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 Alone with You, [With Jamie]
Ming Na Leung
 Posted: Sep 14 2015, 04:48 PM
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Written by Eizer
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Mina was walking alongside Jamie on a snow covered road of the city of Vancouver. She wasn't very happy though. Two days ago, Ziggy, who was traveling with Jamie, committed suicide. The poor girl who was very sick took Mina's gun and her only bullet and shot herself one night just outside the shelter they were sleeping in. The bang woke them up and when they went to see what caused that noise, it was already too late. Mina cried upon seeing the blood pouring out of the girl's head onto the snow painting it crimson. Even today, that image haunted her. She saw death before, but a suicide? It was a first for her. And it was hard for her. She kept thinking and imagining how she woke up and got out to shoot herself. Sure, she didn't saw her do it but she could very clearly imagine it and that image alone was enough to make her shiver.

And she didn't even knew her for a long time and they weren't exactly friends to begin with but still. She knew that she was sick, very so but Mina really wished that she would had passed in her sleep or something more peaceful. All she could say to comfort herself was thinking that she most likely didn't felt pain when she pulled the trigger. However, with her doing so, they were left with a gun and no bullets to defend themselves. Not that she had the intention of shooting anyone, she wasn't that brave. But she still kept the gun after all that. If anything, they can hope that other people would leave them alone upon seeing that gun. If not, well, they would be in deep trouble.

So there they were, together alone. And it was very cold as well. Mina was walking side by side with Jamie and was even holding his arm close to her small body. But she didn't say anything. She was just walking slowly, not really knowing where they were going. She hoped that he had a plan and wasn't just aimlessly moving along too. She forgot how many hours they were walking. It was hours already right? She had no clue. But so far, they did not meet anyone hostile. In fact, they didn't met anyone at all. Which was a good thin in a sense. Sure, they would love to meet someone willing to give them shelter and all this but the chances were quite slim. Way too slim to her liking.

And thus, it was the two of them walking and walking. Good thing it wasn't snowing too. They had enough of that yesterday. As for food, now that they had one less mouth to feed, they should be good for a while. After a while, Mina looked up at Jamie who was taller than her. "Mister Larson?" She timidly asked. Even after them spending time together, she was still referring him by his last name. It wasn't just a sign of respect, it was just how she spoke. "Should we start looking for shelter?" It wasn't that it was getting dark. It was more because she was getting hungry. She lost appetite when Ziggy took her own life but now, hunger was getting the best of her.

She tightening her grip of Jamie's arm. It was instincts, just a way to get more heat and comfort. She wasn't cold but she felt much safer with him by her side. Two days ago, she gave him the gun. She felt that he would look more convincing that herself holding it. She would most of the time look in front of her but she couldn't resist looking at the man next to her. Just seeing his face was enough for her to feel safer, much safer. Even if it could be an illusion, that illusion was enough for her. She was weak and certainly not brave. Not enough for her own taste. He on the other hand? She sure liked to believe that he was much, much stronger than she was.

"I think we can go further too." Mina said softly while looking up at the nurse. She smiled at him and then went back to looking back to the ground and the footsteps they were leaving on the ground. She would then turn her head to the right to look behind her. Her footsteps were much smaller than his, and it was funny seeing them so close to each others. That simple image made her laugh bit, just a small bit but it was enough to make her somehow happier.

"Mister Larson?" Mina released his arm and made her way in front of him and start moving backward while smiling at him. "Could we take a short break?" She asked tilting her head on one side. She looked around her, most everything was covered in snow but there were a small bus stop that had a small bench in it. She pointed at that bench and stop walking for a moment. "Shall we take a quick rest?"
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Jamie Larson
 Posted: Sep 26 2015, 07:03 PM
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Written by Aoki
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Jamie would have preferred to believe that he possessed a hard exterior polished from his experiences inside the emergency room. How many times had he not witnessed mangled limbs, some disfigured beyond repair, so that the only option was to amputate with no chance to look back? How much rotting blood upon torn flesh, all the excruciating agony and misery had he seen expressed by some of the poor unfortunate souls to undergo accidents and injuries of all kinds, had he not lived through? He had also, much to his hesitance in admitting, encountered at least one or two hospital deaths in his time. He knew there was a heavy emotional aspect to his profession. He knew what he was getting into, and at first, it proved difficult separating his own feelings from getting in the way of taking care of patients. After a while, it seemed his body grew used to the strong reaction. Countless times later, and he had numbed himself enough to function as a proper nurse. But there was one very clear difference distinguishing the death of a patient and that of Ziggy’s own death. Jamie had grown close with his group, to Ziggy. The moment they started dropping dead like flies, he clung on to the little girl wishing so desperately she would survive. In a way, she was a flesh-in-bone representation of his hope for the future. The moment she died, so did this hope. Or at least that’s what he expected until the night previous to her suicide.

