Chapter Thirty-Six

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LIGHT FOOTSTEPS RESOUNDED when someone brushed past me in the library. Ever since moving in town, I spent a lot of time here. I enjoyed the quietness of it, only disturbed by the occasional whisper or bristle of pages. My gaze lifted from my math book. Luc set down his bag and sat across from me at the table.

"You wanted to see me?" he murmured, surprise pinching his features.

I didn't think I'd ever texted him that we needed to talk before or that I ever had something important to tell him. An idea has been hatching in my mind for a few nights now. There was no way to be sure if it could work, but we had to act before more killings would follow. I chose an isolated corner in the library where no one would hear us.

"I have an idea to take out the Wanderers."

He tipped his head on the side, eyes narrowing. I could tell he was skeptical. "Really? And what would you suggest?"

I'd thought about it relentlessly, tossing and turning in my bed. It was dangerous, but maybe our last hope. I explained my idea, trying to sound logical. Luc wasn't a happy camper, but what other choice did we have? When I finished, he crossed his arms.

"You're insane."

I blinked, stunned. "It's the only choice we got, Luc."

"No," he growled. "There has to be something else we can do. This will put you in danger and this might expose us all."

"Damn it," I said lowly. "How much longer can we afford to wait? Unless you guys can come up with another idea, we have nothing else. I don't want to do this, but I think we're out of options."

I knew I was right on the last part. I was done with being a burden to the mutants, maybe now I could be an asset instead. Luc leaned over his chair and considered me extensively, eyes trailing up and down my face. He didn't say anything for a very long time.

"I don't know, Sunshine. We would have to convince the others." He flicked his pen at me. "I'm on board but at one condition."

I raised an eyebrow at that.

"You do as we say," he said. "So when we tell you to get the hell out of there, you run, are we clear?"

▲▲▲

I sat on Luc's living room chair, waiting for his friends to show up. He'd called a bunch for a meeting. He hadn't given them a clue about the subject over the phone, only said it was urgent. I fiddled with my hands, staring out the window. Outside, more leaves fell in heaps, leaving branches naked. 

Two figures made their way up the hill. I recognized a younger boy named Ethan, but the girl with light brown hair was unknown to me. She seemed to be about his age. They entered the cabin without knocking and eyed me from the door. Luc appeared from the kitchen. They clapped each other's shoulders, and they walked over to the living room. Devin arrived later, sprawling her spidery legs over the couch, then two adults, then Ben... then Mr. Kennedy.

My mouth fell unhinged in shock.

"No way. You?"

My English teacher seemed mildly embarrassed to see me outside of class. I felt borderline betrayed that he'd probably known about me this whole time when I didn't know about him. He'd always been so discreet, so... under the radar.

Except for that time where he caught me trying to search sightings of Wanderers. He'd gotten really weird.

"I'm still your teacher, Riley. Mind the way you speak to me."

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