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Cirque Du Freak:

A Living Nightmare
I'VE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY SPIDERS. I used to collect them when I ws !oun"e#. I'd
s$end hou#s #oot%n" th#ou"h the dust! old shed t the &ottom o' ou# "#den( hunt%n" the
co&we&s 'o# lu#)%n" e%"ht*le""ed $#edto#s. When I 'ound one( I'd &#%n" %t %n nd let %t loose
%n m! &ed#oom.
It used to d#%+e m! mom c#,!-
.sull!( the s$%de# would sl%$ w! 'te# no mo#e thn d! o# two( ne+e# to &e seen
"%n( &ut somet%mes the! hun" #ound lon"e#. I hd one who mde co&we& &o+e m!
&ed nd stood "u#d 'o# lmost month. /o%n" to slee$( I used to %m"%ne the s$%de#
c#ee$%n" down( c#wl%n" %nto m! mouth( sl%d%n" down m! th#ot( nd l!%n" lods o' e""s
%n m! &ell!. The &&! s$%de#s would htch 'te# wh%le nd et me l%+e( '#om the %ns%de
out.
I lo+ed &e%n" sc#ed when I ws l%ttle.
When I ws n%ne( m! mom nd dd "+e me smll t#ntul. It wsn't $o%sonous o# +e#!
&%"( &ut %t ws the "#etest "%'t I'd e+e# #ece%+ed. I $l!ed w%th tht s$%de# lmost e+e#!
w)%n" hou# o' the d!. /+e %t ll so#ts o' t#ets0 'l%es nd coc)#oches nd t%n! wo#ms.
S$o%led %t #otten.
Then( one d!( I d%d someth%n" stu$%d. I'd &een wtch%n" c#toon %n wh%ch one o' the
ch#cte#s ws suc)ed u$ &! +cuum clene#. No h#m cme to h%m. 1e s2uee,ed out o'
the &"( dust! nd d%#t! nd md s hell. It ws +e#! 'unn!.
So 'unn!( I t#%ed %t m!sel'. W%th the t#ntul.
Needless to s!( th%n"s d%dn't h$$en 2u%te l%)e the! d%d %n the c#toon. The s$%de# ws
#%$$ed to $%eces. I c#%ed lot( &ut %t ws too lte 'o# te#s. 3! $et ws ded( %t ws m! 'ult(
nd the#e ws noth%n" I could do &out %t.
3! $#ents $#ct%cll! holle#ed the #oo' down when the! 'ound out wht I'd done 4 the
t#ntul hd cost 2u%te lot o' mone!. The! s%d I ws %##es$ons%&le( nd '#om tht d! on
the! ne+e# "%n let me h+e $et( not e+en n o#d%n#! "#den s$%de#.
I st#ted w%th tht tle '#om the $st 'o# two #esons. 5ne w%ll &ecome o&+%ous s th%s &oo)
un'olds. The othe# #eson %s0
This is a true story.
I don't e6$ect !ou to &el%e+e me 4 I wouldn't &el%e+e %t m!sel' %' I hdn't l%+ed %t 4 &ut %t
%s. E+e#!th%n" I desc#%&e %n th%s &oo) h$$ened( 7ust s I tell %t.
The th%n" &out #el l%'e %s( when !ou do someth%n" stu$%d( %t no#mll! costs !ou. In &oo)s(
the he#oes cn m)e s mn! m%st)es s the! l%)e. It doesn't mtte# wht the! do( &ecuse
e+e#!th%n" wo#)s out %n the end. The!'ll &et the &d "u!s nd $ut th%n"s #%"ht nd
e+e#!th%n" ends u$ cool.
In #el l%'e( +cuum clene#s )%ll s$%de#s. I' !ou c#oss &us! #od w%thout loo)%n"( !ou "et
whc)ed &! c#. I' !ou 'll out o' t#ee( !ou &#e) some &ones.
Rel l%'e's nst!. It's c#uel. It doesn't c#e &out he#oes nd h$$! end%n"s nd the w!
th%n"s should &e. In #el l%'e( &d th%n"s h$$en. Peo$le d%e. F%"hts #e lost. E+%l o'ten w%ns.
I 7ust wnted to m)e tht cle# &e'o#e I &e"n.
5ne mo#e th%n"0 m! nme %sn't #ell! D##en Shn. E+e#!th%n"'s t#ue %n th%s &oo)(except
'o# nmes. I'+e hd to chn"e them &ecuse 8 well( &! the t%me !ou "et to the end( !ou'll
unde#stnd.
I h+en't usedany #el nmes( not m%ne( m! s%ste#'s( m! '#%ends( o# teche#s. No&od!'s. I'm
not e+en "o%n" to tell !ou the nme o' m! town o# count#!. I don't d#e.
An!w!( tht's enou"h o' n %nt#oduct%on. I' !ou'#e #ed!( let's &e"%n. I' th%s we#e mde*
u$ sto#!( %t would &e"%n t n%"ht( w%th sto#m &low%n" nd owls hoot%n" nd #ttl%n" no%ses
unde# the &ed. But th%s %s #el sto#!( so I h+e to &e"%n whe#e %t #ell! st#ted.
It st#ted %n to%let.
IWAS IN T1E BAT1R553t school( s%tt%n" down on the to%let( humm%n" son". I hd m!
$nts on. I'd come %n ne# the end o' En"l%sh clss( 'eel%n" s%c). 3! teche#( 3#. Dlton( %s
"#et &out th%n"s l%)e tht. 1e's sm#t nd )nows when !ou'#e ')%n" nd when !ou'#e
&e%n" se#%ous. 1e too) one loo) t me when I #%sed m! hnd nd s%d I ws %ll( then
nodded h%s hed nd told me to "o to the &th#oom.
9Th#ow u$ whte+e#'s m)%n" !ou s%c)( D##en(9 he s%d( 9then "et !ou# &eh%nd &c) %n
he#e.9
I w%sh e+e#! teche# ws s unde#stnd%n" s 3#. Dlton.
In the end( I d%dn't "et s%c)( &ut st%ll 'elt 2ues!( so I st!ed on the to%let. I he#d the &ell
#%n" 'o# the end o' clss nd e+e#!&od! cme #ush%n" out on the%# lunch &#e). I wnted to
7o%n them &ut )new 3#. Dlton would &e n"#! %' he sw me %n the !#d so soon. 1e doesn't
"et md %' !ou t#%c) h%m &ut he "oes 2u%et nd won't s$e) to !ou 'o# wh%le( nd tht's
lmost wo#se thn &e%n" shouted t.
So( the#e I ws( humm%n"( wtch%n" m! wtch( w%t%n". Then I he#d someone cll%n" m!
nme.
9D##en- 1e!( D##en- 1+e !ou 'llen %n o# wht:9
I "#%nned. It ws Ste+e Leo$#d( m! &est '#%end. Ste+e's #el lst nme ws Leon#d( &ut
e+e#!one clled h%m Ste+e Leo$#d. And not 7ust &ecuse the nmes sound l%)e. Ste+e
used to &e wht m! mom clls 9 w%ld ch%ld.9 1e #%sed hell whe#e+e# he went( "ot %nto
'%"hts( stole '#om sto#es. 5ne d! 4 he ws st%ll %n st#olle# 4 he 'ound sh#$ st%c) nd
$#odded $ss%n" women w%th %t ;no $#%,es 'o# "uess%n" whe#e he stuc) %t-<.
1e ws 'e#ed nd des$%sed e+e#!whe#e he went. But not &! me. I'+e &een h%s &est '#%end
s%nce )%nde#"#ten( when we '%#st met. 3! mom s!s I ws d#wn to h%s w%ldness( &ut I 7ust
thou"ht he ws "#et "u! to &e w%th. 1e hd '%e#ce tem$e# nd th#ew sc#! tnt#ums
when he lost %t( &ut I s%m$l! #n w! when tht h$$ened nd cme &c) "%n once he'd
clmed down.
Ste+e's #e$utt%on hd so'tened o+e# the !e#s 4 h%s mom too) h%m to see lot o' "ood
counselo#s who tu"ht h%m how to cont#ol h%msel' &ut he ws st%ll m%no# le"end %n the
school!#d nd not someone !ou messed w%th( e+en %' !ou we#e &%""e# nd olde# thn h%m.
91e!( Ste+e(9 I clled &c). 9I'm %n he#e.9 I h%t the doo# so he'd )now wh%ch one I ws
&eh%nd.
1e hu##%ed o+e# nd I o$ened the doo#. 1e sm%led when he sw me s%tt%n" down w%th m!
$nts on. 9D%d !ou $u)e:9 he s)ed.
9No(9 I s%d.
9Do !ou th%n) !ou'#e "onn:9
93!&e(9 I s%d. Then I lened 'o#w#d ll o' sudden nd mde s%c) no%se. Bluu#"h-
But Ste+e Leo$#d )new me too well to &e 'ooled.
9/%+e m! &oots $ol%sh wh%le !ou'#e down the#e(9 he s%d( nd lu"hed when I $#etended
to s$%t on h%s shoes nd #u& them w%th sheet o' to%let $$e#.
9D%d I m%ss n!th%n" %n clss:9 I s)ed( s%tt%n" u$.
9Nh(9 he s%d. 9The usul c#$.9
9D%d !ou do !ou# h%sto#! homewo#):9 I s)ed.
9It doesn't h+e to &e done unt%l tomo##ow( does %t:9 he s)ed( "ett%n" wo##%ed. Ste+e's
lw!s 'o#"ett%n" &out homewo#).
9The d! 'te# tomo##ow(9 I told h%m.
95h(9 he s%d( #el6%n". 9E+en &ette#. I thou"ht 89
1e sto$$ed nd '#owned. 91old on(9 he s%d. 9Tod!'s Thu#sd!. The d! 'te# tomo##ow
would &e 89
9/ot !ou-9 I !elled( $unch%n" h%m on the shoulde#.
95w-9 he shouted. 9Tht hu#t.9 1e #u&&ed h%s #m &ut I could tell he wsn't #ell! hu#t.
9A#e !ou com%n" out:9 he s)ed then.
9I thou"ht I'd st! %n he#e nd dm%#e the +%ew(9 I s%d( len%n" &c) on the to%let set.
9=u%t 7o)%n"(9 he s%d. 9We we#e down '%+e*one when I cme %n. We'#e $#o&&l! s%6 o#
se+en down now. We need !ou.9 1e ws tl)%n" &out socce#. We $l! "me e+e#!
luncht%me. 3! tem no#mll! w%ns &ut we'd lost lot o' ou# &est $l!e#s. D+e 3o#"n
&#o)e h%s le". Sm Wh%te t#ns'e##ed to nothe# school when h%s 'm%l! mo+ed. And Dnn!
Cu#t%n hd sto$$ed $l!%n" socce# %n o#de# to s$end lunch hn"%n" out w%th She%l Le%"h(
the "%#l he l%)es. Id%ot-
I'm ou# &est 'o#w#d. The#e #e &ette# de'ende#s nd m%d'%elde#s( nd Tomm! >ones %s the
&est "ol)ee$e# %n the whole school. But I'm the onl! one who cn stnd u$ '#ont nd sco#e
'ou# o# '%+e t%mes d! w%thout '%l.
95)!(9 I s%d( stnd%n". 9I'll s+e !ou. I'+e sco#ed ht t#%c) e+e#! d! th%s wee). It would
&e $%t! to sto$ now.9
We $ssed the olde# "u!s smo)%n" #ound the s%n)s s usul nd hu##%ed to m! loc)e# so I
could chn"e %nto m! clets. I used to h+e "#et $%#( wh%ch I won %n w#%t%n"
com$et%t%on. But the lces sn$$ed 'ew months "o nd the #u&&e# lon" the s%des st#ted
to 'll o''. And then m! 'eet "#ew- The $%# I h+e now #e o)!( &ut the!'#e not the sme.
We we#e down e%"ht*th#ee when I "ot on the '%eld. It wsn't #el '%eld( 7ust lon" st#etch
o' "#ss w%th $%nted "ol$osts t e%the# end. Whoe+e# $%nted them ws totl %d%ot. 1e
$ut the c#oss&# too h%"h t one end nd too low t the othe#-
9Ne+e# 'e#( 1otshot Shn %s he#e-9 I shouted s I #n onto the '%eld. A lot o' $l!e#s
lu"hed o# "#oned( &ut I could see m! temmtes $%c)%n" u$ nd ou# o$$onents "#ow%n"
wo##%ed.
I mde "#et st#t nd sco#ed two "ols %ns%de m%nute. It loo)ed l%)e we m%"ht come
&c) to d#w o# w%n. But t%me #n out. I' I'd ##%+ed e#l%e# we'd h+e &een o)!( &ut the
&ell #n" 7ust s I ws h%tt%n" m! st#%de( so we lost n%ne*se+en.
As we we#e le+%n" the '%eld( Aln 3o##%s #n tow#d us( $nt%n" nd #ed*'ced. The!'#e
m! th#ee &est '#%ends0 Ste+e Leo$#d( Tomm! >ones( nd Aln 3o##%s. We must &e the
we%#dest 'ou# $eo$le %n the whole wo#ld( &ecuse onl! one o' us Ste+e hs n%c)nme.
9Loo) wht I 'ound-9 Aln !elled( w+%n" so""! $%ece o' $$e# #ound unde# ou# noses.
9Wht %s %t:9 Tomm! s)ed( t#!%n" to "#& %t.
9It's 89 Aln &e"n( &ut sto$$ed when 3#. Dlton shouted t us.
9You 'ou#- Ins%de-9 he #o#ed.
9We'#e com%n"( 3#. Dlton-9 Ste+e #o#ed &c). Ste+e %s 3#. Dlton's '+o#%te nd "ets
w! w%th stu'' tht the #est o' us couldn't do. L%)e when he uses swe#wo#ds somet%mes %n
h%s sto#%es. I' I $ut %n some o' the wo#ds Ste+e hs( I'd h+e &een )%c)ed out lon" "o.
But 3#. Dlton hs so't s$ot 'o# Ste+e( &ecuse he's s$ec%l. Somet%mes he's &#%ll%nt %n
clss nd "ets e+e#!th%n" #%"ht( wh%le othe# t%mes he cn't e+en s$ell h%s own nme. 3#.
