Kizi did not swear. She did not engage in sarcasm. She did not stoop to vitriol or scorn, or ever lash out with an acidic tongue or a piercing witticism. Those weren't rules that she forced herself to live by, or moral dictums she zealously adhered to, or conscious choices in any meaningful way. No. It was just the way she was. Just the way her brain was wired. Wasn't really a thing she questioned, and she saw no reason to consciously make herself less nice, and so that was how she stayed.
"If the game had ended weeks ago, we wouldn't have been abducted."
Kizi had started off saying that sentence with a genuine tone despite the pain apparent in her voice. There was a little inkling of confusion, her pedantry sincere. Focusing on the little things like that was distracting her nicely. But she realised halfway through that her words probably suited a sarcastic tone, and adjusted accordingly. It felt strange, having a little bit of sardonic severity leave her lips with her words. But it felt good. In the context, a certain caustic element was justified. Merited. Pretty much essential. She had been angry at Clarice, after all, and on the scale of deserving-a-scolding, what Al had done was far worse.
Lili had the 'nice cop' act cornered. And in a moment of uncharacteristic narrow-mindedness, Kizi continued. She had to pause every other syllable, to splutter and breath, Lili's hug being essential in keeping her warm, her body steady, allowing Kizi to focus on the words. She snuggled up into Lili's arms, as much as she could without straining herself, wanting to show a token degree of appreciation for her generosity. "Do you hear yourself? Killing is a great way to stop trauma? No. It isn't. What next? Are you going to be asking me to thank you for shooting me? No. Does this look...not traumatic to you? Because it is. Trust me. It is."
"The fact is, Al, you haven't played. You've been played. You're not preventing the trauma. You're causing the trauma. If you hadn't done what you did, then we'd have a few more days to hold out. To wait. To restore some peace. A safe zone. A community. Like what me and Lili and Penelope and Raina and Ben have. And if we wait, if we hold out long enough, eventually there will be a rescue operation. They can't find out where we are in one day, Al. It takes time." She sighed. Her impassioned speech had began to aggravate her wounds, the heavy breathing causing a few more rivulets of blood to seep out with every exhale. "But please. It's not too late."
She realised at the end her attitude may have endangered Lili.
But inaction, she feared, might have done as well. The guilt still hurt though.