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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 (1,064 Views)
VoltTurtle
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((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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VoltTurtle
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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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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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"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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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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"Ah... oh god... uh..."

Penelope stammered as she tried to come up with the basic first aid knowledge she knew, keeping her eyes shut and facing away from her wounded leg. They needed access to a first aid kit, and quickly. Wrenching her arm around, she freed the straps of her bag and pushed it away from herself, towards Raina.

"Get out... get out as many bandages as possible." She said, her voice pained, hisses of agony escaping her lips every few seconds. "We... tsk... we need to stop the bleeding. Take those bandages and... pressure the wound, as hard as you can. You gotta... you gotta... c-cut off the blood flow."

She stopped hyperventilating, instead trying to take deeper, shallower breaths to stave off the black tendrils of panic that were wrapping themselves around her psyche. She could feel how much blood she was losing, and notions of her own demise were quickly rising to the top of her ocean of thought. What if this was it? What if her life was about to end, right here and now?

Fear and pain turned her crying into violent sobbing as she tried to process the thought, tried to make sense of the idea of suddenly ceasing to exist.

She rejected the thought. No, she couldn't die here. She existed, she was important. A beautiful little light in the cold, unforgiving void that was the universe. She may be only one of many, many lights, but every light was special, every light deserved to have its story told and its life to mean something in the end. She couldn't die just because a girl decided to stab her in the leg for seemingly no reason. If she died, there needed to be a point to it. She needed to die standing up for her morals, showing the terrorists that they couldn't control them. She couldn't die like this.

Her sobs combined themselves with pained grunts, slowing her speech down significantly as every word came out forcefully, between involuntary vocalizations. "Raina... please... hurry... I don't... I don't want to die like this."
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"Okay. I... I trust you."

Penelope kept her eyes closed. laborious breaths being forced in and out of her lungs. The pressure Raina was applying to her leg hurt, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the pain from the wound itself, and any pressure needed to help close a wound would probably hurt for a little while. She was in good hands, hands she could trust with her life.

She racked her brain for more instructions on how to deal with a deep cut, how to keep the blood loss to a minimum. Thoughts of her own death briefly came back, only to be pushed away. She needed to focus on how to live, not what dying would be like. "O-okay... next," she began, "we need to raise my leg up, so it's above my heart. Make it harder for my... my blood to get to the injury. We just need something to put my leg up on..."

"Ah uh..." They were in a library, so certainly there would be chairs around to raise her leg up onto? There had to be, no good library wouldn't have a reading area. "J-Johnny, if you're there, go grab a chair or something and bring it here, please. R-Raina, you just... keep putting pressure on the wound. A-As hard as you can."
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Penelope's bleeding was slowing down, that was great, she was happy.

The only problem was, she knew that it wasn't going to stop. The knife had almost certainly cut into the arteries in her leg. An injury like that would be lethal to her even if she was back home; she would probably only have a chance if she was already inside a hospital. Out here? There was nothing, only a first aid kit and a couple of scared teenagers. The first aid could help, but pressure alone wasn't going to stop the bleeding from an injury like that.

No matter what they did, Penelope was going to die.

She inhaled, her breath quivering, in an effort to calm herself down.

She wasn't going to lie to herself, she was terrified, knowing that her life was about to end. But this was okay, she had her friends. She could at least talk to them about other things and just not think about it, until she no longer had to worry about thinking about anything ever again. She knew that thinking about it any further would just result in her panicking, making her last moments of life even more unpleasant.

The only problem was that Raina hadn't realized that Penelope was going to die.

"Raina... I know you said that the bleeding was slowing down but... it isn't stopping, is it?" She said, her voice pained and weary. ""Raina... I-I know this is going to be hard for you to accept, god knows it's hard for me, but... I know where I was hit. I... I didn't want to acknowledge it at first but... but I probably only have ten minutes left, a-and that's only if you keep at it."

She sniffled.

"I'm sorry."
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"Raina..."

Penelope gulped, not sure what to say. Raina was always fairly stubborn, especially when it came to accepting uncomfortable truths. She had to understand, though. Penelope didn't want to leave this world making everyone around her upset, if she was going to do anything with her last moments, it would be making sure that her death hurt as little as possible.

And if Raina couldn't accept that she was going to die, then it was going to hurt a whole lot more when she finally went silent.

"L-Look... that area with that stab wound? That's where my femoral artery is, and it almost definitely got slashed open, with just how much... bl..." She shivered, thinking about the scene that Raina was probably dealing with. "How much blood was... was coming out after the initial wounding."

She breathed in, again in an effort to keep herself calm. "It's... It's okay, just... stay here, with me. I had to... had to die eventually, you know? A-At least... at least this way I... I don't have to die alone."

Her voice was pleading, tears rolling down her face for the final time. "Please... let's just... have one final conversation that's not about... all of this... before I have to die."
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"Well... um..."

Penelope struggled to think of a topic, in between the burning pain in her leg and the panic trying to take over her mind.

"I... uh..."

She should probably go for something that Raina would appreciate, something to help get both of their minds away from all of this.

