Saturday, June 28, 2014


Chapter 28

*Courtney Tern*
I watch Sophia and Leo finish burying Debbie with a growing feeling of dread prickling down my spine. Once Debbie’s funeral is done, Dean’s will be next.
I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to handle it.
Jack puts a reassuring hand on my shoulder. “It will be okay,” he murmurs in my ear.
I don’t respond. My mind is a jumble of thoughts and emotions; I can barely think straight, much less form words.
I resurface to the present as Leo turns away from Debbie’s grave and pushes through the crowd, tears streaming soundlessly down his cheeks. He disappears from our sight before anyone can move to follow him.
Awkwardly, Alex breaks the silence. “Um, I guess we hold Dean’s funeral now...”
A murmur travels through the crowd and someone calls out, “We don’t have his body!”
This time, it’s Sophie who speaks. “We don’t need to have his body to honor him,” she snaps.
Alex turns to her. “Would you like to speak first?”
“No,” she mutters.
“Well, then,” Alex says, looking around at the rest of us, “would any of you like to speak?”
Dead silence.
Then, on an impulse, I raise my hand.
“I want to.” It’s the first thing I’ve said all day.
All heads turn to me.
“You?” Alex looks hesitant.
“Yeah, me,” I respond determinedly.
But before I can continue on, Sophie steps in front of me. “What makes you think you’re allowed to speak at Dean’s funeral?” she snarls.
I back up. “I just--”
She cuts me off again. “You’re the one who killed him.”
I can’t find any words to say.
“You killed him. You have no right to speak at his funeral!” Sophie yells. “You have no right to look at his grave!”
“I’m sorry, Sophie, I--” Tears spring into my eyes and I’m unable to go on. I wipe them away, angry with myself.
“Don’t cry, Courtney,” Sophie whispers, venom lacing her voice. “You have no right to cry. You can’t cry over a death when you caused it!”
Her tone crescendos to a devastated shout. “You killed him. I’ll never see him again, and it’s all your fault. You killed him. You killed him! He’s never coming back. He’s gone, because of you! You MONSTER!”
“Sophie...” My voice cracks.
“Get out of my sight,” she says, turning her back on me.
“Sophie, please,” I cry out desperately.
“I never want to see you again. LEAVE!” she roars.
I turn and run.


Chapter 27

*Alex Peng*
Leo looks around at us, then down at Debbie’s grave. He closes his eyes for just a moment, then starts to speak.
“Debbie once told me she felt like she was way too small, compared to the universe, to make a difference in it. She was afraid of its enormity, and afraid of her own insignificance,” he says. “She thought she could never be as big or as important as the universe.”
We glance at each other, unsure of where he’s going with this. It doesn’t really seem like something to be said at a funeral.
“Have you ever tried to count the number of colors in a rainbow?” Leo asks, addressing all of us.
His seemingly irrelevant words take us by surprise. Finally, Chris slowly says, “You can’t.”
Leo nods. “That’s because there are infinite shades of colors in a single rainbow. Blue, green, blue-green, blue-blue-green... the list never ends. But have you ever actually thought about that? The rainbow itself is finite, but what it contains is infinite. And that means that small things can contain a huge, mind-blowing amount of things.
“Well, Debbie was -- is -- that rainbow. Her physical form is finite, but her mind, the world inside her, the one that I’ve always loved... that is truly infinite.”
Now, Leo turns to Debbie, tears welling up in his eyes as he casts them upon her halcyon face. I can tell that, although there’s a crowd listening in, he’s speaking only for her ears.
“And that’s my answer to you, after all this time. You’re small, but you contain more than the universe itself. For the universe contains only finite objects, while you are and will always be... infinite.”
At last, a tear slides down his cheek and falls, tarnishing the churned-up ground with the anguish of a shattered heart.

