(Deanna Hull continued from Lucifer Fell)
Was the edge of this pond really the best place to spend the night, safety-wise?
Probably not, but at this point, Dee didn't much care. She guessed Ruby didn't either. Dee liked this spot. She liked the pond, because it wasn't the ocean. She liked the sparse trees. She liked that there were a couple benches to sleep on, and feel like a hobo, or at least like some cool college girl backpacking across Europe.
There were feeders with birdseed, and that perked her up too, but whatever was left had turned into a mushy mass that looked pretty gross. Too bad.
"Hey Kyran. Uh... this is the last of the birdseed I took. You want some?"
"I'll, uh, see if Cammy wants some too."
"You know, I made up a name for you in my head a while back. Probably shouldn't say it, but whatever."
"Oh fuck Kyran. What name?"
It was fine, though. The night turned out to be nice. Dee and Ruby took turns sleeping, no one came by, and Dee held a gun for the first time. It was a bizarre gun; it was apparently some kind of submachine thing but it didn't look like the movies. For something that took both hands to hold, it was surprisingly light. She guessed that was a good thing. She could probably fire it, even with her scrawny arms.
By morning, Dee was pacing anxiously by the bench, stuffing a half-eaten final ration bar back in her bag and examining her nails as she waited for the announcement.
The first thing it said was that Ruby had killed Sharon Austin after all.
Dee took a peek at Ruby to see how she would take it.
"Uh, you OK, Ruby?"
Danya rattled off the next couple names. The Pattons. Dee didn't much like either of them.
Ruby would be. OK. They hadn't thought about it much before, so let's continue that going forward.
Rosemary. On the swim team. Nice but just sorta there, always sad or something. Rachael Langdon. Dee was surprised both of those two lasted so long, really.
She coughed and looked for something else to focus on while the announcements finished. The feeders were still there. Maybe the birdseed would end up edible after all? Probably not but she'd go over and take a look before they left and
"--Last but not least, Joe Carrasco shot Kyran Dean to death when he decided he was too cool for respecting firepower."
She sat on the bench with her head down. She felt sick. Her ankle hurt again. Maybe it had never stopped hurting.
Dee wasn't screaming or wailing. She couldn't. The sick wouldn't vocalize. It festered instead and built inside her and she wanted to die.
She sniffed and felt Ruby trying to comfort her or something. Didn't care.
Big fat tears. She didn't know tears could get so big.
Dee bent her head another inch and they rolled off her nose and lip like beads of sweat.
No snot or spit yet, at least. That was a positive.
She could always find one positive.
The sun was rising now. Dee was still on the bench. It wasn't like she was rooted there; she kept returning to it every time she got up. That was all.
Joe Carrasco. Kyran Dean.
"We should go," she said to Ruby, voice small.
The sick had festered and built.
Now she had to find them both.
(Deanna Hull continued in Paper Conquest)