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Anemia; Noun. A condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness.
Topic Started: Jun 4 2017, 06:04 PM (1,031 Views)
VoltTurtle
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((Penelope Fitzgerald continued from Minus Something))

The group had ended up spending the rest of the day in the cafeteria, trying their best to clear their heads of the events of that morning.

The announcements came and went again, announcing more deaths, finally mentioning Kizi's status.

Penelope opened the door to the library across the hall from the cafeteria, glancing around at the dingy and dusty shelves, light filtering in from the windows facing the outside. The stench of death clung to the area like it did every other area in the asylum, and spatters of dried blood and footprints ruined the uniformity of the dust covering the floor.

"Hello?" She called out into the room, only to be greeted by silence.

"Seems like a welcoming enough place." She chirped, sarcastically. "But might as well stay here for a little while. It's still a library, after all, even if it's been..." She scrunched her nose. "...tainted."

She walked into the room, holding the door open for Raina and Johnny behind her, bits of ash that were still clinging to her skirt falling off and joining the dust on the floor.

Once the group was inside, she found herself instantly running her fingers across the spines of the books lining the shelves, a habit she picked up back when she regularly visited the library at Cochise. She glanced down the length of the hallways, frowning as she noticed the body lying in one of the corners of the room.

She moved further in. glancing up and down the shelves, almost forgetting that this wasn't a normal visit to the library. She recognized a lot of the books, many of them were older works of literature or medical journals she had seen in Kingman's public library. In a way it was comforting, knowing that even this far from home, there were still things that were oh so familiar to her.

She turned a corner, only to stop in her tracks and drop her bag to the ground.

"N-no..."

She inched forward, getting closer to the body lying between the library shelves, dried blood caking the floor and the face of the deceased.

She slumped to the ground, knees hitting the wood and stirring dust into the air. Even through the obvious blunt force trauma to the face, she could tell who this body once belonged to.

It was Sam.
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((Raina Rose continued from Minus Something))

Same song, different verse. Kiziah's death was finally announced. Somebody else had killed three people. Raina tried not to focus on the dwindling numbers. Any number greater than zero was enough, right?

...Well, any number greater than one.

She had wanted to go to the library. Lots of books and wood still in good enough condition. Lots of kindling. Raina slipped off on her own among the shelves as Penelope and Johnny wandered. The place seemed empty, but the paranoid part of her noted that there were a lot of places to hide. Here and there, she pulled volumes off the shelves, pretending to examine the words. Some, any that felt damp or too moldy, she replaced. Others she slipped into her bag, creating a nest around the grenade.

The sudden noise of something falling and Penelope's voice pulled her out of her thoughts and she quickly moved down the aisle and around the corner. "What, what is- oh..."

Sam. Raina raised one hand to cover her lower face and try to block the smell. Sam... wasn't looking too good after almost a week.

Raina edged around him, not for any irrational fear that he might suddenly rise up and grab her, but because her meager breakfast might make an encore appearance if she got too close and the stench overwhelmed her.

With her free hand, the other still clasped tightly over her nose and mouth, Raina reached out and touched Penelope's shoulder.
"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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Penelope stared at Sam's corpse, unable to take her gaze away.

The fetid smell of rotting meat was awful, the look of the body's bloated and off color skin even worse, but the worst part were all the horrible emotions welling up inside her.

There she was, sitting right in front of the vessel that used to house her boyfriend. There she sat, in front of the greatest reminder that he was gone now, forever. She had known for a long time that he was dead, she had found out near the very start of this twisted game, but seeing his body brought all of the feelings that she had felt when the announcements had flared to life all those days ago right back to the forefront of her mind.

She let out a wail as tears rolled down her face, stifling the noise with her hands as her body shook with her sobs. She had wanted to finally stop crying at every little thing that hurt her, but this was far, far too much for her to be able to handle. Sam didn't deserve this, none of them really deserved this. Even that Jae boy, who she would gladly see rot in a prison cell for the rest of his life, didn't deserve all of this.

