Prom Nights from Hell Chapter Five she asked herself
What do you think you’re doing? she asked herself. Rhetorically, since she was already up the Snow-White-and-the-Seven-Dwarves-Do-Baby-Jesus neighbor’s tree and staring into the yard of the house where she’d left Sibby.
I can’t wait to hear you say to the cops, “Yes, officer, I know I was trespassing but that woman was very suspicious because she was wearing false eyelashes.”
With a full Creepy Cult costume. They just didn’t go. Plus she had a hole for a nose piercing. And a French manicure.
Maybe she just has really big pores! And a love of dated manicures!
She wasn’t what she was posing as.
Is this about helping someone or having an excuse not to show up at prom and see Will with his face nuzzled in Ariel’s huge, soft-
Shut up, U-Suck.
I was going to say hair.
You are so not funny.
You are so not brave.
There were two guys sitting in the backyard, leaning across a picnic table toward each other with a book between them, both in T-shirts and khakis and Teva sandals, one of them wearing thick black-framed glasses, the other one with a scraggly beard. They looked like two geeky college guys playing Dungeons and Dragons and sounded like it too when the one wearing glasses said, “That’s not how it works. It says in the Book of Rules she can’t see for herself, only for other people. You know, like genies with wishes, how they can’t grant their own.” Except they each had a large automatic rifle lying on the table next to them and Miranda could see shooting targets set up on the fence.
So what? There are armed geeks. Maybe they’re Sibby’s protection. Go home. Sibby doesn’t need you. She’s fine.
If she’s fine, why isn’t she out there trying to kiss the two boys?
Miranda strained to hear something from inside the house but it was definitely soundproofed. A couple came out of sliding doors onto the patio away from the Geek Guys, a woman smoking a cigarette in short, tense puffs and a man. Miranda almost fell out of the tree when she recognized the woman as the cult lady, only now without the glasses, skirt, or sweater and with her hair down.
Which doesn’t mean anything.
The woman whispered, “We still need the girl to tell us the location, Byron.”
“She hasn’t yet.”
“I told you, even if I can’t get her to talk, the Gardener can. He’s good at that.”
The woman again: “I don’t like that he brought a partner. That wasn’t part of the plan. Does she get a cut-”
The man called Byron cut her off. “Put that out and be quiet, we have company.” He pointed to the Geek Guys scrambling over to join them.
The woman crushed her cigarette out under her foot and kicked it away.
“Is She all right?” Bearded Geek asked breathlessly, pronouncing She like it should be capitalized.
“Yes,” the man assured him. “She’s resting after her ordeal.”
Oh, they could not be talking about Sibby. Ordeal? No way.
“Has She said anything?” Glasses Geek asked.
The man said, “Just expressed how very grateful She is to be here.”
Miranda almost snorted.
Bearded Geek said, “Will we be able to see Her?”
“When the Transition happens.”
The geeks wandered off in a blissful daze and Miranda decided this was the weirdest thing she’d ever seen.
But it proved that Sibby was in no danger. These people clearly worshipped Her. Which meant it was time-
“Why is he called the Gardener, anyway?” Fake Eyelash woman asked the man.
“I believe because he’s good at pulling things out.”
“Teeth, nails. Joints. That’s how he gets people to talk.”
– time to find Sibby.
Miranda dropped out of the tree into the neighbor’s yard and found herself looking down the barrel of an automatic rifle.