Commodity - Page 130

“What did it look like?” she asks in a whisper.

I don’t know why she’s whispering or who she thinks might hear us, but I lower my voice as well.

“I have no idea,” I say. “It was wearing a suit—like a big metal robot covering up what it actually looked like. It said the suit provided the right kind of atmosphere so it could breathe. It was also bullet-proof.”

“You shot it?”

“Yeah, but it didn’t do any good.”

“But you talked to it?”

“Yeah,” I say with a nod, “for a while.”

“What did it say?”

“A lot of shit,” I respond. I’m not prepared for this conversation, and I have to sort through the discussion I had with the alien to figure out what I want to divulge and what I want to keep to myself.

“Like what?” She starts to say something else but has to stop as a pain hits her. Once it passes, and she catches her breath, she berates me to continue.

“I asked it what happened to the women and children,” I tell her as we start walking again, “and why the men were killed.”

I tell her most of the story, leaving out anything that might hint that I’d spoken to the same creature years ago.

“You told it to kill everyone there?” Hannah asks when I finish.

“Honestly, I didn’t really think the alien was serious,” I tell her. “I had no idea it would actually call down ships to bomb the whole place. I just…I just said what was in my mind. I wanted Caesar and all the rest of them dead. I didn’t expect them to annihilate the place.”

“Those other girls were still there,” Hannah says in a low voice.

“I know.” I take a deep breath. “That wasn’t my intent—you know it wasn’t.”

“What about the rest?” she asks.

“The rest of what?”

“Did you kill Beck?”

I swallow hard. I should have realized she would eventually find out. I should have prepared some kind of statement, but I haven’t.

“Yeah, I did.”

“Christ, Falk!”

“He fucking deserved it!” I stop and turn to her. “You know he would have been the first in line to rape you. Tell me you believe otherwise, and I’ll consider apologizing for killing him before he had the chance.”

“You don’t know that.” She looks away from me, and I know she doesn’t believe what she’s saying.

“He told me he had you cornered. He laughed and said you needed to get over it. So yeah, I lost my shit. I punched him; he punched me. I hit the table, and we struggled. I ended up on top, and I choked the life out of him. I’d do it again, too. I only wish I’d done the same thing to Brett when I had the chance.”

Hannah doesn’t look at me. Instead, she stares at the ground in front of her feet as she walks. I’m not sure if I’ve made her angry or if I’ve frightened her.

“We don’t live in the same world anymore, Hannah,” I say. “It’s not like you can call the cops and get someone arrested if they fuck with you. Yes, I killed Beck. Not only would I do it again, but if anyone else threatens you, I’ll going to kill them, too.”

She looks over and stares at me, wide-eyed.

“Get used to it,” I finally say when she doesn’t respond. “It’s how it’s going to be.”

We start walking again, and Hannah remains quiet for several minutes. I’m still tense. I feel like I’ve outed myself. I might as well confess my part in the death of every human being who has ever died at my hands—in war and otherwise.

Tags: Shay Savage Science Fiction
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