She covered her face and punched the floor below her in rage, her hand painfully protesting in response. Thinking about Sam's killer did nothing but anger her, which wasn't any better than the horrific melancholy she had been stricken with this entire time. She needed to try to be strong, now more than ever. She couldn't possibly make it to the end for everyone's sake if she kept letting things–even really horrible things–upset her. She couldn't let herself be weak, she had to stay determined if she wanted her morals to mean anything. She needed to stay determined if she wanted her entire life to mean anything. She wasn't going to just be a number, she needed to show them that they were wrong.

Penelope inhaled sharply and held her breath, her sobbing ceasing shortly after. She exhaled and looked up at Raina, glad to see that through everything, her friend was still right here beside her. Even if she had nothing else, she would always have Raina. Raina would never leave her out in the cold.

She brought her friend in for a wordless hug, doing her best to keep her composure in spite of the wild mix of emotions trying to overcome her.
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The hug was good, because it gave Raina an excuse to bury her nose in Penelope's shoulder. Stale body odor was better than rotting corpse.

She squeezed Penelope tightly and shuffled around a bit to try and turn her away from the sight of Sam's body. Raina kept her own gaze firmly on the bookshelf in her line of sight, rather than glancing down.

"Shh," she mumbled, muffled by Penelope's shoulder. "Shh, let's go somewhere else." She tried to backpedal, but Penelope stood surprisingly firm for someone in the midst of a breakdown. "Penny, come on. Let's get away from here and go sit down."

Somewhere close by, Raina thought she heard a shuffling among the shelves. She raised her head, trying not to gag as the smell hit her once again. "Johnny?"

Johnny said something in reply, but it sounded like he was on the other side of the library. Raina didn't bother really processing what exactly he said, because, well, unless he had made some unprecedented breakthrough in quantum physics while tooling around over there, Johnny being over there meant that he was definitely not the person moving around over here.

Raina caught a glimpse of their mystery visitor through a gap in the shelves and announced her discovery in the most eloquent manner that she could.

"Aw, shit."
"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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((Dorothy entered this tragic dream))

Memory problems? Check. Well kinda. She didn’t remember what happened last night. She knew she stabbed Hazel for Jae and got hit in the head for it. After all of that, she couldn’t remember anything. She stumbled around, searching for a place to sleep. She didn’t know why her dazzled-self thought it was okay for her to sleep facedown outside but she made it through the night.

Confusion? Check. She lost herself in her thoughts. She tried to listen to the announcement but she struggled to keep track of the names and the killers. She got one thing for sure: Hazel didn’t die and not to head in a location at the asylum. She wondered if Hazel was okay. She didn’t know where she stabbed her but she was probably in pain and being taken care of by Min-jae. She still hadn’t figured out why he, of all people, smashed her head and almost knocked her out.

Drowsiness? Check? She did feel quite a bit drowsy and sluggish before sleeping but that was kinda normal. She spent the day up, spent also the night up, and survive on a little amount of sleep. She was still sluggish but that could be her body not adjusting between the difference of sleep and awake.
Nausea? Check. She vomited her morning meal and the meal before that. That wasn’t a good sign. She could have choked on her own vomit when she fell asleep. That’s a horrible way to die, isn’t?

Sensitivity to light and noise? Half-check. Light wasn’t the issue. But noise? Fuck, it was killing her. When she heard the announcement, it felt like the sound was going through her brain and destroying it bit by bit. As if the waves were bouncing inside of her head, seeking for a way out until they either found one or made one.

Did she have a concussion? Possibly, yes. Was that the most urgent issue at the moment? She wished it was.

But it sure didn’t help her mood. She was grumpy so when she heard some cries, she didn’t feel anything but irritability rising in her. Being so sensitive to sound, that was the worse. It felt as if their voices were hitting her in the face.

She raised her left hand to her face and she swatted her own pesky hand away. It was bruised because of what Jae had done to her. She didn’t know what was worse, the pain she felt inside of her or the pain she felt on the outside. Thinking about it, it was the outside pain.

She didn’t feel much anymore. She was probably numb. She had to be. To survive, you had to become numb and become uncaring. If Dot personally cared each time someone died, she wouldn’t be alive. Even if she were still alive, she’d be crying at someone’s side like a sitting duck. Dot felt like she was becoming a monster out of a nightmare. She thought about it but she ended up choking on that idea. She needed to concentrate.
As she stepped inside of the room where she heard the human noises, she saw something quite… odd. A scene kid with a red streak in her hair was hugging another scene kid with blue hair with a fitting blue outfit in front of a decaying corpse.

