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by Jenn Dolari

         Her grip on the makeshift spear never once loosened, her eyes never once wavered from her quarry. It had been a rough couple of days, full of humiliation and awkwardness in a culture that was never hers, but was once destined to be hers. And with all the pain and confusion, she knew there was only one thing to do. One thing even Sylvia wouldn't begrudge her this one act of violence. One small act, to ease her mind. Make her world a better place. She gripped the spear tightly and concentrated.

         Jana came back with a modest sized Largemouth Bass in her hands. "Dinner's here! Freshly speared from the river!" Sylvia was sitting on her box in the clearing, precisely where Jana had placed her this morning, silent. "Its not big, but it should make a nice lunch, and maybe a dinner later." Sylvia remained quiet. "You okay, Sylvia?"
         Sylvia remained silent for a few seconds before she replies, slightly irritated, "I can't eat, Jana."
         Jana dropped her head. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything."
         "No, it's okay, Jana," Sylvia lied. "I'm just feeling a little...I'm missing my old life."
         "As a waitress?"
         "As a person." There was an audible sigh of some sort, before she continued. "It hasn't been easy in here, Jana. I can't move, I can barely see in that box, and whatever sleep I get isn't even really sleep."
         Jana sat next to the skull, and began scaling the fish with her dagger. "I dont' know what its like in there, Sylvia. But I'm trying to help. When we're in pretty places like this, I make sure you're somewhere where you can see it. I try to keep you clean, even when..." She shuddered. "...yucky stuff falls out." She shifted uncomfortably. "I try to do as much as I can for you. To be nice to you."
         "It's okay, sweetie. I'm just whining." She smiled internally to herself. Jana was in as bad a place as she was. Handling it better, but just as bad a place. "How're you doing, hun?"
         Jana whittled away at the fish scales, slowly scraping them off. "I'm okay. I guess." She flipped the fish over. "Sylvia...is what went on with Stephanie and those friends she had. Is that what the old world was like?"
         "It didn't seem so bad in my day. We had snobs and we had nerds, like any school. But it was never as bad as that. At least not till recently."
         "If I have to go back, and I'm little again, will I have to go through that?"
         "Maybe. I don't know. But I think you've grown up enough in the last few weeks that school will be a cakewalk compared to anything this world throws at you."
         They both had a good giggle over that. Jana put the fish back on the spear and began roasting it over the small campfire she'd just started. She laid back and watched the blue sky and the puffy white clouds forming overhead, and lisened to the birds and cicadas sing their songs to each other. "I could stay here forever," Jana remarked.
         "Maybe not forever, but few days, maybe. No one seems to be after us anymore, and we could use the rest." A gust of wind brushed through the clearing.
         "I wonder if there's enough clothes to rip up and make into a tent."
         "Don't do that! You might need those clothes for the next town!"
         Jana opened up one of the packs Paula had given her. "When am I gonna use the prom dress again? The skirt might make a good tent."
         Sylvia was about to argue that it was an expensive dress, when there was a loud rumble from the sky. Jana stood up, looking through the hole in the tree canopy. The fluffy white cloud was bigger, fluffer, and starting to look a lot more threatening than just a few moments ago. Another gust blew through the clearing.
         "Thunderstorm. Looks like a big one." Jana said with suddenly much more keen awareness.
         "I dont think a taffetta dress is going to keep that kind of rain out as a tent." Jana buried the fish in the ground then doused the flames. "I also don't think we're too too far away from a town," Sylvia said. "We'll have to race the storm, but I think we can make it."
         Jana put Sylvia back in her box, quickly packed up the campsite, and took off away from the storm.

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