They talked for a while, and they sat in silence for a while, as the day wore on into evening and the sun began to set and the sounds of gunfire from other parts of the island faded slowly into silence. Kimberly didn't bother trying to count or figure out how many people had died. She didn't give a fuck. It wouldn't be long until there were only a handful left. She kept expecting someone to turn up and attack them. On some level, she was sure there would be an ambusha shot from behind, straight through the gut, a few minutes spent bleeding out, writhing on the ground in pain and terror, and then nothing.
That wasn't what happened. They sat, and they talked, and they learned things about each other.
At some point, Reiko proposed a truce. Kimberly agreed. It was a simple idea, really. Neither of them wanted to kill the other, so they promised not toat least, not until and unless they were the only two left. It was an interesting situation. Kimberly could almost like Reiko. The girl was refreshingly forthright. That did not equate to any real trust in her. Quite simply, Kimberly knew that the girl had murdered to survive, and knew that she would be more than willing to do so again. She couldn't at all guarantee that Reiko would honor their agreement if doing so would disadvantage her in the long run.
At the same time, Reiko knew next to nothing about Kimberly. She didn't know the exact circumstances of Kimberly's kills. She didn't know that Kimberly's gun was a prop or a toy of some sort, completely useless for actually hurting someone. She didn't know Kimberly's thoughts, her ability and willingness to kill, or her lack thereof.
It would've been a better advantage had Kimberly been a vicious killer, or, fuck, had she even known herself exactly where she stood. She was going to have to figure it out pretty damn fast, that was for sure. All she knew was she wasn't about to let Reiko get away with betraying her, if it came to that. She didn't think it would, but she was going to be ready, just in case.
Her thoughts had flourished in the silence that had fallen between them. After almost two weeks on the island, neither girl had much left to say. They were tired, emotionally drained, and on edge. Despite all of this, Kimberly managed not to jump when the speakers crackled to life. The sun had set by this point, though the faint light of dusk still illuminated the area, and the stars and moon were looking to be bright. Visibility was going to be alright tonight. Kimberly wasn't sure how to feel about how quickly a change in the situation made her assess her surroundings. She was getting too nervous, too calculating.
Still, she had to pay attention to what was coming from the speakers. Kimberly sat in silence, listening to the words. It was hard to believe that she was still alive, that she had somehow made it this close to the end. In a way, it was terrifying. There would be no more running away, no more hiding and waiting things out, no more coasting by because people were unwilling to actually pull the trigger. This was it.
She made careful note of the deaths. Most of them meant nothing to her. When Ema was listed, though, when the leg wound was specifically blamed, Kimberly couldn't help chuckling a little. Suddenly, a few things made a lot more sense, and her hunch about a certain someone being a psycho had been vindicated. She whispered to Reiko, "Saw that one coming. I think she was the girl we saw. She was pretty much dead already."
Also of particular note was the fact that many of the emergent killers had met their own ends over the past half day. Kimberly suspected that people had just gotten overconfident towards the end, had thought that maybe they could take up Maxwell's mantle and gun their ways to safety. It wasn't a line of reasoning she could really understand. From the little she knew, the past three winners had all been big killers, but that seemed like it had to have been a fluke. Killing, logically speaking, didn't matter all that much. All it did was give people supplies and get them targeted.
Then Greynolds listed everyone left, and Kimberly stopped pondering the mentalities of the dead.
The first name was familiar. She knew Ilario by sight, at least. The triplets were too much of a curiosity not to know. She knew that he'd been killing people. His name had come up frequently and consistently enough for her to peg him as a player, though he didn't have the sort of list that would suggest he'd been shooting everyone he met.
Ivan was less familiar. Kimberly knew he'd killed a few times. He'd won the first Best Kill Award. After that, he'd been pretty quiet, though. What Greynolds said, however, had her worried. If Ivan had lost someone important to him, he might not be rational. He might be out for revenge, or he might be desperate to survive. In either case, it wasn't something Kimberly wanted to end up on the wrong side of.
Reiko she knew enough about. She'd noticed the wounds, but she was inclined to suspect Reiko was very much still a threat.
And then, it was her name on the announcements. It felt unreal, like a joke. Not too long ago, she'd been hoping she'd be one of the last fifty alive, just so she could die knowing she wasn't totally pathetic and useless. Now, she was one of the five people on the island who were still breathing.
Greynolds' assessment wasn't so flattering, but that was no surprise. What he said gave her a lot to think about, too. That word, tomorrow, it felt strange as she rolled it over in her mind. For the past two weeks, there hadn't been tomorrows. She'd lived in the moment, or maybe in the few moments she could count on seeing. Now, there was a chance for more.
She nearly lost focus, but managed to catch the information about Ericka, who sounded like a serious threat. Then she was told that they would all fight to the death here, in the town center. It was too bad. This place was almost pretty, with its statue and its flowers and its houses. She could almost forget the corpses littered around them. She couldn't smell death anymore, not after spending so much time with it. She tried to remember what the air had been like in Saint Paul, what the city had tasted like when she inhaled, but no recollection came.
No time for regrets.
"Come on, Reiko," she said. "I don't think we want to start this off in the middle of everything."
She paused for a moment, remembering where the new danger zones were, before speaking again.
"The docks and infirmary were safe until now, so odds are good people will be coming from those directions. I think we should go the other way. No reason to be the ones to start shit."
With a glance backwards to make sure Reiko was following, she headed towards the houses to the north of the statue. The closest ring was outside the danger zone. That meant they could find somewhere safe enough to wait and see what happened.
((Kimberly Nguyen and Reiko Ishida continued in V4 Endgame