((OOC: I'm skipping KingKamor because I'm getting close to inactivity and might not be able to post for a few days. Sorry for the breakage.))
Time ticked slower than it did before.
It wasn't a life shattering epiphany, or a monumental realization, or even really a discovery at all. It was more an acknowledgement of unchangeable and undeniable truths that Rena was forced to abide by.
Before she'd begged Ridely to leave, time seemed to pass at it's regular pace. Her thoughts, words, and actions went no faster or slower than they normally did. However, after her question, time ticked slower. It felt like hours, and yet no noise had entered the tunnels, no answer was given, no move was made to even recognize her plea. It occurred to her that Raine had said something- more jumbled things about not forgetting- but the words were not aimed at Rena, and further, there seemed to be a still unbearably long silence following their utterance.
It was this acknowledgement of the slowing time that allowed Rena to fix herself, somewhat. Raine's scathing snap about getting off of the dead body fell on deaf ears- being physically on the body no longer mattered, really. It was more the idea of having once been on the body- the fact that her shoes were now splattered with blood, that she had come face to face with the body of her classmate- that mattered more. In Rena's mind, she would always have been, at one point, stepping on a classmate, which meant that she was in the perfectly correct state of hysterics for the situation.
But as the time ticked abnormally, Rena was allowed to think about more things, to understand more, and she used her new understandings to pull herself out of her hysterics.
She shifted slightly off of the body, wondering if, come morning (should she even survive that long), she would be able to recognize their name on the announcements. Maybe it'd be better if I never knew a name...
She looked between the others in the tunnel, her last spoken words ringing in her ears.
Raine. Raine was crying, Raine was desperate, Raine did not want to be forgotten. Raine was nice. Raine was smart. Raine was...motherly, in an odd way. And yet, Raine was weaker than Rena had ever thought. She was turning towards Ridley, a look in her eyes that took several agonizingly long seconds for Rena to recognize. It was the same look Rena had given her parents so often- that begging approval look. The look that pleaded for the recipient to agree, to hug, to be proud of the giver. The look Rena so often gave and was so little rewarded for.
Raine needed approval. Why? What did she gain from it? Yes, maybe she loved Ridley. But Ridley was acting abnormal. Ridley was acting cold and rude. Why did Raine need his approval? If anything, he should be searching for Raine's as well. It was supposed to be a mutual thing, love. Wasn't it? Weren't they both supposed to support and approve of the other's actions, or at least seek the approval of the other?
Rena had never been in love. Maybe what she knew was wrong. But, at the same time, she knew something about Ridley and Raine, and that was the small fact that Ridley had spent a day looking for her, a day agonizing over where she was, following her throughout the island, and now, suddenly, he didn't seem to care what she was doing or feeling. It felt wrong.
The idea that he was trying to keep calm passed through Rena's thoughts, but she brushed it aside. He could be clam and caring, couldn't he?
Her eyes turned to the boy, carefully. She was not a leader- he was. He was the person with the gun. The person who taped up her leg, who helped her when she was down. She didn't want to leave without him. And yet, now, she wasn't so sure that he still was that boy who taped up her leg. Now someone he knew was dead. Now they had come face to face with a dead body. Now Survival of the Fittest had become frighteningly real. They reacted to it in different ways. Ridley acted cold, tried to keep his head high, tried to be logical. Raine pulled herself together, decided not to be forgotten, acted snippy because she needed to be like Ridley, needed to be calm.
And Rena? Rena freaked out. Because she didn't know what else to do. Because she wasn't Ridley or Raine, and she didn't really want to be them.
Now Ridley and Raine were changing, and Rena was staying the same. She was still the homely girl who blended into the backgrounds. She still couldn't handle blood, or death, or acting social very well. The only difference was that now she couldn't quite be so in denial. Now she had to face reality.
But she only had to face reality so long as reality was facing her. She only had to face reality so long as Ridley was still pointing his gun, so long as she was still near that body, so long as she was still in the tunnels, so long as the people she considered friends continued to change.
Rena Peters did not like change, nor did she like facing reality- at least not when her reality was as bleak as it was at the current moment.
So, as the time ticked slower, she decided that she was not going to wait for Ridley's approval. She was going to run.
It was all she could say. It was all she could do to explain her reasoning behind everything. She figured that somehow, it would be enough.
And then she ran.
As she got farther and farther away from the body, and closer towards being out of the wretched tunnels, reality began to fade. Her beautiful, elegant walls of denial began to rebuild themselves, enclosing her in a warm and beautiful mental state.
Everything will be okay.
Everything will be okay, so long as you keep running.
Just pray to God that they don't catch up.
((Rena Peters, continued in Selfish