*Sophia Song*
At last, Leo steps back and wipes his tears, melting into the crowd. All that’s left is the whistle of wind in the leaves of the tree.
I’m so caught up in my own thoughts that I don’t even realize that Alex is speaking again until Gene nudges my shoulder. Looking up, I blush under the spotlight of dozens of eyes, realizing that Alex must’ve just asked me a question and is waiting for an answer.
“Uh... come again?” I ask nervously.
Alex sighs. “It’s your turn to speak, if you want to. Do you?”
“Er...” My voice trails off as I try to decide.
What would I say? What is there worth saying?
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, you know,” Gene says, his voice gentle.
My eyes wander over the crowd in front of me and settle on Leo. He’s watching me intently, as if he’s curious to see what I will do. The look on his face takes me aback, though. He looks almost reproachful, like he thinks I’m just another one of those fools -- like I wouldn’t honor the savior of my life.
I owe her this, I tell myself. I have to say something to honor her.
“I will,” I say.
Taking a deep breath, I summon all my courage and walk towards Debbie’s grave. The seconds stretch out. The journey takes minutes... hours... days...
Finally, I come to a stop.
“Hi, Debbie,” I start, aware of how awkward I am. Of how clueless I am when it comes to funeral eulogies.
“Um, well, I guess I didn’t really know you very well...” For the umpteenth time today, my voice peters out. What was I supposed to say, anyways? Tell her that I felt lucky to have been her friend? That I enjoyed working with her, enjoyed being the sacrifice that took her out of this world? Enjoyed getting her killed?
“Some things just can’t be described with words,” I say. “You are one of those things.
“You didn’t even know me. We knew each other for only a couple days before going on that mission together. And yet, you saved me. I don’t know why, and I never will. But you sacrificed yourself for me -- me, a stranger. You saved my life, and that’s a debt I can’t repay, not ever.”
I steal a glance at Leo. His expression is a mix of enervation and something else... respect? Relief?
Feeling reinvigorated, I forge on. I’m speaking to everyone now. “Debbie’s life was so much more than just a life, and her sacrifice was more than just a sacrifice. I thought she stopped fighting, but she actually only stopped fighting for herself. She never stopped fighting for me. And this isn’t the end. The number of lives she’s touched through her own... like Leo said -- infinite. Each one of those lives are changed forever because of Debbie Dong, and she lives on in those lives. She’ll forever be reflected in the things around her. The freedom of her spirit lives in the wind. The endlessness of her determination lives in the ocean. The eternity of her soul lives in the stars... and right here.” I touch my fingertips to my chest, where a faint thump-thump resonated through my ribcage. “In the hearts of every last one of us who have experienced her warmth.”
“Not only does she contain infinity. She will always be infinity.”
I turn to Leo. “Will you do the honors?”
He faces me, the dark pools of his eyes boring into mine.
“Yes,” he whispers, barely audible.
He reaches down with two cupped hands and fills them with earth. The old, musty smell fills my nostrils for just a moment.
Then he spills the dirt over Debbie’s body. He gathers up more dirt and lets it tumble down over her, covering her slim frame with its dark brown shades. Over and over again, until only the outline of her form is visible.
I bend down next to Leo and help him. We work side by side, silent but efficient. By the time we’re finished, the sun is well below the horizon.
Finally, Leo scatters one last handful across her grave.
“Good night, Debbie,” he whispers. “Sleep tight.”

And Debbie is gone.


