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Arranged Marriages Are Illegal... Right?

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I can only sit and watch from a chair someone found me, as the guys go over the body. They examine its… his… clothes, murmuring to themselves. Now that I could recognize it, the sickly sweet, coppery smell of blood is all over everything. With every inhale, I get a new dose of death. After that one outburst when I had discovered the body, no other sound has escaped my lips. It seems as if I’ve lost control of my vocal chords.

It takes a few minutes, but eventually Sam breaks away from the group and comes over to kneel next to me. I keep my eyes trained on the body, as it’s poked and prodded and turned over… No more blood comes out, it’s all congealed. Something warm is pressed to my arm, and I glance down, tearing my eyes away from the scene. Sam has his hand on my arm, his thumb slowly making circles. It hardly comforts me, and I draw in a shaky breath.

“H-how long?” I whisper, looking him in the eyes. They hold sadness, and something else that I can’t identify.

“We don’t know, to be honest. He must have been here for days, a week at the most. The blood on the ground and such is frozen, and what’s in his veins has clotted and congealed. He still smells of blood and sickness, however…” He trails off, looking at the others, then back at me. “Raven, you’re shaking… you don’t need to be in here.”

He was right. At some point, I had started to tremble, and slowly those tremors had turned into full-body shakes. Grinding my teeth was the only way I could keep them from chattering. When he tries to help me up, however, I shake my head vehemently and stay rooted to the spot. After a few unsuccessful attempts to make me get up without force, he sighs and walks back over to the others.

Now they have an old cloth sack over him, covering his face and torso. His legs are lying askew to his body, in an unnatural position. I’m not sure if they were like that before, or if somehow he was maneuvered into that angle. Feeling bile rise in the back of my throat, I turn my head and take a huge lungful of freezing cold air. Eventually the feeling passes and I sit back up, coming face to face with Alex.

He looks at me sympathetically, and then hoists me into his arms before I can protest. Not that I could bring myself to do anything but watch over his shoulder as I’m carried from the meat locker, and out into the dirty old cafeteria. Sitting me down at one of the tables, in one of the cleaner areas, he makes sure I’m okay before leaving me there alone.

I take that alone time to really get a good look at the huge room. Now that I’ve seen that…mauling… this room just looks more and more like a crime scene. The plates thrown everywhere without cause, food left to rot as if something had gotten these people’s attention and forced them away from their meal. However, the cause of all of it is still unknown to me, and I would really like to know what exactly went on.

Not that I’ll ever know, of course, but it would be a little more comforting. Maybe they just had a wild animal break in… scavenging for food. A simple explanation such as that, no matter how unfeasible it might be, makes me feel a little better. I play with my phone as the guys slowly trickle out back to me, closing everything up behind them.

We all sit there in silence, as if lamenting the loss of a fellow person… I know I’m not the only one horrified at what happened. After a moment, though, I sigh and stand up. The tremors had passed and I could finally breathe calmly and look everyone in the eye.

“We need to get going. Obviously there’s nothing in this room that could be of any use to us. Maybe there’s another room somewhere, with food. I need food, to be honest. I don’t know what… you guys… need, but I would like to at least find myself a snack.” I say, and Alex nods, followed by the others.

“Come on.” He murmurs, wrapping an arm around me and leading me out of that room, with the others following close behind.

---

I don’t know how long it is after that, but eventually I just need to stop. We’ve been walking down hallway after hallway, checking doors and getting further and further away from the entrance to this stupid basement. My legs are starting to feel like jello, and I allow myself to slip to the floor and lean against the wall.

“You guys can continue searching this hall if you want, but I need to take a break. I’m only human, you know.” It’s my weak attempt at a joke, and it makes them all smile. Maybe not whole-heartedly, but it’s still a smile. “Seriously, go ahead. I’ll probably take a nap anyways.”

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Cast

Selena Gomezas Raven
Christopher Jamesas Alex
Alex Mckeeas Sam
Adam Croweas Drake
David Williamsas Ryan
Destery Mooreas Chris
Dillinger Nilsonas Jake

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