Ace of Blood

Alice has found a new kind of wonderland.
Jamie Cunning is just an ordinary girl. Sort of. Bearing the scars of a thousand painful memories, old an new, she found a strange set of friends in the abandoned and untended headstones of a nearby cemetery. But this girl who prefers the company of the dead to that of the living finds a shocking new life thrust upon her when she is shoved into a world of danger and death. The worst of all: it lurks just around the corner. The paperboy. The school bully. The neighbor. They may all be a part of it. Watch out, because Ace is always watching, and you never know how the cards will fall.


43. Intersecting Realities

 There is no truth!
 The words echoed again in Jamie’s head, pounding alongside Ace’s angry steps. No truth…
 “Stop!” They looked at her, even Zack where he sat slumped against the leg of Olivia’s chair. It had taken her too long to notice, but she knew he was high. He’d probably been all along. After all, he’d been practically cheerful when he’d come into her room, playful and only slightly condescending.
 No truth…
 Jamie knew there was only one way to diffuse the situation, one way to hide Blake’s kidnapping and keep everyone calm. Not that angry and resentful could really be considered calm, in her opinion, but she supposed it was indeed better than angry, resentful and terrified.
 “Everyone, sit down in numerical order. I need to think, to see the patterns.”
 It took a strangely long time for them to organize, perhaps because half were reluctant, the other half openly scornful, and none used to obeying orders. Nor, it seemed, were they used to arranging themselves by number.
 Zack. He was clean. He couldn’t be the Rabbit.
 “Zes, go stand back by that wall.”
 Olivia. She was clean. Ace had said to trust her.
 Ethan. Eleven was too young to be conniving. And he hadn’t been part of the group until just before she was.
 The three Jamie had called out looked strangely out of place, standing stiff and straight before the wall as if awaiting a firing squad. But those still sitting looked more tense still.
 “I told you not to trust me,” he said, looking at her.
 Jamie nodded. “I know. But I still do, maybe even more because you actually said it.”
 He scowled, brows furrowed deeply, but he still went.
 Eight left.
 “Bara.” Seven.
 There is no truth. Olivia’s words rang in her head once more, and suddenly Jamie saw it all in a new light. “There is no reality,” she mumbled, looking back and forth between the faces before her. Seven lives in her hands. “There is no one reality, but many, each depending on perspective. There is no truth, not unless you account for all realities.”
 She paused, blinked a few times. Breathed twice. Wanted to scream or vomit or die. Stood still as stone and thought it through once again. Came to the same conclusion.
 “There is no traitor.”
 “What the hell? You make us do this because you wanted to say that no one is a traitor?!” Vijf shrieked, stalking toward her, but Jamie didn’t flinch or retreat of try to defend herself. The weight of the realization was too heavy for her to do those things, the pain to sharp.
 “There is no traitor,” she repeated, louder this time, voice stronger. “There is a traitor, we all know it. I know that someone here is a traitor. You,” she pointed at Ace, “know there is a traitor. As does each of us here.”
 Jamie moved around the furniture, closer to the group she’d already separated out. “In this group, say hypothetically there is a traitor. Well, I know it’s not me, so one of you is the traitor. Now, say Zes is a traitor, simply in theory. Well, to him, he is that one traitor, and everything that happens is a product of his schemes and chance. Now, Ace, you also think you are a traitor, that you are the one betraying us.
 “You see! From each of our perspectives, there is exactly one White Rabbit! But that doesn’t mean there is only one.” Jamie turned back to the stunned faces around the room. “I think there are multiple Rabbits, all under the impression they are the only one, all believing themselves to be the sole force behind the destruction of this family.”
 “Jesus Christ,” Saith whispered, the only one brave or stupid enough to break the silence. Jamie felt a little bad, suspecting him after he’d covered her scars for her, after he’d given her back her life. Since that moment, when she’d looked down and seen something other than her mother’s cruelty, she’d been a new person, with a new family and a new life. And that was all thanks to him.
 But that didn’t mean she trusted him.
 Jamie turned around, closing her eyes as she spun again and again, wondering how many wolves surrounded her, how many of these new friends wanted her dead. At least a few, she thought.
 Her mother had had the right of it. They were all demons. But Jamie was a demon too, now. A criminal. Her mother had broken under the stress, but Jamie was stronger. She’d survived so much more.
 Jamie laughed aloud, feeling the dress she hadn’t had the energy to remove swirl about her. And then Zack caught her shoulder, stopping her mid-twirl. She knew it was him, even though the lurching of the room disrupted her sight, because of the bandages that pressed into her skin.
 “Enough, Tera.” He sounded sad.
 Jamie wondered why, but then decided she already knew.
 After all, she’d just told him that, not only had they all been wrong all along, but even more distressingly, that more than one of his family, his close friends, was the very White Rabbit who’d orchestrated Blake’s kidnapping.
 And without knowing exactly who and how many were involved, Jamie wasn’t sure they could find him in time.

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