The Days Before

My name is Lilian Tracy. I was born in Boston, years before the war. Back then, I was just like anyone else. Young, pretty, wealthy and, most of all, stubborn. But not stubborn enough. Back then I made one mistake, a mistake that rippled through my life, tearing everything apart. I fell in love. This time, I'm not making that mistake again. I'll die first.


8. I am a Monster


 We stood there for a long moment, just the two of us, as if the world didn’t matter anymore. My world had ended years ago, his had never begun. Micah held me, ignoring the blood, ignoring my protests, ignoring his own fear. I could feel that fear, though, in the beating of his heart, his pulse like a hummingbird against my cheek.
 Those five words were so empty.
 “I’m sorry, Micah. But I am a monster.” I’d killed everyone, after all. I’d started with his father and killed everyone else whom I came across. They lay dead around us, torn apart as though by some wild animal. As though by some monster.
 They’d made one mistake that afternoon. Jameson had allowed the collar to die, the electrical circuits fried by the shock rippling through my neck. It had been simple, really, banging on the glass until they shocked me, not stopping until the collar burnt out.
 And then Jameson had opened the door to see what was wrong with it, to reset it or replace it as needed. I hadn’t given him that opportunity.
 Now they were all dead, and I was free.
 But for the soft, fragile arms that encircled me now. But for the boy who’d once had a child’s face, who’d grown up but remained somehow vulnerable. He reminded me so much of Tony, of everything I’d lost.
 I still wore the ring he’d given me almost a century ago. We’d decided to get married, and then he was shipped off to fight a war that never should have started, a war that solved nothing.
 I’d lost Tony, lost my heart and soul all at once, that cold night. I wasn’t going to lose anything else. Not this time.
 So I left him there, that boy who had touched my dead flesh without revulsion. I left him and walked away from that room full of broken corpses, my footsteps making small splashes in the slowly drying blood of everyone who’d tried to stop me.
 Everyone who’d tried to stop me… And one boy who’d dared get too close.

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