Alex thought that it wasn’t really his fault. And the others repeated their conviction that it was.
He had been very small when he first learned about liars, about the half-truths that they could tell and the way they could spread their words into unwary mouths, so that the lie was repeated with real honesty under the syllables. He had been less than ten years old when he stopped believing what he was told and stopped believing in truths that could be easily stated.
He had been only a little bigger when he was taught that liars could be right as well. The sharp twist in that had bitten him so much deeper, and from time to time, he remembered it in better detail than he would have liked.
It was like him to move without thinking. He had more anger and blood in him than most, or so he believed most days. He was too much gut, and not enough brain, and this was the sort of thing he could do if he wasn’t careful.
“I’m sorry,” Karin murmured, standing shoulder to shoulder with him as she always did, and still somehow leaning away. “It was you. I swear.”
“How could I not remember?” he asked. He meant it to be an accusation, but it came out gentler than that. Everything inside him – bones, blood, guts – was too light, and he could almost feel that devastating hollow that came after he had done something permanent. Almost.
“I don’t know,” Karin whispered. “But I saw you.”
He turned, waiting for her to say it out loud just one more time.
She waited as long as she could, let the silence extend until it was uglier than what she had to say.
“You killed her,” Karin whispered.
Alex only wished he could remember.
I’m a (late) thief! I stole the first line of this piece from my friend, Bek. Be sure to stop by her blog to see what Alex is getting away with in her original fiction. Then take a peek at the whole ring of thieves.