Dlton s!s he's somewht o' nidiot savant ( wh%ch men he's stu$%d "en%us-
An!w!( e+en thou"h he's 3#. Dlton's $et( not e+en Ste+e cn "et w! w%th show%n" u$
lte 'o# clss. So whte+e# Aln hd( %t would h+e to w%t. We t#ud"ed &c) to clss(
swet! nd t%#ed 'te# the "me( nd &e"n ou# ne6t lesson.
L%ttle d%d I )now tht Aln's m!ste#%ous $%ece o' $$e# ws to chn"e m! l%'e 'o#e+e#. Fo#
the wo#se-
WE 1AD 3R. DALT5N"%n 'te# lunch( 'o# h%sto#!. We we#e stud!%n" Wo#ld W# II. I
wsn't too e6c%ted &out %t( &ut Ste+e thou"ht %t ws "#et. 1e lo+ed n!th%n" to do w%th
)%ll%n" nd w#. 1e o'ten s%d he wnted to &e sold%e# o' 'o#tune one who '%"hts 'o#
mone! when he "#ew u$. And he ment %t-
We hd mth 'te# h%sto#!( nd %nc#ed%&l! 3#. Dlton 'o# th%#d t%me- 5u# usul mth
teche# ws out s%c)( so othe#s hd &een '%ll%n" %n 'o# h%m s &est the! could ll d!.
Ste+e ws %n se+enth he+en. 1%s '+o#%te teche#( th#ee clsses %n #ow- It ws the '%#st
t%me we'd hd 3#. Dlton 'o# mth( so Ste+e st#ted show%n" o''( tell%n" h%m whe#e we
we#e %n the &oo)( e6$l%n%n" some o' the t#%c)%e# $#o&lems s thou"h s$e)%n" to ch%ld.
3#. Dlton d%dn't m%nd. 1e ws used to Ste+e nd )new e6ctl! how to hndle h%m.
No#mll! 3#. Dlton #uns t%"ht sh%$ h%s clsses #e 'un &ut we lw!s come out o' them
h+%n" le#ned someth%n" &ut he wsn't +e#! "ood t mth. 1e t#%ed h#d &ut we could tell
he ws %n o+e# h%s hed( nd wh%le he ws &us! t#!%n" to come to "#%$s w%th th%n"s h%s hed
&u#%ed %n the mth &oo)( Ste+e &! h%s s%de m)%n" 9hel$'ul9 su""est%ons the #est o' us
&e"n to '%d"et nd wh%s$e# to ech othe# nd $ss notes #ound.
I sent note to Aln( s)%n" to see the m!ste#%ous $%ece o' $$e# he'd &#ou"ht %n. 1e
#e'used t '%#st to $ss %t #ound( &ut I )e$t send%n" notes nd '%nll! he "+e %n. Tomm! s%ts
7ust two sets o+e# '#om h%m( so he "ot %t '%#st. 1e o$ened %t u$ nd &e"n stud!%n" %t. 1%s
'ce l%t u$ wh%le he ws #ed%n" nd h%s 7w slowl! d#o$$ed. When he $ssed %t on to me
h+%n" #ed %t th#ee t%mes I soon sw wh!.
It ws 'l!e#( n d+e#t%s%n" $m$hlet 'o# some so#t o' t#+el%n" c%#cus. The#e ws
$%ctu#e o' wol''s hed t the to$. The wol' hd %ts mouth o$en nd sl%+ ws d#%$$%n"
'#om %ts teeth. At the &ottom we#e $%ctu#es o' s$%de# nd sn)e( nd the! loo)ed +%c%ous(
too.
>ust &eneth the wol'( %n &%" #ed c$%tl lette#s( we#e the wo#ds0
CIRQUE DU FREAK
Underneath that, in smaller writing:
FOR ONE EE! ON"# $%R&UE 'U FRE(!))
*EE:
*%+E (N' *EER*( T,E T%*T%N- T%N*)
T,E *N(!E./O#) T,E O"F.0(N) -ERT,( TEET,)
"(RTEN $RE1*"E# (N' ,%* 1ERFOR0%N- *1%'ER
0('(0 O$T() ("E2(N'ER R%/*) T,E /E(R'E' "('#)
,(N* ,(N'*) R,(0U* TO/E""%E* OR"'3* F(TTE*T 0(N)
Beneth ll tht ws n dd#ess whe#e !ou could &u! t%c)ets nd '%nd out whe#e the show
ws $l!%n". And #%"ht t the &ottom( 7ust &o+e the $%ctu#es o' the sn)e nd s$%de#0
NOT FOR T,E F(%NT,E(RTE') *O0E RE*TR%$T%ON* (11"#)
9C%#2ue Du F#e):9 I mutte#ed so'tl! to m!sel'. C%#2ue ws F#ench 'o# c%#cus 8 C%#cus o'
F#e)s- Ws th%s 4rea5 show :- It loo)ed l%)e %t.
I &e"n #ed%n" the 'l!e# "%n( %mme#sed %n the d#w%n"s nd desc#%$t%ons o' the
$e#'o#me#s. In 'ct( I ws so %mme#sed( I 'o#"ot &out 3#. Dlton. I onl! #emem&e#ed h%m
when I #el%,ed the #oom ws s%lent. I loo)ed u$ nd sw Ste+e stnd%n" lone t the hed
o' the clss. 1e stuc) out h%s ton"ue t me nd "#%nned. Feel%n" the h%#s on the &c) o' m!
nec) $#%c)le( I st#ed o+e# m! shoulde# nd the#e ws 3#. Dlton( stnd%n" &eh%nd me(
#ed%n" the 'l!e#( l%$s t%"ht.
9Wht %s th%s:9 he sn$$ed( sntch%n" the $$e# '#om m! hnds.
9It's n d+e#t%sement( s%#(9 I nswe#ed.
9Whe#e'd !ou "et %t:9 he s)ed. 1e loo)ed #ell! n"#!. I'd ne+e# seen h%m th%s wo#)ed u$.
9Whe#e'd !ou "et %t:9 he s)ed "%n.
I l%c)ed m! l%$s ne#+ousl!. I d%dn't )now how to nswe#. I wsn't "o%n" to tell on Aln nd I
)new he wouldn't own u$ &! h%msel'0 e+en Aln's &est '#%ends )now he's not the &#+est %n
the wo#ld &ut m! m%nd ws stuc) %n low "e# nd I couldn't th%n) o' #eson&le l%e.
Luc)%l!( Ste+e ste$$ed %n.
93#. Dlton( %t's m%ne(9 he s%d.
9You#s:9 3#. Dlton &l%n)ed slowl!.
9I 'ound %t ne# the &us sto$( s%#(9 Ste+e s%d. 9Some old "u! th#ew %t w!. I thou"ht %t
loo)ed %nte#est%n"( so I $%c)ed %t u$. I ws "o%n" to s) !ou &out %t lte#( t the end o'
clss.9
95h.9 3#. Dlton t#%ed not to loo) 'ltte#ed &ut I could tell he ws. 9Tht's d%''e#ent.
Noth%n" w#on" w%th n %n2u%s%t%+e m%nd. S%t down( Ste+e.9 Ste+e st. 3#. Dlton stuc)
thum&tc) on the 'l!e# nd $%nned %t to the &ullet%n &o#d.
9Lon" "o(9 he s%d( t$$%n" the 'l!e#( 9the#e used to &e #el '#e) shows. /#eed! con men
c#mmed ml'o#med $eo$le %n c"es nd 89
9S%#( wht'smal4ormed men:9 some&od! s)ed.
9Someone who doesn't loo) o#d%n#!(9 3#. Dlton s%d. 9A $e#son w%th th#ee #ms o# two
noses? some&od! w%th no le"s? some&od! +e#! sho#t o# +e#! tll. The con men $ut these
$oo# $eo$le who we#e no d%''e#ent '#om !ou o# me( e6ce$t %n loo)s on d%s$l! nd clled
them '#e)s. The! ch#"ed the $u&l%c to st#e t them( nd %n+%ted them to lu"h nd tese.
The! t#eted the so*clled '#e)s l%)e n%mls. P%d them l%ttle( &et them( d#essed them %n
#"s( ne+e# llowed them to wsh.9
9Tht's c#uel(9 Del%n P#%ce "%#l ne# the '#ont s%d.
9Yes(9 he "#eed. 9F#e) shows we#e c#uel( monst#ous c#et%ons. Tht's wh! I "ot n"#!
when I sw th%s.9 1e to#e down the 'l!e#. 9The! we#e &nned !e#s "o( &ut e+e#! so o'ten
!ou'll he# #umo# tht the!'#e st%ll "o%n" st#on".9
9Do !ou th%n) the C%#2ue Du F#e) %s #el '#e) show:9 I s)ed.
3#. Dlton stud%ed the 'l!e# "%n( then shoo) h%s hed.
9I dou&t %t(9 he s%d. 9P#o&&l! 7ust c#uel ho6. St%ll(9 he dded( 9%' %twas #el( I ho$e
no&od! he#e would d#em o' "o%n".9
95h( no( s%#(9 we ll s%d 2u%c)l!.
9Becuse '#e) shows we#e te##%&le(9 he s%d. 9The! $#etended to &e l%)e $#o$e# c%#cuses
&ut the! we#e cess$%ts o' e+%l. An!&od! who went to one would &e 7ust s &d s the $eo$le
#unn%n" %t.9
9You'd h+e to &e #ell! tw%sted to wnt to "o to one o' those(9 Ste+e "#eed. And then he
loo)ed t me( w%n)ed( nd mouthed the wo#ds0 9We'#e "o%n"-9
STEVE PERS.ADED 3R. DALT5Nto let h%m )ee$ the 'l!e#. 1e s%d he wnted %t 'o# h%s
&ed#oom wll. 3#. Dlton wsn't "o%n" to "%+e %t to h%m &ut then chn"ed h%s m%nd. 1e cut
o'' the dd#ess t the &ottom &e'o#e hnd%n" %t o+e#.
A'te# school( the 'ou# o' us me( Ste+e( Aln 3o##%s( nd Tomm! >ones met outs%de nd
stud%ed the "loss! 'l!e#.
9It's "ot to &e ')e(9 I s%d.
9Wh!:9 Aln s)ed.
9The! don't llow '#e) shows n!mo#e(9 I told h%m. 9Wol'*men nd sn)e*&o!s we#e
outlwed !e#s "o. 3#. Dlton s%d so.9
9It's not ')e(9 Aln %ns%sted.
9Whe#e'd !ou "et %t:9 Tomm! s)ed.
9I stole %t(9 Aln s%d so'tl!. 9It &elon"s to m! &%" &#othe#.9 Aln's &%" &#othe# ws Ton!
3o##%s( who used to &e the school's &%""est &ull! unt%l he "ot th#own out. 1e's hu"e nd
men nd u"l!.
9Youstole '#omTony :-:9 I "s$ed. 91+e !ou "ot deth w%sh:9
91e won't )now %t ws me(9 Aln s%d. 91e hd %t %n $%# o' $nts tht m! mothe# th#ew
%n the wsh%n" mch%ne. I stuc) &ln) $%ece o' $$e# %n when I too) th%s out. 1e'll th%n)
the %n) "ot wshed o''.9
9Sm#t(9 Ste+e s%d.
9Whe#e d%d Ton! "et %t:9 I s)ed.
9The#e ws "u! $ss%n" them out %n n lle!(9 Aln s%d. 95ne o' the c%#cus $e#'o#me#s(
3#. C#e$sle!.9
9The one w%th the s$%de#:9 Tomm! s)ed.
9Yeh(9 Aln nswe#ed( 9onl! he d%dn't h+e the s$%de# w%th h%m. It ws n%"ht nd Ton!
ws on h%s w! &c) '#om &#.9 Ton!'s not old enou"h to "et se#+ed %n &#s( &ut hn"s
#ound w%th olde# "u!s who &u! d#%n)s 'o# h%m. 93#. C#e$sle! hnded the $$e# to Ton!
nd told h%m the!'#e t#+el%n" '#e) show who $ut on sec#et $e#'o#mnces %n towns nd
c%t%es c#oss the wo#ld. 1e s%d !ou hd to h+e 'l!e# to &u! t%c)ets nd the! onl! "%+e
them to $eo$le the! t#ust. You'#e not su$$osed to tell n!one else &out the show. I onl!
'ound out &ecuse Ton! ws %n h%"h s$%#%ts the w! he "ets when he d#%n)s nd couldn't
)ee$ h%s mouth shut.9
91ow much #e the t%c)ets:9 Ste+e s)ed.
9Twent!*th#ee doll#s ech(9 Aln s%d.
9Twent!*th#ee doll#s-9 we ll shouted.
9No&od!'s "o%n" to $! twent!*th#ee &uc)s to see &unch o' '#e)s-9 Ste+e sno#ted.
9I would(9 I s%d.
93e( too(9 Tomm! "#eed.
9And me(9 Aln dded.
9Su#e(9 Ste+e s%d( 9&utwe don't h+e twent!*th#ee &uc)s to th#ow w!. So %t's cdem%c(
%sn't %t:9
9Wht doesacademic men:9 Aln s)ed.
9It mens we cn't ''o#d the t%c)ets( so %t doesn't mtte# %' we would &u! them o# not(9
Ste+e e6$l%ned. 9It's es! to s! !ouwould &u! someth%n" %' !ou )now !oucan3t .9
9I'd lo+e to "o(9 Tomm! s%d sdl!. 9It sounds "#et.9 1e stud%ed the $%ctu#e "%n.
93#. Dlton d%dn't th%n) too much o' %t(9 Aln s%d.
9Tht's wht I men(9 Tomm! s%d. 9I' Dlton doesn't l%)e %t( %t must &e su$e#. An!th%n"
tht dults hte %s no#mll! wesome.9
9A#e we su#e we don't h+e enou"h:9 I s)ed. 93!&e the! h+e d%scounts 'o# ch%ld#en.9
9I don't th%n) ch%ld#en #e llowed %n(9 Aln s%d( &ut he told me how much he hd n!w!.
9E%"ht*'%'t!.9
9I'+e "ot e%"hteen doll#s e6ctl!(9 Ste+e s%d.
9I h+e ten doll#s nd 'o#t! cents(9 Tomm! s%d.
