- I need to borrow it for a minute.
- You need to see for yourself.
- Be a better human.
- Why are they so offended?
- I can’t solve it for you.
- You need to be everywhere.
- They’re really creepy.
- Give me your scarf.
- I will lie to you.
- You’ll never be alone.
Need a boost for your NaNoWriMo word count? Try some prompts for your scenes.
9. I will lie to you
“Fragments of Truth”:
“I will lie to you.” He paused to take a breath. “But so will everyone else.” He pressed something cold and hard into my palm. And he paused again. “Put it on.” What wasn’t he saying?
It was a robin’s egg blue crystal in the shape of a diamond prism, hanging on a chain necklace. I followed his directions.
“This is what will keep you alive. People can only say so many words without lying. The necklace will translate their lies into truths for you. Choose your words carefully–don’t say more than you have to.”
“But if everyone is lying, then does it matter what I say?”
“Your allies will need to know that you’re safe.” He shook his head. “Not everyone has protection. The gas is getting stronger. Just ask them if they’ve seen any tomatoes today. They’ll answer with ‘the field is full.’ If they don’t, then you can’t trust them, okay?”
“I just don’t understand what’s happening here. Why me?”
He nervously twisted his fingers together. “Beause of … your … past.” He chewed on his tongue.
My hands and my head began to feel like they were on fire. “My record is clean,” I snapped. “That’s not who I am anymore.”
“It’s not fate. You are replaceable. Trutly. But you’re our best chance. We need someone with your skills. It would be pretty inconvenient to have to start the search all over again…”
“Will any of this be held against me? If I end up in prison again, I’ll hunt you down myself,” I snarled.
“Just stay focused. Here’s the first clue.” He handed me a rolled-up piece of parchment, with a royal-blue ribbon holding it in its rolled position. He placed his hands over mine. “Go somewhere quiet and safe. Make sure no one is around–check for cameras and windows.”
I tugged on my fingerless gloves, hoping that it would distract him from the fact that I was clenching my jaw. I gritted my teeth when I was upset and when I was annoyed. This time, I was both. But he didn’t need to know that about me. Then, I remembered about the gum I had absently been chewing the entire time. My fingers grabbed one of the ends of the pink blob, stretching it out with my fingertips. “Why… why does my past matter here? What’s the point?”
“Because… you are the only person who could possibly fool the greatest liar in the world.”
I snorted. “You already said I was replaceable. Flattery doesn’t exactly work after a comment like that.” I let out a short, barking, cynical laugh.
He shrugged. “We need you. We don’t have time to find someone new at this point.”
I snorted again. “What’s the hurry, old man?”
He sighed. “When the new moon rises a week from now, the changes to our planet will become permanent.”
Changes? What in the world was he talking about? It must have been obvious what I was thinking, because he spoke again: “Do you remember being told about the gas before today?” He paused and titled his head, almost sympathetically. “Did you grow up with this ever-present fog?” Popping his knuckles, he adjusted his old-fashioned beret. “We’ve all been fooled, Jocelyn. The government has misled us.”
Then his face went stark white, grabbing and clasping my hands again. He turned them over, running his fingers over my palm. That was when I noticed my joints: formed of porcelain. The man stumbled backward, his mouth agape in horror. “I can’t believe… I can’t believe…,” he choked.
“What? What is it?” I couldn’t quite comprehend the situation.
“They made you up,” he gasped hoarsely.
I remembered then that the crystal protected me from falsehoods.
“You didn’t exist until yesterday.”
My eyes glazed over as I clattered to the floor. My last glimpse of consciousness showed me the old man crawling backward away from me. I had never even learned his name.