Chapter 26

*Saket Bikmal*
I’ve been watching all of the drama unfold without saying a word. I doubt if anyone has even noticed me up to this point.
As Suchet backs away from Leo and tears out of Town Hall, I steal a glance at Sophie. Even with the weight of Dean’s departure on her shoulders, she still looks as beautiful and strong as always. Not even death would put out the fire in her eyes.
So far, Sophie hasn’t even looked at me once. I know that I have to give her some time to heal from the recent tragedy, but at the same time I yearn to be with her. Of course, she would never accept my comfort, much less my love. It is too soon after her boyfriend’s death for her to find someone new.
But she would learn to move on eventually, right? I have a chance... don’t I?
I turn these questions over in my head repeatedly, puzzling over possible answers. However, before I can ponder this further, Leo interrupts my thoughts. “Now that he’s out of the way, we should get down to business.”
To everyone’s surprise, Ramya -- of all people, quiet, timid Ramya -- rises to defend Suchet. “It wasn’t his fault that people got hurt, Leo. He was just doing what he thought was right.”
“Well, Suchet must have some pretty messed up morals if he thinks letting people die is ‘right,’” Leo says, scowling.
“It’s not his fault,” Ramya insists.
Leo ignores her.
Looking frustrated, Ramya scoots her chair back with a thump and stands up. “You aren’t being fair to him, you know,” she says, and proceeds to march out of Town Hall.
An expression of confusion and puzzlement flits across Leo’s features. He opens his mouth to respond, then closes it.
“You know what? Screw this,” Chris adds. “Let’s go, Sara.” He grabs Sara’s arm and drags her out with him, their footsteps echoing in the otherwise silent hall.
Leo looks even more obfuscated. “Wh-- what’s going on? Why are you all leaving?”
“These meetings are so pointless. It’s just you and Suchet arguing all the time,” Jack says, standing up and taking Courtney’s hand. The two of them start making their way to the doors as well.
“Wait, but Suchet’s not even here anymore!” Leo protests at their retreating backs.
“He’s our leader, you know,” Jack calls over his shoulder. “No matter what he’s done, you can’t just kick him out like that without letting him explain himself!”
Burying his face in his hands, Leo lets out a muffled whimper.
“Are you okay, Leo?” I say.
“No,” Leo mumbles. “I’ll never be okay. Can’t you see that?”
I don’t know what to say, so I stay silent.
“Come on, let’s go,” Gene says quietly to Sophia. “Don’t take it personally,” he adds to Leo on his way out. Sophia follows him.
At this point, there are only six people left in Town Hall: Leo, Sophie, Alex, Nidhi, Alisha, and me. “Everything’s falling apart,” Leo murmurs. “Because of me.” He stands up abruptly and sprints out of Town Hall, shaking his head and muttering to himself.
Sophie and I exchange looks, a look of worry creasing her forehead.
“I guess we should go,” Alex says, speaking for the first time.
He glances around at us as if he’s just noticed the sullen looks on our faces. “I think we need to organize something that will distract people. Something to take our minds off of this fight so we can start over later.”
“A funeral,” Sophie says.
We all turn to stare at her.
Alex blinks, surprised. “Say what?”
“A funeral for Dean and Debbie,” she repeats.
“Uh... why?” Alex stammers.
“Well, you wanted a distraction, right?” Sophie snaps, suddenly sounding angry. “Why not take away their anger and replace it with grief? You leaders don’t care about how we feel anyways. None of you do.”
With those curt words, she turns and storms out.

*Leo Qi*
We assemble ourselves around Debbie’s final resting place. I’d requested for her grave to be just below the tree where she liked to watch the sunset.
The hole they dug is too big for her. It makes her look so small, so insignificant, and I remember her telling me how tiny and useless we were when compared to the grand scheme of things.
I stare down at her body, surrounded by dark, damp dirt. They haven’t covered it yet. We’re all supposed to say something to her, then bury her together.
The sun is just beginning to set, casting red and orange beams on Debbie’s serene face. The sunset is especially beautiful tonight, scattering rays of every color across the cloudless sky. She would’ve wanted to see it.
“Leo?” Alex’s voice jolts me out of my thoughts. “Would you like to say a few words?”
A few words?
A few words?
Debbie is not a few words. Debbie is a world of words and more, a world of beauty and happiness and love.
Debbie was my life.
Not just a few words.
Now is my chance to tell everyone what Debbie is worth. About the world she meant to me. Means to me.
Will always mean to me.

I step forward and clear my throat.


Chapter 25

*Alisha Qian*
I storm out of Town Hall, so furious that I feel like I’m about to explode. How dare he call me a little girl?
Just when I’m about to leave the city, I hear the patter of footsteps behind me. Turning around, I see Ramya approach me hesitantly.
“Hey, Alisha...” she mumbles.
“Yeah?” I say sharply.
“Um... Suchet wants you to go back,” Ramya stammers. “He says he’s sorry for being a jerk.”
“He should be,” I mutter. “Tell me why I should go back.”
“I don’t know,” Ramya admits, faltering as she searches for a reason. “Because... uh, we need your help?” Her voice ends in a questioning tone.
What a fool. “Fine. I’ll go back, but this is his last chance.”
Ramya smiles with relief. “Thank you.”
I shrug. “Don’t thank me just yet.”