9And I h+e twel+e doll#s nd th%#t! cents(9 I told them. 9Tht's mo#e thn 'o#t!*n%ne
doll#s %n ll(9 I s%d( dd%n" %t u$ %n m! hed. 9We "et ou# llownce tomo##ow. I' we $ool
ou# 89
9But the t%c)ets #e ne#l! sold out(9 Aln %nte##u$ted. 9The '%#st show ws !este#d!. It
'%n%shes Tuesd!. I' we "o( %t'll h+e to &e tomo##ow n%"ht o# Stu#d!( &ecuse ou# $#ents
won't let us out n! othe# n%"ht. The "u! who "+e Ton! the 'l!e# s%d the t%c)ets 'o# &oth
those n%"hts we#e lmost "one. We'd h+e to &u! them ton%"ht.9
9Well( so much 'o# tht(9 I s%d( $utt%n" on &#+e 'ce.
93!&e not(9 Ste+e s%d. 93! mom )ee$s wd o' mone! %n 7# t home. I could &o##ow
some nd $ut %t &c) when we "et ou# llownce 89
9You men stel:9 I s)ed.
9I men6orrow (9 he sn$$ed. 9It's onl! stel%n" %' !ou don't $ut %t &c). Wht do !ou s!:9
91ow would we "et the t%c)ets:9 Tomm! s)ed. 9It's school n%"ht. We wouldn't &e let
out.9
9I cn sne) out(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I'll &u! them.9
9But 3#. Dlton sn%$$ed o'' the dd#ess(9 I #em%nded h%m. 91ow w%ll !ou )now whe#e to
"o:9
9I memo#%,ed %t.9 1e "#%nned. 9Now( #e we "onn stnd he#e ll n%"ht m)%n" u$ e6cuses(
o# #e we "onn "o 'o# %t:9
We loo)ed t ech othe#( then one &! one nodded s%lentl!.
9R%"ht(9 Ste+e s%d. 9We hu##! home( "#& ou# mone!( nd meet &c) he#e. Tell !ou#
$#ents !ou 'o#"ot &oo) o# someth%n". We'll lum$ the mone! to"ethe# nd I'll dd the #est
'#om the $ot t home.9
9Wht %' !ou cn't stel I men( '&o##ow(' the mone!:9 I s)ed.
1e sh#u""ed. 9Then the del's o''. But we won't )now unless we t#!. Now hu##!-9
W%th tht( he s$#%nted w!. 3oments lte#( m)%n" u$ ou# m%nds( Tomm!( Aln( nd I #n(
too.
T1E FREA@ S15W WASll I could th%n) &out tht n%"ht. I t#%ed 'o#"ett%n" %t &ut couldn't(
not e+en when I ws wtch%n" m! '+o#%te TV shows. It sounded so we%#d0 sn)e*&o!(
wol'*mn( $e#'o#m%n" s$%de#. I ws es$ec%ll! e6c%ted &! the s$%de#.
3om nd Dd d%dn't not%ce n!th%n" ws u$( &ut Ann%e d%d. Ann%e %s m! !oun"e# s%ste#.
She cn &e so#t o' nno!%n" &ut most o' the t%me she's cool. She doesn't #un to 3om tell%n"
on me %' I m%s&eh+e( nd she )nows how to )ee$ sec#et.
9Wht's w#on" w%th !ou:9 she s)ed 'te# d%nne#. We we#e lone %n the )%tchen( wsh%n"
the d%shes.
9Noth%n"'s w#on"(9 I s%d.
9Yes the#e %s(9 she s%d. 9You'+e &een ct%n" we%#d ll n%"ht.9
I )new she'd )ee$ s)%n" unt%l she "ot the t#uth( so I told he# &out the '#e) show.
9It sounds "#et(9 she "#eed( 9&ut the#e's no w! !ou'd "et %n.9
9Wh! not: 9I s)ed.
9I &et the! don't let ch%ld#en %n. It sounds l%)e "#own*u$ )%nd o' show.9
9The! $#o&&l! wouldn't let &#t l%)eyou %n(9 I s%d nst%l!( 9&ut me nd the othe#s would
&e o)!.9 Tht u$set he#( so I $olo"%,ed. 9I'm so##!(9 I s%d. 9I d%dn't men tht. I'm 7ust
nno!ed &ecuse !ou'#e $#o&&l! #%"ht. Ann%e( I'd "%+e n!th%n" to "o-9
9I'+e "ot m)eu$ )%t I could lend !ou(9 she s%d. 9You cn d#w on w#%n)les nd stu''.
It'd m)e !ou loo) olde#.9
I sm%led nd "+e he# &%" hu"( wh%ch %s someth%n" I don't do +e#! o'ten. 9Thn)s( s%s(9 I
s%d( 9&ut %t's o)!. I' we "et %n( we "et %n. I' we don't( we don't.9
We d%dn't s! much 'te# tht. We '%n%shed d#!%n" nd hu##%ed %nto the TV #oom. Dd "ot
home 'ew m%nutes lte#. 1e wo#)s on &u%ld%n" s%tes ll o+e# the $lce( so he's o'ten lte.
1e's "#um$! somet%mes &ut ws %n "ood mood tht n%"ht nd swun" Ann%e #ound %n
c%#cle.
9An!th%n" e6c%t%n" h$$en tod!:9 he s)ed( 'te# he'd s%d hello to 3om nd "%+en he#
)%ss.
9I sco#ed nothe# ht t#%c) t lunch(9 I told h%m.
9Rell!:9 he s%d. 9Tht's "#et. Well done.9
We tu#ned the TV down wh%le Dd ws et%n". 1e l%)es $ece nd 2u%et when he ets( nd
o'ten s)s us 2uest%ons o# tells us &out h%s d! t wo#).
Lte#( 3om went to he# #oom to wo#) on he# stm$ l&ums. She's se#%ous stm$
collecto#. I used to collect( too( when I ws !oun"e# nd mo#e es%l! mused.
I $o$$ed u$ 'o see %' she hd n! new stm$s w%th e6ot%c n%mls o# s$%de#s on them. She
d%dn't. Wh%le I ws the#e( I s)ed he# &out '#e) shows.
93om(9 I s%d( 9h+e !ou e+e# &een to '#e) show:9
9A wht:9 she s)ed( concent#t%n" on the stm$s.
9A '#e) show(9 I #e$eted. 9W%th &e#ded ld%es nd wol'*men nd sn)e*&o!s.9
She loo)ed u$ t me nd &l%n)ed. 9A sn)e*&o!:9 she s)ed. 9Wht on E#th %s sn)e*
&o!:9
9It's 89 I sto$$ed when I #el%,ed I d%dn't )now. 9Well( tht doesn't mtte#(9 I s%d. 91+e
!ou e+e# &een to one:9
She shoo) he# hed. 9No. The!'#e %lle"l.9
9I' the! we#en't(9 I s%d( 9nd one cme to town( would !ou "o:9
9No(9 she s%d( sh%+e#%n". 9Those so#ts o' th%n"s '#%"hten me. Bes%des( I don't th%n) %t
would &e '%# to the $eo$le %n the show.9
9Wht do !ou men:9 I s)ed.
91ow wouldyou l%)e %t(9 she s%d( 9%' !ou we#e stuc) %n c"e 'o# $eo$le to loo) t:9
9I'm not '#e)-9 I s%d hu''%l!.
9I )now.9 She lu"hed nd )%ssed m! 'o#ehed. 9You'#e m! l%ttle n"el.9
93om( don't-9 I "#um&led( w%$%n" m! 'o#ehed w%th m! hnd.
9S%ll!.9 She sm%led. 9But %m"%ne !ou hd two heds o# 'ou# #ms( nd some&od! stuc)
!ou on d%s$l! 'o# $eo$le to m)e 'un o'. You wouldn't l%)e tht( would !ou:9
9No(9 I s%d( shu''l%n" m! 'eet.
9An!w!( wht's ll th%s &out '#e) show:9 she s)ed. 91+e !ou &een st!%n" u$ lte(
wtch%n" ho##o# '%lms:9
9No(9 I s%d.
9Becuse !ou )now !ou# dd doesn't l%)e !ou wtch%n" 89
9I wsn't st!%n" u$ lte( o)!:9 I shouted. It's #ell! nno!%n" when $#ents don't l%sten.
95)!( 3%ste# /#um$!(9 she s%d. 9No need to shout. I' !ou don't l%)e m! com$n!( "o
downst%#s nd hel$ !ou# 'the# weed the "#den.9
I d%dn't wnt to "o( &ut 3om ws u$set tht I'd shouted t he#( so I le't nd went down to
the )%tchen. Dd ws com%n" %n '#om the &c) nd s$otted me.
9So th%s %s whe#e !ou'+e &een h%d%n".9 1e chuc)led. 9Too &us! to hel$ the old mn
ton%"ht:9
9I ws on m! w!(9 I told h%m.
9Too lte(9 he s%d( t)%n" o'' h%s wo#)&oots. 9I'm '%n%shed.9
I wtched h%m $utt%n" on h%s sl%$$e#s. 1e hs hu"e 'eet. 1e we#s s%,e twel+e shoes- When
I ws !oun"e#( he used to stnd me on h%s 'eet nd wl) me #ound. It ws l%)e &e%n" on
two lon" s)te&o#ds.
9Wht #e !ou do%n" now:9 I s)ed.
9W#%t%n"(9 he s%d. 3! dd hs $en $ls ll o+e# the wo#ld( %n Ame#%c( Aust#l%( Russ%(
nd Ch%n. 1e s!s he l%)es to )ee$ %n touch w%th h%s "lo&l ne%"h&o#s( thou"h I th%n) %t's
7ust n e6cuse to "o %nto h%s stud! 'o# n$-
Ann%e ws $l!%n" w%th dolls nd stu''. I s)ed %' she wnted to come to m! #oom 'o#
"me o' tenn%s us%n" soc) 'o# &ll nd shoes 'o# #c)ets( &ut she ws too &us! ##n"%n"
he# dolls 'o# $#etend $%cn%c.
I went to m! #oom nd d#""ed down m! com%c &oo)s. I h+e &unch o' cool com%c
&oo)s*uperman, /atman, *piderman ( nd*pawn. *pawn3s m! '+o#%te. 1e's su$e#he#o
who used to &e demon %n hell. Some o' the*pawn com%cs #e $#ett! sc#!( &ut tht's wh! I
lo+e them.
I s$ent the #est o' the n%"ht #ed%n" com%c &oo)s nd $utt%n" them %n o#de#. I used to sw$
w%th Tomm!( who hs hu"e collect%on( &ut he )e$t s$%ll%n" d#%n)s on the co+e#s nd
c#um&s &etween the $"es( so I sto$$ed.
3ost n%"hts I "o to &ed &! ten( &ut 3om nd Dd 'o#"ot &out me( nd I st!ed u$ unt%l
ne#l! ten*th%#t!. Then Dd sw the l%"ht %n m! #oom nd cme u$. 1e $#etended to &e
n"#! &ut he wsn't #ell!. Dd doesn't m%nd too much %' I st! u$ lte. 3om's the one who
n"s me &out tht.
9Bed(9 he s%d( 9o# I'll ne+e# &e &le to w)e !ou %n the mo#n%n".9
9>ust m%nute( Dd(9 I told h%m( 9wh%le I $ut m! com%cs w! nd &#ush m! teeth.9
95)!(9 he s%d( 9&ut m)e %t 2u%c).9
I stuc) the com%cs %nto the%# &o6 nd stu''ed %t &c) u$ on the shel' o+e# m! &ed.
I $ut on m! $7ms nd went to &#ush m! teeth. I too) m! t%me( &#ush%n" slowl!( nd %t
ws lmost ele+en when I "ot %nto &ed. I l! &c)( sm%l%n". I 'elt +e#! t%#ed nd )new I'd 'll
slee$ %n cou$le o' seconds. The lst th%n" I thou"ht &out ws the C%#2ue Du F#e). I
wonde#ed wht sn)e*&o! loo)ed l%)e( nd how lon" the &e#ded ld!'s &e#d ws( nd
wht 1ns 1nds nd /e#th Teeth d%d. 3ost o' ll( I d#emed &out the s$%de#.
T1E NEAT 35RNIN/( T533Y( Aln( nd me w%ted outs%de the "tes 'o# Ste+e( &ut the#e
ws no s%"n o' h%m &! the t%me the &ell #n" 'o# clss( so we hd to "o %n.
9I &et he's h%d%n"(9 Tomm! s%d. 91e couldn't "et the t%c)ets nd now he doesn't wnt to
'ce us.9
9Ste+e's not l%)e tht(9 I s%d.
9I ho$e he &#%n"s the 'l!e# &c)(9 Aln s%d. 9E+en %' we cn't "o( I'd l%)e to h+e the 'l!e#.
I'd st%c) %t u$ o+e# m! &ed nd 89
9You couldn't st%c) %t u$( stu$%d-9 Tomm! lu"hed.
9Wh! not: 9Aln s)ed.
9Becuse Ton! would see %t(9 I told h%m.
95h !eh(9 Aln s%d "luml!.
I ws m%se#&le %n clss. We hd "eo"#$h! '%#st( nd e+e#! t%me 3#s. =u%nn s)ed me
2uest%on( I "ot %t w#on". No#mll! "eo"#$h!'s m! &est su&7ect( &ecuse I )now so much
&out %t '#om when I used to collect stm$s.
91d lte n%"ht( D##en:9 she s)ed when I "ot m! '%'th 2uest%on w#on".
9No( 3#s. =u%nn(9 I l%ed.
9I th%n) !ou d%d.9 She sm%led. 9The#e #e mo#e &"s unde# !ou# e!es thn %n the locl
su$e#m#)et-9 E+e#!&od! lu"hed t tht 3#s. =u%nn d%dn't c#c) 7o)es +e#! o'ten nd I
d%d( too( e+en thou"h I ws the &utt o' the 7o)e.
The mo#n%n" d#""ed( the w! %t does when !ou 'eel let down o# d%s$$o%nted. I s$ent the
t%me %m"%n%n" the '#e) show. I mde*&el%e+e I ws one o' the '#e)s( nd the owne# o' the
c%#cus ws nst! "u! who wh%$$ed e+e#!&od!( e+en when the! "ot stu'' #%"ht. All the
'#e)s hted h%m( &ut he ws so &%" nd men( no&od! s%d n!th%n". .nt%l one d! he
wh%$$ed me once too o'ten( nd I tu#ned %nto wol' nd &%t h%s hed o''- E+e#!&od!
chee#ed nd I ws mde the new owne#.
It ws $#ett! "ood d!d#em.
Then( 'ew m%nutes &e'o#e lunch( the doo# o$ened nd "uess who wl)ed %n: Ste+e- 1%s
mothe# ws &eh%nd h%m nd she s%d someth%n" to 3#s. =u%nn( who nodded nd sm%led.
