Virginia screamed, grabbing for the door handle and nearly throwing herself from the moving car.

James swerved to the side of the road, slamming on the brakes before she killed herself trying to escape. As it was, she flung herself from the car, falling to her knees and scrambling to her feet. Then she ran. Took off like a bolt until she rounded the bend and disappeared from view.

‘Way to go, slick,’ AJ said snarkily, climbing into the front seat. ‘You ran her off.

On a nightstand in a teenager’s room, a glass vase filled with violets leans precariously against a wall. The only thing saving the vase from a thousand-piece death on the hardwood floor is the groove in the nightstand’s surface that catches the bottom of vase, and of course the wall itself. The violets, nearly a week old, droop in the light of a waning gibbous moon. Wrinkled petals are already piling up on the floor between the nightstand and the wall, and a girl only six days sixteen stares at the dying bouquet from her bed.

Grimes believed in what he did, with no doubts. Though he was older than me by over a decade, I suddenly felt old. Some things mark your soul, not in years but in blood and pain and selling off parts of yourself to get the bad guys, until you finally look in the mirror and aren’t sure which side you’re on anymore. There comes a point when having a badge doesn’t make you the good guy, it just makes you one of the guys. I needed to be one of the good guys, or what the hell was I doing?

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