“Hi, I’m not in the mood and I think I have a concussion so don’t,” she slumped on the wall, “…so don’t annoy me, okay?”

She raised her right hand, putting the back of her hand against her forehead and closing her eyes. Her fingers were wrapped it and, while she told them her intentions, she hoped they wouldn’t try to mess with her.

Her eyes rolled in their sockets. Fuck, she was being so vulnerable in front of a group of people she didn’t really know. Any of them could run up of her and shove her to the ground and kill her on with her own blade. She opened her eyes then blinked several times. Oh, they were really doing that.
It wasn’t a hallucination. They were really hugging in front of a rotten, smelly, gross, bug-infested, melting, molding, disgusting corpse.

Ew, gross.

“Am I interrupting something? I’m… sorry, was he someone important?”
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Penelope blinked, not knowing how exactly to react to the sudden visitor having caught her in a tender moment.

She wracked her brain for the visitor's name. She had seen the girl around Cochise, but she didn't think that they had ever actually talked. Penelope let go of Raina and stood up, taking a moment to dust off her leggings before walking over to the new arrival and extending her hand .

"Uh... hello, I don't think we've ever spoken before," she said, her voice coming off weakly after her sudden sobbing. "Your name's..." She paused briefly, trying to recall the visitor's name. "Your name is... Dorothy, right? Dorothy Shelley?" She smiled, trying to come off as warmly as possible. "I don't think we've talked before. My name is Penelope, it's nice to meet you!"

She looked between her extended hand and the crouched visitor, only to take the hint that she was not up for a greeting handshake and lower her own hand. "Ha... I uh... I just wish our meeting was under less... dire circumstances." She chuckled, awkwardly, averting her gaze and rubbing the back of her neck with her hand.

"Oh! And um... to answer your question... uh... yes... the body..." She looked back at it only to quickly turn her gaze away again and inhale sharply. "The... the body over there used to belong to my boyfriend. He... he died nearly a week ago, and I... I just found him."
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Hadn't Dorothy been on the announcements? Raina thought so, but she wasn't sure. It frustrated her, to know that she knew the answer to something but still be helpless to call up the information.

She kept her hand on Penelope's shoulder and gave Dorothy a wan smile and what she hoped was a friendly nod. She didn't really have anything to add to Penelope's explanation; all she could really think to say was to ask if Dorothy would mind moving along soon so that Raina could maneuver Penelope out of there and get back on track with gathering up books.

At least Dorothy probably wouldn't be too much of a problem if she really was concussed.

Raina glanced around for Johnny anyways, hoping that he might slip around the corner and provide a distraction or something. Figured he'd go and hide or get sidetracked looking at some book about birds or whatever he was doing. Her most reliable ally.

Depressing thought, that.

Raina casually rested her hand on her bag's half-open zipper. She had almost pulled the grenade twice now, and she was hoping that the third time wouldn't be the charm on this one.
"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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Scene Kid #1 knew her. She seemed friendly but a bit strange. She seemed stressed out but who wouldn't be when they were standing over the dead body of their boyfriend. Oh, and her name was Penelope. She wondered how it was spelled. Two p's, two l's, two n's? She found it weird how names were spelled. They were like, all different and she couldn't know how to spell them until she saw. When people introduced themselves, they didn't come with a subtile or a background screen with their name written in big letter in a funny background. No, she had to guess it and she hated it.

The perks and the cons of meeting Penelope were equal. She didn't appear on the announcement which met she didn't get a kill yet. She was either a pacifist or an opportunist. Either way, she didn't really want her around her. A pacifist without the "fist" part meant she would let her die if someone was threatening her and an opportunist meant she was waiting for a moment of weakness to kill someone. Perhaps Dot was totally wrong on both sides but it was black-or-white now. People were either out to kill her or she was out to kill them. The little gray area that existed for a while was gone.

Scene kid #2 was not speaking. Her blue hair and her blue outfit matched the blue aura that surrounded them. They didn't seem quite sad but more melancholic. The kind of down mood that was kinda up but not really. Fuck, what was she thinking? Did that make any sense? She mentally knocked her self on the head for being a dummy and spacing out in front of two students that could probably be her death.