Then 3#s. Leon#d le't nd Ste+e st#olled o+e# to h%s set nd st down.
9Whe#e we#e !ou:9 I s)ed %n 'u#%ous wh%s$e#.
9At the dent%st's(9 he s%d. 9I 'o#"ot to tell !ou I ws "o%n".9
9Wht &out 89
9Tht's enou"h( D##en(9 3#s. =u%nn s%d. I shut u$ %nstntl!.
At #ecess( Tomm!( Aln( nd I lmost smothe#ed Ste+e. We we#e shout%n" nd $ull%n" t
h%m t the sme t%me.
9D%d !ou "et the t%c)ets:9 I s)ed.
9We#e !ou #ell! t the dent%st's:9 Tomm! wnted to )now.
9Whe#e's m! 'l!e#:9 Aln s)ed.
9Pt%ence( &o!s( $t%ence(9 Ste+e s%d( $ush%n" us w! nd lu"h%n". 9/ood th%n"s come
to those who w%t.9
9Come on( Ste+e( don't mess #ound w%th us(9 I told h%m. 9D%d !ou "et them o# not:9
9Yes nd no(9 he s%d.
9Wht doesthat men:9 Tomm! sno#ted.
9It mens I h+e some "ood news( some &d news( nd some c#,! news(9 he s%d. 9Wh%ch
do !ou wnt to he# '%#st:9
9$ra7ynews:9 I s)ed( $u,,led.
Ste+e $ulled us o'' to one s%de o' the !#d( chec)ed to m)e su#e no one ws #ound( then
&e"n s$e)%n" %n wh%s$e#.
9I "ot the mone!(9 he s%d( 9nd sne)ed out t se+en o'cloc)( when 3om ws on the
$hone. I hu##%ed c#oss town to the t%c)et &ooth( &ut do !ou )now who ws the#e when I
##%+ed:9
9Who:9 we s)ed.
93#. Dlton-9 he s%d. 91e ws the#e w%th cou$le o' $ol%cemen. The! we#e d#""%n"
smll "u! out o' the &ooth %t ws onl! smll shed( #ell! when suddenl! the#e ws th%s
hu"e &n" nd &%" cloud o' smo)e co+e#ed them ll. When %t cle#ed( the smll "u! hd
d%s$$e#ed.9
9Wht d%d 3#. Dlton nd the $ol%ce do:9 Aln s)ed.
9E6m%ned the shed( loo)ed #ound &%t( then le't.9
9The! d%dn't see !ou:9 Tomm! s)ed.
9No(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I ws well h%dden.9
9So !ou d%dn't "et the t%c)ets(9 I s%d sdl!.
9I d%dn't s! tht(9 he cont#d%cted me.
9Yougot them:9 I "s$ed.
9I tu#ned to le+e(9 he s%d( 9nd 'ound the smll "u! &eh%nd me. 1e ws t%n!( nd d#essed
%n lon" clo) tht co+e#ed h%m '#om hed to toe. 1e s$otted the 'l!e# %n m! hnd( too) %t(
nd held out the t%c)ets. I hnded o+e# the mone! nd 89
9You "ot them-9 we #o#ed del%"htedl!.
9Yes(9 he &emed. Then h%s 'ce 'ell. 9But the#e ws ctch. I told !ou the#e ws &d
news( #emem&e#:9
9Wht %s %t:9 I s)ed( th%n)%n" he'd lost them.
91e onl! sold me two(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I hd the mone! 'o# 'ou#( &ut he wouldn't t)e %t. 1e
d%dn't s! n!th%n"( 7ust t$$ed the $#t on the 'l!e# &out 'some #est#%ct%ons(' then hnded
me c#d tht s%d the C%#2ue Du F#e) onl! sold two t%c)ets $e# 'l!e#. I o''e#ed h%m e6t#
mone! I hd lmost hund#ed doll#s totl &ut he wouldn't cce$t %t.9
91e onl! sold !outwo t%c)ets:9 Tomm! s)ed( d%sm!ed.
9But tht mens 89 Aln &e"n.
985nl! two o' us cn "o(9 Ste+e '%n%shed. 1e loo)ed #ound t us "#%ml!. 9Two o' us w%ll
h+e to st! t home.9
IT WAS FRIDAY AFTERN55N( the end o' the school wee)( the st#t o' the wee)end( nd
e+e#!&od! ws lu"h%n" nd #unn%n" home s 2u%c)l! s the! could( del%"hted to &e
'#ee.Except ce#t%n m%se#&le 'ou#some who hun" #ound the school!#d( loo)%n" l%)e the
end o' the wo#ld hd ##%+ed. The%# nmes: Ste+e Leon#d( Tomm! >ones( Aln 3o##%s( nd
me( D##en Shn.
9It's not '%#(9 Aln moned. 9Who e+e# he#d o' c%#cus onl! lett%n" !ou &u! two t%c)ets:
It's stu$%d-9
We ll "#eed w%th h%m( &ut the#e ws noth%n" we could do &out %t &ut stnd #ound
)%c)%n" the "#ound w%th ou# 'eet( loo)%n" &ummed out.
F%nll!( Aln s)ed the 2uest%on tht ws on e+e#!&od!'s m%nd.
9So( who "ets the t%c)ets:9
We loo)ed t ech othe# nd shoo) ou# heds unce#t%nl!.
9Well( Ste+ehas to "et one(9 I s%d. 91e $ut %n mo#e mone! thn the #est o' us( nd he went
to &u! them( so he hs to "et one( "#eed:9
9A"#eed(9 Tomm! s%d.
9A"#eed(9 Aln s%d. I th%n) he would h+e #"ued &out %t( e6ce$t he )new he wouldn't
w%n.
Ste+e sm%led nd too) one o' the t%c)ets. 9Who "oes w%th me:9 he s)ed.
9I &#ou"ht %n the 'l!e#(9 Aln s%d 2u%c)l!.
9Fo#"et tht-9 I told h%m. 9Ste+e should "et to choose.9
9Not on !ou# l%'e-9 Tomm! lu"hed. 9You'#e h%s &est '#%end. I' we let h%m $%c)( he'll $%c)
!ou. I s! we '%"ht 'o# %t. I h+e &o6%n" "lo+es t home.9
9No w!-9 Aln s2ue)ed. 1e's smll nd ne+e# "ets %nto '%"hts.
9I don't wnt to '%"ht e%the#(9 I s%d. I'm no cow#d &ut I )new I wouldn't stnd chnce
"%nst Tomm!. 1%s dd tu"ht h%m how to &o6 nd the! h+e the%# own $unch%n" &". 1e
would h+e 'loo#ed me %n the '%#st #ound.
9Let's $%c) st#ws 'o# %t(9 I s%d( &ut Tomm! d%dn't wnt to. 1e hs te##%&le luc) nd ne+e#
w%ns n!th%n" l%)e tht.
We #"ued &out %t &%t mo#e( unt%l Ste+e cme u$ w%th n %de. 9I )now wht to do(9 he
s%d( o$en%n" h%s school &". 1e to#e two sheets o' $$e# out o' note&oo) nd( us%n" h%s
#ule#( c#e'ull! cut them %nto smll $%eces( ech one #ou"hl! the sme s%,e s the t%c)et.
Then he "ot h%s em$t! lunch &" nd dum$ed the $$e# %ns%de.
91e#e's how %t wo#)s(9 he s%d( hold%n" u$ the second t%c)et. 9I $ut th%s %n( s2uee,e the &"
shut( nd sh)e %t #ound( o)!:9 We nodded. 9You stnd s%de &! s%de nd I'll th#ow the
$%eces o' $$e# o+e# !ou# heds. Whoe+e# "ets the t%c)et w%ns. 3e nd the w%nne# w%ll "%+e
the othe# two the%# mone! &c) when we cn ''o#d %t. Is tht '%# enou"h( o# does
some&od! h+e &ette# %de:9
9Sounds "ood to me(9 I s%d.
9I don't )now(9 Aln "#um&led. 9I'm the !oun"est. I cn't 7um$ s h%"h s 89
9=u%t !$$%n"(9 Tomm! s%d. 9%3mthe smllest( nd I don't m%nd. Bes%des( the t%c)et m%"ht
come out on the &ottom o' the $%le( 'lot down low( nd &e %n 7ust the #%"ht $lce 'o# the
sho#test $e#son.
9All #%"ht(9 Aln s%d. 9But no sho+%n".9
9A"#eed(9 I s%d. 9No #ou"h stu''.9
9A"#eed.9 Tomm! nodded.
Ste+e s2uee,ed the &" nd "+e %t "ood lon" sh)e. 9/et #ed!(9 he told us.
We stood &c) '#om Ste+e nd l%ned u$ %n #ow. Tomm! nd Aln we#e s%de &! s%de( &ut I
)e$t out o' the w! so I'd h+e #oom to sw%n" &oth #ms.
95)!(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I'll th#ow e+e#!th%n" %n the %# on the count o' th#ee. All set:9 We
nodded. 95ne(9 Ste+e s%d( nd I sw Aln w%$%n" swet '#om #ound h%s e!es. 9Two(9
Ste+e s%d( nd Tomm!'s '%n"e#s tw%tched. 9Th#ee-9 Ste+e !elled( nd he 7e#)ed o$en the
&" nd tossed the $$e# h%"h u$ %nto the %#.
A &#ee,e cme lon" nd &lew the $%eces o' $$e# st#%"ht t us. Tomm! nd Aln st#ted
!ell%n" nd "#&&%n" w%ldl!. It ws %m$oss%&le to see the t%c)et %n mon" the sc#$s o'
$$e#.
I ws &out to st#t "#&&%n"( when ll o' sudden I "ot n u#"e to do someth%n" st#n"e. It
sounds c#,!( &ut I'+e lw!s &el%e+ed %n 'ollow%n" n u#"e o# hunch.
So wht I d%d ws( I shut m! e!es( stuc) out m! hnds l%)e &l%nd mn( nd w%ted 'o#
someth%n" m"%cl to h$$en.
As I'm su#e !ou )now( usull! when !ou t#! someth%n" !ou'+e seen %n mo+%e( %t doesn't
wo#). L%)e %' !ou t#! do%n" wheel%e w%th !ou# &%)e( o# m)%n" !ou# s)te&o#d 7um$ u$
%n the %#. But e+e#! once %n wh%le( when !ou lest e6$ect %t( someth%n" cl%c)s.
Fo# second I 'elt $$e# &low%n" &! m! hnds. I ws "o%n" to "#& t %t &ut someth%n" told
me %t wsn't t%me. Then( second lte#( +o%ce %ns%de me !elled( 9N5W-9
I closed m! hnds #ell! 'st.
The w%nd d%ed down nd the $%eces o' $$e# d#%'ted to the "#ound. I o$ened m! e!es nd
sw Aln nd Tomm! down on the%# )nees( se#ch%n" 'o# the t%c)et.
9It's not he#e-9 Tomm! s%d.
9I cn't '%nd %t n!whe#e-9 Aln shouted.
The! sto$$ed se#ch%n" nd loo)ed u$ t me. I hdn't mo+ed. I ws stnd%n" st%lls m!
hnds closed t%"ht.
9Wht's %n !ou# hnds( D##en:9 Ste+e s)ed so'tl!.
I st#ed t h%m( un&le to nswe#. It ws l%)e I ws %n d#em( whe#e I couldn't mo+e o#
s$e).
91e doesn't h+e %t(9 Tomm! s%d. 91e cn't h+e. 1e hd h%s e!es shut.9
93!&e so(9 Ste+e s%d( 9&ut the#e'ssomething %n those '%sts o' h%s.9
95$en them(9 Aln s%d( "%+%n" me sho+e. 9Let's see wht !ou'#e h%d%n".9
I loo)ed t Aln( then Tomm!( then Ste+e. And then( +e#! slowl!( I o$ened m! #%"ht '%st.
The#e ws noth%n" the#e.
3! he#t nd stomch d#o$$ed. Aln sm%led nd Tomm! st#ted loo)%n" down t the
"#ound "%n( t#!%n" to '%nd the m%ss%n" t%c)et.
9Wht &out the othe# hnd:9 Ste+e s)ed.
I ",ed down t m! le't '%st. I'd lmost 'o#"otten &out tht one- Slowl!( e+en slowe# thn
the '%#st t%me( I o$ened %t.
The#e ws $%ece o' "#een $$e# smc)*d& %n the m%ddle o' m! hnd( &ut %t ws l!%n"
'cedown( nd s%nce the#e ws noth%n" on %ts &c)( I hd to tu#n %t o+e#( 7ust to &e su#e. And
the#e %t ws( %n #ed nd &lue lette#s( the m"%cl nme0
CIR=.E D. FREA@.
I hd %t. The t%c)et ws m%ne. I ws "o%n" to the '#e) show w%th Ste+e.
9YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS----9 I sc#emed( nd $unched the %# w%th m! '%st. I'd won-
T1E TIC@ETS WERE F5Rthe Stu#d! show( wh%ch ws 7ust s well( s%nce %t "+e me
chnce to tl) to m! $#ents nd s) %' I could st! o+e# t Ste+e's Stu#d! n%"ht.
I d%dn't tell them &out the '#e) show( &ecuse I )new the! would s! no %' the! )new
&out %t. I 'elt &d &out not tell%n" the whole t#uth( &ut t the sme t%me( I hdn't #ell! told
l%e0 ll I'd done ws )ee$ m! mouth shut.
Stu#d! couldn't "o 2u%c)l! enou"h 'o# me. I t#%ed )ee$%n" &us!( &ecuse tht's how !ou
m)e t%me $ss w%thout not%c%n"( &ut I )e$t th%n)%n" &out the C%#2ue Du F#e) nd
w%sh%n" %t ws t%me to "o. I ws $#ett! "#um$!( wh%ch ws odd 'o# me on Stu#d!( nd
3om ws "ld to see me "o when %t ws t%me to le+e 'o# Ste+e's.
Ann%e )new I ws "o%n" to the '#e) show nd s)ed me to &#%n" he# &c) someth%n"(
$hoto %' $oss%&le( &ut I told he# cme#s we#en't llowed ;%t s%d so on the t%c)et< nd I
d%dn't h+e enou"h mone! 'o# T*sh%#t. I told he# I'd &u! he# $%n %' the! hd them( o#
$oste#( &ut she'd h+e to )ee$ %t h%dden nd not tell 3om nd Dd whe#e she "ot %t %' the!
'ound %t.