I follow Ramya into Town Hall, putting on a mask of confidence and getting ready to show Suchet up, should he say or do anything offending.
I stop just inside the double doors and survey the teenagers sitting before me. “I’m here.”
Instead of the condescending, patronizing looks everyone gave me previously, I’m greeted by stares of awe and wonder. Everyone’s goggling at me as if I’ve grown a third foot.
I turn to Ramya. “I thought Suchet was the only one with mental issues. Are all of these people unable to talk or something?”
One of them, a tall Chinese boy, comes to his senses. “Uh, no. We were just surprised.”
“Right,” I say, drawing out the word in a cynical, satirical tone.
Before I can make another withering remark, though, Suchet clears his throat. “Hello, Alisha.”
I focus my attention on him. “Hello, Suchet,” I say, mimicking him sarcastically.
“Sorry about what I said before,” he says awkwardly. “I changed my mind.”
“Wise choice,” I say with a smirk. “Does the new one work any better? And where’d you put the diaper?”
Suchet’s ears turn red.
“Yeah, I was right. The wheel’s turning, but the hamster’s definitely dead,” I taunt. “Come on. You’re supposed to be the brain of this little gang. Act your age, not your IQ! Say something intelligent. Make us all faint of surprise!”
“That’s enough,” Suchet snaps, his face flushed with color. “We need to start planning.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” I say before he can go further. “Who’s ‘we’? Since when am I helping you?”
Suchet falters. “Well, I thought you were helping us, since you came back--”
I hold up a finger to silence him. “I agreed to come back. I didn’t agree to help you in any way, shape, or form.”
“Er, well...” Suchet trails off, and I give him a triumphant smile.
“But I don’t care. I’ll help you if you want me to. Got nothing else to do anyways,” I finish.
He nods, still looking a bit nettled. “Yeah. That works.”
I help myself into a chair and sit down, swinging my legs under the table. “So. What do you all have so far? Your plan, I mean.”
Suchet sits forward in his own seat, his eyes lighting up at the mention of his plan. “We have the key now, so we just have to charge head-on and force Christy into the prison. Then, all we need to do is lock it, and we’ll be golden.”
They’re going nowhere. I sigh and say, “Are you freaking stupid or something?”
He bristles. “Excuse me?”
I lean back in my chair. “So how do you plan to get Christy into the Cosmo Prison?”
“Easy. We force her in. We’ve got more than forty people now; sheer manpower will overwhelm her.” He smiles, radiating arrogance.
I raise my eyebrows. “Oh, really?”
“I thought that was obvious,” he says with a roll of his eyes.
“Keep rolling your eyes, Suchet, maybe someday you’ll find a brain back there,” I sneer. “Because -- shocker -- how do you plan to get her into the prison when you don’t even know where it is?”
Suchet gapes at me. “I-- I never thought of that.”
I snort. “The thought just crossed your mind, huh? Must’ve been a long, lonely journey.”
Luckily for Suchet, Ramya jumps in to save him. “We haven’t had a lot of time to plan,” she says. “You raise a good point, and I think that should be our next focus. We need to find the Cosmo Prison.”
“We should send out teams of scouts. Like, spread out,” Suchet adds, casting a grateful glance at Ramya.
“Again, are you stupid? Were you dropped on your head as a baby, or perhaps thrown headfirst at a wall?” I snap back, interrupting his brief return of confidence. “Because the Cosmo Prison could probably be anywhere in the world. No matter how many scouts you send out, there’s a strong chance that we’ll never find it.”
His tone disheartened, Suchet mumbles, “So what do you think we should do?”
Finally, a chance to lead. I sit up straighter. “Well, think it through, Suchet. Give that brain of yours a trial run. We need to find the Cosmo Prison. We have a lot of people, but manpower is ruled out. What’s the next best thing?”
Watching Suchet think is like watching a color-blind person solve a Rubik’s Cube: the gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming. Finally, the gears start creaking and his eyes light up. “Spying.”
I beamed at the group. “Exactly. And if what I’ve heard is true, Christy’s two strongest allies are unable to help her.”
“So you’re saying that someone will have to join her,” Suchet says slowly.
I nod. “Then, our agent can spy on her to find out where the Cosmo Prison is.”
All of the other kids have been quiet so far, but now, one of them -- a  Chinese girl with glasses -- questions me, “But how do you know that Christy can lead us to the Cosmo Prison? What if she’s as clueless as the rest of us?”
I stare at her, unable to believe her stupidity. “Are you serious? Do you really don’t know? Christy escaped from the Cosmo Prison, idiot. Of course she would know where it is. You must be from the shallow end of the gene pool.”
The girl glares back. “Who are you calling stupid?”
I tap my fingers on the table, pretending to think. “Hmm, I don’t know. What’s your name?”
Someone snickers. “Ooh, burned.”
Suppressing a laugh, Ramya says, “Her name is Sophia.”
“Well, Sophia,” I say in a scalding tone, “maybe you should actually think next time.”
Her forehead burning scarlet, Sophia suddenly develops an interest in the tablecloth.
“Geez, Alisha,” the boy next to her admonishes. “Lay off her.”
I smirk at him. “Whatever. We actually need to start planning now anyways.”
Suchet nods in agreement.
“All right.” I try to make my tone more businesslike. “We’ve established what we need to do, so we need to decide who will be undertaking the task.”
My words are met with silence as everyone exchanges nervous glances.
“Well?” I raise my eyebrows at the others, trying to dissipate the uneasiness. “Nominations, volunteers, anyone?”
“It has to be someone whom Christy hasn’t met yet,” Suchet warns.
Sophia pushes back her chair and stands up. “I’ll do it.”
The boy sitting next to her grabs her by the shoulders. “No way. I’m not letting you out of my sight again,” he snaps.
“Aww, how cute,” I mutter with a sardonic smile. “But we seriously need someone to step up.”
A tall Asian boy speaks up, pointing at Suchet. “Let him do it.”
Suchet’s eyes widen, and I see the fear and uncertainty within them. “Me? You’re crazy, Leo.”
“Well, who else would you volunteer?” Leo challenges. “Who else is left?”
Suchet winces, and I can tell that Leo’s words hit a nerve. “I told you, I can’t--”
“Then MAKE IT HAPPEN!” Leo roars, leaning over the table. “It’s not like we can’t survive without you!”
“Guys!” I yell, raising my voice over their shouting. “Quiet down, we can work this out!”
“No, we can’t,” Leo growls as he stands up and walks over to Suchet’s seat. “I’ve had enough of your crap, Suchet. Get the freak out.”
Looking terrified, Suchet stares up at Leo’s rage-filled face. “Wait, please--”
Leo grabs Suchet by the arm and hurls him towards the door. “Out.”
Suchet scrambles to his feet. “Okay, okay--”

