Kizi nodded. Bart's suggestion, of bringing the newcomer on board, that was exactly her thinking. They didn't even know her name yet, just knew that she was a junior with an amicable disposition and a peaceable outlook. And that was what was important, after all. It was good to know that Bart was on the same page as her. She smiled at him. He was a good ally. A good friend. A hero in the making. She hadn't really known him too well back in Kingman. Not well enough, at least. But she felt she had come to know him better, despite the absence of small talk, than most of her other friends.
Of course, there was a risk the newcomer would say no. That she was waiting to reveal the same naysaying cynicism that Clarice bore. Or maybe she had settled into a routine. That she had plans for her final days. It would have been a pessimistic approach, sure, but one that Kizi could not have denied her.
The girl, quite possibly, had her own plans, her own affections, her own loyalties. Perhaps it would be futile to ask her. But that was no reason not to. It was just as likely that, as with most of them, she was looking for a purpose here. She was looking for guidance. That getting the newcomer on board could save her life, could even more dramatically mark the difference between the plan succeeding and the plan failing.
"Yeah. You're right." It was good to know that Bart had a good head on his shoulders.
So, she crossed the middle of the room, making sure her footsteps were loud enough that her sudden appearance behind the new girl wouldn't startle her. "So, uh...I missed your name and all, but...so, you know I mentioned that whole idea of maybe starting a safe community, try and bring people together? Would you be down for that?"
But then some sounds - ambiguous sounds, of uncertain source, and mystery was not a good thing here - began emanating from the entrance. Kizi turned to face the source of the disruption. She was about to ask if Clarice was okay, and then the shelf came crashing down. Before she knew it, trails of fire began coursing through the room, inciting the carpet, one tendril casting a foreboding line between her and Bart. Luckily, the newcomer, her bag, and her shotgun were on one side. Unfortunately, she was separated from Bart. Perhaps had they moved quickly, it would have been...not manageable, but something that they could have jumped across.
But no. No coordination, no foresight, so no reunion. They were separated, for now.
Kizi looked behind her. A window, starting at about waist-height and more than big enough to accommodate an escape, was the only exit she saw.
She bit her lip in trepidation. Still, if this was the hardest thing she'd have to do, she should consider herself lucky.
And she held the shotgun like a club, and tried bringing it hard onto the window.
It didn't quite bounce off. There was some give. A little bit of a crack in the pane. But still, it largely rebounded, and she almost fell to the ground with inept clumsiness. She was sweating already. Her muscles ached. Overexertion. The whiplash from...recoil? Could you get recoil from a melee attack?
And as she stumbled back, she spotted an unassuming service door to the side.
Oh. That could work.
"Bart! Clarice! Stay safe!" She hoped she would see them outside. Yet, with the intensity of the fire, she doubted it.
((Kiziah Saraki continued in Everything's In Solitude Except Character