That unnervingly chilly morning, Jamie found himself crouching his body inches away from the pallid body drained of blood. There was an element both tragic and mystifying to it, seeing how closely the red of the blood mimicked that of a maple leaf in the fall. Even more to see it take the shape of something on a Rorschach ink blot, as if some unforeseen force had made the liquid purposely take this shape as it soaked up in the snow. But all those observations soon meant nothing to Jamie. How he wished he could embrace her frigid body with his warmth and hold her until she would be warmed back to life. But he found himself shaken, without the strength to advance forth. He would then find himself opening his mouth, closing and opening it again as though to say something to her. But not a sound was to be heard. He simply looked on with the widened eyes of a petrified doe. And it wasn’t until Mina snapped him out of the nightmarish little Wonderland forming inside his mind that he decided he could no longer stay inside the inn. Not after what happened. They had to move on. Not so much Mina as Jamie, though the nurse was more than aware she had been affected by the gory scene.

Not a word regarding the incident had been spoken of ever since the pair first set foot on their journey. Not a single word had come out of the man’s mouth, for that unfortunate matter. It had been largely silent and uneventful those last few hours, for the most part. He told himself it was hours, though it was just as good Jamie’s guess as Mina’s as to how long the two had been walking. Some minutes he spent trying to keep his mind off any strong thoughts and emotions from surfacing. Other times, he would daydream about nothing important in particular, such as how the scenery would be like had it been a different season, a catchy tune, or some other distant memory of his life as it was in the past. And yet, most of the time, his mind was empty. He would concentrate on the path they were following, the hundreds of footsteps all left behind by two human beings… Every now and then, he would look down at Mina just to make sure she was still there. As silly as it sounded, he couldn’t help but feel as though she were to poof from his arm if he were to take his eyes off her too long.

The girl’s question, luckily, got Jamie out of his current reverie. “There’s a place not too far from here.” His neglected voice murmured just under his breath. And it was certainly cold enough so that he could see the little white wisp of mist escape his mouth. Sadly, he had almost forgotten where he had originally meant to go with Mina had it not been for her unknowingly reminding him just then. Up north, the group had stumbled upon a group of abandoned buildings, most being used as shelter by the desperate common folk nowadays. Luckily, they kept traveling in a general direction so as to not stray off to the main path. Better, so that Mina wasn’t aware that he had been aimlessly walking for a good duration of time. But then, the main reason the nurse had the energy to move along all this time was because of her. In that sense, she was the one leading the pair.

Then, Jamie felt warmth. An unexplainable sense of comfort when Mina tightened her grip around his arms more. She may have been this little, almost seemingly fragile thing when compared to the nurse, but she was still very much a big presence. It reminded him of young Ziggy in a way. And just like her, he had this feeling for wanting to protect Mina. As long as she was with him, and as long as she would accept him. It was something like a big brother looking after his kid sister, if he had to describe it. Though he couldn’t help but recall her talking about coming to Vancouver to search for a long-lost brother that very same moment. Had she ever experienced what it was to have family like that? Well, perhaps finding her brother could be a new goal of Jamie’s after all.

Still largely silent, he perked an ear at the girl’s request and simply nodded as she pointed at the bench. But it wasn’t until remembering how she’d suddenly laughed out of nowhere a few moments back that he smiled at her. It was funny, that out of the two, the younger girl seemed more animate and willing to push through. That willpower alone was enough to rub off on Jamie, for he now laughed a little to himself as he walked to the bench with her. “I was wondering when you’d want to take a break. You have a lot of energy in you, you know."His words were to be taken lightheartedly, but then again, Mina may have been exhausted long ago. There was no telling just how much she had soldiered on all this time.

“What shall it be, then?” He let the backpack slide off his shoulder, then opened it to reveal some of the edible contents. Placing it where Mina would be able to dig through it, he pulled out some trail mix and gestured out to her in case she wanted some for herself. After offering her some of the snack, he let some of the nuts and dried fruit fall into his other hand, where he popped them into his mouth. He felt like he should make light of the moment and talk, but still. Ziggy’s death had been too real, too recent in his mind. And he didn’t know quite what to say that didn’t have anything to do with it. That was until he looked down at the snow, and wondered if Mina would like to build a snowman or something like that at some point to have fun and unwind a bit. “Did you like to play in the snow when you were younger? I remember, back when I was still a kid, my cousin and some of our friends made a giant snow fort. There was this older kid, though, he was kind of a bully. He tried to destroy it, but he ended up slipping on the snow and we all ended up throwing all these snowballs on him. It was funny at the time, but he ended up crying all the way back home to his parents.” Jamie then smiled to himself. It was all but in the past now, before life as everyone knew it changed for better or worse.
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Ming Na Leung
 Posted: Sep 26 2015, 09:25 PM
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Written by Eizer
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Mina laughed softly and timidly when Jamie told her that she had a lot of energy in her. It wasn't wrong nor it was very true. She felt that she had to be at least one bit happy, maybe just for the sake of it. They said that smiling can trigger the brain to be happier and thus, she did her best to smile even the cold outside and maybe the one inside of her. She knew that she wasn't very strong and it irked her a lot. But she wasn't going to tell that to him. No, she had to be positive and to her best to look like she was fine. But she wasn't. Just looking at him made her think of Ziggy. It was true that she only knew them for a very short while but they were together when that happened. And now they weren't anymore. Taking a deep breath to chase away that thought, Mina went toward the bench and sat down. She would look at him as he opened his bag and she did so as well tor reveal a bottle of water.