Dd d#o$$ed me o'' t Ste+e's t s%6 o'cloc). 1e s)ed wht t%me I wnted to &e $%c)ed u$
%n the mo#n%n". I told h%m noon %' tht ws o)!.
9Don't wtch ho##o# mo+%es( o)!:9 he s%d &e'o#e he le't. 9I don't wnt !ou com%n" home
w%th n%"htm#es.9
95h( Dd-9 I "#oned. 9E+e#!one %n m! clss wtches ho##o# mo+%es.9
9L%sten(9 he s%d( 9I don't m%nd n old &lc)*nd*wh%te '%lm( o# one o' the less sc#!
D#cul mo+%es( &ut none o' these nst! new ones( o)!:9
95)!(9 I $#om%sed.
9/ood mn(9 he s%d( nd d#o+e o''.
I hu##%ed u$ to the house nd #n" the doo#&ell 'ou# t%mes( wh%ch ws m! sec#et s%"nl to
Ste+e. 1e must h+e &een stnd%n" 7ust %ns%de( &ecuse he o$ened the doo# #%"ht w! nd
d#""ed me %n.
9A&out t%me(9 he "#owled( then $o%nted to the st%#s. 9See tht h%ll:9 he s)ed( s$e)%n"
l%)e sold%e# %n w# '%lm.
9Yes( s%#(9 I s%d( cl%c)%n" m! heels to"ethe#.
9We h+e to t)e %t &! dwn.9
9A#e we us%n" #%'les o# mch%ne "uns( s%#:9 I s)ed.
9A#e !ou c#,!:9 he &#)ed. 9We'd ne+e# &e &le to c##! mch%ne "un th#ou"h ll tht
mud.9 1e nodded t the c#$et.
9R%'les %t %s( s%#(9 I "#eed.
9And %' we'#e t)en(9 he w#ned me( 9s+e the lst &ullet 'o# !ou#sel'.9
We st#ted u$ the st%#s l%)e cou$le o' sold%e#s( '%#%n" %m"%n#! "uns t %m"%n#!
enem%es. It ws ch%ld%sh( &ut "#et 'un. Ste+e 9lost9 le" on the w! nd I hd to hel$ h%m
to the to$. 9You m%"ht h+e t)en m! le"(9 he shouted '#om the to$ o' the st%#s( 9nd !ou
m%"ht t)e m! l%'e( &ut !ou'll ne+e# t)e m! count#!-9
It ws st%##%n" s$eech. At lest( %t st%##ed 3#s. Leon#d( who cme u$ '#om the downst%#s
l%+%n" #oom to see wht the #c)et ws. She sm%led when she sw me nd s)ed %' I wnted
n!th%n" to et o# d#%n). I d%dn't. Ste+e s%d he'd l%)e some c+%# nd chm$"ne( &ut %t
wsn't 'unn! the w! he s%d %t( nd I d%dn't lu"h.
Ste+e doesn't "et lon" w%th h%s mom. 1e l%+es lone w%th he# h%s dd le't when Ste+e ws
+e#! !oun" nd the!'#e lw!s #"u%n" nd shout%n". I don't )now wh!. I'+e ne+e# s)ed
h%m. The#e #e ce#t%n th%n"s !ou don't d%scuss w%th !ou# '#%ends %' !ou'#e &o!s. /%#ls cn
tl) &out stu'' l%)e tht( &ut %' !ou'#e &o! !ou h+e to tl) &out com$ute#s( socce#( w#(
nd so on. P#ents #en't cool.
91ow w%ll we sne) out ton%"ht:9 I s)ed %n wh%s$e# s Ste+e's mom went &c) %nto the
l%+%n" #oom.
9It's o)!(9 Ste+e s%d. 9She's "o%n" out.9 1e o'ten clled he#she %nsted o'0om . 9She'll
th%n) we'#e %n &ed when she "ets &c).9
9Wht %' she chec)s:9
Ste+e lu"hed nst%l!. 9Ente# m! #oom w%thout &e%n" s)ed: She wouldn't d#e.9
I d%dn't l%)e Ste+e when he tl)ed l%)e tht( &ut I s%d noth%n" %n cse he went %nto one o'
h%s moods. I d%dn't wnt to do n!th%n" tht m%"ht s$o%l the show.
Ste+e d#""ed out some o' h%s ho##o# com%cs nd we #ed them out loud. Ste+e hs "#et
com%c &oo)s( wh%ch #e onl! ment 'o# dults. 3! mom nd dd would h%t the #oo' %' the!
)new &out them-
Ste+e lso hs &unch o' old m",%nes nd &oo)s &out monste#s nd +m$%#es nd
we#ewol+es nd "hosts.
9Does st)e h+e to &e mde out o' wood:9 I s)ed when I'd '%n%shed #ed%n" D#cul
com%c.
9No(9 he s%d. 9It cn &e metl o# %+o#!( e+en $lst%c( s lon" s %t's h#d enou"h to "o #%"ht
th#ou"h the he#t.9
9And tht w%ll )%ll +m$%#e:9 I s)ed.
9E+e#! t%me(9 he s%d.
I '#owned. 9But !ou told me !ou h+e to cut o'' the%# heds nd stu'' them w%th "#l%c nd
th#ow them %n #%+e#.9
9Some &oo)s s! !ou h+e to(9 he "#eed. 9But tht's to m)e su#e !ou )%ll the +m$%#e's
s$%#%t s well s %ts &od!( so %t cn't come &c) s "host.9
9Cn +m$%#e come &c) s "host:9 I s)ed( e!es w%de.
9P#o&&l! not(9 Ste+e s%d. 9But %' !ou hd the t%me( nd wnted to m)e su#e( cutt%n" o''
the hed nd "ett%n" #%d o' %t would &e wo#th do%n". You don't wnt to t)e n! chnces
w%th +m$%#es( do !ou:9
9No(9 I s%d( sh%+e#%n". 9Wht &out we#ewol+es: Do !ou need s%l+e# &ullets to )%ll them:9
9I don't th%n) so(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I th%n) no#ml &ullets cn do the 7o&. You m%"ht h+e to use
lots o' them( &ut the! should wo#).9
Ste+e )nows e+e#!th%n" the#e %s to )now &out ho##o# 'cts. 1e's #ed e+e#! so#t o' ho##o#
&oo) the#e %s. 1e s!s e+e#! sto#! hs t lest some t#uth %n %t( e+en %' most #e mde u$.
9Do !ou th%n) the wol'*mn t the C%#2ue Du F#e) %s we#ewol':9 I s)ed.
Ste+e shoo) h%s hed. 9F#om wht I'+e #ed(9 he s%d( 9the wol'*men %n '#e) shows #e
no#mll! 7ust +e#! h%#! "u!s. Some o' them #e mo#e l%)e n%mls thn $eo$le( nd et l%+e
ch%c)ens nd stu''( &ut the!'#e not we#ewol+es. A we#ewol' would &e no "ood %n show(
&ecuse %t cn onl! tu#n %nto wol' when the#e's 'ull moon. E+e#! othe# n%"ht( %t would &e
no#ml "u!.9
95h(9 I s%d. 9Wht &out the sn)e*&o!: Do !ou 89
91e!(9 he lu"hed( 9s+e the 2uest%ons 'o# lte#. The shows lon" "o we#e te##%&le. The
owne#s used to st#+e the '#e)s nd )ee$ them loc)ed u$ %n c"es nd t#et them l%)e d%#t.
But I don't )now wht th%s one w%ll &e l%)e. The! m%"ht not e+en &e #el '#e)s0 the! m%"ht
onl! &e $eo$le %n costumes.9
The '#e) show ws &e%n" held t $lce ne# the othe# s%de o' town. We hd to le+e
sho#tl! 'te# n%ne o'cloc)( to m)e su#e we "ot the#e %n t%me. We could h+e "ot c&(
e6ce$t we'd used most o' ou# llownce to #e$lce the csh Ste+e too) '#om h%s mom.
Bes%des( %t ws mo#e 'un wl)%n". It ws s$oo)%e#-
We told "host sto#%es s we wl)ed. Ste+e d%d most o' the tl)%n"( &ecuse he )nows w!
mo#e thn me. 1e ws %n ##e 'o#m. Somet%mes he 'o#"ets the ends o' sto#%es( o# "ets nmes
m%6ed u$( &ut not ton%"ht. It ws &ette# thn &e%n" w%th Ste$hen @%n"-
It ws lon" wl)( lon"e# thn we thou"ht( nd we lmost d%dn't m)e %t on t%me. We hd
to #un the lst 2u#te#*m%le. We we#e $nt%n" l%)e do"s when we "ot the#e.
The +enue ws n old thete# tht used to show mo+%es. I'd $ssed %t once o# tw%ce %n the
$st. Ste+e told me once tht %t ws shut down &ecuse &o! 'ell o'' the &lcon! nd "ot
)%lled. 1e s%d %t ws hunted. I s)ed m! dd &out %t( nd he s%d %t ws $c) o' l%es. It's
h#d somet%mes to )now whethe# !ou should &el%e+e the sto#%es !ou# dd tells !ou o# the
ones !ou# &est '#%end tells !ou.
The#e ws no nme outs%de the doo#( nd no c#s $#)ed ne#&!( nd no w%t%n" l%ne. We
sto$$ed out '#ont nd &ent o+e# unt%l we "ot ou# &#eth &c). Then we stood nd loo)ed t
the &u%ld%n". It ws tll nd d#) nd co+e#ed %n 7""ed "#! stones. Lots o' the w%ndows
we#e &#o)en( nd the doo# loo)ed l%)e "%nt's o$en mouth.
9A#e !ou su#e th%s %s the $lce:9 I s)ed( t#!%n" not to sound sc#ed.
9Th%s %s wht %t s!s on the t%c)ets(9 Ste+e s%d nd chec)ed "%n( 7ust to &e su#e. 9Ye$(
th%s %s %t.9
93!&e the $ol%ce 'ound out nd the '#e)s hd to mo+e on(9 I s%d. 93!&e the#e %sn't n!
show ton%"ht.9
93!&e(9 Ste+e s%d.
I loo)ed t h%m nd l%c)ed m! l%$s ne#+ousl!. 9Wht do !ou th%n) we should do:9 I s)ed.
1e st#ed &c) t me nd hes%tted &e'o#e #e$l!%n". 9I th%n) we should "o %n(9 he '%nll!
s%d. 9We'+e come th%s '#. It'd &e s%ll! to tu#n &c) now( w%thout )now%n" 'o# su#e.9
9I "#ee(9 I s%d( nodd%n". Then I ",ed u$ t the sc#! &u%ld%n" nd "ul$ed. It loo)ed l%)e
the so#t o' $lce !ou sw %n ho##o# mo+%e( whe#e lots o' $eo$le "o %n &ut don't come out.
9A#e !ou sc#ed:9 I s)ed Ste+e.
9No(9 he s%d( &ut I could he# h%s teeth chtte#%n" nd )new he ws l!%n". 9A#eyou839 he
s)ed.
9Cou#se not(9 I s%d. We loo)ed t ech othe# nd "#%nned. We )new we we#e &oth te##%'%ed(
&ut t lest we we#e to"ethe#. It's not so &d &e%n" sc#ed %' !ou'#e not lone.
9Shll we ente#:9 Ste+e s)ed( t#!%n" to sound chee#'ul.
93%"ht s well(9 I s%d.
We too) dee$ &#eth( c#ossed ou# '%n"e#s( then st#ted u$ the ste$s ;the#e we#e n%ne stone
ste$s led%n" u$ to the doo#( ech one c#c)ed nd co+e#ed w%th moss< nd went %n.
WE F5.ND 5.RSELVES STANDIN/%n lon"( d#)( cold co##%do#. I hd m! 7c)et on( &ut
sh%+e#ed n!w!. It ws '#ee,%n"-
9Wh! %s %t so cold:9 I s)ed Ste+e. 9It ws w#m outs%de.9
95ld houses #e l%)e tht(9 he told me.
We st#ted to wl). The#e ws l%"ht down &! the othe# end( so the '#the# %n we "ot( the
&#%"hte# %t &ecme. I ws "ld 'o# tht. I don't th%n) I could h+e mde %t othe#w%se0 %t would
h+e &een too sc#!-
The wlls we#e sc#tched nd sc#%&&led on( nd &%ts o' the ce%l%n" we#e 'l)!. It ws
c#ee$! $lce. It would h+e &een &d enou"h %n the m%ddle o' the d!( &ut th%s ws ten
o'cloc)( onl! two hou#s w! '#om m%dn%"ht-
9The#e's doo# he#e(9 Ste+e s%d nd sto$$ed. 1e $ushed %t 7# nd %t c#e)ed loudl!. I
lmost tu#ned nd #n. It sounded l%)e the l%d o' co''%n &e%n" tu""ed o$en-
Ste+e showed no 'e# nd stuc) h%s hed %n. 1e s%d noth%n" 'o# 'ew seconds( wh%le h%s
e!es "ot used to the d#)( then he $ulled &c). 9It's the st%#s u$ to the &lcon!(9 he s%d.
9Whe#e the )%d 'ell '#om:9 I s)ed.
9Yes.9
9Do !ou th%n) we should "o u$:9 I s)ed.
1e shoo) h%s hed. 9I don't th%n) so. It's d#) u$ the#e( no s%"n o' n! so#t o' l%"ht. We'll t#!
%t %' we cn't '%nd nothe# w! %n( &ut I th%n) 89
9Cn I hel$ !ou &o!s:9 some&od! s%d &eh%nd us( nd we ne#l! 7um$ed out o' ou# s)%ns-
We tu#ned #ound 2u%c)l! nd the tllest mn %n the wo#ld ws stnd%n" the#e( "l#%n"
down on us s %' we we#e cou$le o' #ts. 1e ws so tll( h%s hed lmost touched the
ce%l%n". 1e hd hu"e &on! hnds nd e!es tht we#e so d#)( the! loo)ed l%)e two &lc)
cols stuc) %n the m%ddle o' h%s 'ce.
9Isn't %t #the# lte 'o# two l%ttle &o!s l%)e !ou#sel+es to &e out nd &out:9 he s)ed. 1%s
+o%ce ws s dee$ nd c#o)! s '#o"'s( &ut h%s l%$s h#dl! seemed to mo+e. 1e would
h+e mde "#et +ent#%lo2u%st.
9We 89 Ste+e &e"n( &ut hd to sto$ nd l%c) h%s l%$s &e'o#e he could cont%nue. 9We'#e
he#e to see the C%#2ue Du F#e)(9 he s%d.
