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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 (963 Views)
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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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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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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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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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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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"You're not going to die!" Raina's head snapped back up from bending over the open first-aid kit to look at Penelope again. "You're not going to die, okay? You're going to be fine." Her voice shook, but she had to believe her own words. She had to make it true.

Bandages, gauze, pressure. Raina did as she was told and grimaced when she felt Penelope's blood seeping through the gauze onto her fingers. She kept pressing.

"B-breathe, okay? Deep breaths. It'll be okay."

It'll be okay, she repeated to herself as the blood kept soaking through. She didn't feel like she was doing any good.

It'll be okay.
"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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Raina did as she was told - yeah, she could take other people telling her what to do when in a serious situation, suck it, parents - but the bleeding wasn't stopping.

"I-it's slowing down," she said, voice uncertain. It was, wasn't it? It should stop soon. Everything would be fine.

Raina helped lift Penelope's foot onto the chair and resumed pressing down on the wound. Her fingertips were getting stained.
"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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"Shut up."

The words were out of Raina's mouth before she even considered them.

"It's slowing down, it'll stop soon. You're going to be fine." But Raina's throat was closing up and tears were still rolling down her cheeks even as she pressed harder.

"D-don't... don't talk nonsense, okay? It'll stop, we'll get some fluids in you, and you'll be okay. We still need you." Raina tried to smile and ended up with a grimace as she clenched her jaw so her lower lip wouldn't wobble so much.

"Johnny, hand me something to wrap this with."
"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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Raina sucked in a shuddering breath and it came out as a sob. Johnny wasn't helping. Penelope wasn't helping. She could do a lot of things all on her own, but she couldn't keep Penny alive if Penny had already given up on living.

"Okay," she said weakly. It was the hardest word that she had ever had to force out. She kept pressing the soaked gauze over the wound anyway with one hand, and lifted the other to reach for Penelope's with red-stained fingers.

"What do you want to talk about?"

Keep her distracted, Raina thought. Keep her satisfied and she'll let it all go and everything will be fine. Just like before. She could agree to this for now. The bleeding was slowing down.

She could let Penelope have her way when they were all scared she was going to die, at least. She wouldn't hold a grudge afterwards.
"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, um, yeah! Fullmetal Alchemist is good... wait, did you watch the original series or Brotherhood?" Raina stopped herself, all her instincts screaming at her that she shouldn't be wasting her time talking about something as banal as anime when she should be tending to Penelope's wounds. The bleeding seemed like it was slowing down more, though, and she pressed harder.

"Um... Brotherhood is more accurate to the manga, but I've never read the manga, actually, so I don't really favor one of the anime series over the other..." She forced a smile and a nod in response to Penelope, even though Penelope was just going on about how much pain she was in. The bleeding was slowing down more. It would stop soon.

"Wh-who... who's your favorite character?"
"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 was saying goodbyes and I love yous and Raina wanted to shout at her to stop it, but she bit her lips and kept quiet. Sure, it'd be awkward as hell once they finally patched her up but that was fine. Whatever.

She squeezed Penelope's hand. "Yeah, Roy was pretty cool." She couldn't think of anything else to say.

She looked at Johnny, but he was looking elsewhere, hands in his pockets as always. Typical.

Raina turned her attention back to Penelope. The bleeding seemed like it would stop any minute now. She managed a smile that was a little less forced.
"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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"Huh?"

Raina... didn't know the answer to Penelope's question.

She stared at Penelope's face for a few seconds as that sank in. Penelope's eyes were open, but she couldn't see. Raina didn't know why.

The bleeding had nearly stopped.

"I-I... uh... sh-shock?" Raina gripped Penelope's hand tighter. "J-just... close your eyes for a bit and I'm sure your head will clear..."

She wasn't sure. She didn't know anything anymore.
"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, um..." Raina wracked her brain to try and remember who the characters of Fullmetal Alchemist even were. It had been so long since she watched the show. It was hard to concentrate.

"I guess Winry was cool..."

Penelope tugged at her hand and Raina squeezed back. "I'm here. Let's go with Winry, yeah?" She tried to laugh and couldn't. "I can't... I can't really think of anyone else right now."

She reached up to brush Penelope's bang's back from her forehead, a gesture of meaningless comfort. "I guess that's kind of a predictable answer, huh?"
"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 shit. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh-

Penelope was dying.

It all crashed into Raina all at once. Her best friend was dying on the ground in front of her and there was nothing she could do.

Raina squeezed Penelope's hand helplessly, staring. She opened her mouth to say something, but would it do any good? Penelope couldn't hear her. Penelope was dying for no reason.

"Oh my God. Oh my God." Her voice came out weak and strained.
"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 my God. Oh my God."

Raina heard Penelope but didn't really process her words. What did it matter? Penelope couldn't hear her anyway. Who the hell cared if she cried? She had been crying since she woke up in this godforsaken place, and now her best friend was dying.

"You're not going to die." Raina sobbed, knowing that Penelope couldn't hear her. She gripped Penelope's hand with both of hers. She wasn't sure if the bleeding had stopped completely. It didn't matter. Penelope was dying.

"J-just stop... stop, okay!? Stop it!"

Penelope didn't stop talking, and her voice was getting fainter and more slurred with each word.

"Stop it!" Raina shouted over her. She shoot a desperate look over at Johnny. "J-Johnny..."

Penelope's responding squeeze every time Raina squeezed her hand was getting weaker.

"Johnny, do something!"
"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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