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Biting The Hand That Feeds
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Aaron reached up with an unsteady hand and gingerly touched the bandage wrapped around his head. He made sure to keep his hands away from where he knew his injury to be, making a show of running his hand all around the bandage and checking every part of it. When he was done he lowered his hand and flashed Jasmine a tired smile.

“Feels good. You did a great job.”

He knew he was dying. Anyone who looked at him could tell the same – Jasmine probably knew it too – he looked to be in a terrible state.

Soon after he had met back up with Jasmine the symptoms had started to show; dark patches shadowed the area under his eyes and behind his ears, deep bruises that ached rhythmically in time with his pulse. His head pounded with pain constantly. His neck was stiff, his speech was slurred. He was so unsteady on his feet that Jasmine had to practically haul him up the mountain, which was fine with him since he was so damn tired he could barely lift his feet.

He could discount most of that though; the tiredness and pain were things he was accustomed to, stuff that he could shrug off like he had done every time after a harsh practise or intense work out. If it was just that, he knew he would have been fine, just suck it up and stop worrying.

The bleeding was more concerning. Every few minutes he could feel a fresh trail of blood run down over his lips and down to his chin from his nose. When he felt a tear roll down his cheek, only to wipe it away and find red on his fingers he knew for certain. He had hastily wiped his check clean with the sleeve of his jacket and hid it from Jasmine. No need to worry her. There was nothing she could do anyway.

“I can hardly feel my headache anymore.”

So, yeah. He knew he was dying. The only question now was when. And how would Jasmine take it.

Aaron looked over to where she was sitting, knees pulled up to her chest and wet cheeks glistening. He wasn’t oblivious to her tears; surprised by them sure, but he felt kind of grateful to know she cared about him enough to cry over this, despite only knowing him in the game.

He felt another trickle run down from his nose and reached up to wipe it away, staining the back of his hand red in the process.

“Damn, I’m a mess.”

It surprised him how readily he accepted his imminent death. Maybe he couldn’t quite process the implications in his current state. Maybe he had been quietly accepting it since he woke up by the lake. Whatever the case, he wasn’t too worried about what would happen next to him. He was worried about his family; his brothers, his father, his mother. How would they take it? Were they watching him now? His dad was probably at work, as was David. He wasn’t sure about whether or not Andrew could watch the Program wherever he was currently stationed; maybe the government would set it up though. It was their pet project after all. His mother he knew would probably be glued to the TV. She never really watched it before, but how could she not in this case.

He was worried about Jasmine as well. Worried about what would happen to her after this. They still hadn’t found her friends, she had no weapon to defend herself with and after he was gone she would be alone. He hoped she would be ok.

Another trickle down his face, slower this time. When he reached up to wipe it this time his hand didn’t come back red, instead there was a clear liquid with streaks of red covering his hand. Great, now he had a runny nose as well.

“This just gets worse.”

He felt tired. He couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. He wanted to stay awake a bit longer. Wanted to talk to Jasmine for a while; reassure her, reassure himself that she would be ok. The girl had dragged his half unconscious body up a mountain just to get him a place to rest, he owed her a little consideration now.

But he was so tired. His lids were dragging themselves closed of their own volition. It looked like he didn’t have much choice in the matter. He shifted against the wall, lowering himself down further, trying to get comfortable; a wasted effort.

“I’m just going to rest a while. We’ll figure out where to go next in the morning.”

He went to sleep then, slipping into unconsciousness also before he finished talking. He slept for a while.

Then he stopped breathing.

M10 - Aaron Chalmers: Deceased
Program V3 Prologue
Michael Bair - Proud to be an American
Quote: N/A
Weapon: Brass Knuckles, Heckler & Koch FABARM FP6 Entry
Location: N/A
Status: Alive

The Departed
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