She uncapped the bottle and took a small gulp out of it and then passed it to Jamie. The water was very cold but it was water and they had to stay hydrated. After that, she would extend her small hand for him to give her some of that mix before eating them. She would then look at the snow and their footsteps and again, did her best to smile. And to be honest, it did made her somewhat happier. She didn't know why but she found joy in looking at the footsteps. She even began to laugh, but very very quietly. She couldn't do it any louder even if she wanted to. Taking another deep breath, Mina looked at Jamie when he asked her if she used to play in the snow when she was younger. It was a hard question. Yes, she did play in the snow but no, she didn't really liked it. Well, it was fun, a bit. But it was also cold, a lot.

"I never had a lot of friends growing up. I was too shy, too timid. I much rather have a good book than a good friend." Her smile slowly disappeared when she said those words. It was true, while she wasn't a loner, she certainly wasn't the most popular kid around. There weren't a lot of Asians where she came from too. Some people were more xenophobic than others. And unfortunately for her, the kids she meet were that kind of people. She did get bullied and she never had friends to protect her from all that bullying. So she sought loneliness. And the internet of course. She could say with certitude that her best friends came from that little corner of the internet. Sure, they never met in person but they were there when she needed someone and for her, that was friendship. But now, they were all gone. And that made her sad for a moment.

"Good thing I had the internet. That kept me sane." And she laughed a bit. "My father would say that I spent too much time looking at a screen. But I felt home there with all my friends from all around the globe. It's funny that you get to meet all kind of people like you. It's a big world but also so small." She then paused to look at him with his eyes, those deep eyes of his. "It was so much easier to connect with someone when gender and ethnicity and age and everything were secondary." Mina then took the bottle of water and drink for a moment. "Here I am, rambling. Sorry about that, mister Larson."

The girl sighed heavily after that. "I guess I never really played in the snow." Pulling her knees on her small body, Mina sunk her head into her knees and took another deep breath. It was silly but it made her a bit sad knowing that she never really took time to enjoy the snow. It was a bit too late now, or maybe it wasn't. A part of her wanted to just jump into the snow, make an angel, a snowman or a fort! Yes, she could do that but she was too timid to just do it. So she just stayed there on the bench with her knees hiding the lower part of her face.

She stayed there for a moment, not saying anything. "I miss them." She then finally said breaking the silence. "My parents, my friends..." Everything. Most everything. But it was too late now, she should move on and keep her head up. But it was so hard. She had little experience with the real world back then and even less now. It was so, so different. There were little to no joy around. No one was really kind to her. excepted for Jamie. God bless him. His company kept her somewhat sane for now. "Mister Larson," She said as she turned her head to see him. "Thanks for being here." She had to thank him. While they were both kind of lost and wandering aimlessly, they were together. She did wish that Ziggy would be there as well but it was too late for that now. They had to keep going on and not let go of hope. Even how little hope there is.

Mina wasn't sure that finding her half brother was her real goal anymore. Staying alive was a better goal. Sure, finding him would be absolutely great. She knew that he would be a good guy, well she truly hoped that way. But for now, she had Jamie and he was a great man. "When was the last time you played in the snow?" She then asked him before standing up. She turned her back to the snow and went to face the nurse. She then smiled at him and made a step backward. She then laughed and spun around on herself. For some reason, she felt happy for a moment there.

After spinning around, the girl turned her back to him and made small bunny hop in the snow. She would stop and then do another hop and would do so twice. After that, she crouched and began making a tiny snowman. A very, very tiny one. There were plenty of snow but she didn't felt like moving around too much. She stayed near the bus stop and then made another snowman next to the first one. "Mister Larson," She then said while making a third one. "Do you wanna make a snowman too?" She would hope that he would say yes and come closer. She would wait a bit and then lift on the snowmen in her hands and then look at the man in front of her. And with a small laughter, she would throw it as him. Not at his face or anything, just at his body.

"Hehe. Sorry," She would then apologize. "It was too tempting." She thought that maybe they could play in the snow for a bit. There weren't any sign of human activity around them so she felt that maybe she could let her guard down for a minute or two. She then took another snowman and then looked at Jamie with a malicious smile. Needless to say, she threw the second one at him and ran a bit further away only to stop and start making a another snowball. "Come on, mister Larson!" She would shout at him.

Yes, it was time to have some fun.
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Jamie Larson
 Posted: Sep 29 2015, 09:52 PM
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Written by Aoki
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Drinkable water was certainly a scarce resource, so Jamie took great care in making sure not a single drop of the transparent liquid went to waste. With both hands cupped firmly against the bottle, he brought it steadily, closer and closer to his face. Yet despite the precaution, one hand still managed to wobble enough to let a few drops soak into his shirt. Darn. His tiredness showed. Wiping that mild frown of disappointment from his mouth, as well as a few glistening droplets resting on his whiskers, he turned back to the girl only to see her hunching over after having heard her express what definitely sounded like sadness. Was it the best question to ask, he wondered? While it encouraged Jamie to sympathize the girl, it was a curious thing to try to see the end of her perspective of having friends. Not so much pity, as it was an opportunity to learn who she was as a person. So for that reason, it wasn’t bad of him to ask. Plus, he wasn't all that off from being in her situation. “I wasn’t exactly the most outgoing kid growing up either. Most of the friends I made growing up were technically my cousin’s. Really, though, the main reason I befriended them was because I would tag along with my cousin so much. He seemed bothered by it at first, but he seemed to accept it. I mean, it was either that, or be alone. There wasn’t much of a choice. And it wasn’t as though I could choose a specific community on a website to make friends with. I worked with what I had. Just like you did with what was available to you. Sometimes I wonder… how different things would be if my child-self had access to a computer. The main thing I can say is, don’t worry about it all that much.” He chuckled lightly as he grinned at the girl to cheer her up a tad.

