This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
all year, but couldn’t remember a single time she’d been to the grocery store in Kirksville without her mother or anybody. It was almost something she wanted to avoid, but it was her fault for not having the guts to tell her mother that she’d been converted to veganism by the Sigma Psi girls and her Discourse and Thought professor, Magda. Some things there just was no right time for. Halfway down the health foods aisle past a wet floor warning sign, she picked up a jar of wheatgrass capsules and glanced at the label. As she moved to set it back down, a familiar voice entered earshot. It was coming closer. “…to get around it. They can’t throw anything out; it’s all molded into the ship or whatever.” A second voice, vaguely remembered from some English class junior year, answered. “No, I mean, you know, it’s like she weighs what, like one-ten or something, if they kinda consolidated some boxes or took off all their clothes it’d have worked out, yeah. I mean there’s probably what, like how much stuff on that shelf right there makes one-ten? Not too much stuff, you know, improvisation.” “Dude, whatever. It’s bad engineering but that ship’s one piece. They only have x fuel to get h weight across n distance, or whatever it says, you read it, but when you add n… crap, I already used n… some other variable, then it doesn’t work. And I’m the one who almost failed physics. It’s math, David.” A little wave of panic rolled down Becky’s spine. Trevor was in the aisle with her, and here she was staring at a bottle of wheatgrass like it held the secrets of the Pharaohs’ and Al Capone’s combined treasure. The obvious solution was to stare harder and just pray to those Pharaohs that Trevor was too dumb to give her a second glance. David was a couple steps ahead of his friend, walking pelvis-first with his hands in his pockets, red polo rumpled and probably unwashed. He was still wearing his nametag from work, though his hair looked like something had been nesting in it for a few months. He was just as pale and freckled and skinny as he’d been when Becky first met him in ninth grade. Maybe he was still half-heartedly selling his ADHD meds to community college kids. David wasn’t the kind to bother changing at this point, when his niche was so wellworn. They’d never really been friends. Becky had considered her boyfriend’s friends as part of some other species entirely. David had actually seemed like the better catch until she found out about the drug thing. She liked to think that she had at least a few standards. Then again, David was the one
who actually cared about things like being employed and moving out of his parents’ house one day. David passed her by, and then Trevor slipped on the wet floor—does he even know how to read?—and almost fell, taking down a half-dozen boxes of protein bars as his arm swiped wildly to find a grip on the shelf next to him. For half a moment Becky wanted to turn around and ask if he was okay. Instead she took the opportunity to turn the other way and walk out the aisle the way she came. “Dude, what,” David asked, barely turning his head. Trevor picked up the fallen boxes. In the freezer section, Becky mentally checked the different sales on each kind of frozen pizza. She liked thin crispy crust, which was on sale if you bought the kind with the nasty salty sauce, but it wasn’t her preferences that mattered here. She’d be eating stir-fry with Chik’n Crumblies, which her father was naïve enough to think was real meat. The expensive kind with actual ingredients was also on sale, so it was expensive but maybe she could convince her dad it was a deal because it had vegetables so they didn’t need to use any frozen vegetables. She didn’t really care but it felt nice to pretend, because today she was playing Adult and that meant caring what her parents thought, and really caring about other people’s feelings in general, and going to the store and the bank and the post office and cleaning around the house and ordering Hana around like a dog. Then she’d take a bath because she deserved a real bath, because that’s what adults do when they need to wind down. Well, technically so did babies and small children to wash pasta out of their hair. But so did real, functioning adults with stressful careers or whatever, and she’d put on some Enya or something and bust out the fancy pink bubble bath that Bahar had given all the Sigma Psi girls for Christmas. It was a plan. Becky picked out the second-most expensive pizza and decided she’d lie and say that they were out of the cheap kind. It had a whole-grain crust or something so it was maybe healthier. Her dad could appreciate healthy. At the checkout Becky eyed a row of purple-covered mystery romance novels about viscounts and billionaires, and thought about re-reading some of the ones she already owned somewhere in her room at home. They basically all had the same plot, and by now she’d most likely forgotten the characters (and she made a mental note to figure out what a Viscount even was, and why they seemed to be the go-to aristocrats for four-dollar romances) from all the old ones so it was like saving money to just read those again. Every penny saved was a penny towards leasing Melee and having her very own horse on campus, just to piss off the Equestrian Studies girls because what kind of major even was that. Becky was incredibly jealous of the Equestrian Studies girls. On the way back to the house she filled up the tank in the old Camry, even writing down the mileage on the receipt to appease Derek. She
