A hiss loosed from my lips as I went skidding back, my Converse sneakers gritting against asphalt. I winced as the tingling, numb sensation ran its course through the side of my head. Raising my hands to drop my hood, I cradled my injured ear. Why had he hit me so hard? He’d never done that before. I was frozen for a moment, staring through the gaping eyeholes in my mask into the street. But after a moment, cold fingers pressed beneath my chin, raising my face to meet his blank gaze. “You disappoint me.” His voice was like nails on a chalkboard to my ears, or perhaps eerily loud static on a broken television. I winced once more, recoiling, afraid that he might cuff me again. Reaching up, I raised my hood on top of my head and crouched in the street, settling beneath the amber glow of the streetlamp. “Don’t let it happen again.”

I looked up to protest, but he was already gone. How had he even known of my mistakes? Somehow he was always watching, even when I didn’t think he was. There was never an escape…

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