Half Lost (The Half Bad Trilogy #3) - Sally Green Page 0,1

I could or he wouldn’t have said it.

I push my stones into a small pile. Fifty-two of them. It sounds a lot, fifty-two, but it’s nothing really. Nothing to how many my father would have me kill. Nothing to how many have died because of Annalise. Over a hundred at BB. I’ve really got to up my game if I’m going to compete with her level of carnage. Because of her, the Alliance is virtually destroyed. Because of her, Marcus is dead—the one person who could have held the Hunters back when they attacked, the one person who could have defeated them. But instead, because of her, because she shot him, the Alliance was almost obliterated. And there’s that niggling thought as well that all along she’s been a spy for Soul. Soul is her uncle after all. Gabriel has never trusted Annalise and always said she could have been the one who told the Hunters where to find Mercury’s apartment in Geneva. I never believed that but maybe he’s right.

There’s a movement in the trees and Gabriel appears. He’s been collecting firewood. He’s heard me shouting, I guess. And now he comes up, pretending as if he was coming back anyway, and drops the wood, and stands by my stones.

I’ve not told Gabriel what the stones are and he doesn’t ask, but I think he knows. I pick one up. It’s small, the size of my fingernail. They’re only little but each one is quite individual. One for each person I’ve killed. I used to know who each stone represented—not names or anything like that; most of the Hunters are just Hunters—but I used the stones to help me remember incidents and fights and how they died. I’ve forgotten the individual fights now; they’ve all blurred into one never-ending pageant of blood, but I’ve got fifty-two little stones in my pile.

Gabriel’s boots turn ninety degrees and stay still for a second or so before he says, “We need more wood. Are you coming to help?”

“In a bit.”

His boots stay there for a few seconds more, then turn another forty-five degrees and stay there for four, five, six, seven seconds and then they make their way back into the trees.

I get out the white stone from my pocket. It’s oval-shaped, pure white: quartz. Smooth but not shiny. It’s Annalise’s stone. I found it by a stream one day when I was searching for her. I thought it was a good sign. I was sure I’d find her trail that day. I didn’t but I will, one day. When I kill her I won’t add it to the pile but I’ll throw it away. It’ll be gone. Like her.

Maybe then the dreams will stop. I doubt it but you never know. I dream of Annalise a lot. Sometimes the dreams even start sort of nice but that doesn’t last long. Sometimes she shoots my father and it’s exactly like it was at BB. If I’m lucky I wake up before then, but sometimes it carries on and it’s as if I’m living it all again.

I wish I’d dream of Gabriel. Those would be good dreams. I’d dream of us climbing together like we used to and we’d be friends, like the old days. We’re friends now; we’ll always be friends, but it’s different. We don’t talk much. Sometimes he talks about his family or things he did years ago, before all this, or he talks about climbing or a book he’s read or . . . I don’t know . . . stuff he likes. He’s good at talking but I’m crap at listening.

The other day he was telling me some story about a climb he did in France. It was high above this river and very beautiful. I’m listening and imagining the woods he walked through to get there, and he describes the ravine and the river and then I’m not thinking about that at all but of Annalise being free. And I notice that a part of me says, Listen to Gabriel! Listen to his story! But another part of me wants to think about Annalise and it says, While he’s talking, Annalise is somewhere out there, free. And my father’s dead and I don’t know where his body is, except, of course, some of it is in me because I ate his heart and that has to be the sickest thing ever, and here I am, this person, this kid who has eaten his father, and I’m sitting