wondered if her dad would let her call him by his first name, or if he’d at least have a funny reaction. The gas station was still done up in the public high school’s colors, green and gold. Someone had tried to paint a cougar in the window, but it looked more like a three-legged housecat with crooked teeth and burning eyes. The school mascot had been a Cherokee when Becky started there but it changed her sophomore year after the world’s least entertaining protest made the Starbucks next to the school unusable while the district’s two Native American students stood in the doorway for a while. Supposedly there was news coverage, but she honestly couldn’t remember if there actually had been. Becky mostly just watched TV online anyway, and made a point not to care about the news. Caring about news meant caring about politics, probably. Politics were so high school, that place which had operated on Becky like some terrible Algebra II/Trig function full of Greek letters, taking in a girl with braces and a pixie cut the lady at Great Clips assured her was in style and spitting out a slightly taller version of the same, with a shiny new bob and straight white teeth and utter disdain for the universe. lots cut right heeeeeeeeeere By the time Becky was on her way home, it was a quarter to six. She knew she would be the one cooking that night, or at least the one putting the pizza in the oven and mixing a pitcher of Country Time. Her mother barely knew what went into making a bowl of ramen and her dad was only interested if the menu involved grilling so that he could justify the backyard set-up that had cost more than Becky’s car. The thought of Hana doing anything around the house was an absolute joke, though it was a joke that Becky never tired of telling. Becky pulled into the neatly and newly blacktopped driveway and turned the dark blue Camry off. She leaned back into the gray leather and played with the graduation tassel hanging off the rearview. The sky out the window looked like the clearest blue swimming pool, without any kind of cloud at all. It was hot as hell outside but the view from the air-conditioned driver’s seat was beautiful. Her dad had even remembered to cut the grass for once, or at least made the seventh-grader across the street do it for three bucks and a Pepsi. She opened the car door and swung her legs out, carefully standing up in her new wedge sandals that made her almost as tall as a real-live human being. The top shelf in the YA section at the library was practically within arm’s reach. Becky closed the car and locked it, then remembered the groceries and unlocked it and got the groceries and locked it again—and then she was good. Plus one point for memory. Un-frozen trunk-pizza would have not sat well with her dad. The groceries fit in one bag, so she had no problem bringing them in. She set the oven to pre-heat, then thought better of it since her dad wouldn’t be home from work for at least another hour and a half. In the meantime she
stuck a half-eaten veggie burrito in the microwave and called it lunch. She liked to call things what she’d rather they were; though she didn’t think her sister would appreciate being referred to as Nonexistent five days to the week. The sound of one of Nonexistent’s absolutely insipid TV shows was just audible past the mechanical chk-chk-chk of the sprinkler. Of course Hana was watching TV. Jock Sportsjock had just broken up with her by text that morning so it was time to be just as melodramatic as she could muster for at least a day and a half before Sport Jocksport asked her out, as far as Becky understood the process. She avoided her sister’s social circle like the plague they seemed to think Becky had. It wasn’t until Becky yawned that she realized that being an adult, above all else, was tiring. She kicked off the wedges and tossed them in the corner near the front door before lurching upstairs. Her room was at the end of the hall, her sister’s to the right at the end. She heard sobbing and was almost concerned until she realized that it was the show, not Hana. She wondered if Hana were capable of feeling bad about anything, ever. Maybe, maybe, maybe she’d ride her horse on a sled through Hell. Becky turned the blue glass doorknob and opened her door, celestial wind-chimes tinkling as the door brushed them. Once inside, she shut the door and silenced the chimes with her hand. Chapter two: News Becky emptied her pockets of lip balm, car keys, and wallet onto her vanity and flopped down on her white enamel daybed like a marionette with its strings cut. There wasn’t enough time to take a nap or anything actually productive, so she settled on lying down until someone yelled at her to start dinner. Who was she even kidding, she thought. Until her mother wandered upstairs and asked Hana why she wasn’t making dinner. Becky wished her mom would just admit that Hana wasn’t ever going to do anything useful and just give up like Becky had a solid four years earlier. Not everybody was cut out to be a productive member of society. The world needed gold diggers and Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, too. Did they even take half-Asians? The gates of sleep were almost closed on Becky when three loud knocks gave her half a heart attack and made her spring into uncomfortable uprightness in her twisted blue bird-print sheets. “Who’s it. There. Who’s there. Come in,” she choked out. Hana Swanson opened the door to her sister’s room like it was the lid of a vampire’s coffin, and not the hot kind, either. Becky wanted to shout at her to just come the hell in but thought maybe her mom would hear and have some mild words to say about it later. There was nothing more dreaded in the Swanson house than Chiyoko’s mild agitation for, and gentle disappointment in, her daughters. Becky managed to straighten out her poofy Ren Faire shirt by the time Hana had the door open. Her little sister was wearing tiny pink booty shorts
