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His body stiffened immediately. “It what?”
“Your hard-to-explain ring,” she said, and giggled a little. “It—it lit up. Where on earth did you get that thing? I’ve never seen anything like—”
He sat up with a start, everything about him seeming suddenly electrified, suddenly rigid. “What color was it?”
She tittered hesitantly. “And that matters because …?”
He grabbed her by the throat—not particularly hard, but enough to hurt. “What color was it?”
Her mind reeled. Hasn’t it always been just a matter of when? “Green. It was green. You’re—you’re hurting me.”
He released her suddenly and looked out the window. “Green … by the gods. What shade?” He looked at her abruptly. “What shade, Sarah?”
She began to inch away from him slowly. “Just —just green. Dark green, I think. It—it only did it for—”
And then she was scrambling—disentangling herself from the sheets, tumbling dangerously down the thickly-carpeted stairs, climbing to her bare feet.
A gunshot rang out as she reached for the door and wood chips exploded from the cabinets above her. “Open that door and we die—do you understand?”
She looked to see him crouched at the top of the stairs, pistol in hand. “The best we can hope for now is to remain still … and pray they don’t find us. Now step away from the door—do it!”
She stared at him for several breaths, her heart hammering in her chest, wondering if he would really shoot—if he was really that crazy.
“Dark green, by the gods. Thazgul ...”
Yes, she could see now that he was. Could see it just as clear as day. Could see that he’d always been crazy and had always looked it: she’d just been too stupid to see—too needy, too agreeable. Hasn’t it always been just a matter of when?