, she thought, for that was forefront in her mind as well.
((Katarina Konipaski continued from Multishot
Even since the announcement, since she'd stirred from sleepless repose and wiped the creeping dew from her arms and her boots, she could think of nothing else. It chased away even the words that before had seared deep into her gut, the oath and threat louder than the explosion that should have killed her, more persistent than the endless whine that echoed in her ears like iron bars clanged together and set apart to vibrate freely.
Her chest had clenched in at the pronouncement as if her ribcage had transformed suddenly into a giant's grasping fingers. So close. So insanely close. More than the most desperate reaches of her mind had hoped, but nothing less than sudden, unilateral victory would satisfy those now. Far, far, fewer than she feared. Though she'd found nothing scanning the star-webbed sky for answers and the God-forsaken ground for victims, the feral terror in each survivor was pushing things along at a nearly exponential rate. One out of fifteen had missed the first sunrise, and then one of ten, and then four, and then two.
And so, as something boomed across the weathered manmade landscape - something big, something mean - she drew towards it like a moth to a flame. The day was getting on already. Maybe someone else had died, or two or three or five someones. Maybe there remained only one before the man in charge drew them together like a noose. Maybe she was hearing the volley that announced the bitter end.
And if she wasn't? Ten
she thought again. She could put down the fingers on one hand and number the deaths that needed to transpire.
Turning a corner, she could see a fresh corpse, still warm, maybe even breathing, but a corpse nonetheless. Nobody walked away when they could swim in their own spilled blood.
And the girl's killer. Standing there, weapon in hand. Hesitation was the domain of the one hundred and forty.
, she thought, as the roaring filled her ears.