(probably with some basketball player’s name on the butt in felt letters) and a stripy pink and green cami that showed off her toned and tanned arms. She looked about ten feet tall with her legs, even if she was all of Becky’s five-five. It didn’t matter. Everyone would remember Hana as the taller sister, if they bothered to remember Becky at all. “I can’t watch my show. Yours is taping so you’d better watch it now or else I’m just cancelling the timer.” Little sis is such a charmer, Becky thought as she pushed out of bed. Although, for once Hana had warned her before messing with the DVR settings. Plus one for being a positive influence? Too soon to tell. Must gather more data. On the way down the stairs and to the living room, Becky tried to remember what was taping for her. There had been a History special about haunted castles, or else maybe there was another Lord of the Rings marathon that her dad had set up for her. It didn’t really matter. Some TV would at least be soothing, and it didn’t take much more thought than a nap would have. She rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs and walked into the living room. The light coming in from the big bay window was lovely yellow, and it made all the beige in the room seem almost golden, and Becky almost wanted to sing “On My Own” and dance around the room. She let the almost be almosts and sat down on the sectional and yawned as she reached for the remote on the coffee table. Hana would just complain if she sang. Then their dear darling mother would be mildly irritated, and then everything would go bad. Such was the order and such was the life. Becky was constantly surprised that her family hadn’t fallen apart already, any one of the times her mother found some little thing to be lightly agitated by. Becky had to press the on button three times just to get a picture on the TV. She hated their TV setup, with every stupid little component needing its own way to be turned on, turned off, turn up, down, left right, sideways and she didn’t even know what most of the things meant. It was always the satellite first—SAT, that was easy—then sound which was AUX which meant something important probably, then TV (also easy) for a picture. But then she always did them in the wrong order, and some error would pop up and the sound would suddenly turn to some mode that made everything echo like they were in Winchester Cathedral, which was handy when she needed a little something extra when she was reciting lines but not so handy when she wanted to watch A Game of Thrones without getting a wicked headache. It was like a battle, only without the violence and glory and with more frustrated swearing at electronics. It was a special on unsolved mysteries. Her dad must’ve set it up for her. Becky made a mental note to thank him later. The show had already started, though, so she fumbled for the rewind button—did that have one little triangle or two?—until she heard a loud beep. “We are interrupting the regular scheduled programming—” Becky swore out loud— “to bring you a special urgent news report.” The pretty
newscaster looked a little like Hana. Maybe she was Hapa too, half-Asian and half-something else, maybe Irish because she had cute freckles and pink cheeks. Becky made a mental note of her name to Google at a more convenient date. A date when she wasn’t pissed about missing a good hour of trash TV. Settling her body into the well-worn dip in the white leather cushion, Becky let her mind drift as she watched the report. It’s not like she had anything better to do. Anyone better to listen to. There were some phenomena in Montreal that needed explaining. Apparently some Quebeckies—was that the word?—snapped pictures of the Aurora Borealis but like, in a tree. Becky wondered in what world this was more important than stock footage of Natalie Wood or the soothing voice of Robert Stack. Not any world she wanted to live in. Oh, there was more. Funny lights in Russia. Oh no, must be a UFO. But then that wacky government will say it was a weather balloon. Wascally weather. Becky snorted at her own joke. She’d have to remember that one for Tr—and then she remembered. Funny lights over the ocean near Barbados spotted by a cruise ship. Funny lights in Montmartre. Becky thought of her ongoing list of places she wanted to visit. Montmartre was on there, second only to Paris and the Shire—and one of those certainly wasn’t happening. Montmartre, yes, and she’s visit every place Toulouse ever painted and she’s doll herself up like a consumptive courtesan (well, maybe not just like that, because it probably involved showing a little more skin than she was entirely prepared for.) And she would be swept off her feet by a handsome young poet and they would gallivant, or frolic, or cavort… Something on the screen snapped Becky right out of her train of thought. They were showing Nicolette Ames’s house. It was a live feed. All mental notes fluttered out the window. The scene on screen eclipsed whatever the reporter was saying. Becky only caught words, funny lights and noise complaints and smoke. Was it really Nikki’s house? The landscaping looked wrong, the driveway was wrong —but she hadn’t been there since Christmas break—memories of the middle school a town over that some nut-job tried to burn down sprang up, and Becky tried to pay better attention. It was definitely Nikki’s house, no one else in their right mind would have a Jolly Roger up in place of a normal flag. It wasn’t on fire, not visibly on fire, which was a good sign. There was a fire truck, though, and an ambulance, which wasn’t. How far was Nikki’s house from here? Four minutes when you’re panicked as hell, it turned out. She’d tried to call Nikki with one hand, steering with the other, but no one picked up at the Ames’s. Becky ran her Camry right over the curb half a block from the house. She could hear a helicopter. She could hear sirens. She tried not to. Was Nikki in the house? She should have listened to the report better.
