(And, here it is, the conclusion to the three part story. If you haven’t read them, here’s part 1 and part 2.)
“So… if you’re done faking…?” was all I managed to say, as a cough hit my lungs.
“Yep,” she answered. “Two came in, we picked you. Once you breathed us…ha. Done for good.”
She placed a single finger on my forehead and pushed on my skin. My head hurt so much. She applied more pressure, and I stared at her. And for a second, a crack. The image shattered and rippled. I breathed in hard.
For a lingering moment, her skin reverted, but her eyes were still cold. Had to be, if the real version of her was there, was with me. She had her second pistol, her disintegrator pistol, to my forehead. Her mouth set. I knew that look.
I pressed a hand to my chest and tapped a single finger—hoping the action occurred on my physical body. A long-ago code we’d made. Something useful when we had to go undercover. For when we had to lie or sneak into places. For the days of the impromptu—the pulling off a ruse by the skin of our teeth moments.
We’d once had sex, as supposed newlyweds, underneath that signal. The gesture meant a simple thing.
I trust you.
She nodded, and went back. Back to the malevolent version of her, still with her finger to my skin. I smiled.
“Sorry, but no more bursting. I’m done.”
She waggled her finger at me. “That is something I think we will have to disagree on. You’re a pimple. A little human wart. Fit to pop.”
“I think you picked the wrong host. You should have latched onto the other one.”
She smirked. “Oh, we will. She’s next. We take you one at a time.”
I shook my head and pointed at my temple. “If you can, check my head—my memories. I know what she’ll do.”
Her smirk dropped, and something in her eyes moved in frantic spurts. My head grew fuzzy as my stomach kept hurting. Random memories came up with clarity, and then she frowned.
Right before she was going to say something, a hole appeared in her forehead. A crackle echoed out, vibrating down to my bones.
“Fuck…” she said. Her skin evaporated at the entry point, spreading outward. My stomach stopped hurting, and I wondered how long I’d been like this, what my partner experienced. But that did not really matter anymore. Not really.
Because the last thing I said, as the world faded around me, as the illusion disappeared and the white void slithered into existence, was something I meant.
I trust you.