Kylia looks at me with one eyebrow raised. “You said ‘she.’ How do you know that?”
“Um…” I flail around in my mind, desperately trying to think of an excuse or explanation.
“Slip of the tongue?”
She seems unconvinced. “Well, I think the Social Media Killer person is doing a pretty mean thing to a lot of people. My friends argue about it all the time, so I’ve heard all the sides.”
“I agree,” I say. And I trail off, failing to think of anything else worthwhile to add that won’t further implicate me and possibly get me attacked.
Honestly it seems like she’s fairly harmless. She might be a pent-up ball of anger on the inside, but there’s no way she could put up that much of a fight, right? Then again, Karina can kick my ass if she needs to, and she’s the human manifestation of a tater tot. Height and muscle mass definitely aren’t the decisive factors in every fighter.
We bring all the food in, and Mr. Burrow puts it all away in the correct spots. As an accountant, I assume he’s the anal one of the family.
I finish up the last of the interview questions with Ms. Zein-Burrow, just some filler “would you rather” or “desert island movie” questions Karina thought up for me. I am somehow able to keep my cover through all of this. I underestimated my own skill. Wow.
After it’s all over, I make my way back to the front door.
“Thank you so much for your time, Ms. Burrow,” I say. “It was an honor speaking to you.”
“You sure you don’t wanna stay for dinner?” she asks. “We got spaghetti tonight, and Arnold makes it real good.”
“I’m sure, but thank you,” I say. “The photographer will come by in a few days, so we’ll call you again when they’re coming out.”
I feel like I’ve exhausted the energy of the Tracy Silver character. My real self is all that’s left, and I’m not a very compelling person to sit at a dinner table with.
Turning down free food always hurts.
Kylia walks up beside her mother and waves. “Nice meeting you,” she says.
“And thanks for your lovely answers, darling,” I say. “Very nice talking with you.”
And I leave the Burrow residence.
Wow, that was close.
Kylia really doesn’t seem like the type to become some sort of internet vigilante. She looks so innocent and apparently studies really hard. But you really never know with these types of people. Rich people can go completely off the rails, the way they’re raised sometimes, even if they are really polite. Especially down here with all our Southern Hospitality being turned into rabid passive-aggressiveness.
But still… her personality was like Karina crossed with a puppy.
I’m somewhat worried that my face was enough to find me and send someone to kill me in my sleep. I probably should have borrowed some fake glasses or something to obscure me a little. I learned a lot, but the amount of actual evidence about the Social Media Killer I collected was next to none. It’s going to be tough to piece this together, so I hope R8PR is up for an analytic challenge.
I walk home through the dimly-lit neighborhood, back towards the bus stop from where I came. It’s probably faster to go to the nearest train station, but I’d have to find a different bus that goes to that station, and that’s probably too hard for me.
My cellular rings. I wonder who… Oh.
Crap. “Hey, it’s Mark,” the voice on the phone says. “I haven’t heard from you in a bit. How are things holding up, Morgan?”
In the frenzy of the past few days I have barely been able to communicate with my own brother. I wonder if Marge has told him everything just to get back at me for something I did when I was eleven?
“It’s going okay,” I say. “I’m just walking back home from, uh, work.”
“Have you been making the rounds on getting ready to leave?” he asks.
“Ah, not yet– work’s been really busy this week.”
“Oh, I imagine everything’s been busy in Atlanta this week. I’ve hear all on the news about that hacker who’s been really active lately.”
“Yeah, it’s… not great for business.”
“Well, people do what they have to do,” says Mark. “It’ll all settle out in the end.” Mark Harding, always the pragmatic one.
I try to stay casual. “So, is there anything else specific I might need to–”
A figure drops from the shadows in front of me and suddenly jumps towards me. I lose grip of my cellular and it falls to the ground.
The figure begins attacking me, slicing at me with sharpened knives. A nearby street lamp reflects the glint of the metal, giving me the only thing I can easily track as the figure weaves around me.
I swerve and dodge and slide backwards towards the street lamp so I can actually see what I’m up against.
It’s– a girl wearing a thin mask covering her entire face except her eyes, and an all-black outfit hiding her in against the night.
No mercy to be given.
So I won’t hold anything back.
We begin a dance. She cries out in yells, making stabbing motions at me and attempting to take me down as best she can. I continue to dodge and try to swat the knives out of her hands. With a punch I get one to the ground, and she backflips away from me.
“STAY AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!” she screams. Her knife lights up with purple electricity, further illuminating her masked face.
Ah crap, it’s another Magitek weapon– a magi-knife. It shoots out sparks of energy as she continues to slice at me, and I can barely dodge it in time not to get hit. She’s good. Way too good.
I attempt to punch her; one knock to the face will send her to the ground, and then I can– ah crap!
She slices open my left arm, thankfully avoiding my veins, but electricity surges into it and disables it.
–It hurts like hell! This is way more powerful than that stupid wand!
She kicks me onto the ground and jumps on top of me.
“Come near my family again, and I will not hesitate to kill you,” she says. She stabs me through the shoulder three times, each of them shocking me as the blade enters.
For the first time, I get a good look at her eyes.
This isn’t Kylia.
This is her sister.
I cry out and yell, but by the time I can move my right hand to try and grab at her wrist, she kicks me in the chin–
And I’m out.