Oh god, she thought, oh God, what was the last thing I said to Nikki? Panic filled her mind with fuzz. They hadn’t been on such great terms after Christmas, what if that was the last time they’d ever talk? “Shut up, brain,” Becky muttered. She was trying to walk quickly but not so quickly that she’d be noticed by anybody, weaving through backyards and between trees to stay out of the line of sight of the small nation of vehicles surrounding the Ames’s house. Her head was down but she caught a glimpse of something bright and burning in the window. A sound like a kitten’s hungry mewling pierced the rushing noise that enveloped the house. Not an animal, Becky thought. They didn’t have real pets, Nikki just had fish. Fish didn’t cry. The house was only what, fifteen feet away? Becky stood just behind a bare wooden trellis at the back of the Milakovics’ house, trying to peek around the corner and to the right for a view, any view, of the street. She had no way of knowing if someone was watching that space right that moment, that austere stretch of ripe green grass that separated the houses. It was torture, utter torture. Becky just wanted to see what was going on. That was all. She wanted to know what was happening, if Nikki was in or out of the house, if Mrs. Ames was okay, hell, if Romeo and Juliet (those stupid goldfish) were okay. She wasn’t about to spring into Action Movie Hero Girl mode. Her soft muscles and short legs wouldn’t let her if she tried. Nikki Ames Nikki Ames Nikki Ames. Maybe if she sent mental lasers out to Nikki, waves of psychic power, paper airplane, carrier pigeon. At least she could say she tried. Becky assumed what she assumed was a runner’s stance. She blocked out the memory of her shuttle run time from high school gym. She blocked out the sounds around her and her peripheral vision, adopting mental pony-blinders like the horses who carted the Christmas carriage around Rainier wore. With the concerted effort of all her mind and body Becky sprinted across the gap, gliding like magic over the twigs and stones that she was sure were going to out her, sound out some terrible alarm and bring down the full force and fury of the Kirksville sheriff upon her. She stumbled as she stopped herself in the soft dirt of Mrs. Ames’s vegetable garden. Tomatoes grew in wire cones, green and hard and jewellike in the evening sun. A sharp breath caught in her throat and Becky sputtered and gave a quick little glance at her back before she started towards the back door. This is a really stupid idea, Swanson. This is really dumb. There was a light in the house, orange and flickering and wrapped in the crackling sound of a fireplace. Becky smelled burned meat, wood, some chemical, something awful she couldn’t place. It was such a low and rumbling scent that it seemed fake, imagined, a memory of some other time. Below that, below the popping sound of burning oak floors and below the scent of the place, there was a metallic tang to the air and a hum crossed with a whisper, all carried in a breeze that barely moved. There was another source of light, Becky realized. It was late enough that the light should have
filtered through the narrow line of trees into something softer and warmer and more romantic, and yet the backyard had a cool blue glow like dawn. Becky touched her hand to the sliding glass door. It was warm. She couldn’t see flames in the kitchen but she knew they were there, somewhere, in the house. I would be no use to go in. It was stupid, Becky had been stupid, now she would just get in some kind of trouble. But why hadn’t anyone gone in the house? No fire crew, no police. Even the reporters kept just an inch more distance than seemed normal. Why was no one at the back of the house? Why hadn’t anyone seen her? Cool air washed across the back of her neck and sent a shiver down Becky’s spine. She turned around. There was a man, police or some other kind of uniform, staring right at her. His brow sat just a little uneven, his lips pressed, one hand almost pointing at her. He moved his head, as though to look around her, past her. As though she were furniture. As though she wasn’t there at all. He walked away shaking his head. Becky looked back at the kitchen through the glass. A kitchen she’d been in more times than she could count. It was the most normal place in the world. For a moment Becky thought nothing at all. There was something very wrong, wrong in a way she had no way to understand. The muscles in her face moved to test a gallery of emotions and none of them stuck. She didn’t know the protocol for this. She didn’t know the algorithm to apply. She had no idea what genre she was working with. A reflection in the glass, a glacier-blue slice of light in the late afternoon sun, caught her eye. The shiver that rolled down her body his time came from a different place. Becky pressed her palms to the door. She closed her eyes. She turned, letting her fingers linger on the glass for a moment too long. She was afraid to look, now, afraid of something she could not define. It was underneath the slide of the metal-and-plastic swing-set Nikki’s