9(re!ou:9 The mn nodded slowl!. 9Do !ou h+e t%c)ets:9
9Yes(9 Ste+e s%d( nd showed h%s.
9Ve#! "ood(9 the mn mutte#ed. Then he tu#ned to me nd s%d0 91ow &out !ou( D##en:
Do !ou h+e t%c)et:9
9Yes(9 I s%d( #ech%n" %nto m! $oc)et. Then I sto$$ed ded %n m! t#c)s.,e 5new my
name - I "lnced t Ste+e nd he ws sh)%n" %n h%s sne)e#s.
The tll mn sm%led. 1e hd &lc) teeth nd some we#e m%ss%n"( nd h%s ton"ue ws d%#t!
shde o' !ellow. 93! nme %s 3#. Tll(9 he s%d. 9I own the C%#2ue Du F#e).9
91ow d%d !ou )now m! '#%end's nme:9 Ste+e s)ed &#+el!.
3#. Tll lu"hed nd &ent down( so he ws e!e&ll*to*e!e&ll w%th Ste+e. 9I )now lots o'
th%n"s(9 he s%d so'tl!. I )now !ou# nmes. I )now whe#e !ou l%+e. I )now !ou don't l%)e
!ou# momm! o# !ou# ddd!.9 1e tu#ned to 'ce me nd I too) ste$ &c). 1%s &#eth stn)
to the h%"h he+ens. 9I )now !ou d%dn't tell !ou# $#ents !ou we#e com%n" he#e. And I
)now how !ou won !ou# t%c)et.9
9,ow:9 I s)ed. 3! teeth we#e sh)%n" so much( I wsn't su#e %' he he#d me o# not. I' he
d%d( he dec%ded not to nswe#( &ecuse ne6t he stood u$ nd tu#ned w! '#om us.
9We must hu##!(9 he s%d( &e"%nn%n" to wl). I thou"ht he would t)e "%nt ste$s( &ut he
d%dn't( he too) sho#t ones. 9The show %s &out to &e"%n. E+e#!one else %s $#esent nd seted.
You #e lte( &o!s. You'#e luc)! we d%dn't st#t w%thout !ou.9
1e tu#ned co#ne# t the end o' the co##%do#. 1e ws onl! two o# th#ee ste$s %n '#ont o' us(
&ut when we tu#ned the co#ne#( he ws s%tt%n" &eh%nd lon" t&le co+e#ed w%th &lc)
cloth tht #eched down to the 'loo#. 1e ws we#%n" tll #ed ht now( nd $%# o'
"lo+es.
9T%c)ets( $lese(9 he s%d. 1e #eched out( too) them( o$ened h%s mouth( $ut the t%c)ets %n(
then chewed them to $%eces nd swllowed-
9Ve#! well(9 he s%d. 9You m! "o %n now. We no#mll! don't welcome ch%ld#en( &ut I cn
see !ou #e two '%ne( cou#"eous !oun" men. We w%ll m)e n e6ce$t%on.9
The#e we#e two &lue cu#t%ns %n '#ont o' us( d#wn c#oss the end o' the hll. Ste+e nd me
loo)ed t ech othe# nd "ul$ed.
9Do we wl) st#%"ht on:9 Ste+e s)ed.
95' cou#se(9 3#. Tll s%d.
9Isn't the#e ld! w%th 'lshl%"ht:9 I s)ed.
1e lu"hed. 9I' !ou wnt someone to hold !ou# hnd(9 he s%d( 9!ou should h+e &#ou"ht
&&!s%tte#-9
Tht mde me md nd I 'o#"ot 'o# moment how '#%d I ws. 9All #%"ht(9 I sn$$ed(
ste$$%n" 'o#w#d( su#$#%s%n" Ste+e. 9I' tht's the w! %t %s 89 I wl)ed 'o#w#d 2u%c)l! nd
$ushed $st the cu#t%ns.
I don't )now wht those cu#t%ns we#e mde o'( &ut the! 'elt l%)e s$%de#we&s. I sto$$ed
once I $ssed them. I ws %n sho#t co##%do# nd nothe# $%# o' cu#t%ns we#e d#$ed
c#oss the wlls 'ew !#ds %n '#ont. The#e ws sound &eh%nd nd then Ste+e ws &! m!
s%de. We could he# no%ses on the othe# s%de o' the cu#t%ns.
9Do !ou th%n) %t's s'e:9 I s)ed.
9I th%n) %t's s'e# to "o 'o#w#d thn &c)w#d(9 he nswe#ed. 9I don't th%n) 3#. Tll would
l%)e %t %' we tu#ned &c).9
91ow do !ou th%n) he )new ll tht stu'' &out us: 9I s)ed.
91e must &e &le to #ed m%nds(9 Ste+e #e$l%ed.
95h(9 I s%d( nd thou"ht &out tht 'o# 'ew seconds. 91e ne#l! sc#ed the l%'e out o'
me(9 I dm%tted.
93e( too(9 Ste+e s%d.
Then we ste$$ed 'o#w#d.
It ws hu"e #oom. The ch%#s hd &een #%$$ed out o' the thete# lon" "o( &ut dec) ch%#s
hd &een set u$ %n the%# $lce. We loo)ed 'o# em$t! sets. The ent%#e thete# ws $c)ed(
&ut we we#e the onl! ch%ld#en the#e. I could 'eel $eo$le wtch%n" us nd wh%s$e#%n".
The onl! s$ces we#e %n the 'ou#th #ow '#om the '#ont. We hd to ste$ o+e# lots o' le"s to
"et the#e nd $eo$le we#e "#um&l%n". When we st down( we #el%,ed the! we#e "ood sets(
&ecuse we we#e #%"ht %n the m%ddle nd no&od! tll ws %n '#ont o' us. We hd $e#'ect
+%ew o' the st"e nd could see e+e#!th%n".
9Do !ou th%n) the! sell $o$co#n:9 I s)ed.
9At '#e) show:9 Ste+e sno#ted. 9/et #el- The! m%"ht sell sn)e e""s nd l%,#d e!es(
&ut I'll &et n!th%n" !ou l%)e the! don't sell $o$co#n-9
The $eo$le %n the thete# we#e m%6ed &unch. Some we#e d#essed st!l%shl!( othe#s %n
swetsu%ts. Some we#e s old s the h%lls( othe#s 7ust 'ew !e#s olde# thn Ste+e nd me.
Some chtted con'%dentl! to the%# com$n%ons nd &eh+ed s thou"h t socce# "me(
othe#s st 2u%etl! %n the%# ch%#s nd ",ed #ound ne#+ousl!.
Wht e+e#!one sh#ed ws loo) o' e6c%tement.
I could see %t %n the%# e!es( the sme l%"ht tht ws sh%n%n" %n Ste+e's nd m%ne. We ll
somehow )new tht we we#e %n 'o# someth%n" s$ec%l( the l%)es o' wh%ch we'd ne+e# seen
&e'o#e.
Then &unch o' t#um$ets &lew nd the whole $lce went 2u%et. The t#um$ets &lew 'o# "es
nd "es( "ett%n" loude# nd loude#( nd e+e#! l%"ht went out unt%l the thete# ws $%tch
&lc). I &e"n to "et sc#ed "%n( &ut %t ws too lte to le+e.
All o' sudden( the t#um$ets sto$$ed nd the#e ws s%lence. 3! e#s we#e #%n"%n" nd 'o#
'ew seconds I 'elt d%,,!. Then I #eco+e#ed nd st u$ st#%"ht %n m! set.
Somewhe#e h%"h u$ %n the thete#( someone sw%tched on "#een l%"ht nd the st"e l%t u$.
It loo)ed ee#%e- Fo# &out m%nute noth%n" else h$$ened. Then two men cme out( $ull%n"
c"e. It ws on wheels nd co+e#ed w%th wht loo)ed l%)e hu"e &e#s)%n #u". When the!
"ot to the m%ddle o' the st"e the! sto$$ed( d#o$$ed the #o$es( nd #n &c) %nto the w%n"s.
Fo# 'ew seconds mo#e s%lence. Then the t#um$ets &lew "%n( th#ee sho#t &lsts. The #u"
cme 'l!%n" o'' the c"e nd the '%#st '#e) ws #e+eled.
Tht ws when the sc#em%n" &e"n.
T1ERE WAS N5 NEED'o# the sc#em%n". The '#e) ws $#ett! shoc)%n"( &ut he ws ch%ned
u$ %ns%de the c"e. I th%n) the $eo$le who sc#emed d%d %t 'o# 'un( the w! $eo$le sc#em
on #olle# coste#( not &ecuse the! we#e ctull! '#%d.
It ws the wol'*mn. 1e ws +e#! u"l!( w%th h%# ll o+e# h%s &od!. 1e onl! wo#e $%ece o'
cloth #ound h%s m%ddle( l%)e T#,n( so we could see h%s h%#! le"s nd &ell! nd &c) nd
#ms. 1e hd lon" &ush! &e#d( wh%ch co+e#ed most o' h%s 'ce. 1%s e!es we#e !ellow
nd h%s teeth we#e #ed.
1e shoo) the &#s o' the c"e nd #o#ed. It ws $#ett! '#%"hten%n". Lots mo#e $eo$le
sc#emed when he #o#ed. I ne#l! sc#emed m!sel'( e6ce$t I d%dn't wnt to loo) l%)e
&&!.
The wol'*mn went on sh)%n" the &#s nd 7um$%n" #ound( &e'o#e clm%n" down. When
he ws s%tt%n" on h%s &c)s%de( the w! do"s do( 3#. Tll wl)ed on nd s$o)e.
9Ld%es nd "entlemen(9 he s%d( nd e+en thou"h h%s +o%ce ws low nd c#o)!(
e+e#!&od! could he# wht he ws s!%n"( 9welcome to the C%#2ue Du F#e)( home o' the
wo#ld's most #em#)&le humn &e%n"s.
9We #e n nc%ent c%#cus(9 he went on. 9We h+e tou#ed 'o# '%+e hund#ed !e#s( &#%n"%n"
the "#otes2ue to "ene#t%on 'te# "ene#t%on. 5u# l%neu$ hs chn"ed mn! t%mes( &ut ne+e#
ou# %m( wh%ch %s to stound nd te##%'! !ou- We $#esent cts &oth '#%"hten%n" nd &%,##e(
cts !ou cn '%nd nowhe#e else %n the wo#ld.
9Those who #e es%l! sc#ed should le+e now(9 he w#ned. 9I'm su#e the#e #e $eo$le
who cme ton%"ht th%n)%n" th%s ws 7o)e. 3!&e the! thou"ht ou# '#e)s would &e $eo$le
%n ms)s( o# h#mless m%s'%ts.This is not so - E+e#! ct !ou see ton%"ht %s #el. Ech
$e#'o#me# %s un%2ue. And none #e h#mless.9
Tht ws the end o' h%s s$eech nd he wl)ed o''st"e Two $#ett! women %n sh%n! su%ts
cme on ne6t nd unloc)ed the doo# o' the wol'*mn's c"e. A 'ew $eo$le loo)ed sc#ed
&ut no&od! le't.
The wol'*mn ws !$$%n" nd howl%n" when he '%#st cme out o' the c"e( unt%l one o'
the ld%es h!$not%,ed h%m w%th he# '%n"e#s. The othe# ld! s$o)e to the c#owd.
9You must &e +e#! 2u%et(9 she s%d %n 'o#e%"n ccent. 9The wol'*mn w%ll not &e &le to
hu#t !ou s lon" s we cont#ol h%m( &ut loud sound could w)e h%m u$( nd then he would
&e dedl!-9
When the! we#e #ed!( the! ste$$ed down '#om the st"e nd wl)ed the h!$not%,ed wol'*
mn th#ou"h the thete#. 1%s h%# ws d%#t! "#! colo# nd he wl)ed w%th stoo$( '%n"e#s
hn"%n" down #ound h%s )nees.
The ld%es st!ed &! h%s s%de nd w#ned $eo$le to &e 2u%et. The! let !ou st#o)e h%m %' !ou
wnted( &ut !ou hd to do %t "entl!. Ste+e #u&&ed h%m when he went &! &ut I ws '#%d he
m%"ht w)e u$ nd &%te me( so I d%dn't.
9Wht d%d %t 'eel l%)e:9 I s)ed( s 2u%etl! s I could.
9It ws s$%)!(9 Ste+e #e$l%ed( 9l%)e hed"eho".9 1e l%'ted h%s '%n"e#s to h%s nose nd
sn%''ed. 9It smells st#n"e( too( l%)e &u#n%n" #u&&e#.9
The wol'*mn nd ld%es we#e &out hl'w! down the #ows o' sets when the#e ws &%"
BAN/- I don't )now wht mde the no%se( &ut suddenl! the wol'*mn &e"n #o#%n" nd he
sho+ed the ld%es w! '#om h%m.
Peo$le sc#emed nd those ne#est h%m le$ed '#om the%# sets nd #n. 5ne womn wsn't
2u%c) enou"h( nd the wol'*mn le$ed on he# nd d#""ed he# to the "#ound. She ws
sc#em%n" t the to$ o' he# lun"s( &ut no&od! t#%ed to hel$ he#. 1e #olled he# o+e# onto he#
&c) nd &#ed h%s teeth. She stuc) hnd u$ to $ush h%m w!( &ut he "ot h%s teeth on %t
nd6it it o44 -
A cou$le o' $eo$le '%nted when the! sw tht nd &unch mo#e &e"n !ell%n" nd
#unn%n". Then( out o' nowhe#e( 3#. Tll $$e#ed &eh%nd the wol'*mn nd w#$$ed h%s
#ms #ound h%m. The wol'*mn st#u""led 'o# 'ew seconds( &ut 3#. Tll wh%s$e#ed
someth%n" %n h%s e# nd he #el6ed. Wh%le 3#. Tll led h%m &c) to the st"e( the women %n
the su%ts clmed down the c#owd nd told them to #etu#n to the%# sets.
Wh%le the c#owd hes%tted( the womn w%th the &%tten*o'' hnd went on sc#em%n". Blood
ws $um$%n" out o' the end o' he# w#%st( co+e#%n" the "#ound nd othe# $eo$le. Ste+e nd I
we#e st#%n" t he#( ou# mouths w%de o$en( wonde#%n" %' she ws "o%n" to d%e.
