Four years? Nelson had been dead for more than four years?
"But why would he want to lie about that?"
"Not sure. But I know that he was in some way related to the Ezisa - a long time ago, even before Mortie joined us."
Darren listened in silence, very much shocked. He had always wondered if there was more to Nelson than the good-natured peddler who died young like him. And sure enough, if Kat was to be believed, there was a whole lot that Nelson had kept from him.
"Did you know him before you met me?"
"Of course," she smirked. "Weren't you listening?"
"No, I mean personally."
"Can't say we're friends," she said. "Or even acquaintances, for that matter. I knew about him through my minor affiliations with the Ezisa some years back. As for him, he probably heard about me after I gained fame for conning gullible newcomers."
"Gullible newcomers like me, huh?" Darren cracked.
"Wait, wait, we're steering a little off course here," Darren said. "Wasn't I asking you about your former life?"
"Umm..yeah, I believe you were."
"So," Kat bit her lip. "Heheh. It's a long story, really."
"Well, we've got lots of time."
"Actually, we're supposed to be on our toes for the Spooks to arrive."
"And they're not here yet."
She looked at him, half-grinning. "Sheesh, don't you ever give up. All right, I was in high school when I died. Six days short of my sixteenth birthday, in fact. Good enough?"
"Hm. Hardly. What did you die of?"
To his surprise, her face turned downcast at once. "It's not something I want to talk about."
Whoops. He somehow had a knack for spoiling fine conversations. "Why of course, who likes to reminiscence about their own death. I hate the way I left too."
She forced her lips into a smile. "Well, you never told me about that."
"It was...oh, really unexpected. I still don't know what happened. And you know the worst thing? It took place right durin-"
Suddenly Kat raised a hand to interrupt him. "Shh...listen."
It was the sound of steady, thudding footsteps, growing louder at a rapid pace.
"The Spooks are coming."