My lungs burned by the time I made it to the Town Hall parking lot; I ran in the open without consideration — thoughts of what could happen to me as the sun finished its descent were too far from my mind to register.
When I came around the corner, I saw Cole’s body for one brief, agonizing moment, before Eli stepped in front of me. I ran into him so hard, we both went down, hitting the concrete and rolling.
Eli came up quick, and moved to get between me and Cole, looking frantic. “Jason!” he shouted, lifting his hands as though to show he was unarmed — which only showed off the flare gun and the knife in his hands.
“Stand aside,” I growled. “You did this. I have to undo it.”
“Jason, he was corrupted!” Eli pled.
“You did this!”
“I had to!”
“You were jealous!”
Those words seemed to stop Eli; he dropped his arms and stood taller, staring at me, dumbfounded. “Jealous?” he said, as though the concept were foreign. “Why would I be jealous?”
“Because of Cole,” I said, panting as I moved to stand up. “Addie might never be the same, but I had Cole,” I said. I could feel my lips twist in a snarl of fury.
“Had Cole?” Eli said, truly baffled, but when the dawning expression came, I realised the truth: Eli killed Cole, but he didn’t do it out of jealousy or hatred — he’d never known about our relationship. “Jason,” he said, looking shocked and pained, by turns. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry, man. He was already gone when I got to him. I had to.”
Tears burned the backs of my eyes; I didn’t want to believe him. I opened my mouth to vent my fury, but too much time had gone by — we could hear Thuy screaming from what sounded like miles away — the bells had stopped ringing.
The sun was down, and full night was upon us.