Throughout the duration of her story, Jamie had been listening to every word. He didn’t feel like she had been rambling at all. Quite the opposite in fact. And it brought a small sense of warmth in the nurse to hear Mina thank him for being around with her. Perhaps it was Jamie who should have thanked her, considering she appeared at a time when so much could have gone wrong for him. And just before she stood up, he squeezed her shoulder lightly in acknowledgement. Gratitude need not words.

“Oh, it’s been years. Easily.” Jamie stood up shortly after the girl did, taking up her offer to build a snowman, much to his pleasant surprise. It was good to see her loosen up a bit as he had hoped. Though when he said ‘snowman,’ what he had in mind was much bigger than the miniature, almost endearing snowmen being built right next to each other. Well, so long as she was enjoying herself, that was good enough for the nurse. Indeed, such small snow sculptures were best appreciated up closer where the finer details could be observed. So closer Jamie went to observe them with those twinkling blue eyes of his. But in the blink of said eyes, he was met with a disfigured snowman caked up against his face.

“So that’s how you’re gonna play? Bring it on!” Jamie smirked right back at the mischievous girl. With one hand, he wiped off the snow from his beard, with the other, he prepared to reach down to make a snowball of his own. But before he could even reach the snow, he felt a second cold object pelt him from in front. Oh, was this going to be fun. She would have to try harder to hit with a third one though, as he made sure to put up his guard.

Quickly, the man pulled a chunk of snow right of the ground. And before forming it into a snowball, he managed to see a third one being thrown at him with his peripheral vision. Only inches before impact, he swiveled to dislodge them from the snow and swerved his body barely enough to dodge the projectile by a hair.

“Do you wanna build a snowman?”

He broke into song, forming a snowball between his hands and giving chase to Mina. Though after wasting all that time dodging and picking up snow had left her with enough time to run a considerable distance away. Maybe, Jamie would still have enough arm power to throw it far enough. But in pulling his arm through the air, it would seem he miscalculated his throw, as it fell a few inches away from her.

“Or ride our bike around the halls?
I think some company is overdue—“


Halfway through the melody, he had to dodge another snowball. It was going right for his face, and he dodged it limbo-style by pulling his entire head and neck back. He wasted no time in getting more snow and throwing another ball at her, this time, almost swearing to have hit her. But throwing back and forth in the open wasn’t the best way to go at it. No, there needed to be a large object to hide against like when he used to build those snow forts with his friends. Luckily for him, there were several cars haphazardly stationed between the streets throughout the town. This area was no exception. Spotting an empty Honda Civic with snow piled on top of it, he ran as fast as he could while dodging another snowball. And on he went nearly slipping his behind on a patch of ice behind the vehicle, whilst singing the more of the song in broken pieces.

“Do you wanna build a snowman?
It doesn't have to be a snowman!”


He sung louder, aware that he would give away his position but paid it no mind as he was more concerned in finding out where Mina went off to. He peeked a few inches off the roof of the car, but it seemed she had disappeared from his line of sight. Well, this wasn’t good. Any second, she could surprise him if he didn’t figure out where she was.

“Aye, fair Snow Queen! You can only evade your destiny for so long!” Jamie decided to have a little more fun himself by adding some of his enthusiastic charm. Mina, the Ice Queen, and Jamie, the royal guard assigned the task of finding her and bringing her to the kingdom safe and sound.
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Ming Na Leung
 Posted: Oct 5 2015, 09:20 PM
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Written by Eizer
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Mina laughed out loud when she first heard Jamie singing that song from that movie that she watched when she was young. To be honest, he had a pretty good voice and felt comfort in hearing it. It would be the first one that actually sang from what she could recall. She tried her best a singing but it only came out very quietly and shy. It took her a bit of time to feel brave enough to sing louder. She couldn't even understand why she didn't do that from the get go. There were no one around anyway and it was one of the rare moment where she could let her guard down. It was those kinds of moment where she could just forget about everything and just have fun.

And she began singing with Jamie louder and louder while trying to dodge and make snowballs all at the same time. Singing? Wasn't that hard. She just sang along him while trying to not to laugh too hard. But she had to admit that she was much more laughing than singing. She couldn't help it, it was just so much fun and she did not had so much enjoyment in a long, long while. Heck, ever since the plague hit them. She tried her best at making small snowballs and throwing them but her aiming wasn't very good. But she was more trying to dodge than to throw. But boy, it was so much fun just playing around with the snow.

She felt that everything else was in the background now. No deaths, no hunger, no nothing. It was just Jamie and her having a good time. As Jamie went to hide behind the car, Mina did slid on the ground and felt on her butt but that didn't hurt. or at least her mind was most likely too busy having fun than feeling pain. She stayed on the ground for a moment trying to catch her breath from all that laughing. After a few seconds, she stood up and silently made her way to the car that was next to his. He could have seen her doing so but she didn't care.