father had set up twelve years ago, three weeks before he left and never came back. That man and the slide were one and the same, and she couldn’t help but recall the man’s face even as she stared into the crack. A wedge of light, inches wide, with the silvery hue of an October morning spilling softly from the sides. It undulated, moved by some wind from far, far away, from some other time. There was something to it, some peculiarity of shape that made its dimensions hard to reconcile with the area it occupied. It was narrow and wavy but perfectly filled the wide nothing between the metal and the soft, damp woodchips that defined the space. The wedge was diagonal, oddly flat, and for a moment Becky thought that it was pulling the world into itself, that it was changing the landscape beyond its borders. The shiver nestled into the base of her spine, wrapping itself around her thoughts. This wasn’t in the rulebook. She hadn’t even had a plan, and this still wasn’t in it. It wasn’t in any plan. A worm of understanding crawled beneath her skin. This had to be it. The lights in France—Canada? French Canada? Wherever. It had to have
something to do with what was going on in Nikki’s house, it had to. It had to be the key, the answer. But nothing had happened at the other locations, or they would have said something—had they said something about Nikki’s house? The details were fuzzy but Becky remembered the reporter’s freckles in perfect detail. She felt like punching herself in the head to spite her brain for being so awful at prioritizing. A hand reached out to touch the warp in the world. Becky was somewhat shocked to realize it was her own. A thin whisper of caution somewhere in her mind made her hesitate. What would happen if it was dangerous, if it hurt her? She had no idea if it was electrical or come kind of poison or what if it really even was aliens or what. Where would she be if it killed her? the dead rest in the living if it kills you but it won’t it will not The thought came like a needle sliding under her skin, completely foreign. Becky dropped her hand awkwardly to her side. She didn’t like whatever it was. She should just leave it alone. She should focus on something physical, something dire—something like her one-time best friend, maybe her best friend, maybe burning to death. From a little ways off, from the other side of the house, Becky heard a strangled cry. She was there in record time, somewhere between an Olympian and a cheetah in the pounding urgency of her feet. Any care she had had that she would be seen by police or whoever was gone, and the adrenaline pumping in her veins eclipsed all rationality. It had been a man’s scream. The scene on the other side stopped her dead. Not even shock registered consciously, not even fear. This was awe, pure and undiluted. A figure, tall and athletic but distinctly feminine, was outlined in a feverish gold on the front step. The door was gone, a ragged hole rimmed in smoldering ash in its place. The girl’s raised arms were twin pillars of flame, blazing above her head. There was something in her eyes, or something where her eyes should have been, something so bright and dark and hot that Becky wanted to turn away, to block it out. She didn’t. Becky recognized the shape, and the sound that came from it. She had heard that sound before. “It’s not my fault!” Nikki wailed, a crackle of fear marring her perfect choir voice, her perfect soprano. Becky had envied that voice, had coveted it. For the first time Becky realized, or maybe they had arrived while she was otherwise occupied, the SWAT team crouching behind the cheap façade of a white picket fence that just ran the length of the front of the house. They had weapons, some kind of guns, shiny and black and so utterly out of place in the Ames’ yard, because this was where Becky had played in a sprinkler when she was five and six and where she had pretended that all the
mushrooms were fairy circles and all the rabbits were waiting patiently, or impatiently, to take her and her best friend in the whole world to Wonderland. Shiny and black and so very cold, so very cold until they fired and the friction turned the barrels burning, burning like Nikki was up on her step posing like a martyr before her executioners. Nikki Ames Nikki Ames Nikki flames… Someone, some stupid someone that Becky would never forgive made a move towards Nikki, past that plastic fence. A cameraman. Young. Medium height. Blonde hair. Blue polo. Black Dockers. Becky blinked. Becky opened her eyes. In the place of the cameraman were blackened bones and pale ash. A collective gasp reached her ears almost after the fact. Nikki was on her knees, now more a ball of fire than a teenage girl. She was a year younger than Becky, precocious and precious and too smart for her own good. Too pretty for her own good. Too naïve for whatever was happening to her now to make any sense. Not that it made any sense to Becky. This was too much. Too many signals, too many processes and too many things going wrong at once. She didn’t even know if right and wrong were the words to describe any of it, if