Chapter 5 – January 10G

“Am I invisible?” The Bird’s mother turned at the sound of her daughter’s outburst, yet Double-J continued to ignore her. The burly teen pointed down at the bleeding, bruised body of Polonius. “Sorry about killing your friend here, but he kinda had it coming to him.”

The Bird brought her hands to the sides of her head, rubbed her temples vigorously as she looked down at the body on the floor. Color was quickly draining from its flesh, as the pool of blood continued to seep from multiple wounds, the brown-red tide spreading rapidly onto the white stone floor underneath. This isn’t a stage death, she realized — years of watching her mother’s rehearsals had shown her all the tricks of the theater. But no stage wizardly could make a man’s lips turn this shade of blue, or replicate the stench of the gore that was now assaulting her nose. This body on the floor — this was a dead man, not an actor playing a death scene. And just as surely, she realized this wasn’t an actor, but rather Polonius, more a character than human.

“Hate to kill and run, but I got things to do.” The Bird looked up, saw that Double-J was walking out of the door through which he had just burst.

“Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!” Double-J stopped at Hamlet’s charge, turned — and extended the middle finger of his left hand, before continuing his exit.

The Bird closed her eyes, rubbed them hard. None of this made sense — she knew from her practices with the Bark Bay High School fencing team that Double-J could be abrupt, rude, and unafraid to use his intimidating anger to prove a point. And before those practices, she’d heard stories of his rage, knew he had been suspended several times, at times for fighting in the halls. But murder? His brutal slaying of Polonius, and his seeming enjoyment of the act — no, that wasn’t Double-J. His actions didn’t make sense, but then again, little of what happened the past five minutes, since she had suddenly appeared in Elsinore Castle instead of watching her mother perform in “Hamlet,” had resembled anything close to sensible.

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