3#. Tll #etu#ned '#om the st"e( $%c)ed u$ the se+e#ed hnd( nd "+e loud wh%stle. Two
$eo$le %n &lue #o&es w%th hoods o+e# the%# heds #n 'o#w#d. The! we#e sho#t( not much
&%""e# thn me o# Ste+e( &ut w%th th%c) #ms nd le"s nd lots o' muscles. 3#. Tll st the
womn u$ nd wh%s$e#ed someth%n" %n he# e#. She sto$$ed sc#em%n" nd st st%''.
3#. Tll too) hold o' the w#%st( then #eched %nto h%s $oc)et nd too) out smll &#own
lethe# $ouch. 1e o$ened %t w%th h%s '#ee hnd nd s$#%n)led s$#)l! $%n) $owde# onto the
&leed%n" w#%st. Then he stuc) the hnd "%nst %t nd nodded to the two $eo$le %n the &lue
su%ts. The! $#oduced $%# o' needles nd lods o' o#n"e st#%n". And then( to the
m,ement o' e+e#!&od! %n the thete#( the! st#ted to st%tch the hnd &c) onto the w#%st-
The $eo$le %n &lue #o&es st%tched 'o# '%+e o# s%6 m%nutes. The womn d%dn't 'eel n! $%n(
e+en thou"h the%# needles we#e "o%n" %n nd out o' he# 'lesh( ll the w! #ound the w#%st.
When '%n%shed( the! $ut the%# needles nd unused th#ed w! nd #etu#ned to whe#e+e#
the!'d come '#om. The%# hoods ne+e# sl%$$ed '#om the%# 'ces( so I couldn't tell %' the! we#e
men o# women. When the!'d "one( 3#. Tll let "o o' the womn's hnd nd ste$$ed &c).
93o+e !ou# '%n"e#s(9 he s%d. The womn st#ed t h%m &ln)l!. 93o+e !ou# '%n"e#s-9 he
s%d "%n( nd th%s t%me she "+e them w%""le.
The! mo+ed-
E+e#!&od! "s$ed. The womn st#ed t the '%n"e#s s thou"h she d%dn't &el%e+e the! we#e
#el. She "+e them nothe# w%""le. Then she stood nd l%'ted the hnd &o+e he# hed. She
shoo) %t s h#d s she could( nd %t ws s "ood s new- You could see the st%tches &ut
the#e ws no mo#e &lood nd the '%n"e#s seemed to &e wo#)%n" '%ne.
9You w%ll &e o)!(9 3#. Tll told he#. 9The st%tches w%ll 'll out 'te# cou$le o' d!s. It
w%ll &e '%ne 'te# tht.9
93!&e tht's not "ood enou"h-9 someone shouted( nd &%" #ed*'ced mn ste$$ed
'o#w#d. 9I'm he# hus&nd(9 he s%d( 9nd I s! we should "o to docto# nd then the
$ol%ce- You cn't let w%ld n%ml l%)e tht out %nto c#owd- Wht %' he'd &%tten he# hed
o'':9
9Then she would &e ded(9 3#. Tll s%d clml!.
9L%sten( &uste#(9 the hus&nd &e"n( &ut 3#. Tll %nte##u$ted.
9Tell me( s%#(9 3#. Tll s%d( 9whe#e we#eyou when the wol'*mn ws ttc)%n":9
90e:9 the mn s)ed.
9Yes(9 3#. Tll s%d. 9You #e he# hus&nd. You we#e s%tt%n" &es%de he# when the &est
esc$ed. Wh! d%d !ou not le$ to he# #escue:9
9Well( I 8 The#e ws no t%me 8 I couldn't 8 I wsn't 89
No mtte# wht he s%d( the hus&nd couldn't w%n( &ecuse the#e ws onl! one t#ue nswe#0
he hd &een #unn%n" w!( loo)%n" 'te# h%msel'.
9L%sten to me(9 3#. Tll s%d. 9I "+e '%# w#n%n". I s%d th%s show could &e dn"e#ous.
Th%s %s not n%ce( s'e c%#cus whe#e noth%n" "oes w#on". 3%st)es cn nd do h$$en( nd
somet%mes $eo$le end u$ lot wo#se o'' thn !ou# w%'e. Tht's wh! th%s show %s &nned.
Tht's wh! we must $l! %n old thete#s %n the m%ddle o' the n%"ht. 3ost o' the t%me( th%n"s
"o smoothl! nd no&od! "ets hu#t. But we cnnot "u#ntee !ou# s'et!.9
3#. Tll tu#ned #ound %n c%#cle nd seemed to loo) e+e#!&od! %n the e!e wh%le tu#n%n".
9We cnnot "u#nteeany6ody3s s'et!(9 he #o#ed. 9Anothe# cc%dent l%)e th%s %s unl%)el!(
&ut %tcould h$$en. 5nce "%n I s!( %' !ou #e '#%d( le+e. Le+e now( &e'o#e %t %s too
lte-9
A 'ew $eo$le d%d le+e. But most st!ed to see the #est o' the show( e+en the womn who
ne#l! lost he# hnd.
9Do !ou wnt to "o:9 I s)ed Ste+e( hl'*ho$%n" he'd s! !es. I ws e6c%ted &ut sc#ed s
well.
9A#e !ou c#,!:9 he s%d. 9Th%s %s "#et-#ou don't wnt to "o( do !ou:9
9No w!(9 I l%ed( nd sl$$ed on sh)! l%ttle sm%le.
I' onl! I hdn't &een so sc#ed o' loo)%n" l%)e cow#d- I could h+e le't nd e+e#!th%n"
would h+e &een '%ne. But no( I hd to ct l%)e &%" mn nd s%t %t out to the end. I' !ou
onl! )new how mn! t%mes I'+e w%shed s%nce then tht I'd 'led w%th ll the s$eed %n m!
&od! nd ne+e# loo)ed &c) 8
AS S55N AS 3R. TALLhd le't the st"e nd we'd settled &c) %nto ou# sets( the second
'#e)( Ale6nde# R%&s( cme out. 1e ws mo#e o' comed! ct thn sc#! one( wh%ch ws
7ust wht we needed to clm us down 'te# the te##%'!%n" st#t. I h$$ened to loo) o+e# m!
shoulde# wh%le he ws on( nd not%ced two o' the &lue*hooded $eo$le down on the%# )nees(
clen%n" &lood '#om the 'loo#.
Ale6nde# R%&s ws the s)%nn%est mn I'd e+e# seen. 1e loo)ed l%)e s)eleton- The#e
seemed to &e no 'lesh on h%m. 1e would h+e &een '#%"hten%n"( e6ce$t he hd w%de
'#%endl! sm%le.
Funn! mus%c $l!ed nd he dnced #ound the st"e. 1e ws d#essed %n &llet clothes nd
loo)ed so #%d%culous tht soon e+e#!one ws lu"h%n". A'te# wh%le( he sto$$ed dnc%n"
nd &e"n st#etch%n". 1e s%d he ws conto#t%on%st ;some&od! w%th &ones l%)e #u&&e#(
who cn &end e+e#! wh%ch w!<.
F%#st( he t%lted h%s hed &c) so '#( %t loo)ed l%)e %t hd &een cut o''. 1e tu#ned #ound so
we could see h%s u$s%de*down 'ce( then went on len%n" &c)w#d unt%l h%s hed ws
touch%n" the 'loo#- Then he $ut h%s hnds #ound the &c)s o' h%s le"s nd $ulled h%s hed
th#ou"h unt%l %t ws st%c)%n" u$ %n '#ont o' h%m. It loo)ed l%)e %t ws "#ow%n" out o' h%s
stomch-
1e "ot hu"e #ound o' $$luse 'o# tht( 'te# wh%ch he st#%"htened u$ nd &e"n tw%st%n"
h%s &od! #ound l%)e cu#l!*wu#l! st#w- 1e )e$t tw%st%n" nd tw%st%n"( '%+e t%mes #ound(
unt%l h%s &ones &e"n to c#e) '#om the st#%n. 1e stood l%)e tht 'o# m%nute( then &e"n to
unw%nd #ell!( #ell! 'st.
Ne6t( he "ot two d#umst%c)s w%th 'u##! ends. 1e too) the '%#st d#umst%c) nd h%t one o' h%s
&on! #%&s w%th %t. 1e o$ened h%s mouth nd mus%cl note s$#n" out- It sounded l%)e the
no%se $%nos m)e. Then he closed h%s mouth nd st#uc) #%& on the othe# s%de o' h%s &od!.
Th%s t%me %t ws loude#( h%"he# note.
A'te# 'ew mo#e $#ct%ce notes( he )e$t h%s mouth o$en nd &e"n $l!%n" son"s- 1e
$l!ed 9London B#%d"e Is Fll%n" Down(9 some son"s &! the Betles( nd the theme tunes
'#om 'ew $o$ul# TV shows.
The s)%nn! mn le't the st"e to shouts 'o# mo#e. But none o' the '#e)s e+e# cme &c) to
do n enco#e.
A'te# Ale6nde# R%&s cme Rhmus Two&ell%es( nd he ws s 't s Ale6nde# ws th%n.
1e ws eN5R*mous- The 'loo#&o#ds c#e)ed s he wl)ed out onto the st"e.
1e wl)ed close to the ed"e nd )e$t $#etend%n" he ws &out to to$$le 'o#w#d. I could
see $eo$le %n the '#ont #ows "ett%n" wo##%ed( nd some 7um$ed &c) out o' the w! when he
"ot close. I don't &lme them0 he would h+e s2ushed them 'lt s $nc)e %' he 'ell-
1e sto$$ed %n the m%ddle o' the st"e. 91ello(9 he s%d. 1e hd n%ce +o%ce( so't nd
s2ue)!. 93! nme %s Rhmus Two&ell%es( nd I #ell! h+e two &ell%es- I ws &o#n w%th
them( the sme w! ce#t%n n%mls #e. The docto#s we#e stunned nd s%d I ws '#e).
Tht's wh! I 7o%ned th%s show nd m he#e ton%"ht.9
The ld%es who hd h!$not%,ed the wol'*mn cme out w%th two c#ts 'ull o' 'ood0 c)es(
ch%$s( hm&u#"e#s( $c)"es o' cnd! nd heds o' c&&"e. The#e ws stu'' the#e tht I
hdn't e+en seen &e'o#e( ne+e# m%nd tsted-
9Yum !um(9 Rhmus s%d. 1e $o%nted to hu"e cloc) &e%n" lowe#ed &! #o$es '#om &o+e.
It sto$$ed &out ten 'eet &o+e h%s hed. 91ow lon" do !ou th%n) %t w%ll t)e me to et ll
th%s:9 he s)ed( $o%nt%n" to the 'ood. 9The#e w%ll &e $#%,e 'o# the $e#son who "uesses
closest.9
9An hou#-9 some&od! !elled.
9Fo#t!*'%+e m%nutes-9 some&od! else #o#ed.
9Two hou#s( ten m%nutes( nd th%#t!*th#ee seconds(9 nothe# $e#son shouted. Soon
e+e#!&od! ws cll%n" out. I s%d n hou# nd th#ee m%nutes. Ste+e s%d twent!*n%ne
m%nutes. The lowest "uess ws se+enteen m%nutes.
When we we#e '%n%shed "uess%n"( the cloc) st#ted to t%c) nd Rhmus st#ted to et. 1e
te l%)e the w%nd. 1%s #ms mo+ed so 'st( !ou could h#dl! see them. 1%s mouth d%dn't
seem to close t ll. 1e sho+eled 'ood %n( swllowed( nd mo+ed on.
E+e#!&od! ws m,ed. I 'elt s%c) s I wtched. Some $eo$le ctull!were s%c)-
F%nll!( Rhmus sco''ed the lst &un nd the cloc) &o+e h%s hed sto$$ed t%c)%n".
Four minutes and 4i4ty.six seconds- 1e'd eten ll tht 'ood %n less thn '%+e m%nutes- I
could h#dl! &el%e+e %t. It d%dn't seem $oss%&le( e+en 'o# mn w%th two &ell%es.
9Tht ws n%ce(9 Rhmus s%d( 9&ut I could h+e used mo#e desse#t.9
Wh%le we cl$$ed nd lu"hed( the ld%es %n sh%n! su%ts #olled the c#ts w! nd &#ou"ht
out new one( $c)ed w%th "lss sttues nd 'o#)s nd s$oons nd &%ts o' metl 7un).
9Be'o#e I &e"%n(9 Rhmus s%d( 9I must w#n !ou not to t#! th%s t home- I cn et th%n"s
tht would cho)e nd )%ll no#ml $eo$le. Do not t#! to co$! me- I' !ou do( !ou m! d%e.9
1e &e"n et%n". 1e st#ted w%th cou$le o' nuts nd &olts( wh%ch he suc)ed down w%thout
&l%n)%n". A'te# 'ew hnd'uls he "+e h%s &%" #ound &ell! sh)e nd we could he# the
no%se o' the metl %ns%de.
1%s &ell! he+ed nd he s$t the nuts nd &olts &c) out- I' the#e hd onl! &een one o# two(
I m%"ht h+e thou"ht he ws )ee$%n" them unde# h%s ton"ue o# t the s%des o' h%s chee)s(
&ut not e+en Rhmus Two&ell%es's mouth ws &%" enou"h to hold tht lod-
Ne6t( he te the "lss sttues. 1e c#unched the "lss u$ %nto smll $%eces &e'o#e
swllow%n" %t w%th d#%n) o' wte#. Then he te the s$oons nd 'o#)s. 1e tw%sted them u$
%nto c%#cles w%th h%s hnds( $o$$ed them %nto h%s mouth( nd let them sl%de down. 1e s%d
h%s teeth we#en't st#on" enou"h to te# th#ou"h metl.
A'te# tht( he swllowed lon" metl ch%n( then $used to ctch h%s &#eth. 1%s &ell!
&e"n #um&l%n" nd sh)%n". I d%dn't )now wht ws "o%n" on( unt%l he "+e he+e nd I
sw the to$ o' the ch%n come out o' h%s mouth.
As the ch%n cme out( I sw tht the s$oons nd 'o#)s we#e w#$$ed #ound %t- 1e hd
mn"ed to $o)e the ch%n th#ou"h the hoo$s %ns%de h%s &ell!. It ws un&el%e+&le.
When Rhmus le't the st"e( I thou"ht no&od! could to$ such n ct.
