True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 40


I heard the door open and everyone turned to look at the new enterer.  It was Malachi. “What are you doing here?” I asked with a hint of acid in my voice.  He bowed his head in recognition of a superior; a little trick Mr. Stone liked to teach all of his obedient puppies. “Traitor.” Alex gently squeezed my hand, calming me.

            “Miss, it would please me very much if I could please have a moment of your time in private.” Immediately I knew my answer.  But before I could say no, Alex tugged on my wrist. I didn’t look at him, I kept my eyes on Malachi.  Betrayal burned in my ribcage.

            “Talk to him.  ’S not so bad.” Alex’s words slurred and I briefly contemplated pretending not to hear him.  I sighed and slid off of the bed.  I glanced at Alex, but Giavonni had already shadowed him from my view with her body, diagnosing him and giving him a small cup of gross looking black liquid.  I walked grudgingly into the next room with Malachi, glaring at his back.  He shut the door behind me after letting me enter first.

            “Miss, it makes me sick to think that you are displeased with me.” I squared my shoulders.

            “Sick, Malachi? Do you want to talk about SICK?” I demanded angrily. I thrust my finger in the direction of the door we’d just walked through. “That out there. THAT is sick. You? You’re just pathetic.” Malachi dipped his head in shame. I crossed my arms and walked past him to sit on the sun bench set carefully in the nook that should’ve been settled by a window. But the window was long since paved over. 

            “Yes, miss. I know, but—”

            “I have no idea why Lena has so much faith in you,” I muttered just loud enough for him to hear.  Malachi trudged over to me and sat next to me.

            “She cares for me more than I deserve.”

            “I know.” Malachi again dropped his gaze. “Why did you do it, Malachi? Why would you betray everyone who trusted you?” I remembered the day that Lena had walked in, her face soaked with tears, babbling about how Malachi had told her that they couldn’t be friends anymore because he had been offered a position under Mr. Stone.  Malachi and I both had known that there were sides.  My side, the side for peace and progress, and Stone’s side, the side for torture and punishment.  Samuel, Giavonni, Joseph, Othello, Joey, and I had all been devastated to find out that Malachi could turn away from the little family we had so quickly, so coldly.

            “I thought it would be easier.  You and Lena and everyone else who supports you are always fighting, struggling to win.  It seems as if Mr. Stone always has the upper hand.  Please understand, it was not a decision of malice at all.” I was extremely surprised to hear all of this come out of a fifteen year old’s mouth.  I leaned back against the throw pillows of the sun bench. “It was a decision of strategy.”

            “Do you really not care where your loyalties lie?” Malachi tugged up the black turtleneck and took a deep breath. His golden brown skin contrasted nicely with his hazel eyes.

            “Of course I care. That’s why I want to come back. I want to be with you and Lena. Please, Camille, don’t deny me from home.” I watched as he blinked away the wetness in his eyes. “Lena told me something a while back.”

            “What was that?” I asked, not sure how I felt about him now.

            “That you were the only one who could save me if I made a wrong choice.” We both sat in a long silence that I couldn’t pin down as awkward or comfortable.  It was just silence. “You hate me.”

            “Hate is a strong word,” I whispered.

            “But not inappropriate, I’m assuming.” I met his hazel gaze for a moment, wanting to probe his mind, ask him questions.

            “I don’t hate you, Malachi. I hate what you did to Lena. She was crushed,” I informed him angrily, keeping hold of my grudge.

            “And I will never forgive myself. I know. But I’m hoping you can forgive me.  Can you? Please?” His voice was trembling, and I shook my head; not out of denial, but out of frustration.  I didn’t know how to retrust someone I’d never really trusted in the first place.  I steeled my heart inside, trying to be more like Lena.  I opened my arms to him hesitantly.  He leaned into my embrace and started to cry.  Tears of any kind were extremely unsettling to me.  I stiffened my back and strained my head away from his.

            I knew that if I stood up for Malachi, no one else would question it.  They probably wouldn’t be too happy. “Thank you, Camille.” I finally began to hug him back, pretending that there was no anger firing up inside of me.  My instincts were telling me not to trust him.  They were screaming at me that I was making a wrong choice.  But Alex’s words restrained me, whispered reasons why Malachi wouldn’t hurt us again.  I took his hand in mine and stood up.

            “Let’s go,” I told him gently.

            “You won’t regret this,” he assured me with a tone I’d only heard from him once before.

            “You know I’m going to have to fight for you, right?” I saw him nod out of the corner of my eye. I took a deep breath and opened the door.  The rest of my Goon Squad was back with all of the materials that Giavonni had requested.  They all looked at me and Malachi.  My heart constricted just a little bit.

            Lena ran straight to him.  Malachi released my hand and quickly received her, holding her tightly. He kissed the top of her head. “I’m never going to leave you again, okay?” She was already crying.  I turned my head to watch Alex.  Some of his color was returning, but every inch of visible skin on him was still sweaty.  I went to him instantly, cradling his head in my lap.

            “You don’t want to sit that close to him,” Joey suggested softly, putting a hand on my shoulder.  Alex gagged and rolled out of my lap, Giavonni quickly providing a trash can.  He threw up in it.  The sound made my stomach curl.

            “I told you we’d have to flush out his system,” Giavonni repeated with no hint of emotion in her voice.  She was probably used to vomit and blood and whatever else.  She had helped Alex bandage my wounds from my experience in the practice room. Gross. I rubbed Alex’s back and tried not to listen.

            “Why are you still here?” Othello asked, the boom that was his voice was nearly smothered by Alex’s hurling.  Double gross.  I stood off of the bed. “You little—” Othello raised his fist to (I’m guessing) punch the living crap out of Malachi.  I ran in front of Malachi just as he tightened his hold on Lena and turned his body so that she was partially behind him.

            “No!” I cried out, raising my forearm to block Othello’s flying punch.  Ow. Ow. That was going to leave a bruise. “Jesus Christ, Elly!  Is your hand made out of iron or something?”

            Without apologizing Othello tried to push me out of the way. “WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING HIM?” I held my ground but just barely.  I searched my brain for the answer. “Why?”

            “Othello, do you love Lena?” I posed the question, hoping that it would have the desired affect.  Othello gave the patented that-was-a-stupid-question-yeah look to me and rolled his eyes for (I’m guessing) extra effect.

            “Of course I do.”

            “That’s why.” Nothing more was said after that.  Joey eased away from Giavonni’s side and embraced Malachi in a powerful hug that appeared to have been painful.  Joey and Malachi were like brothers. “Can I stay with Alex?” I asked Giavonni.  She gave me an uneasy look. “Please. I promised him we’d stay together.” She nodded reluctantly.  I rested my cheek on his back, feeling the heat sear through his shirt.  I closed my eyes and hummed our song.


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