07: Welcome to the Club

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i'll make a banner later i'm too lazy right now lol

"Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"CHRIST, WHAT HAPPENED to her face?"

        August doesn't know, but she'd sure as hell like to.

        A pain is blooming somewhere in her head, and August works her teeth into the flesh of her bottom lip until a metallic-y taste swarms her mouth. She feels pretty broken. Quite physically. She's also pretty sure there isn't a single functioning bone in her body. And on top of that, she can't remember much, nothing but fragments of an unsettlingly black sky and curses in the dark and offset heartbeats.

        She thinks she should probably be scared out of her goddamn mind at all this, but instead feels a strange calmness. A comfort in the chaos.

        "Poor kid fell out the window and hit her head," someone says. "Nasty fall. She landed right on top of her bruise, it was hilarious. Made our job a helluva lot easier though."

        There's shuffling and then the first guy — whose voice she pins to none other than The Great Jordan Kender — goes, "Nah. I think she's just really ugly."

        August scowls. There are little to no positive traits one can attribute to Jordan (at least, as far as August can tell), and she adds Not good with the ladies to her mental list.

        She's been making a lot of those lately: lists. Frankly, they seem to be the only thing keeping her sane, but her current situation certainly isn't helping with that.

        August's kept her eyes closed for what has to be at least ten minutes. At the back of her mind, she knows she's just waiting for them to magically disappear. She's trying to blur the lines of reality, trying to see herself as Augustus, a natural-born leader, wondering what the hell he'd do in her place.

        August's hoping for a miracle, if she's being honest.

        She opens her eyes.

        "Five bucks says she sucks off Conner on the weekends," says Presley, a smirk on his lips.

        "Conner? Hell no. I thought he still wasn't over— oh." Jordan cuts himself off when he sees August. Then, dryly: "Look who finally decided to join the party."

        August ignores him. "Where am I," she says.

        Presley crosses his arms and smiles. "Some like to call it Hell."

        There's a red light in the corner of the room that casts long shadows across their faces. Despite it being the middle of autumn, the room is scorching, and August's back feels slick with sweat.

        Hell is exactly what this place is.

        "But, in my opinion," Presley continues, "that's a bit harsh. Don't you think, Jordan?"

        Jordan leans against the wall and grunts.

        "See? We're all on the same page here. Well, that is, except you. You look like you've seen a fucking ghost." He nods to her head. "Want me to clean that up?"

        At first, August's confused. But then she feels it: a sticky, warm wetness on her temple. She brings a hand up to wipe it away and stares down at her fingers. They're smeared with blood.

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