I should have looked in a mirror before getting into the cushy Boltake jet.
When an air hostess handed me some gourmet meal on a silver platter and I caught my reflection in it, I almost dropped the food.
My scar was gone. The scar I had for years, that was synonymous with me in every aspect, was gone.
Boltake got rid of it. Why on earth, I had no idea.
I had pulled the stitches out of my face and other places I discovered wounds had been sealed, but only then noticed a row of staples glinting from behind my hair along the right side of my head.
So that was where the kill switch had gone in. Boltake had probably included something in the medical records to explain them.
They didn't look bad, really. Barely noticeable when I wasn't holding my hair back, but it meant no more ponytails for a while.
My fingers searched for the woven bracelet around my wrist but were met only with my own cold skin.
"Are you alright, Miss?"
I nodded at the hostess, putting the plate on the table in front of the couch I was sitting on.
Yes, couch. The jet was bigger on the inside than ten times my train car and was filled with chic furniture and even a mini-bar.
When the crisply-dressed woman was out of sight I stared at the food, wolfing it down within a few seconds. I was starved and, even though I shouldn't have had an appetite, I did.
I was filled with an odd calmness, like I had when Jackson Lee shot his own brains out.
Maybe I was flying towards my own doom, to the dead bodies of the only friends I had, but I was okay.
Planes always soothed me. I was in the air, and the air was my home. No blood or corpses or guns in the sky.
As far as I could see.
A few minutes or maybe hours later the pilot was saying something about landing so I had to get up and move to a chair with a seatbelt. Suddenly the weight of the situation hit me and my entire body tensed up.
If I was going to hear that the group I had led into the Fabulous Fox was dead, and by the hand of Wiseacre, I probably wouldn't be able to take it.
I took them there. I could have burned the passes and pretended I never got them. Everything could have continued as it was.
No. It never could. Wiseacre was merciless. He would have killed us whether or not anything happened to raise his suspicions further.
When the jet touched down and I was escorted out by another hostess, my mind was made up.
Someone had to find out what he was doing, and stop it. That someone was me.
I had to do it for my parents, and my brother. For Jackson Lee, for Aaron Wiseacre. For Nixie, for Stinger, Myah and Lisette. For Eli.
The hostess put a duffel bag in the back of a taxi and ushered me to sit, handing the cabbie a cheque and wishing me safe travels as I was driven away.
I counted down the seconds I had left of my freedom. Soon I would be back in the circus, under the eyes of Wiseacre and Boltake, caught in the crossfire of their stupid battle.
The big top came into my vision and I sighed, shutting my eyes tightly and opening them again to make sure I wasn't dreaming. It was real, alright.
Time had blurred together while I was away from the circus. It almost seemed as if I had never left, except for the unforgettable sight of Boltake's eyes burning into my soul.
"You okay, Miss?"
I started at the sound of the cabbie's voice and nodded. The second time I had been asked that. Maybe I wasn't.
He got out of the car and opened the door for me, getting the duffel bag as I stepped out.
"Here you are," he smiled apologetically, waiting for me to take the bag and then heading back to the taxi, "Good luck."
I wasn't sure I had heard the last part right, but when I turned around with the bag slung over a shoulder the man was gone off down the road.
After a moment I turned back to face the grounds and let my feet carry me forward.
This was it. The moment of truth.