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Steady, Imraan...

He had Ivan convinced. That much he knew.

He had himself convinced. That much he knew as well. Now, Imraan would just wait; he would wait for Tabitha to arrive, for her to reveal herself. Then, well... who knew? Not Imraan, that was for sure. Maybe they'd fight back. Maybe they'd try to bargain. Either way, Imraan would wait for Tabitha and--

"You can't have her."


Alright then.

Imraan breathed in. He kept the shotgun pointed at Ivan's chest, preparing himself for when Ivan finished talking. If Ivan wasn't going to give up Tabitha, then that was his choice. And he'd have to deal with the consequences for that.

For the wages of sin is death.

And then Ivan finished his confession.

"She didn't want to kill Clio!"

Imraan paused.


Clio the GODSpeed member.

Clio the killer.

Imraan had heard Ivan's other words, but he couldn't give them any credence. Ivan didn't want anything to do with Imraan? Tough. Imraan didn't want anything to do with Ivan either, but look where they were.

But Clio...

The truth was, Imraan simply hadn't remembered who Tabi had killed. He'd remembered her winning an award, oh he certainly remembered that, but with two hundred classmates dead, the details had gotten fuzzy.

Clio the killer.

Imraan allowed himself a moment of doubt, then pushed it back. No. He'd come this far. No turning back now. He'd have time for contemplations, time for justifications later, and those justifications would be legion, of course. After all, even IF, on the off chance that Ivan and Tabitha had killed Clio solely to stop her from killing more (and it sure didn't sound that way to Imraan), that changed nothing. Because unlike them, Imraan knew that he himself would not deserve to survive after he saw his mission through to the end.

No, they were no different than Clio. None of them were. If it came down to Ivan and Tabi against someone deserving, Imraan had no doubt what would happen then.

They would kill.

And that was why they had to die.

Alright, then.

"Alright then, Ivan," Imraan said. He nodded, backing up half a step so he was just inside the hallway. He lowered the shotgun an inch or so, relaxing his finger on the trigger.

Making it look like he was going to leave.


Hoping it would take Ivan off his guard.


Imraan's head snapped up again. His finger curled around the trigger, just as he could see Ivan doing the same and--



Imraan turned, squeezing the trigger. and the shotgun blew apart a lampshade and bulb. Fragments of glass and fabric littered the ground as the base of the lamp flipped in midair and struck Imraan on the arm. He stumbled, more out of surprise and the shotgun's recoil than of the impact, and his feet tangled together. He backpedaled to keep his balance, falling into the hallway just as a bullet from Ivan's gun shattered a section of the doorframe.

He was only off his feet for a few seconds ears ringing from the gunshots, and then he was scrambling upwards, stepping back towards the living room and pumping the shotgun, and hoping that the two of them were still there.
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Maria Graham's Series of Unfortunate Events · The Residential Area