Reborn - alternate ending (The Born Trilogy Book 4)(2)

By: AE Watson

I sigh. "Found them."

Jake points at the now-dead woman. "What about her? They're going to know we killed her. The guards will kill us."

I smirk at him. "I know another way out. Come on." I drag her body to the back of the so-called store and bury her in the bags of garbage.

I stuff the needles in my sack and walk out into the street. The noise of the town is louder than before. People are bustling about and the merchants are shouting about their goods. I walk to the inn, keeping my head down.

The lady with the nice teeth smiles up from behind the bar, but doesn’t really look at me. "No purchase, no room."

"I came to tell you that my virtue is no longer at risk."

Her eyes lift and her face breaks into a huge grin. "You're still alive."

I smile back. "Not for long. I just killed that old lady who betrayed me last time."

She winces. "Oh, that was a bad move. You came here right afterwards?" I nod. She shakes her head. "Thanks, kid." She gives Jake a sly smile. "Now tell me that was the person you were buying antibiotics for."

I nod. "It was."

Her eyes roam his whole body slowly. "That was worth it then."

I glance back at Jake and smile. His face is bright red, but his eyes are still processing the fact that he murdered a woman. I know some of the spark that makes him shiny and fun is going to die out. For him, killing her was like rubbing the magic dust off of a butterfly; he won't ever fly as high as before.

"We need the tunnel, just in case."

She winks. "What have you got for me?"

I smile. "Freedom."

Her gaze narrows. "What?"

I nod. "I killed Michael and burned the city to the ground, and we have created a small village where people are free and equal. I am offering you a place to live there."

Her eyes shine. She looks like she might turn me down, but she ducks behind the counter and comes up with a sack. She hurries around the counter. "I knew saving you would be a good idea."

She points to the stairs. "Hurry up."

I run up the stairs and enter the bedroom I slept in last time. She follows and closes the door. Jake looks lost, but as she opens the closet, his jaw drops.

I nudge him. "Her husband was a government man."

He nods. "Wow."

She puts a hand out. "I'm Stella, by the way."

I laugh. "Emma—and this is Jake."

She licks her red lips. "Well Jake, you are a tall drink of water, aren’t you?"

His cheeks are burning. "Yeah, I get that a lot."

She nods. "I bet you do." I lead the way down the stairs into the tunnel and she closes everything up. I run, dragging my hand along the wall until I see the circle of light again. I climb the small ladder and push the hatch slowly. Nothing moves as I open it fully and climb out into the fading light of the sun.

Jake comes out next and reaches down into the hole to help Stella. She smiles and looks different in the real light of the outside world.

I run towards where I know Mitch is sitting.

Star steps out from behind the tree where I stashed my weapons last time. "What is this?"

I nod. "Stella. She's one we want on our side." I point. "Stella, this is Star, my sister." Mitch jumps out of the tree, making Stella smile again. She puts a hand out to him. "Stella."

Mitch grins. "Mitch."

She gives me a smirk. "You run with the most handsome men, Emma."

I laugh and Mitch's cheeks turn scarlet. I point at the trail. "We've got a long ride home. A man is dying from that blood-poisoning type of sickness."

“Is he someone special to you?”

I look down, “He is.”

Stella bites her lip, thinking about something for a minute, Then she nods, “Give me a minute.” She turns and runs back into the forest towards the exit. Jake gives me a look, “You trust her?”

I nod.

He looks worried. Star shakes her head, “Emma doesn’t trust anyone; if she trusts her, then I do too. We wait.”

Mitch doesn’t look like he agrees but he doesn’t argue. We stand there, waiting and scared. I can hear things that bother me in the town, like last time. I will walk away from them, like I always do.