While Emma sat in Smurfblatt’s office, trying to recover from the alien porn she’d just stumbled upon; and while Anne and Superfreak worked up a distraction in the Fleminicki embassy’s lobby; Shade sat in Anne’s apartment, lighting up another bowl.
She knew it wasn’t a great idea. It was fine to do a job high, but eventually you crossed a line, got too high, and were of no use. Now that she thought about it, the last time she’d done a job was the last time she’d gotten caught.
That hadn’t been fun. But then again, prison hadn’t been the worst thing.
Rubbing her eyes, she blew out some more smoke.
Was she still on parole?
Yeah. Yep. She was certain she was still on parole.
Was that a knock on the door? The cops?
She looked at the door. No. Not the cops. No knocking, either.
“Are you okay?” The Golden Man asked. “Your emotions are odd.”
“Yeah,” she mumbled. “Yeah, I’m okay. Just a little… I’m fine.”
She looked at the door again.
Got up, walked towards it.
Were there cops on the other side?
Were they watching her?
Had they watched her all along?
Were they trying to catch her friends in the middle of a crime?
What if I’m a snitch, she wondered. But that was dumb. She knew she wasn’t. You’re a criminal, but nothing too bad. An accessory to murder, but not–
She shuddered, turned around quickly. Was that a ghost she’d felt on her shoulder?
No. Not a ghost, she would’ve known.
She checked her shoulder. No dice.
“The emotions I’m reading,” The Golden Man said, “the guilt.”
Her eyes snapped wide. She looked at The Golden Man and realized how little she knew of him. How little any of them knew. They’d taken him at his word, and he sure seemed innocent, but shouldn’t they have looked him up? Shouldn’t they have at least tried to understand who the outside world thought he was?
They were all high when they accepted him. There wasn’t one damn sober person in the room who could figure out if people were telling the truth or not.
And now she was looking at him. Looking with his damned golden eyes.
“You helped a murderer.” The Golden Man touched his bottom lip with three of his fingertips. “Murder. You’re an accessory to murder.”
Shade’s heart wouldn’t stop racing. The Golden Man was bad.
The Golden Man was bad. The Golden Man was bad. The Golden Man was bad.