She even tried to open a door to protect herself from any incoming snowballs. And to her joy, the door was unlocked! Hiding behind her car door shield, Mina sat down for a bit and started making a few snowballs and stack them next to her. After making seven of them, the young girl closed the door and with a snowball in hand, she aimed and tried to shoot at Jamie. And failed miserably. But it was okay, she had more to shoot! Jamie did managed to hit her though as she was still sitting on the snow.

And she laughed again upon receiving the cold projectile. She then took the little stack of tiny snowballs into her arms and then ran to the right after throwing another one at him. After a few steps, she would stop and try to throw one at him or at least in his general direction. And mostly liked failed at doing so. Either way, she was still laughing. After running around in a half circle. Mina would try to run toward the car he was hiding behind and and drop every snowballs she had collected. "I surrender, Mister Larson." She said has she made her way toward him.

She would wait for him to notice her and would then sit next to him and on whatever snow there were still on the ground. Looking at him made her laugh again and she went to cover her mouth with her hands. "Thank you, I didn't have that much fun in such a long time." After saying that, she would lay down on her back and make a snow angel. She didn't mind the cold anymore, being that happy made it feel trivial. "I never knew that snow could be that enjoyable," she admitted. "Making forts out of snow sounds like a lot of fun."

"Mister Larson, you have a very good voice." Mina said as she sit down again but this time close to the nurse. "You remind me of my mother, she used to sing me lullabies when I was younger." She then quickly shook her head. "Not that you sound like a woman!" She had to precise that in case that he would take it that way. And she inched closer to be touching him and took Jamie's arm in hers. She would rest her head on his shoulder and then let out a huge sigh.

She would say nothing, just holding his arm and closing her eyes for a moment. "I wish I had known you before all this," she admitted. "We could have been very good friends. Not that we are not friends right now." She then lifted her head off his shoulder to look at his face. "Should we be going soon? Or do you think we can wait a bit longer?" In all honesty, she wished that he would say that they could stay like that for just a little longer. She felt safe and happy next to him.

"Oh, we should go grab our stuff from that bench before someone else takes them." Not that she heard anyone beside them but they had to be a bit cautious. But that could wait a few seconds right? Yes, just a few more seconds holding his arm and feeling good. After a while, she would let go of him and then stand up. She would pat her clothes to remove all the snow there were on them. "Where should we go now, Mister Larson?"
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Jamie Larson
 Posted: Nov 27 2015, 04:56 PM
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Written by Aoki
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Oh, no. Jamie’s body instinctively flinched at the voice from behind, ready to spring into action the moment he felt a cold little snowball impact his back. But what was this? Mina appeared to have surrendered, and here he was preparing to flee from her! At once, Jamie let down his guard, his muscles becoming far less tense. “That fast, eh?” He twirled his foot around much like a graceful ballerina and turned to face the girl, breaking into almost spontaneous, jolly laughter alongside her. In doing so, he let all the snowballs resting on his arms fall down with the rest of the snow. And, taking care not to impact the ground with too much force, let the weight of his body bring him down gently to where Mina started making snow angels.

He was very satisfied, then, that he could bring such joy to the girl. She had never seen snow as she’d lamented, and as he had been hoping for, their little fun had brought her spirits up. It was very infectious, if he did say so himself. And while he needed a little break from running around, hence why he hadn’t also made a snow angel himself, he would more than gladly have shown her how to make a snow fort.

“I played the part of a female character on more than one occasion, back when I had drama class in high school. Maybe all that acting paid off?” The nurse playfully jutted his pink tongue out towards Mina, amused at how she insisted he not sound like a woman. He hadn’t failed to make a mental note about her mother singing lullabies, either. “Well, then. I wouldn’t mind singing a lullaby or two later tonight. How about it?” Granted, he knew it wouldn’t be the same as if her mother had sung, but if Jamie could help ease her in any way, he would do it. After all, the poor girl had been through a lot in such a short amount of time.

Jamie supposed then, that she too, was a source of comfort for him. He may have been sitting on the icy slush, but it brought him warmth to hear those words from her. About being friends… And yet, he realized the actual likelihood of them being friends before the virus was relatively slim. He worked overtime many weeks. In fact, it was rare when he didn’t work over the standard 40 hours a week. Very busy he was, and unless they would have been neighbors, or a memorable patient of his, chances were it wouldn’t have happened. It was a thought that made him feel a tad bittersweet, but at the same time, it made him appreciate their friendship all the more. “Yeah. Me too.” He said, simply. A small, warm smile on his face as he turned to her.

While there hadn’t been anyone around the area who could take away their belongings, Jamie figured they may as well head to the bench before both their rear ends froze into an ice cube. “We can sit there for a bit longer, if you want. Better, so that we can rest some more and discuss a plan.” He stood up and patted some of the snow off his clothes after Mina had let go of her grip—very warm, and only his arm was left bare, had he taken note of the cold once more. His rucksack rested on the bench next to the other things. And he zipped it open, rummaging through the contents until he’d taken out a paper that was a bit more crumpled up than he’d anticipated. Nothing he could fix, as he spread out the sheet and flattened it against the corner of the bench. Upon doing so, he revealed a map labeled with various roads, buildings, and other things. “There’s a resort not too far from here up North called Whistler. There’s a good chance we may encounter some unfriendly folks there too, but it’s better than staying in a place as densely populated as this one. Figure with some luck, we can find some decent shelter.”