NOW!” Leo bellows.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Chapter 24

*Sara Fuller*
“Thank God you’re safe, Chris,” I murmur as I crush Chris in the tightest bear hug I’ve ever given anybody in my life.
“I might not be safe if it weren’t for Debbie,” he mutters in my ear, then pulls away.
“It wasn’t your fault, you know,” I console him, in an attempt to quell the storm of his guilt. However, my words have the exact opposite effect.
“It was my fault!” Chris explodes. His hands shaking, he balls his fingers into a fist and punches the wall next to him. His knuckles start bleeding, but he doesn’t stop. “You don’t understand. I could’ve stopped time; I could’ve saved her!”
”But-- I-- DIDN’T!” he shouts, his voice cracking. “I didn’t save her, and now she’s gone. Gone.” His face is contorted with pain and sorrow.
“Chris, calm down, it’s okay,” I try.
“No, it’s not--”
I cut him off. “Come on, we should go check on Sophia and Leo.” Without waiting for a reply, I grab his arm and drag him with me.

The sight that greets us at Town Hall makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry for hours. Sophia looks slightly dazed; her eyes wander around the room listlessly, as if she’s not completely in the present. Gene is clutching her hand as if he’d never let go of it -- he must’ve heard how close Sophia came to dying. Suchet doesn’t look any worse for the wear, but Alex is slouched in his seat, dejected and sullen-looking, probably more upset over the partial failure of his plan than the sudden departure of our friend. Sophie’s arms are folded in a way that makes her look like she’s hugging herself -- a quick glance around the room alerts me to Dean’s absence, although I have yet to figure out why he’s not here. Courtney’s face is buried in her hands; her sobs are almost silent, but still audible, and I can’t help but wonder why she’s crying. Jack is whispering something to her as he pats her shoulder, but it doesn’t seem to be helping.
And Leo? He’s sitting alone, staring off into empty space, probably thinking about Debbie. I know they were a couple, and my gut twists with sympathy when I see the empty vacuum beside him, where Debbie used to sit. Although he’s not crying at the moment, his eyes are glazed with tears, but no one moves to comfort him.
Presently, as Chris and I sit down in our usual seats, Suchet clears his throat.
“As many of you have heard, Chris and Sophia were successful in their mission to steal the key to the Cosmo Prison.” With a self-satisfied smile, Suchet takes the key from his pocket and places it on the table.
“Now, retrieving this key was no easy task,” he continues. “Two of our own -- Dean Zhang and Debbie Dong -- sacrificed their lives to see the mission to its end.”
Dean? Dean is dead?
Shocked, I steal a glance at Sophie. Her face pales at the mention of his name, her eyes filling with tears.
Somehow, Suchet still manages to keep his tone light, as if he was discussing the weather. “We have the key, but for a price. Debbie and Dean were true heroes. Without their strength and bravery--”
A voice interrupts him in the middle of his cheesy, meaningless tirade.
“Bull,” Leo snaps, standing up so fast that his chair falls backwards with a jarring crash. He stalks right up to Suchet, glowering down at the shorter boy. “Complete bull.”
Suchet looks genuinely surprised. “You don’t agree with what I’m saying?”
“Your words can’t mean anything when you don’t believe in them yourself,” Leo retorts. “You don’t care about Debbie or Dean. All you care about is that your stupid plan succeeded in bringing back the key.” His voice rises in volume, making Suchet cower like a cornered mouse. “Well, guess what? It didn’t succeed! How can a plan succeed when two people -- one of them your right-hand man -- are dead?”
