Dana wishes she’d have just followed one rule...
The Mystery of Windesta Creek
CHAPTER
28
The Last Thunder
It’s alive! It’s alive!
Lil planted her knee on the ground, taser fried, and she slowly pulled herself up from the saturated earth like the living dead. She was coated in dirt, from head to toe, and it looked like she had risen from beyond the grave.
“Muuuuuuhhhhh! I’m always- the Eternal Snake. We’re always- the Eternal Snake.”
Lil groaned, testing her broken taser, realizing that it was long gone. Droplets ran down her cheeks, and covered her hair as well in streaks of dirt. Her arms were felt by her grimy hands, and to my dismay, they were working fine.
“I told you, and it’s still the truth. Electrocute me, poison me, stab with vines and bees- I am invincible! You can’t kill me, but I can kill you! Come here, Dana Purple! Meet your doom or die!”
“Uh...I hate to burst your bubble, but those are the same things. Is there an option c or what?” I chuckled anxiously.
Lil finally rose up to her full, towering height that cast a shadow over me, even more than the dark clouds did. She was a skyscraper above me. I was surprised she hadn’t joined a professional basket ball league so far, she would excell at making slam dunks, and beating up the other players.
I rushed for the gates one more time, but she held me back by my sensitive ankle. She was still weakened by the electricity, though, and I was able to kick her off, and climb over, into the world.
But Lil could scale gates as well, and she did, tossing me like a sack of potatoes back into her Forbidden Backyard. It was ironic how much I had wanted to be there with Gwen and Parker just a few weeks ago. Now that I was here, all I wanted was to leave, to run away.
“Okay, I must admit, you’ve been a tough kid to kill. You’re elusive like trying to swat a meaningless fly. But a flys life span is very short, just like yours will be. I’ll also make sure that I can spin the story and tell everyone that you killed the Sheriff in cold blood. How’s that for just desserts, eh?”
“This is anything but just. You’re a muderer, and a thief, and you run a criminal smuggling ring!” I blurted.
I knew exactly what I had said, and I wasn’t about to take it back.
Everything in Windesta Creek had never been about just the murders, or the stolen art, or the bugs. It was about Gwen’s idol, Darrin, and a thousand over people. I should have realized. The fact that Parker had been concerned about me going in the water because a criminal had drowned in it. How Darrin died in jail. How over and over, I had glazed over events of criminals dying.
Lil had been using the smuggling ring, she rescued them, faking their deaths, in return for them stealing famous paintings. Because they were legally dead, and dead men couldn’t steal. But they could and they did.
I should have known all along when Parker said that he found an African spore. Elwes, Lil’s base, was in Africa, in a place free from deportation.
Miss. Hollis had been threatened via letter because she had been a criminal saved by Lil’s business. But she had helped Lil dispose of the real Greta (why she was so unenthusiastic when it came to talking about Greta) and got cold feet when Lil asked her to do another dirty deed, taking a painting.
What would Lil do? The obvious choice, for a psychopath like her. She killed Miss. Hollis, traveling through the Catacombs, right into her house. The Catacombs were an agreement that they must have made, escape from jail for easy access to Miss. Hollis’s house. That had been a mistake that had cost Miss. Hollis’s life. Lil crawled through the Catacombs, put a hole through Miss. Hollis. Then she destroyed all the evidence by stripping the house and hiding the body in the tunnels.
But Lil’s job wasn’t done. She had two lackeys that were particularly necessary to her operation. I had always called them Suit and Scruffy. She had only brought me here in Kasey’s whim. Kasey had wanted to kill me, and Scruffy would only obey Lil if she pretended to be my Aunt just to kill me. Of course, soon Lil actually wanted to force my doom because I was in her business.
But when I came, and after she killed Miss. Hollis, the Sheriff came after her. Suspecting her in everything, she knew that the only way to take the blame off her shoulders was to blame it on sometime else. That was Kate.
So, while Kate was locked away, Lil had another personal vendetta against someone else. The Sheriff. He was too nosy, like me, and already knew that she had commited murder. That would explain how he knew where to find us. Lil had submitted an anonymous tip, telling him exactly where she was, just to get the man out of her way.
And the bugs she was constantly placing on everybody, that seal of a snake destroying a ship? That was the symbol of her Crime Ring. It was called the Eternal Snake, I had heard Lil speak of it a few minutes ago.
“I have to admit, you sure went through a whole lot just to run a smuggling ring. Sheriff Turnin thought that he had found you himself. But you had told him just so you could turn him into a blood splatter! You run your organization, the Eternal Snake, and you killed him, just like Charisma, and she didn’t do anything to you,” I screamed.
Meanwhile, Lil had slowly been backing away, with the knowledge that I really did know everything. She was pale, and a crease had formed on her forehead.
She had no idea that she was heading right for the open Catacombs chamber. But soon, she figured it out, halting right in the edge, laughing as thunder chimed in, wind whipping my face.
The air was in turmoil, uprooting plants and causing dirt to become airborne while Lil guffawed her head off. Branches of trees were breaking off, and one hit me in the stomach.
Lil was too distracted to hear the ominous snapping sounds coming from a branch above her. The ice poured down, drowning the snaps out, freezing me in place. I didn’t want anything to happen.
But it all went down so quickly that I didn’t have time to move. Or maybe I just didn’t want to. Maybe she just didn’t deserve it, maybe it was a sign of what was to come.
A large fracture had almost halved the branch, and it was splintering. One massive gust appeared, and that fracture opened up, leaving to branch to fall right at Lil’s feet. Leaves swirled around her, a hurricane, while a river formed at the bottom of the Catacombs, a murky river. I didn’t want to think about what was past it.
“I’m invincible, I’m invincible, I’m invincible, the Eternal Snake never dies, I’m invincible,” Lil sang, her red her dancing in the storm.
“Ha! I’m invinc-“
The branch finally snapped, tossing itself at Lil’s feet, and she tipped back, threatening to fall into the Catacombs. She took one frantic look at me, begging for me to save her.
“Lil, grab my arm, and then you’ll go to prison. You can still do the right thing,” I decided. I couldn’t kill her, that would make me a carbon copy of Kasey. She reached for my arm, those hives rubbing against me unpleasantly.
“Wrong choice,” she cackled, as she yanked me towards the Catacombs. But instead of me falling in, Lil tried to get a firm grip of the ground with her back foot.
There was no ground behind her.
Already precariously perched at the edge of the Catacombs, she really did tip, still fruitlessly grasping for soil, when she fell down, down, into the Catacombs, towards the dark river. She soundlessly plummeted, her mouth wide open, streaming red hair flowing, her face finally showing what was inside, a monster.
“Lil!” I watched her as she couldn’t cling to the ladder rungs. She clawed to the sides, but I knew that already, she was gone.
Finally, she made her final splash down into that river, floating away...
I threw up, finally, panting, getting everything out of my system, as the rain slowed down, and all that was left were the clouds, a blanket of them muting the sky. Lil was gone. It was horrid to see her die, but at the same time it was relief. It was closure. She didn’t survive. But a piece of me suffered the same fate.
The person I had been was gone.
Not to mention Sheriff Turnin, Charisma, and Miss. Hollis. And by this time, maybe Gwen and Parker. And Kasey. Those bees might have stung her to shreds by now. I didn’t feel remorse for her fate... I just felt sadness.
Sadness for Lil and Kasey alike. They had both poisoned themselves. Everyone has a choice. But they sipped from their cup, and they couldn’t stop. They had sealed their own fate.
I knew the only thing I could do now was drink from my own cup. I had to save Gwen and Parker
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