Thana: After killing Justice The next day, I wake up with panic blossoming in my chest. It’s Monday, I realise, but it takes a while for my brain to remember school is out till they tell us it’s not. I moan into my pillow. All the crying I did last night takes its toll on me. My head is pounding. Kieran comes in seconds later, making me know she must have had her ears plastered to my bedroom door. I scootch to make room for her. “How are you feeling?” she asks, pressing her cold icy hand to my temple. A shiver racks through me and I whimper. “Oh dear, you have a fever.” I kind of figured it out when everything, including my bed, felt like a block of ice. She orders me into the bathroom while I strip my pyjamas and wrap a towel around myself, collapsing on the tiled floor. She returns with a bucket teeming with hot water and readies a bath for me while I wail about how much they must hate me now. “Who hates you?” Sh
Thana: After killing Justice When we don’t say a word, he starts pacing. I watch as he applies pressure to the space between his eyes, one hand on his hip. “At least explain to me why you broke into a hotel room at Circe Creek.” After a long beat, he probes some more. “Girls, c’mon. I know it’s in your nature to cover for each other. Lie for each other. I have nieces, so I’m well aware. What I don’t quite get is why you’re going along with this.” It takes me a moment to realise he’s talking to Skylar and I get the same free-falling effect of someone diving out of a twelfth story building. He’s trying to rip us apart and pit us against each other. “You don’t owe these two anything, especially Ava Hernaez. She’s Justice’s best friend. You don’t run in the same social circle. In fact, you all are the oddest group I’ve ever encountered.” “Are we suspects?” Skylar cuts him off, finally showing some ounce of the same fear zapping through me.
Thana: After killing Justice “Row, what on earth are you doing with those two?” “They’re my friends,” I say defensively. “And I need you to promise me you won’t mention what Justice told you.” “Why?” “It’s complicated. They’d know I lied to them. That I’ve been lying this whole time.” His ringtone interrupts us. We both look at the phone balanced on his lap. Kieran’s caller ID flashes on the screen. “Hold on.” He holds up a finger. “She’s been calling me nonstop. I wonder what she wants.” Nabil walks over to the other side of the space, stands in front of the gaping square where a window should be. I plop down on the slabs, watch as Skylar and Ava, their backs turned away from me, pull out their own phones. Apprehension creeps up my spine and buzzes intensely when Nabil walks back and hands me his phone. “She wants to speak with you.” The fear evi
Thana: After killing Justice Now, looking at his stunned expression, darting eyes searching for an escape from us, I’m pondering over what this means for him, for us. My brother is an exceptional artist with words that are meant to make you, not break you. I can’t imagine those fingers that have deftly moved with a pencil on a page, wrap around a knife and stab a girl seven times. Twice in the throat without remorse and three times in the chest without a second thought. “What are you staring at?” Skylar snarls. “You’ve got some nerve looking at us after what you did.” Nabil blanks and takes a step back. “W-what are you talking about?” he stutters. He’s rehearsed somehow because he looks stoic and confused like he just can’t place his finger on why Skylar is fuming. If she were a cartoon, I can only perceive the amount of smoke billowing out of her ears and nose. “Did you think you’d get away with it?
Thana: After killing Justice Afterwards, I curled up into a ball and cried my eyes out, hating myself for hitting send. Hating her for her silence after the double blue ticks appeared on my screen. Hating her even more for blocking me. Maybe she deleted the messages too, but I can’t be too sure, so I say, “We can use it. If we hand it over now, we won’t get the answer to why. Why us? Why blackmail us into burying her? You know once we give it up the cops, they won’t disclose any information and we’d be left in the dark.” Skylar leans in. “So what you’re saying is, we get him to meet us? Isn’t that dangerous?” “It’s really not. It’ll be three against one. There’s not much damage he can do.” Ava’s eyes meet mine. “I think it’s smart and we could even get a confession out of him.” And just like that, all’s forgiven. I will not make them doubt me again. She delicately picks
Thana: After killing JusticeI don’t ask what Skylar means when she says this. My eyes are fixated on the blackened screen of Justice’s phone, my thoughts whirlpooling: Ava has had this since Friday. Could she have gone through it? Does she know my secret? Did Justice ever delete our chats like she erased the very existence of me? I jut my head to the phone. “Have you gone through it? Found anything?”“Nope. I can’t seem to get past Justice’s stupid password,” she says in defeat. “I’ve tried her birthday. Mine. Victor’s. I even tried Patience is a dead cow, something Justice loved to say all the time and nothing. It’s like I don’t even know her anymore.” Her eyes have gone glassy and I want to ask: If you cared so much about Justice, why make that plan? Why hate her for some meagre title like Head girl? There’s got to be more than Ava’s letting on
Thana: After killing Justice Skylar smirks at me as if she knows I’m lying, but finds it amusing that I’m terrible at it. Ava, however, is oblivious and gives me a pitying look. “Sorry, but this couldn’t wait.” Her eyes scour the place before she speaks again, which is overly dramatic considering there’s no one here but us. “We’re here to sort of compare notes and figure out what went wrong.” She makes it sound as if what we did was right and some anomaly just entered the equation and messed everything up. Then what she says next sends shock pulsating through me: “Skylar found out my dad was the one booking the room at the hotel.” After a long beat of silence between us, I ask, “How?” If I look in the mirror right now, I’d see the ugly mask of confusion on my face. “How did you find out?” I ask. My eyes land on Skylar. “I went to the precinct yesterday.” A pause and then she frowns. “Does it
Thana: After Killing Justice They send me a load of texts telling me to meet them at the community library, ordering me to be there before noon. Don’t be late, Ava texts emphatically in caps. Instead of feeling annoyed that my Saturday morning was going to be spent at a library I didn’t even know existed, I’m glad. I’m being summoned. It’s good to feel like I belong. My phone isn’t a black nothingness anymore. But there’s a dark voice whispering to me that it won’t last for long, not with how much I’m keeping from them. I’m not the kind of girl to hoard away her secrets. Most people know them before I can even confess. If Ava and Skylar know what I know, they won’t look at me the same way. My murky past must stay in the dark, my real reason for wanting to get back at Justice along with it. The invitation staring back at me on my phone inspires me with a new sense of valiance I haven’t felt before. So I go in search of Nabil and when I do
Skylar: After killing JusticeWhen she rises from the bed, the protruding baby bump is the only explanation I get. Stupidly, I blurt out an oh but there’s no indication that I’ve offended her. “Dad’s been sneaking out of the house around this time. I know since I hear him every time he leaves.” She’s all business now. “That’s why we’re going to track him using the app I downloaded today. It’s called Spyic. He won’t even know we’re tailing him.”I give her a wry look. “How do you know all this?”She shrugs. “Where else but Google? There’s like loads of info on there you just have to know where to look.”Beside me, Ava rolls her eyes. “What now?”“We wait for him to leave,” Asia says.Ten minutes later we’re shut inside Asia&