After my first and only failed kill (!!!), I crept back down to that spot by the creek to finish watching Lily pretty up the hole. My mind was screwed up from the shock of having walked away from a kill. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m even me anymore—is that girl really a swamp witch, and did she transform me into somebody else while I wasn’t looking? After I was all done watching her and came back to my tent, I took a quick look in a compact mirror I’d stolen off a previous victim and found that I at least still looked like me. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m still me…
Anyway, I watched her prettying up that hole for at least another twenty-five minutes, and then I heard her begin to murmur under her breath. I strained my ears to hear what she was saying, and when I couldn’t hear from my distance, I silently crept closer and closer. Don’t turn around, I silently pleaded. Please, don’t turn the hell around. If she caught me spying on her, I would be branded with the Scarlet J for all eternity—J for “jackass.”
Lily was praying. She was praying for the dead guy, like this was some kind of memorial service (I’ve never been to a memorial service once, but I know what goes on at them from TV). She didn’t know his name, had never seen him alive at any point in her life (or at least, that’s what she told me), and he meant nothing to her, yet she was praying for him and setting up a makeshift funeral as if he had been her brother or husband.
What the fuck was wrong with this girl?!
I strolled over there and caught her by the shoulder. Her praying ceased, and she looked up at me with those big-ass eyes that I always found quite creepy. “So you do know this guy,” I told her. I made myself sound very displeased that she had lied to me, and I was.
She shook her head. “No, I don’t.”
“Bullshit,” I said, giving her a rough shake. “You don’t just pray for people you don’t know, nor do you cry for them, or make pretty little graves for them…if you don’t know someone and they’re dead, you leave ‘em alone. That’s what any normal person does, anyhow.” I no longer cared that she knew I had been spying.
“The poor guy doesn’t have anybody else to pray for him right now,” Lily said, “so I’ve got to.”
“Like that’ll do him any good now.” I released her and began to walk away. Lily returned to her prayer for the dead guy she didn’t know and never would. I rolled my eyes, finding this to be one of the most ridiculous things I’d ever seen anybody do.
That’s when I heard her say, “Oh, and God? About Blade Queen…”
I had to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming. I ran back to the tent like I had rockets attached to me.