Jamie was aware it wasn’t the best plan out there, but it was something. He just hoped not too many people had caught on and traveled there either. Especially gangs and criminal types. It was a risk he was willing to take at this point, but he wondered if it was one Mina would be willing to take with him. “What do you say? I mean, there’s probably more places to go to, but if there is, I’ve yet to hear about any of them, unfortunately…”
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Ming Na Leung
 Posted: Dec 2 2015, 10:37 PM
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Written by Eizer
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Mina looked at Jamie as he went to search for something inside his rucksack. She moved on the side to look at the man for a moment as he got a map out of it. Well that was certainly useful, why didn't she thought of grabbing one when she came to Vancouver? She was so focused on finding his half brother that she didn't even thought much about her own survival. She was furious, okay maybe not furious but certainly not happy at herself. She really hoped that his half brother was better prepared than she is. Otherwise, he well might be dead. And that was something she truly didn't wish for.

The plan was a plan. But she couldn't really decide on how good of a plan it was. One thing for sure, going into a lesser populated place would be a good idea. They did not meet anyone that were remotely dangerous so far but their luck could run out at any moment. But Jamie was right, someone else could might had the same idea as them. It was going to be a risk. Mina went closer to the map and perched over it to take a better look. Vancouver was far from her home so she wasn't very familiar with the place and the surrounding. Jamie on the other hand seemed like he knew the place a bit better than she. Which was pretty good to be honest. As long that they were moving, they should be alright. And if anything, they can run.

"So, if we go there," the girl said while placing a finger on the map and drawing a line up north. "And then up here, in how much time could we reach Whistler?" She really wished that she could read maps but she never really had that in school. Why they didn't teach survival 101 in high school or college? Or maybe she just didn't pick the right course or whatever. Or maybe she should have went in that girl scout program. But then, who knew that the world was going to fall apart due to a plague? Certainly not her and most everyone on the globe. Proof? Most of them were dead now.

Mina closed her eyes to chase that bad thought away. She had to stay positive. Doing so was good for her mental health and also Jamie's one. Or at least, that's what she felt like. Being with the nurse was truly a blessing for her. While he didn't had to do it physically, she knew that he would protect her at his best. But that didn't mean that she had to be the one needing to be protected. Sure, she wasn't very good at survival, even less fighting but she didn't want to be a burden to Jamie.

"I think we should go there, yes." She finally said after crossing her arms. It was better to be moving than staying around in the big city. They were bound to meet more people sooner or later. And there were only a slim chance that they would be on the good side. But she had to admit that she would be on edge if they were to meet new people too. Maybe she had some trust issues or maybe everyone was like that now, it was hard to tell.

After taking another look at the map, Mina sat down on the bench and move her attention toward Jamie. "Mister Larson," she said before looking at the ground. "Do you think that it would be safer if we continue up north?" It was a genuine question. She wasn't sure if other people would choose to go there or south. One thing for sure, the cold did not slow down the plague, nor did the heat. Well, maybe one of them did but it was hard to tell right now.

"Should we travel in day light or at night fall?" Mina hesitated before asking that question. It might sound a bit dumb but she wasn't sure which one would be safest. Then she realized that maybe they didn't have any source of light with them. That would making walking in the dark more dangerous but it could be safer as well. Less people on the roads and all that. And the moon was quite bright these few days. It won't last forever but they could take advantage of it for that short while.
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Jamie Larson
 Posted: Jan 9 2016, 06:55 PM
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It never occurred to Jamie that he should determine how long it would take to travel to Whistler. Sure, he knew it wasn’t too terribly far off, but ‘not too terribly far off’ wasn’t good enough if they were to try to survive out here. “I can’t give you a direct answer, but I may be able to calculate something. Hold on.” He hid the displeasure caused by his ignorance, but at the same time, he was grateful Mina had brought it up. They say two heads are better than one, and it seemed so.

There was a legend on the bottom right corner of the map indicating what each of the symbols stood for, as well as a scale indicating how far away things were in both miles and kilometers. While he may not have had a ruler or anything conventional to measure the exact distance, he did have a light-colored piece of yarn and a marker to use as a make-shift measuring tool. After having taken the yarn out and marking it by 10 mile increments (as provided on the map), he’d taken note of the distance from both locations. “Hmm…” He mused pensively, squinting his eyes to make sure the observation was as accurate as possible. “About 76 miles away if we walk alongside highway 99. I remembering hearing that the average human supposedly walks 30 miles a day, so 3 days? But since we have all this snow going around, maybe a bit longer.” Even if they had to take frequent breaks, it didn’t sound like too terribly long? The main thing to look out for then, would be any shady folks trying to take advantage of them.

Feeling a small sense of accomplishment, he prepared to return the yarn back inside the backpack. As he did so, a sudden gust of wind swept through the bench and lifted with it a small piece of white paper to the ground. The nurse, thinking nothing much of the folded paper, went to scoop it up and mindlessly unfolded it. It was a letter. He didn’t read it, though couldn’t help but notice the big ‘John Hancock’ style signature at the bottom. It was then he realized who the author was. Ziggy.

"Mister Larson," she said before looking at the ground. "Do you think that it would be safer if we continue up north?"