she could use those words, use any words, to justify the surrealist painting her world had fast become. She felt, rather than saw, the shiny black barrels raise. The command, though, she heard that. And she found she wasn’t worried most about Nikki, though her thoughts on that front had come to a deafening roar behind her ears. What she was really worried about was every other person on the block. give them a lightshow, a dark voice sang in her ear. give the firegirl something to remember It happened in a fragment of time as thin and dark as horsehair. Becky needed a distraction. She raised one hand just to her waist, palm up and fingers curled in a gesture she had no word for. I need to make this all just GO AWAY! Light exploded from her fingertips, blinding screaming solar flares and sparks and the dim glow of a nightlight in the dark and images, images of twisting metal and ash and bone and Nikki’s face and that shiny cold dark black evil hard twisting crying deafening… There was a silence so thick that it caught in the air, and nothing looked right to Becky because even through the light there was nothing, just nothing she could see. lightshow lightshow lightshow for the firegirl see see see
The voice was resonant in a way that couldn’t have some from one voice, or even from ten. It was a choir of voices, high and low and rough and silky soft and all in perfect broken harmony. All young and all feminine. At that moment, all Becky. She didn’t need Nikki’s perfect soprano. She had ten-thousand of her own. One moment passed and the lights were utterly gone. Becky felt as though she had been dropped in from above, and nothing around her made a lick of sense, though it hadn’t for what seemed like eons. Everything looked the same, though maybe a couple people were on the ground but they didn’t look hurt. Something though, something important, but Becky was too disoriented for it to register. Until it did. Nikki was gone. Becky whipped her head about frantically. Had the lights come from Nikki? Had she run? What had happened, oh God, oh God, Becky wanted for everything to just go away but she didn’t have any idea what to do. The whole day had the progression of a nightmare, from the chance meeting with Trevor to the bizarre news and the reporter who looked like Hana and then the mad dash across the backyards of half Willow River Estates and the lights and the SWAT team and Nikki all in flames and the voices and the lights, more lights, and then Nikki was just gone and there wasn’t any plan of attack for a nightmare besides to WAKE UP but she knew, Becky knew that she was already awake. And that thought scared her more than she had been scared in a long, long while. And no one, no one all this time, not since her stupid waif of a sister sighed her way into her room, had seen her. Not a single reporter—and there were reporters—not a single one of those dark gunmen or ambulance drivers or even the Milakovics or anybody. Not anybody. She ran. She ran but she was winded and she stumbled and was on the verge of tears the whole way back to her car. Everyone was disoriented, but what if she were on camera? Or were they as blind to one stub of a teenage girl as everybody else? What would she say if a call came in later, or if a knock at the door turned out to be anything other than her Dad ordering Chinese if he’s home because he would be home any minute and hungry and wondering why there wasn’t pizza made and then what, what would she say to make any of this make sense to anyone at all. Fingers randomly pressed at the pocket of her jeans until the car unlocked, and with her whole body shaking Becky turned the key in the ignition, mechanically checking her seatbelt and mirrors like Best Driver all over again, going through the formalities. She didn’t even know where she was going. But her hands did. In ten minutes she was at Trevor Donahue’s front door.
Chapter three: An Invitation Velvet green paint like an antique blackboard peeled at the corners, revealing mottled gray metal and years of neglect. The softly-scented cocoa mulch had slowly drawn itself back from the concrete front step, revealing gaps beneath where some creature had dug into the dirt. Becky took a step forward, a deep breath, and rang the doorbell. She wasn’t sure what she was revealing. She could hear the muffled footfalls of bare feet on hardwood. They walked slowly, past the front door to the rose window to the right of it—the rose window at the first-floor landing, where Trevor had always checked to see who knocked before he opened the door. At least it wasn’t his mother. Becky didn’t think she had the patience for Mrs. Donahue. Trevor opened the door. He had to duck a little to keep his hair from touching the top of the frame, even in his socks. Becky just looked at the socks, white with a blue logo sewn on the toe and a low cut. She had no idea what she was going to say to Trevor. She had no idea why she’d come here to begin with. The movement of a hand drew her eyes up. Trevor scratched at his side, looking down at Becky past dark
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.