“We’re still in the jail cell, but we’re okay.”

“Where are the monsters?”

It was unnervingly quiet, no sound of movement beyond the bars.

“I think they’re gone for now.”

“I’m really thirsty.”

“I know, buddy. Me too.”

“Isn’t there a water cooler behind the front desk?”

“I think so.”

“Maybe we could sneak out there, try to get—”

“Oh, I don’t think that’d be such a hot idea, Benjamin,” said a woman in the darkness on the other side of the bars.

Theresa recoiled. “Who’s there?”

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“Don’t you recognize my voice, honey? How could you not? You’ve been spilling your guts to me every fourth Thursday of the month for the last—”

“Pam? Oh my God, what are you—”

“I heard you two screaming a few hours ago, saw those abbies chase you into the sheriff’s station. I waited until they left. I’m so relieved to find you both intact. You have no idea. That was quick thinking, Theresa, locking yourself in here.”

Theresa had expected some level of sight to return, but she still couldn’t see her hand in front of her face.

Pam said, “I’m not quite clear on what happened here last night. Did your husband show an abby to the town?”

“He told them everything. About the abbies. The surveillance. That it’s two thousand years in the future. That we’re all that’s left.”

“So he really did it. That motherfucker. Hey, don’t look at me like that.”

Theresa felt a cold knot ratcheting down in the small of her back.

“It’s pitch black in here,” Theresa said.

“Yes. It is. But I can see you holding Benjamin in your arms and glaring into the dark in the general vicinity of where I’m sitting, and I don’t appreciate—”

“How?”

“They’re called night-vision goggles, Theresa, and this isn’t the first time I’ve watched you through them.”

“What’s she talking about, Mom?”

“Ben, don’t—”

“Benjamin, I’m talking about the time I caught your mother and father sneaking out of your home on Sixth Street, after dark. That’s strictly forbidden, you know.”

“Don’t speak like that to my son—”

“Don’t speak like that to the woman who’s pointing a twelve gauge at you.”

For a moment, it was absolutely silent, Theresa trying to piece together the image—Pam sitting in front of their cell wearing night-vision goggles and aiming a shotgun at her and Ben in the dark.

“You’re pointing a weapon at my son?” Theresa tried to ask it coolly, but her voice quivered, betraying the rage and the fear metastasizing inside of her.

“I’m going to shoot him too.”

All the strength left her.

Theresa climbed onto her knees and tried to shield Ben with her body.

“Oh please,” Pam said. “All I have to do . . .” She moved. Her voice moved. “Is stand up and walk over to this side of the cell. Then I have a clear shot again.”

“Why are you doing this? You’re my shrink.”

“I was never your shrink.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s truly a shame, Theresa. I liked you. I enjoyed our sessions together. I want you to know that what’s getting ready to happen to you and your son isn’t personal. You just have the misfortune of being married to the man who destroyed this town.”

“Ethan didn’t destroy anything. He just told everyone the truth.”

“That wasn’t his place. The truth can be a dangerous thing for the weak-minded.”

“You knew, didn’t you?” Theresa asked. “All this time you knew.”

“What? The truth about Wayward Pines? Of course I knew. I helped build this town, Theresa. I was here from the beginning. Day one. This place is the only home I ever had, and your husband ruined it. He ruined everything.”

“Ethan didn’t open the gate. He didn’t turn off the fence and let all these monsters inside. Your boss did that.”

“My boss, David Pilcher, created this town. Every house. Every road. He handpicked each resident. Each team member. Without him, you’d have been dead for centuries. How dare you question the man who gave you this life.”

“Pam, please. My son isn’t responsible for any of this. You know that.”

“You don’t understand, honey. This isn’t about holding you and Ben responsible for Ethan’s actions. We’re way past that.”

“Then what is it you want?” Theresa could feel tears coming, panic descending.

Ben was already crying, shaking in her arms.

“All I care about at this point is causing your husband pain. Nothing more,” Pam said. “If he’s still alive, he’ll eventually come here looking for you, and do you know what he’ll find?”

“You don’t have to do this, Pam.”

“The two of you dead and me sitting here. Waiting. I want him to know I did this before I kill him.”

“Just listen—”

“I am listening. But before you start talking, ask yourself if you really believe you’re going to change my mind.”

Down the hall, somewhere in the lobby, Theresa heard the faintest sound.

Like a shard of glass splintering.

Thinking, Please be an abby. Please.

“Most of this town was killed last night,” Theresa said. “I don’t know how many of us are even left.”

Another piece of glass crunched.

Theresa raised her voice a notch.

“But no matter how you feel toward my husband, how can you think that killing two of us who happened to survive is what’s best for our species? We’re on the verge of extinction!”

“Wow, that’s a great point, Theresa. I hadn’t thought of that.”

“Really?”

“No, I’m just kidding. I don’t give a shit.” Pam racked a shell into the tube. “I promise I won’t make you suffer. And honestly? Take a second to look on the bright side. At least you two didn’t die at the hands of an abby. This way, you won’t feel a thing. Well, you’ll probably feel something, but it’ll all be over before you know it.”

“He’s a child!” Theresa cried.

“Oh, would you mind sliding me the key to the cell before—”