"So, hum."

Space filler. That was the best thing she could muster up. It was an awkward position with the girl's dead boyfriend and her friend beside her and all of that. That wasn't a good place to be but Dot wanted to make small talk though. She wanted to ask them questions like 'what's their favorite class' or 'what do you plan to do after high school' but these questions were quite out of place especially since only one of them will have the chance to go to college and their favorite class didn't really matter here.

She said the five words that seemed the most appropriate. If her boyfriend was dead, someone must have killed him. Especially how he was looking from here, it didn't look like self-inflicted wounds. Someone must have taken something and smashed it against him a couple of time. A chair? A 2x4? A very small tricycle for a clown? She wasn't sure but that must have hurt.

"So, who killed your boyfriend?"
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"I uh... um..."

Penelope was taken aback by the forwardness of that question. It was a logical question to ask, considering the circumstances, but it still struck her the wrong way. She pondered whether or not she should actually answer; she knew the answer–it was that bastard Min-jae–but she couldn't shake the feeling that she was somehow disrespecting her boyfriend's memory by blabbing to anyone who asked about the man who brutally murdered him.

"He..." She paused, and looked back at the corpse. The injuries that Sam had sustained before he had died were incredibly brutal, especially given how sweet and harmless he was. Nobody but a complete psychopath would be able to beat someone who would have never tried to hurt them to an actual pulp like that. Perhaps it would be for the best if she told Dorothy the name of her boyfriend's murderer; perhaps it would let her know to keep away if they ever crossed paths.

She turned her gaze back towards Dorothy, choosing her words carefully. "He was murdered by a man named 'Min-jae Parker'. Who that actually is I have no idea... but I know that anyone who hurt Sam had to be some sort of psychopath. If we ever crossed paths then... I dunno... I'd kick him in the dick or something. Frankly he deserves worse for what he did, he should probably rot in jail for the rest of his life... but I'm not a vigilante. I wouldn't be able to really hurt him..."
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Even though Dorothy asked a question, she didn’t bother to listen. She just wanted to fill space. To hear something else than the buzzing her ears even though her voice hurt her head a bit, something to dull the pain and her feelings.
Then, two words – three if you didn’t consider the hyphen - struck her:

Min-jae Parker.

Min-jae Parker.

Min-jae Parker.

Min-jae Parker.

"Ha, ha."

She was laughing but her eyes glared at the offending girl. Dorothy was breathing heavily She was in arm’s reach. She could just strangle her right there. That name, she hated it. She hated how she pronounced it, how the "Min" and the "jae" were combined with a dash. The "Parker" just made it worse. An ugly first name and a disgusting last name combined together. Her chest was raising and lowering quickly while she stared the girl down.

"Eh, eh... keh."

Her soft laughter echoed in the room. She really did that, mentioning Min-jae Parker to her. She really did that, she dared to pronounce his name in front of her after what he has done to her. He hit her so hard that even the stars in her vision got stars in their eyes. She tried to imagine a tiny stars seeing other stars seeing other stars seeing other stars seeing others stars seeing other-

Her laughter stopped and her mouth opened slowly, baring her fangs at Penelope.

Maybe she should have listened to people when they talked. Perhaps she should learn to walk away from situation like this. Not losing her cool and staying away from what the emotions told her to do. Instead, she did what she always did. Her lips ripped apart as she opened her mouth and screamed. Her lips were probably not shredded but it felt like it, and that was the only thing that mattered.

"Die, you pig!"

She miscalculated her lunge. Penelope seemed to have noticed her mistake and stepped backward. This would have been funny, probably comic relief in a TV show. How the attacker tripped before actually attacking the person she was attacking. But the knife she was holding was telling another story.

It landed straight into Penelope's thigh. Dot targeted the girl’s chest but as Penelope moved backward, her legs were hit instead.

She instinctively jumped back after stabbing Penelope. She wasn't a problem anymore. She wouldn't say his name. Yeah, she wouldn't say his name and taunt her again. She learned her lesson and would shut her mouth and never, ever taunt Dorothy again. Her left hand raised to her glasses, holding her glasses straight to see her opponent in front of her. Her right hand still had her knife and started to point the second girl.

