Happy Book Birthday to July Lightning!
Everyone in the Pits called the fifteen-year-old Skeleton, for obvious reasons. Supposedly, the bad blood had been born a normal, healthy baby boy, but, over time, his skin unraveled and revealed pieces of bone. Somehow, defying all science, the boy continued to live. The last time I’d seen him, his right arm and chin showed bone, but now, half his face and all his fingers had contorted to the haunting shape. Even Adam cringed.
“You here to fight?” Skeleton asked, eyeing both Adam and me.
I attempted to answer, but Adam shouted over me. “You work here?”
The betrayal Adam felt was one I would never comprehend, even if I wanted to. Adam was a bad blood. To see a fellow bad blood protect the Pits that killed his kind went beyond my human pain. I volunteered to fight. Bad bloods often didn’t. Moments like this reminded me why Kuthun slapped me when I told him I wished I was a bad blood. Just because I sympathized with them and loved them, lived with them and listened to them, did not mean I would ever be one. I could never feel the same emotions Adam did, and Adam couldn’t comprehend mine.
“The humans aren’t the only ones who see value in bad blood.” Skeleton egged Adam on, and Adam fell for it.
“You mean, your blood.”
The boy’s bony fingers rattled against the door. “Of course,” he said, then smiled. The addition of teeth only made the bony boy look worse.
“You’re one of us,” Adam snapped. “How could you—”
I stepped in front of my cousin. Thankfully, my actions stopped him. “We’re here to talk to Connelly,” I said.
The lanky, crass kid looked me over and stepped aside, but as we passed, he gave in to temptation. “If you need a tag for the bad blood, let me know.”
Adam knocked the boy out cold before I could stop him. That was how fast his powers worked. And, for once, I didn’t feel the need to reprimand him.
“You know you have to fight if you hurt the workers,” I said.
“No one will know,” Adam said as he strode past me. “You’re good at keeping secrets, right?”