there, doing God only knew what.

She slowly lifted her left wrist, and, with her other hand, picked up the sword. She lifted it above her exposed wrist. If she slit it along the vein, it wouldn’t be a quick death, would it? It’d take a while to bleed out, perhaps even hours. Maybe the blood would clot beforehand, maybe it’d give her time to reconsider, as dumb as the idea of reconsidering sounded. It’d be difficult to be rescued from, though. Difficult to sew back up. But the sword was too heavy to use like that.

Instead, Emma, with some difficulty, put the blade closer to her neck. She took another breath.

Maybe like this. She’d bleed out faster. If she managed to slice open her jugular, it’d make her lose consciousness faster. It’d be only a few minutes for her to expire, never to have to worry again.

It was perfect.

So why were her hands unsteady? Why did her lips, her mouth, feel so dry? Why did she feel hesitant?

Why hesitate? It’d mean she’d never have to worry about being murdered ever again.

Eventually, the sword was set down in front of her. There wasn’t a speck of blood on it.

Emma buried her face into her hands, sobbing. Why did she hesitate? There was nothing for her here, no way she’d survive to see another week. She doubted she was going home at this rate, and she doubted that anyone was looking for her, or wanted to keep her alive. Everyone was nuts.

After a while, the tears stopped. Emma sat there, staring blankly.

If she wasn’t going to die, that meant she had to take the other option. Continue fighting. Continue surviving. Was that even possible?

Emma thought it over. She wondered. She mulled over possibilities. She came to one conclusion.

She could.

Help wasn’t coming, at least not soon. She was constantly tired, hallucinating, pathetic, and didn’t know what to do with herself. A large part of her family was dead, and whatever friends she had left were probably full-on murderers, if they were even still her friends at all. But, maybe it was foolishness, maybe it was that stubbornness she always had since she was little, but she didn’t want to give up, she decided. She didn’t want to bleed out in a parking garage after all, but she also didn’t want to become pickings for everyone else. That meant she had to survive.

For what? She didn’t know. Emma had been an ambitious person back home. She had wanted to become a doctor, she prided herself on her good grades and Student Council position. Some part of her wondered if high school graduation was even possible at this point. But for now, maybe just… being alive was her goal right now. Seeing tomorrow. Living through this.

She blinked, her eyelashes feeling wet. Then, Emma decided to get up. Her legs were still shaky, but standing was possible.

Emma had her weaknesses, sure, but she had some strengths as well. Everyone did. It took a while to remember what they were. She was smart, kind of. She knew a bit about surviving in the wilderness and self-defense; Mom and Dad made sure she knew. She knew about first aid, and about how the human body worked. She had a sword, even if it was heavy. Even when you take killers out of the equation, you could still do a lot with a blade.

She wasn’t quite confident yet, but she had to keep telling herself. Few people could be trusted at this point, so it was best that, if she wanted to live, she had to take care of herself from this point onward.

Emma reached back into the car, and took out her bag. She needed to set goals, then. Food was one thing, water was another. That’s two, then. Food and water probably weren’t here, but they were somewhere. Anywhere. She’d take them off the dead again if she had to, the way things were going.

She had to wait a moment to pick up the sword from where she’d left it.

Emma still didn’t want to become a murderer. Some part of her still felt disgusted that she hated Isabel, that she hated Nancy, that she hated Jae and Dorothy, that she hated Kaitlyn. But if she encountered someone, they weren’t going to give her mercy. She wasn’t sure if she was ready for that possibility, or even if it’d come up again at all. But she had to prepare for that possibility, that worst possibility.

One more deep breath. The bag felt heavy, the sword more so. But she stepped outside. It looked like a clear, breezy morning. Probably not going to rain again, at least not today. Maybe soon. That’d be both a good thing and a bad thing.

((Emma Luz continued in Waiting for the end))

She’d left something behind.

For the past few years, she’d worn a specific jacket. It was a gift someone gave her, and she adored it. It was red, and had the school’s mascot on it. The main thing that’d prevented her from wearing it regularly was the hot Kingman weather. It kept her reasonably warm, too.

It was still sitting in the front seat of the truck, conspicuously missing a person.

Emma realized that it was missing sometime later in the afternoon, long after she’d left the vehicle depot. She was far away at that point. So, after a moment of thought, she decided to not go back specifically to find it. It wasn’t worth the trouble.
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