"Don't."

She snarled.

“Don’t fucking move.”
Edited by Leaf, Jun 6 2017, 03:12 PM.
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Hope wasn't doing much for Raina lately.

Dorothy was obviously out of sorts, but it had seemed like the kind of off-kilter that meant she wasn't a threat. Stupid. Stupid to expect anything at this point, stupid to think that anybody but her might have their head screwed on straight.

Raina didn't know what exactly it was that set Dorothy off, but off she was set, and in the blink of an eye Dorothy had lunged, Penelope had screamed, and there was fresh blood on the blade of the knife.

For perhaps the first time in her life, Raina really understood what it meant to see red.

Oh, she had been angry before. She got angry about lots of things, actually; the things that she saw as injustice and unfairness, the people that she saw day to day who were too consumed by pettiness or prejudice to know what was good for them. She got mad at her parents because they didn't pay attention to their kids. She got mad at Cameron for stealing Darren McKay away from her, even though she knew she'd never have had a chance with Darren for obvious reasons even if she hadn't caught him sucking face with her brother when they thought nobody else was home. She got mad at Leila for being bratty and spending too much time on her phone and hollering at her to hurry up in the bathroom when they both knew Raina would be out in time for Leila to do her hair. She got mad at Cris for moping around and smoking pot when he could have been spending time with her, and then she got mad at him for spending time with other girls when she was too mad to see him.

But all of that, every bit of righteous anger Raina had ever felt in her life from the time that she was cognizant enough to know what righteous anger was, had a similar goal. She wanted things to go the right way. She wanted life to be fair, and for people to be happy, and for things to go smoothly. Even yesterday, when she had been so furious that she couldn't hold it all in and it spilled out in tremors and tears, Raina had mainly been pissed at Alessio because he had the gall to ruin their plan and his own life with it. There had been a moment, a terrifying moment, when she had thought that she might have to test the limits of that anger, but she hadn't had to.

Now here she was again. She had made it through Darius, Kimiko, and Alessio without anyone getting hurt. God, what would she have done if she had been there when Al shot Kiziah?

Would she have finally whipped the grenade out of her bag and screamed at the top of her lungs to "Get out get out GET OUT YOU PSYCHO OR I SWEAR I'LL KILL YOU I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU IF YOU DON'T GET THE FUCK OUT RIGHT NOW I SWEAR-"? Would she have lunged as though to make good on those threats, tears streaming down her face?

She would now. And she did.
"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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All it took was a single instant for everything to fall apart.

Penelope screeched as the knife hit her leg, and screeched louder still as it so violently exited her flesh.

She stumbled backwards, reeling from the pain, not truly comprehending what had just happened until she hit the ground, not far away from where her boyfriend's body lay.

Penelope's ears rang as she tried to make sense of the scene. Dorothy was on the floor too. Raina was screaming her head off. The metallic stench of her own blood clung to her nostrils as it poured from her leg and onto the floor below. Spots danced across her vision as she felt her grip on consciousness weaken from exposure to her worst fear. Tears welled up in her eyes in response to the horrifying, burning pain that emanated from the wound. She glanced at her leg again, only to cover her face with her hands and tremble violently.

The glimpse she had caught of the injury that had been inflicted upon her had been more than enough to understand the damage that had been done. Flesh had been violently rend asunder, tears in the muscle leaving sinew and bone visible for all the world to see, blood gushing out of the wound as if a dam holding back her insides had been demolished in an instant. She had been hurt before, gotten her fair share of cuts and bruises, dealt with the pain of getting her piercings, but nothing could compare to what she was going through now.

She closed her eyes in an effort to block out the horror before her, to keep the usual reaction she had to her blood phobia at bay, to keep herself conscious for a little while longer. Her mind raced, trying to think up any solutions to the situation she now found herself in, all the while she did her best to ignore the feeling of warm liquid running down and pooling underneath her thighs. Panic was quickly setting in, and Penelope soon found herself hyperventilating and sobbing at full force, unable to cope with the sudden stress of what had just happened to her.

