The Traitor

I

“We should kill you.”

The setting sun cast deep shadows on Jackie’s face, underscoring every line and every blemish. His eyebrows were pinched over his goggles. His mouth was a tight, flat line. Standing there in the blood-red light, he looked at least a decade older.

“I hope you know that.” Jackie’s voice quivered as he spoke, just on the edge of breaking. “If it was up to me, you’d be dead. It wouldn’t be a quick death, either. You deserve to suffer even more than…”

Jackie bit his lip. His goggles made his eyes look wide open, but Ethan knew underneath Jackie’s lids were swollen and red.

After a deep breath, Jackie regained his composure. “You’re lucky there was a vote. This crew saved your life.”

Jackie wasn’t the only one crying. There were scattered sniffles all over the deck. The Marian’s engine was off, and in the silence, each little noise was deafening.

“Get out of here,” Jackie said. “I hope you die of thirst out there.”

The rest of the crew stared ahead in stunned silence. Ethan was numb. He had no emotion left to feel, no tears left to cry. He was empty.

Slowly, the traitor turned and began climbing down the side of the Marian.

“Good riddance,” Jackie muttered.

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