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We were all sitting in the living room, laughing. Eyeless Jack was telling a story about his childhood, something involving apples. Then the wall next to the fireplace implodes. Chunks of plaster and brick fly everywhere, one hits me in the head. I fall out of my chair, onto the carpet, ears ringing from the noise of the explosion. I cough. Someone is shouting orders but their voice sounds like they’re miles away. Blood is leaking into my eyes and dust fills the air. I can’t see. Can’t breathe. I stand up and the whole room sways. I stumble sideways onto the couch. I feel a hand next to mine. It’s limp and cold in my grip. I turn to the side and see him sprawled out on the couch, a shard of glass buried deep in his gut. Jeff. His none-blinking eyes are glassy and his chest doesn’t rise and fall. I grab him and place his head in my lap, searching for his pulse between his neck and jaw. I press my fingers to the cool skin and feel nothing. “No.” I whisper, my voice hoarse. “No. No. No.” He had just been reunited with his brother, Liu, and now he was dead. “No!” I scream, throwing him off me. Not this. Not now. Not when I have no one to lean on. I try to stand again but my knees are weak and I collapse. I’m weak with fear, I realize. I see figures through the dust, dark smudges, nothing more than shadows. “Drake! Cam! Toby! Fallen! Ash!” I begin shouting. One of the shadows move and bright green eyes cut through the dusty fog. My breath catches in my throat. The Gaiaphage. I force myself to stand and then I run. I trip over something. I look back and see what it is. A severed leg. It’s unnaturally pale and there’s a tattoo running along the calf of a black dragon. Jonah’s leg. I feel sick. I look up and see a hole in the wall less than 10 feet away. I need to escape this place. I get up and stumble towards it, keeping my head up. I reach the gap but something keeps me from walking out. Who else is dead? I know I should keep walking and not look back but I turn around anyway. I need to know. There are three mangled bodies lying around the gap. One is Tasha, Hoodie and Masky’s sister. A candlestick from the fireplace is lodged through her head. At least it was fast for her. The other person is Emmet, upper half separated from his lower half, and next to him is Quip, wings outstretched, dirty and bent at odd angles. I am about to keep walking when I notice a pair of legs sticking out from under Quip’s wing. I squat down and gingerly push it aside, revealing the fourth victim. A cry of anguish escapes me. Small body bent in abnormal ways, blood leaking down the angelic face, big blue eyes staring into space, glazed over. Cinnamon. I stare at him. “This wasn’t supposed to end like this.” I mumble like a madwoman. “No, he should’ve grown up and met a girl, have kids, be happy.” I shake my head. “Too late.” I shut his eyes and mutter the only prayer I know. I stand and only then do I realize tears are streaming down my face. I swipe at my eyes and take deep calming breaths. Don’t cry, not here, not now. After a few moments I finally walk away. I’m walking, then jogging, then running full speed. Trying to escape the grief, trying to unsee what I saw. Trying to forget Cinnamon’s body or the look of horror on Tasha’s face. Trying not to think of what might have happened to the others. Trying not to think of what I’ll have to tell Liu. Trying to outrun everyone, everything, these thoughts, this pain, this night. I run straight into a tree. My head spins and I see stars. The world is on its side and for a few moments I don’t understand why. Then I’m being lifted up into the air by someone I can’t see. I don’t fight or scream because I’m too numb. Too numb with grief and pain and anger. I don’t care if this is the Gaiaphage , ready to kill me. I welcome death. We used to be friends, I’m sure he’d love to see me after so many years of avoiding him. Something hard presses against my cheek. I lean back and try to look at it. A Christmas light. An orange Christmas light. I look up into my captor’s face, only he doesn’t have one. “Splendorman!” I exclaim. My heart swells. I’m not dead, not yet. “Hey princess.” He says, all the usual amusement in his voice. “I never thought I’d be happy to see you.” I smile weakly. Then my smile fades as realization hits me hard. “Where are the others?” Splendor stiffens. “I’m not sure, princess.” He sounds so serious, so sad. “Who did you see?” I ask him. “What do you mean princess?” He tries to sound as though he doesn’t understand but fails. Behind is dumb falsetto is raw understanding. “Don’t bullshit me, Splendor, please just tell me.” He sighs. “Fine princess, if you want to know.” He pauses, “I saw that angel girl, Keke, and her leader, Trenton.” Poor cam and Simon would have to deal with three loses. “I saw Jeff, Quip, Emmet, Jonah, Tasha, and…” my voice is barely above a whisper. “And Cinnamon.” Splendor said nothing. I didn’t want him to say anything. No words could describe this. “Where are we going?’ I ask after a while. “Wherever is safe, princess.” More silence. I could tell that he wanted to reach out to me, to comfort me, but he didn’t know how. He barely knew the people who died whereas they were a part of my world. My closest friends, gone. A kid I treated like my younger brother, gone. Who knows who else may be gone. “Princess, I know this must hurt,” I nodded. “But you need to stay strong. People are counting on you. I’m counting on you.” He might’ve said more, might’ve given me a long beautiful speech, but the arrow through his head made it hard to continue. I screamed. He fell to the ground, lifeless, and I fell with him. I scrambled out from under him and came face-to-face with the shooter. Her blond hair was long, matted, and dirty. Her skin was pale under her many cuts and bruises, dirt and blood. She wore a ripped dress and no shoes. Her lips were drawn back in a snarl and her golden eyes were wild. It took me a moment to place her. Azilla, the crazy wolf-girl who originally controlled the hellhounds before Peony took over. I had wondered what had happened to her. “Dreyus.” She said, her voice sounding like nails on a chalkboard. “Azilla.” I shot back. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

summary: so that's it by the way. my mom woke me up before anything else happened. splendor's dead. so is cinnamon emmet tasha quip jeff keke trenton and jonah. i'm alone in the woods with azilla and i think she has more starshots. yay! so yeah comment to show that you read this.

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