"Please..!" She cried out, as she returned to the reality of what was happening. She couldn't allow any more violence to occur, especially from someone with unsullied hands like Raina. "Nobody hurt anyone else! Nobody else needs to get hurt!"
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This report of the behavior of herring gulls is based on extensive field observation at gulleries and on experiments performed in the field. Chapters of Part I describe behavior patterns and sensitivity of the birds. Parts 2 to 5 totaling 20 chapters deal with: Settling down in the colony, fighting, and territory; Pair formation and pairing; Incubation; Family life, i.e. the behavior of chicks. After pairing these birds are monogamous, they protect a nesting territory, and they share the incubation of the eggs. Evidences of "sign stimuli" as basis of recognition are presented. Field experiments of egg recognition by adult birds, and the chicks' reaction to the parents' bill and to imitations are reported. Comparative data for other birds and animals are given. 6-page bibliography. Illustrations.

And then all of a sudden, noise.

Johnny dropped the book, it's sound as it hit the ground adding the barest to the others. He had strayed a bit farther, distracted by the rows and rows of books around and with the light barely straining he had immersed himself into one report.

That was a mistake, and Johnny's heart sank the moment he realized.

Despite the fear laming him, Johnny managed to break free and make a run for it. He dashed towards where Dorothy and Penny and Raina were but when she saw them he stopped again.

He wasn't able to utter a word.

She was scary.

Raina, that is.
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She learned that in biology class.

When they were learning about the human anatomy, they learned that arteries are tubes part of the circulation system by which blood is conveyed from the heart to the rest of the body. The human circulation system was one of the more interesting part of science class. It was why she wanted to become a doctor then a nurse. She always wondered how the things inside of the human body worked and with that class, a part of the mystery was eluded.

After that class, Dot did some research about it. It kinda made her feel like a blob of blood but that made sense, everyone was a sponge of blood with a thin layer to stop them from spilling it out. What she found about arteries scared her a little: when they were punctured, a spurt of blood started and it didn't take a lot of time for someone to die.

When she saw the blood dripping from the girl's leg, Dorothy wondered what she hit. She didn't have a lot of time to think, however. A voice attacked her and she jumped backed. Her voice was loud and clear. So was her message: Dorothy wasn't wanted here. That made sense: she just stabbed someone that was probably her friend or her ally.

Dorothy took a step back and looked down, blood was still erupting out of her body. She could finish her but the threat of Scene Kid #2 was still there. She had something in her hand, Dorothy saw the weapon but didn't recognize it. It was a weapon from a movie, something you threw and it exploded. The word appeared of nowhere in her mind, it was a grenade. She didn't know what to say so the words came out by themselves.

"Have a nice day."

Dot took another step back, hitting a shelf. Raina wasn't alone anymore, there was another boy but Dorothy still had her eyes on the blue girl. Her eyes scanned the room for an escape. Like a deer frozen in the light of a car, her eyes were wide opened, tensed up, and thinking about the imminent death. Dorothy denied that reality and she ran to the right and slammed the door opened.

((Dorothy left the library of nightmares.))
Edited by Leaf, Jun 8 2017, 02:49 PM.
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It worked. It worked a second time, even though the second time was full of tears and screaming and the threat of getting blown up. Dorothy cut and ran and oh Jesus Christ, Penny.

Raina almost made to follow Dorothy out and went so far as taking a couple of steps after her before Penelope's voice pulled her back. Right. She needed help. It wasn't as bad as it looked, surely. They all had first-aid kits. How hard could it be to stop a little bleeding?

Still, Raina moved more slowly than she should have, shaking and crying as she was until she could get hold of herself. She finally pulled herself away and stumbled back to Penelope's side, dropping the grenade to the carpet and biting her lips as the smell of rotting corpse hit her once again (sorry, Sam).

"Fuck, I'm sorry. Fuck. Fuck. Oh god. I'm sorry. It's okay. Fuck."

She dropped to her knees and fumbled with her bag until she got the first-aid kit free; it was still unused. That was a good thing, right? They had plenty of supplies.

Raina looked at Penelope's leg, at how deep the wound was, and swallowed thickly, still blinking away tears.

"Fucking psycho. It's okay, just... breathe, okay? Breathe." Raina paused to take her own advice. "You know first-aid, right. T-tell... tell me what to do."
"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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