His mind snapped to reality after falling into a sort of trance from the letter. Upon hearing the question, Jamie grew grimly silent, his hands now clutched into fists that he kept hidden between his coat pockets. Without any real knowledge, going down south probably seemed like a better idea. But the nurse new something that Mina didn’t, that made him absolutely hesitant to even try to venture down there. Should he tell her? Maybe it was for the best. If he were to take this girl along, maybe having nothing to hide would give him ease of mind and prepare her for any dangers they may encounter. Maybe…

Words neared the tip of his tongue, only clutched together by his teeth, and then, he told her.

“I have to let you know something before we go on any longer.” He sighed, deeply vexed. And as he did so, he could feel the frigid ice wind entering his lungs, but it helped cool down his tension, so to speak. “Ziggy.” He mentioned her name, as if having seen it on paper had reawakened a memory. “Ziggy was the sister of a gang leader around the city. She’d run away and ran into our group. We didn’t know who she was affiliated at the time, so we’d just taken her in like one of our own. I-if we were to run into one of the members and they’d find out she died…” Jamie swallowed what felt like a boulder in his throat as the words struggled to come out. “They’d have no trouble killing me. Us.”

At this point, all the guilt he had kept hidden throughout the trip here had resurfaced, yet he continued. “This group tends to scout the southern border of Vancouver for any unsuspecting victims. My group had actually encountered them coming here, but we managed to get away… mostly… intact…” He hesitated, not trying to remember the events of that day, and thus returned to the topic at hand. “That’s one of the reasons I prefer to head up north. I want to avoid them as much as possible.”

“Sorry. Sorry it had to come out like this.”
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Ming Na Leung
 Posted: Jan 9 2016, 08:17 PM
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Mina was quite happy to see that Jamie had that idea with the string of yarn. She didn't even thought of looking at the small legend on that corner. Again, she was a bit angry at herself for not taking the time to check it but she was way more happy than angry. She did sighed quietly before hearing what Jamie had to said about the distance between here and Whistler. Good thing he was here to guide them. Otherwise, they might be traveling blindfolded. Three days didn't seem that bad to be honest. But knowing herself, they would most likely get there in four days or so. She wasn't really good at walking long distances and that combined with he snow and the cold could make it even worse. And then, they need to have enough food and water to get there without trouble.

The young girl was about to say something when she saw the nurse pick up the small piece of paper. Seeing that his face changed, she hesitated and couldn't make a sound as she focused on his expression. "Is there something wrong, mister Larson?" She then managed to ask with a rather timid and shaky voice. She then moved closer to him without knowing and leaned a bit toward him with her eyes wide open. And then he mentioned Ziggy. For some reason, maybe because of the tone of his voice or something, she backed up a little and her hands went up to her small body like a shield. Whatever he was going to said, it did not sound pleasant.

Jamie began talking about Ziggy. In all fairness, Mina never asked much about her. She was someone that she didn't knew for long and they never really connected seeing how sick she was back then. The Chinese girl always thought of her as something from the past, something that they shouldn't really talk about. The memories related to her only brought pain so far and she would rather not talk about it. But it seemed that they had to talk about her, if only for this one time. The sister of a gang leader. Now that was troublesome. Mina held her breathing for a moment not knowing what to do or say.

There were mean people the world, she knew that. But never as she been that uncomfortable hearing about one. Neither Jamie or her had anything to fight with nor did she wish for a fight. All they really had was that one gun with no bullets. One would single firearm be enough to scare away a gang leader? She highly doubted that. So they really should not go south, that was settle now. taking one deep breath, Mina inched closer to Jamie and her hands reached out for his arm. She needed security and that act made her feel safe.

"It's okay, mister Larson." She simply said with her hands wrapped around his arm. "You did not do anything wrong, you did something good by taking Ziggy with you. It was very brave for not leaving her behind after learning this. I know I would have." It was true, if she were to know that they were traveling with the sister of a gang leader, she would have most likely ran away or let her alone without thinking twice. "I do not think of you as a lesser man, on the contrary you proved that you are very much of a better man. Better than most people in fact." She never really had older male friends or people to look up to but Jamie was now one of them.

"Let's go north," She then said as she moved to face him while still holding on to his arm. "We would most likely never meet those men from that gang if we keep moving north." At least that's what she liked to believe. While she was afraid now that she knew about Ziggy's brother she didn't feel that unsafe. Yes, they would be most certainly dead if they were to meet that man but Vancouver was a big city and they were tiny in comparison. With luck, and god knows that they will need that, they should be safe all the way along.

"Do you need some time, mister Larson?" Mina asked very softly. She didn't want to rush things. Maybe he just needed few minutes to clear his mind and then be able to travel. It would be best for them to leave this place. She felt that they should leave this place in the past, and everyone that was related to this place as well. And without knowing, a tear rolled down her face. She felt sadness by just thinking about leaving this place for some reason. She quickly wiped it away and did her best to smile at him.