Suddenly, Suchet’s countenance changes. His eyes narrowing, he puffs up his chest and says, "But without the plan -- my plan -- we wouldn't have the key or any hope for survival!" He picks up the key and shakes it in Leo's face.
"You mean that you wouldn't have the key, that you would have no hope for survival," Leo snarls, "because you only care about yourself. You wouldn't risk your own neck. The rest of us could just die for all you care, as long as your sorry skin is safe!"
“That’s not true!” Suchet protests indignantly.
“Then why don’t you go on the next mission?” Leo challenges.
“Because I’m the leader, and people need me,” Suchet snaps back.
“Are you saying that you’re more valuable than Debbie and Dean? Are you saying that all of us are expendable?” Leo shouts, his fists clenched. “Because that’s exactly what it sounds like!”
At this point, Suchet is yelling as well. “No, I’m not! I didn’t ask to be the leader!”
“Oh, yeah?” Leo growls. “So who died and made you king?”
However, before Suchet can say something that would only exacerbate the situation, one of the gang kids bursts into Town Hall, interrupting the intense air initiated by the shouting match.
“What is it, Ramya?” Suchet asks, sounding exasperated by the intrusion.
“There’s someone outside,” Ramya says. “A little girl. She says she wants to talk to Debbie.”
Suchet sighs, picks up the key, and puts it back in his pocket. “Debbie’s dead. Bring the girl in here.”
Ramya’s eyes widen, but she leaves to fetch the girl without saying a word.

A minute later, the double doors of Town Hall swing open to reveal Ramya with a younger Asian girl in tow.
“Everyone, this is Alisha,” Ramya says, gesturing towards the new girl. “Alisha, this is Suchet, the gang leader.”
Alisha is the youngest survivor I’ve seen so far -- she looks to be ten or eleven years old. She has lightly tanned skin, delicate childlike features, shaggy hair of medium length, and bangs that hang over her wide, innocent eyes.
Suchet shakes her hand, then cuts right to the chase. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m Jayce’s half-sister,” she says. “He spied on you and sold your plans off to Christy to keep me safe, and I’m here to repair the damage.”
Before Suchet can respond, Leo jumps in. “What plans?”
“Jayce told Christy about your plan to steal the key,” Alisha replies.
Leo’s jaw goes slack. “So he was the traitor who caused Dean and Debbie to die,” he snarls.
Alisha drops her gaze to her sneakers. “Yeah,” she says quietly.
Leo just turns away, his balled fists trembling.
Ignoring the interruption, Suchet starts talking again. “So what makes you think you could help us, little girl?”
“The name’s Alisha, thank you very much,” Alisha snaps. “And I’m not just a little girl.”
“Tell me, then, how you might be useful to us,” Suchet responds in a condescending tone.
“Living on the streets has taught me a lot of useful things,” she says. “Things you wouldn’t have had to figure out because you have an advantage.”
Suchet snorts with derision. “You’re just a little girl. Get out.”
She folds her arms and stares him down, unmoving.
He storms up to her and jabs a finger in her face. “Get. OUT!”
Suddenly submissive, Alisha backs down. Cocking an eyebrow, she says, “Okay, if you insist. But first, you might need this.”
With that, she reaches into her pocket and takes something out. I only register a bronze glint before she throws it at Suchet. He fumbles for a moment before finally catching it, and we get a good look at it.
Then we all do a double take.
It’s the key.
“Wh--?” Suchet’s mouth is hanging open as he pats his pockets and turns them inside out, revealing that the key indeed was not there.
“See you around,” Alisha says with mock cheeriness. Then, she turns on her heel and stalks out, slamming the double doors behind her.