"Oh! I finished... I finished Fullmetal Alchemist before... before the trip. I was going to tell you about my thoughts about it and then we uh... got kidnapped." She gave a small, awkward laugh at how she was somehow unable to steer the conversation away from the events currently transpiring around them. "It was really good, I liked it! Probably... probably one of the best animes that you have gotten me to watch, heh, thanks... thanks for the recommendation."

She paused, trying to think of more things to say about it, but specifics eluded her, almost tauntingly. "I uh... I'd... say more about it but... it's kinda difficult to think through all the... the pain."
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"Oh it was uh... Brotherhood, that I watched. Another friend told me it was better for that same reason..."

Penelope hissed in response to the sudden flash of pain coming from Raina pressing harder. "As... as for my favorite character it would... probably have to be Roy, I guess? He was kinda... hot. Hehe... ow, ow."

She felt more proud of herself than she should have felt for that pun. "I uh, anyway, I liked him because..."

Penelope paused, remembering something that she had forgotten about completely, until now.

"Shit! Uh... I just remembered something." She craned her head up, in an effort to project her voice. "H-Hey! Alice! Annie!" She shouted, as loud as she could manage, making sure that the cameras picked up on it. "You guys... really, really shouldn't be watching your big sister die but... if you ARE watching this, do me a favor, please."

She paused, breathing heavily, the strain of simply lifting her neck almost too much for her at this point. "I... I had a game, that I finished about a week before the trip. I need you guys to log in on my laptop and... find the document that I saved all of my passwords to, and the game itself and... publish it on my GameJolt. As... as a goodbye, to everyone that supported me."

She exhaled and inhaled again before continuing, her voice quivering. "T-The password on my laptop is four-thirteen-six-twelve-ten-twenty-five."

She put her head back down, the bulk of her message over. "I-If you guys do that for me, t-thank you. Remember... remember that I always loved you two. Now... stop watching."
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Penelope inhaled, every breath more difficult than the last.

"Y-yeah, Roy was pretty cool. I... I liked how he always wanted to do the right thing, how he cared so much about the people around him, but wasn't afraid to dish out punishment to those who needed it." She shivered, did the room get colder all of a sudden? "I wouldn't personally hurt anyone but... I get that it's sometimes necessary, and I respected Roy's conviction."

She felt damp. She reached up to briefly touch the skin on her face, only to notice just how sweaty she was.

"On that note... wh-who was your favorite character?" She opened her eyes, finally, to get one last good look at her friend's face, only to see nothing but darkness.

"I uh... I uh..." She opened and closed her eyelids several times, panic starting to sink in. "R-Raina. Raina. I can't see, I-I can't–I can't see anything. Raina, I can't see anything. Why can't I see anything?"
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Penelope nodded along to what Raina was saying, despite her friend's voice sounding oddly distant.

She didn't realize dying would be like this. She didn't know what she expected, but it wasn't this. She held in the urge to hyperventilate, to sob more loudly. She was so, so very afraid.

"O-Okay." She said, her voice trembling and weak, shivers overtaking her body. She closed her eyes, just like Raina told her to. "L-Like I said, w-who was your f-favorite c-character?"

She breathed in, her breathing painful, her whole body hurting. Why did everything have to hurt so much?

"R-Raina?"
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A crushing wall of silence and a gentle ringing noise were the only answers Penelope received to her question.

She began to open her mouth to call out again, only to stop when she felt her hand be squeezed. Raina was still there, right next to her.

But if Raina was still there, then why wasn't she answering?

"R-Raina?" She spoke, moving her vocal cords, forcing air out of her lungs, but no sound came out.

She continued trying to speak, her words slurring themselves because she could no longer hear them. "R-Raina? Are y-you saying things? Am I s-saying things?"

She heard nothing but silence, the silence threatening to overwhelm and crush the life out of her. She began hyperventilating, only to stop herself as her breathing grew even more painful. She wanted to cry, to let panic take over her completely, but no more tears would come out.

"Raina h-have I–have I g-gone deaf too? P-Please say something, or s-squeeze my hand again. P-Please let me know y-you're still there."
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Penelope wasn't alone, Raina was still there, with her.

She was blind and deaf, but at least she wasn't going to die alone.

She tried to speak again, her voice weaker than before, her words more slurred. "I'm... sorry, Raina... I'm s-so s-sorry... I f-fucked up and n-now... now you have to c-clean up the m-mess."

She gasped for air, breathing more difficult than it had ever been in her life. "I-I tried to s-soften the blow, keep conversation g-going for as long as... as possible, but now I can't... a-all I can do is t-talk while... while you l-listen."

She was afraid, she was in full blown panic mode, if she had any strength left in her muscles she would be blindly thrashing and running around the room, trying to shake off the torrential, overwhelming emotions that were washing over her.

But she couldn't move, she could barely speak. She was locked in until she finally died, finally stopped thinking forever. Locked in until she returned to the oblivion that she had come from originally.

Just one final request, for her best friend in the whole world. "R-Raina... d-don't cry for me... I don't w-want you to cry. J-Just stay with me, so I d-don't have to die a-alone. If... if you can do that f-for me, maybe dying w-won't be that bad..."
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