“How long are you going to keep us in here for?” Dan said. “You can’t keep us here forever, you know!” I didn’t know what to make of Dan. I mean, sure, I knew he was a rapist and should be thrown in jail, but what made him tick was a mystery to me. I guess it didn’t matter much what his motives were; he was as good as dead. And I couldn’t help him even if I wanted to. And to be clear: I didn’t want to help the son-of-a-bitch. It’s not like I hadn’t gotten into my share of trouble, because I have. Although it was nothing like raping women and keeping them hostage, I did hurt the people I loved the most. My emotions are like a crime scene with the yellow tape, steering my early twenties before I hit thirty and take everything for granted by the time I hit 40. Yet here I was, taking nothing for granted and playing the role of some righteous avenger, bringing vengeance to the wicked. Who the fuck was I kidding? I’m just as empty on the inside as these two assholes. I mean, I’d never go down the road Jason and Dan traveled, but I have felt the sting of loneliness and isolation. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing the spit fly from Alisha’s mouth when she’s screaming at Dan and Jason. It was an orgasm in my eyeballs. I couldn’t think of a better way to build my social skills than to follow in Alisha’s footsteps. But Mom would disapprove, and the me thinking with my head, not the lower one, but the thoughtful, reasoning head would rip out the parts of my heart and my chest again. What the fuck am I talking about? This doesn’t make sense. What did I eat? I felt my fingers tremble, and my thoughts jumbled, and my voice turned to a mumble.
“Oh, my God.” Alisha placed her hands to her head. “Did you eat something from the refrigerator? You should have asked. My God.”
“I was hungry,” I said. “Don’t tell me…”
“I put poison in his food. You shouldn’t have eaten anything. Sarah ordered a pizza a few minutes ago.”
“How was I supposed to know?” I shrugged. “What’s gotten into you?”
“I read women kill with poison. So I watch too much TV. Sue me,” Alisha said.
“How much poison are we talking?” I said louder than I wanted to. “Like enough to kill me?”
“No, but you will be talking crazy for the next couple of hours,” Alisha said. “It’s Ritalin.”
“You were going to kill him with crushed Ritalin?” I raised a brow. “Now that’s a new one.”
“What? Don’t look at me like that. I used drugs. I mean, I used to use drugs, but I am not a career criminal.”
“You may as well be,” I said before I realized how stupid it was to say.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Look, we need to get this over with,” I said. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t leaving Alisha Keagan alone. I had too much pride to say I was leaving her alone with Jason and Dan. Besides, for whatever reason, Alisha trusted me. I couldn’t let her down. “I’m worried we’re going to get caught. Each minute we stay is another minute closer to getting caught.”
Alisha turned her attention back to Jason and Dan. “We’re keeping you here for as long as we want!” Alisha said. “Besides, you’re in no position to make demands.”
“People will come,” Dan said.
“Let them come,” Alisha said.
“Alisha,” I said. “Can we talk in the kitchen?”
“Don’t tell me you’re having second thoughts.”
“Kitchen. Please,” I said.
I moved through the living room to the evenly lit kitchen. “Well?”
“Well, don’t you think we should get this over with or something?”
“We’re taking our time. Besides, no one is going to catch us,” Alisha said. “And we sure in the hell can’t leave Dan and Jason alive.”
“They’ve already seen our faces,” I said. I blew out my lips. We should have thought about using masks earlier. We should have thought about using gloves. I shouldn’t have trusted Miss. Arrogant Alisha Keagan.
“Alisha!” Sarah said.
“What is it?”
“Bad news. Dan. Is. Fucking. Dead.”