"You are a good man, mister Larson."
She said to him with her maybe awkward smile. "Do not let anyone tell you that you are not." And she paused and nodded to herself. "I believe in your goodness." And she smiled again, this time more genuinely. "Shall we?" And she pointed north after asking.
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Jamie Larson
 Posted: Jan 9 2016, 10:39 PM
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Jamie had known Mina for less than a day, and based upon all his observations, she seemed like a genuinely kind person. He had no idea of how she was going to take all the new information in, what she’d think, what she’d say… But he felt he could trust her enough to tell her the truth, and she didn’t let him down in expectations. “Thank you for understanding.” He felt calmer at once, being able to smile again. And although she assured him he was a good person, it was only natural he would feel guilt. No matter how he’d looked at it, he always seem to come up with a ‘what if’ situation, wondering if he could have possibly done something to prevent her death. And not only her death, but the deaths of the other members. He could have expressed his deep sense of guilt to Mina, but there was no point anymore. He knew if he did, he wouldn’t feel any less guilty. Mina probably hinted at his feelings long before she even reassured him.

The man didn’t know what the contents of the letter was, but he wasn’t prepared to read it. Not now. Instead, he folded it back away inside the backpack and focused on the warmth of her arm, and on the sense of resolution he had just now gained now that his friend gave him her words of approval. The negative feelings still persisted, but the random memory of the snowball fight materialized into his head. Images of how Mina was feeling down, and how he tried to cheer her up by building a snowball. Maybe it was something he did in the moment, but he channeled those feelings and began singing a song as they began walking up north through the snowy path.

“Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby,”


The first few words bellowed somberly from the bottom of his heart, but found that the more he sang, the more cheerful the sound became, the guilt becoming more and more distant.

“Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me…”


The nurse’s voice murmured into silence. Throughout the entire melody, he hadn’t once looked at Mina, but once he finally had, he had a bright smile on his face. “How’s that for a lullaby?” He chuckled lightly, resisting commenting about how he was so good, it would make her mother cry. Not very tasteful, considering Mina’s current circumstances and the fact that her mother may now have been deceased. At least to him, the song was very calming, as his own mother would sing it to him when he was a young boy.

“It’ll be a while for the stars to come out, seeing its still day. But once they do, I want to wish on one like the song says. I think it’d be nice…” He mused to himself. Wishing upon a star was a bit of a cheesy thing to do, but it seemed appropriate. It would give them something else to do for entertainment on their long journey ahead.

“Well, we have all day. Come on, now!”
Jamie then lightly nudged the arm wrapped around him in encouragement. “What songs can you sing?”

And no, shying away would not be an option. Mina better have a good excuse if she did!
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Ming Na Leung
 Posted: Jan 10 2016, 01:19 AM
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Written by Eizer
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Mina was all smile when they both took their first steps north. She was still holding his arm but tried to give him some space to walk too. She was a bit surprised when Jamie started singing that old song. Well, it was old for her, maybe not so much for him. She heard that song before but couldn't remember the lyrics enough to sing with him. She felt that she could have mumbled words to the rhythm but decided not to. She would have ruined the moment anyway. So she just listened to him with a feeling of joy. He had a nice voice, much nicer than her singing voice.

The young girl was looking at the small footsteps they would leave behind for a moment before looking at the ground in front of her. Her feet were tiny, at least it looked that way compared to Jamie's. Mina thought that it was funny to have such small feet even with her boots. Her attention shifted to look at the nurse as he looked at her. And she smiled at him with her cheeks slowly going pink. It was nice of him for singing that song.

"It is a nice lullaby," Mina said while giggling like a little girl. "We should definitely look for shooting stars. Who knows? Maybe it will shine for us." And then he asked her to sing something as well. To which she quickly released his arm and shook her head but then laughed softly. "I don't think I have a nice singing voice like you do, mister Larson." Mina told him with her hands covering her mouth. "I find that my voice is too high pitched. My singing is even worse, you do not want to hear it." She then laughed while still half covering her mouth with her hands.

"And beside, I do not know a lot of songs. Well, maybe I do but they are all silly." She only knew those pop songs from the 2010s or so seeing that she was only twenty years old. She didn't knew them very much neither, just the chorus or the rhythm of it. Her mother did like karaoke, a lot of Asians did, but she never really took pleasure in those kind of things. Like a lot of teenagers, she hated her voice and thus, didn't sing a lot. She did had to admit that she did sing it the shower.

But she did try to think of a song to sing anyway. She even stopped walking for a moment and looked at ground while thinking of one. "Erm," Mina closed her eyes for a moment and then cleared her throat. She let a huge sigh slip out of her lips and rubbed her hands together. "Do not laugh," she said while pointing a finger at Jamie. Taking a deep breath, and a small laughter, she started singing very, very quietly at first.

"Hey... I just met you...
And this is crazy..."


And she laughed at herself. That sound was kind of silly, especially coming from her. That's what she thought at least. But after laughing, she took another deep breath and paused for a moment. "Let me start over." Mina said before singing a bit louder.

"Hey! I just met you...
And this is crazy!
But here's my number...
So call me maybe!"


Mina then began spinning in circle with her hands on her heart for moment and just laughing at how bad she must have sounded. But it made her feel better so she continued as she stopped spinning.

"It's hard to look right at you baby!
But here's my number...
So call me maybe!"


And she stopped singing and took a good look at the Nurse. "You can laugh." She simply said to him before giggling. Mina then walked back to be next to him and grabbed his arm once more. "I know, it's a stupid song but that's the only one that came to my mind." After that, it was time to go back to walking for a bit. But she felt that the air was much lighter now. "Mister Larson," the girl then said while turning her head to look at him. "Thanks for making me feel better."
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