Hannah left. For a few minutes, Junko stared out the door shed shown up at, then had left through. Well, that was a thing? It wasnt particularly weird like Darius or Tara, but it was a thing. A thing seemed unspecific and yet not? On the whole issue, yknow.
Then, Junko went back to her daypack. Sat down. Picked up the bread. Attempted another bite. Attempted to swallow.
Maybe something else would happen soon. Maybe?
Junko had spent the night in the gym. It only got darker, but it beat staying out in the rain, obvs. If anything, the complaint was that it was boring
. Some of the equipment still worked, or at least some semblance of it. Others, though, had rusted shut. Which sucked! Junko would have loved using those old-timey exercise bikes, but they wouldnt budge. Any of them. Maybe she was using them wrong, but maybe rust is a jerk. Maybe both were it. There were weightlifting benches here too, but dont you need a spotter for those? But it wasnt like that even if she had one that she could do it. The weights had gone mysteriously missing. If the terrorists did it, theres something kind of funny about that. Oh, were taking away those weights because someone might hurt themselves. Now go beat someone with that bat.
Shed also gotten hopeful when she saw that there were showers. She kind of stunk, and a nice hot shower would do the trick. When she tried, though, it made this horrific squealing sound. Junkos response was fuck that, and put her clothes back on.
So yeah. To make a long story short, the worst thing she had to say was that even though there were exercise equipment, she was bored out of her mind.
Sometimes her thoughts still wandered. Sometimes she still thought about Danny, or Bradley, or Jerry. Sometimes she wondered about their last moments. But every single time, she pushed those thoughts away. Maybe it wasnt worth it to dwell, right? Thoughts like that werent good to spend time on.
Anyways, she did come up with a bit of a game that evening. You see, Junko had found a punching bag in the corner. One of those heavy ones, to be specific. It smelled weird, but it seemed workable. Junko at first tried, yknow, punching it? But her hands ached quickly. Punching things are hard. Guess that meant no Oldboy
style punch the wall to make your fingers stronger things for her, then? Eh, maybe. But she came up with a solution. Junko had remembered that you can practice batting on punching bags. To be honest, she didnt remember where she heard that. Maybe Cris brought it up? Maybe it was one of the other baseball team people? Maybe she saw a Youtube video about it? Maybe was just imagining it? Whatever it was, the thought popped into her head. So, she did just that. Hit the bag with the bat. It knocked some dust out, and after a while there was a softer spot in the bag, but hey, it worked. After a while, the bag fell to the floor because the chain was rusty and fragile. But even that didnt necessarily end the game. She just propped it up against the wall, and went at it like that. Junko even threw in some punches and kicks afterwards, despite her poor experiences with punching it earlier.
At least that buzzing feeling had subsided for a while. She did have something to do, something to take some emotions out on.
That morning, Junko played a few more rounds of that game, then jogged a few laps around the gym. The gym wasnt bad for jogging, really. It was just big enough for her. Hardwood floor wasnt anything unlike what the school had in the gymnasium. The other kind of gym, yeah.
She had started some sit-ups when the announcements came back on. Junko sat back up, her legs folded underneath her. Was there anything noteworthy this time around?
Well, Wayne Cox died. Junko searched her mind a bit, before remembering. Oh yeah, hed shown up to the party she hosted. The Anti-SH one, where Darius was drunk and a weeb. Yeah, he and Raina kinda ran off because of that. Cris had seemed concerned about that, didnt he? Werent they still off? Shed ask him, or her, but death games werent the best place to ask about peoples relationships. Suicide, it sounded like? Huh.
Jasper died too. This time, it sounded like Alvaro had gotten him. You know, that nervous guy who kept popping up on the announcements alongside Kimiko, Isabel, and Nancy. Junko did have a biased opinion on him to begin with. His parents ran a restaurant, her mom ran a restaurant. It was kinda natural that shed somewhat side-eye a competitor. Anyways, Jasper. She remembered what he said earlier.
Cant we all just get along?
Well, say that to Alvaro then. See how it goes. Didnt work out? Too bad, she guessed.
It was so weird, though, knowing that he was now dead. Junko had sat in thought a few minutes after the announcement ended. Then she remembered what Danya had said about Wayne.
Oh well, he's made sure you're all one step closer to winning.
It was something shed been telling herself all along. Each announcement meant that she was still alive. That she was here for another day. She was still living off that mantra of Survive until something happens.
Junko still wasnt sure what that something was. But it was something. Each announcement, each morning, meant that she made it ahead. Shed survived where others didnt. Shed made it. Each day wasnt an excuse to be sad. It was an excuse to be happy. Happy that you made it. That you didnt break to pressure, or that someone didnt kill you, or something else didnt happen. Wasnt it easier to view it like that?
She stood up. Junko stretched her shoulders for a few seconds, and then picked up her bag and bat. Bag was still heavy, but eh, maybe she could manage. The weather outside didnt seem as bad, so maybe shed step outside. Go for a walk, or another jog. Some air that wasnt dusty would be nice.
Junko slid to the door, and after opening it, briefly looked behind her. The same dead smell had drifted through the open door. But she looked forward. Walked outside.
However, she never realized that Bradley was in the bush just outside the exit. Not even once. She never did look into the smell.
((Junko Kurosawa continued in Idiot Launch