likely would happen all over again. My heart ached at the thought and I forced it away for now. “I saw Adam dying.”
    “I see,” Dad said. “You thought it might be hard on Holly, bringing up Adam?”
    “Yeah.” I flopped onto my back again, staring up at the ceiling. “She was so weird when I found her in the cabin, totally aware. She wasn’t in the hallucination anymore and she didn’t want me coming near her. I don’t think her delusion included Adam’s dying, it just doesn’t fit with her reaction, but I’m not sure why.”
    “She worked for the other side, Jackson,” Dad said. “She was trained by the other side. We can’t even begin to know what Eyewall put her through.”
    I rolled on my side, staring at Dad. “You’re right.”
    Maybe someone like Holly, trained as our enemy, would like to see the proof that Blake presented me with today? Maybe she needed to be in on our next secret session.


    The world seemed brighter this morning, sharper, more focused. I noticed small movements and the difference in size in every object in the room in a way I couldn’t remember experiencing. It must have been the whole near-death episode that made me see, smell, and measure even more acutely.
    I set out to find Blake to continue where we had left off yesterday. It wasn’t like I had anything more interesting to do.
    He was outside by the lake with Holly. They were standing beside the water. Blake had Holly’s pistol pointed at a thick tree stump with a white T-shirt pinned to the front of it. She angled herself partially behind him and partially beside him. Her hands covered his, her arms around his back.
    I couldn’t help thinking the first thought that popped into my head … the reproduction room  … and then I wondered what had gone on during the ten days I was injured and stuck in bed. I froze in the grass, still quite a ways from them. Intense fury pumped through me. I squeezed my fists open and closed several times, trying to compose myself. Jealousy was not an option without doing what I swore to myself I wouldn’t do—tell Holly about us. Instead, I took in slow, deep breaths, calming myself down.
    I was nearly under control until she reached down and touched his right leg, moving it back several inches.
    “Bend your knees a little,” I heard her say as she returned to holding Blake’s hands. “Choke up on the gun more.”
    “Choke up?”
    “Slide your right hand higher,” she said. “When you fire it, the gun’s gonna twist sideways and then try to point up. You want to keep that from happening. This will give you a better grip.”
    They stood still for several seconds and then finally Blake sighed and shook his head. “I can’t do it … I’m afraid of missing and the ricochet off the tree…”
    So I was right about Blake’s not having any kind of agent training while working for the government in his present. Although with memory gas around, maybe they didn’t need guns in the future.
    Holly took the gun from his hands and stepped sideways. “It’s okay. It’s hard for everyone the first time. I’ll show you one more time, okay?”
    He watched her carefully as she took her stance, held the weapon out, and fired three times in a row, knocking three perfect holes through the center of the white T-shirt.
    Blake ran his fingers through his hair. “It makes perfect sense. I’ve got the angles and distance all memorized, it’s just getting myself to actually pull the trigger.”
    So his brain worked like mine. That was how it was for me the first time I picked up a weapon. I could measure the distance, see the angles, and project where it would land. It was like this door had swung open revealing a whole new layer to the world.
    She smiled at him, causing me to scowl. “You’ll get it. I know you will.”
    I’d had enough of this cozy moment and felt a strong need to break it up. “Nice shooting, Agent Flynn.”
    They both jumped and

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