I ws w#on"-
AC5.PLE 5F PE5PLE%n the &lue*hooded #o&es cme #ound 'te# Rhmus Two&ell%es(
sell%n" "%'ts. The#e ws some #ell! cool stu''( l%)e chocolte models o' the nuts nd &olts
tht Rhmus te( nd #u&&e# dolls o' Ale6nde# R%&s tht !ou could &end nd st#etch. And
the#e we#e cl%$$%n"s o' the wol'*mn's h%#. I &ou"ht some o' tht0 %t ws tou"h nd w%#!(
sh#$ s )n%'e.
9The#e w%ll &e mo#e no+elt%es lte#(9 3#. Tll nnounced '#om the st"e( 9so don't s$end ll
!ou# mone! #%"ht w!.9
91ow much %s the "lss sttue:9 Ste+e s)ed. It ws the sme )%nd tht Rhmus Two&ell%es
hd eten. The $e#son %n the &lue hood d%dn't s! n!th%n"( &ut stuc) out s%"n w%th the
$#%ce on %t. 9I cn't #ed(9 Ste+e s%d. 9W%ll !ou tell me how much %t costs:9
I st#ed t Ste+e nd wonde#ed wh! he ws l!%n". The $e#son %n the hood st%ll d%dn't s$e).
Th%s t%me he ;o# she< shoo) h%s hed 2u%c)l! nd mo+ed on &e'o#e Ste+e could s) n!th%n"
else.
9Wht ws tht &out:9 I s)ed.
Ste+e sh#u""ed. 9I wnted to he# %t s$e)(9 he s%d( 9to see %' %t ws humn o# not.9
95' cou#se %t's humn(9 I s%d. 9Wht else could %t &e:9
9I don't )now(9 he s%d. 9Tht's wh! I ws s)%n". Don't !ou th%n) %t's st#n"e tht the!
)ee$ the%# 'ces co+e#ed ll the t%me:9
93!&e the!'#e sh!(9 I s%d.
93!&e(9 he s%d( &ut I could tell he d%dn't &el%e+e tht.
When the $eo$le sell%n" the "%'ts we#e '%n%shed( the ne6t '#e) cme on. It ws the &e#ded
ld!( nd t '%#st I thou"ht %t ws ment to &e 7o)e( &ecuse she d%dn't h+e &e#d-
3#. Tll stood &eh%nd he# nd s%d( 9Ld%es nd "entlemen( th%s %s +e#! s$ec%l ct.
T#us) he#e %s new to ou# 'm%l!. She %s one o' the most %nc#ed%&le $e#'o#me#s I h+e e+e#
seen( w%th t#ul! un%2ue tlent.9
3#. Tll wl)ed o''. T#us) ws +e#! &eut%'ul( d#essed %n 'low%n" #ed #o&es tht hd mn!
slshes nd "$s. Lots o' the men %n the thete# &e"n to cou"h nd sh%'t #ound %n the%#
sets.
T#us) ste$$ed close# to the ed"e o' the st"e( so we could see he# &ette#( then s%d
someth%n" tht sounded l%)e sel &#)%n". She $ut he# hnds on he# 'ce( one t e%the#
s%de( nd st#o)ed the s)%n "entl!. Then she held he# nose shut w%th two '%n"e#s nd t%c)led
he# ch%n w%th he# othe# hnd.
An e6t#o#d%n#! th%n" h$$ened0 she &e"n to "#ow &e#d- 1%#s c#e$t out( '%#st on he#
ch%n( then he# u$$e# l%$( then the s%des o' he# 'ce( '%nll! ll o+e#. It ws lon" nd &londe
nd st#%"ht.
It "#ew &out 'ou# o# '%+e %nches( then sto$$ed. She too) he# '%n"e#s w! '#om he# nose
nd ste$$ed down %nto the c#owd( whe#e she wl)ed #ound nd let $eo$le $ull on the &e#d
nd st#o)e %t.
The &e#d cont%nued "#ow%n" s she wl)ed( unt%l '%nll! %t #eched down to he# 'eet-
When she ##%+ed t the #e# o' the thete#( she tu#ned nd wl)ed &c) to the st"e. E+en
thou"h the#e ws no &#ee,e( he# h%# &lew &out w%ldl!( t%c)l%n" $eo$le's 'ces s she
$ssed.
When she ws &c) on the st"e( 3#. Tll s)ed %' n!&od! hd $%# o' sc%sso#s. Lots o'
women d%d. 3#. Tll %n+%ted 'ew u$.
9The C%#2ue Du F#e) w%ll "%+e one sol%d &# o' "old to n!one who cn sl%ce o'' T#us)'s
&e#d(9 he s%d( nd held u$ smll !ellow $%ece o' metl to show he wsn't 7o)%n".
Tht "ot lot o' $eo$le e6c%ted nd 'o# ten m%nutes ne#l! e+e#!&od! %n the thete# t#%ed
cutt%n" o'' he# &e#d. But the! couldn't- Noth%n" could cut th#ou"h the &e#ded ld!'s h%#(
not e+en $%# o' "#den she#s tht 3#. Tll hnded out. The 'unn! th%n" ws( %t st%ll 'elt
so't( 7ust l%)e o#d%n#! h%#-
When e+e#!one hd dm%tted de'et( 3#. Tll em$t%ed the st"e nd T#us) stood %n the
m%ddle "%n. She st#o)ed he# chee)s s &e'o#e nd held he# nose( &ut th%s t%me the &e#d
"#ew &c) %n- It too) &out two m%nutes 'o# the h%#s to d%s$$e# &c) %ns%de( nd then she
loo)ed e6ctl! s she hd when she '%#st cme out. She le't to hu"e $$luse nd the ne6t
ct cme out lmost d%#ectl! 'te#.
1%s nme ws 1ns 1nds. 1e &e"n &! tell%n" us &out h%s 'the#( who'd &een &o#n
w%thout le"s. 1ns's 'the# le#ned to "et #ound on h%s hnds 7ust s well s othe# $eo$le
could on the%# 'eet( nd hd tu"ht h%s ch%ld#en h%s sec#ets.
1ns then st down( $ulled u$ h%s le"s( nd w#$$ed h%s 'eet #ound h%s nec). 1e stood on
h%s hnds( wl)ed u$ nd down the st"e( then ho$$ed o'' nd chllen"ed 'ou# men $%c)ed
t #ndom to #ce. The! could #ce on the%# 'eet? he'd #ce on h%s hnds. 1e $#om%sed
&# o' "old to n!one who could &et h%m.
The! used the %sles o' the thete# s #cet#c)( nd des$%te h%s d%sd+nt"e( 1ns &et
the 'ou# men es%l!. 1e cl%med he could s$#%nt hund#ed !#ds %n e%"ht seconds on h%s
hnds( nd no&od! %n the thete# dou&ted h%m. A'te#w#d he $e#'o#med some %m$#ess%+e
"!mnst%c 'ets( $#o+%n" tht $e#son could mn"e 7ust s well w%thout le"s s w%th them.
1%s ct wsn't es$ec%ll! e6c%t%n" &ut %t ws en7o!&le.
The#e ws sho#t $use 'te# 1ns hd le't( then 3#. Tll cme out. 9Ld%es nd
"entlemen(9 he s%d( 9ou# ne6t ct %s nothe# un%2ue nd $e#$le6%n" one. It cn lso &e 2u%te
dn"e#ous( so I s) tht !ou m)e no no%se nd do not cl$ unt%l !ou #e told %t %s s'e.9
The whole $lce went 2u%et. A'te# wht hd h$$ened w%th the wol'*mn e#l%e#( no&od!
needed to &e told tw%ce-
When %t ws 2u%et enou"h( 3#. Tll wl)ed o'' the st"e. 1e shouted out the nme o' the
ne6t '#e) s he went( &ut %t ws so't shout0 93#. C#e$sle! nd 3dm 5ct-9
The l%"hts went down low nd c#ee$!*loo)%n" mn wl)ed onto the st"e. 1e ws tll
nd th%n( w%th +e#! wh%te s)%n nd onl! smll c#o$ o' o#n"e h%# on the to$ o' h%s hed.
1e hd l#"e sc# #unn%n" down h%s le't chee). It #eched to h%s l%$s nd mde %t loo) l%)e
h%s mouth ws st#etch%n" u$ the s%de o' h%s 'ce.
1e ws d#essed %n d#)*#ed clothes nd c##%ed smll wooden c"e( wh%ch he $ut on
t&le. When he ws set( he tu#ned nd 'ced us. 1e &owed nd sm%led. 1e loo)ed e+en
sc#%e# when he sm%led( l%)e c#,! clown %n ho##o# mo+%e I once sw- Then he st#ted to
e6$l%n &out the ct.
I m%ssed the '%#st $#t o' h%s s$eech &ecuse I wsn't loo)%n" t the st"e. I ws wtch%n"
Ste+e. You see( when 3#. C#e$sle! wl)ed out( the#e hd &een totl s%lence( e6ce$t 'o# one
$e#son who hd "s$ed loudl!.
*teve.
I st#ed cu#%ousl! t m! '#%end. 1e ws lmost s wh%te s 3#. C#e$sle! nd ws sh)%n"
ll o+e#. 1e'd e+en d#o$$ed the #u&&e# model o' Ale6nde# R%&s tht he'd &ou"ht.
1%s e!es we#e '%6ed on 3#. C#e$sle!( s thou"h "lued to h%m( nd s I wtched h%m wtch
the '#e)( the thou"ht tht c#ossed m! m%nd ws0 91e loo)s l%)e he's seen "host-9
"IT IS N5T TR.Etht ll t#ntuls #e $o%sonous(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 1e hd dee$ +o%ce.
I mn"ed to te# m! e!es w! '#om Ste+e nd t#%ned them on the st"e. 93ost #e s
h#mless s the s$%de#s !ou '%nd n!whe#e %n the wo#ld. And those wh%chare $o%sonous
no#mll! onl! h+e enou"h $o%son %n them to )%ll +e#! smll c#etu#es.
9But some #e dedl!-9 he went on. 9Some cn )%ll mn w%th one &%te. The! #e ##e( nd
onl! 'ound %n e6t#emel! #emote #es( &ut the! do e6%st.
9I h+e one such s$%de#(9 he s%d nd o$ened the doo# o' the c"e. Fo# 'ew seconds
noth%n" h$$ened( &ut then the l#"est s$%de# I hd e+e# seen c#wled out. It ws "#een nd
$u#$le nd #ed( w%th lon" h%#! le"s nd &%" 't &od!. I wsn't '#%d o' s$%de#s( &ut th%s
one loo)ed te##%'!%n".
The s$%de# wl)ed 'o#w#d slowl!. Then %ts le"s &ent nd %t lowe#ed %ts &od!( s thou"h
w%t%n" 'o# 'l!.
93dm 5ct hs &een w%th me 'o# se+e#l !e#s(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 9She l%+es '# lon"e#
thn o#d%n#! s$%de#s. The mon) who sold he# to me s%d some o' he# )%nd l%+e to &e twent!
o# th%#t! !e#s old. She %s n %nc#ed%&le c#etu#e( &oth $o%sonous nd %ntell%"ent.9
Wh%le he ws s$e)%n"( one o' the &lue*hooded $eo$le led "ot onto the st"e. It ws
m)%n" '#%"htened &let%n" no%se nd )e$t t#!%n" to #un. The hooded $e#son t%ed %t to the
t&le nd le't.
The s$%de# &e"n mo+%n" when %t sw nd he#d the "ot. It c#e$t to the ed"e o' the t&le(
whe#e %t sto$$ed( s %' w%t%n" n o#de#. 3#. C#e$sle! $#oduced sh%n! t%n wh%stle he
clled %t 'lute '#om h%s $nts $oc)et nd &lew 'ew sho#t notes. 3dm 5ct %mmed%tel!
le$ed th#ou"h the %# nd lnded on the "ot's nec).
The "ot "+e le$ when the s$%de# lnded( nd &e"n &let%n" loudl!. 3dm 5ct too)
no not%ce( hun" on( nd mo+ed 'ew %nches close# to the hed. When she ws #ed!( she
&#ed he# 'n"s nd sun) them dee$ %nto the "ot's nec)-
The "ot '#o,e nd %ts e!es went w%de. It sto$$ed &let%n" nd( 'ew seconds lte#( to$$led
o+e#. I thou"ht %t ws ded( &ut then #el%,ed %t ws st%ll &#eth%n".
9Th%s 'lute %s how I cont#ol 3dm 5ct(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d( nd I loo)ed w! '#om the
'llen "ot. 1e w+ed the 'lute slowl! &o+e h%s hed. 9Thou"h we h+e &een to"ethe# such
lon" t%me( she %s not $et( nd would su#el! )%ll me %' I e+e# lost %t.
9The "ot %s $#l!,ed(9 he s%d. 9I h+e t#%ned 3dm 5ct not to )%ll out#%"ht w%th he#
'%#st &%te. The "ot would d%e %n the end( %' we le't %t the#e %s no cu#e 'o# 3dm 5ct's &%te
&ut we shll '%n%sh %t 2u%c)l!.9 1e &lew on the 'lute nd 3dm 5ct mo+ed u$ the "ot's
nec) unt%l she ws stnd%n" on %ts e#. She &#ed he# 'n"s "%n nd &%t. The "ot sh%+e#ed(
then went totll! st%ll.
It ws ded.
3dm 5ct d#o$$ed '#om the "ot nd c#wled tow#d the '#ont o' the st"e. The $eo$le
%n the '#ont #ows &ecme +e#! l#med nd some 7um$ed to the%# 'eet. But the! '#o,e t
sho#t commnd '#om 3#. C#e$sle!.
9'Do not mo+e-9 he h%ssed. 9Remem&e# !ou# e#l%e# w#n%n"0 sudden no%se could men
deth-9
3dm 5ct sto$$ed t the ed"e o' the st"e( then stood on he# two &c) le"s( 7ust l%)e
do"- 3#. C#e$sle! &lew so'tl! on h%s 'lute nd she &e"n wl)%n" &c)w#d( st%ll on two
'eet. When she #eched the ne#est le" o' the t&le( she tu#ned nd cl%m&ed u$.
9You w%ll &e s'e now(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d( nd the $eo$le %n the '#ont #ows st down "%n(
s slowl! nd 2u%etl! s the! could. 9But $lese(9 he dded( 9do not m)e n! loud no%ses(
&ecuse %' !ou do( she m%"ht come 'te#me .9
I don't )now %' 3#. C#e$sle! ws #ell! sc#ed( o# %' %t ws $#t o' the ct( &ut he loo)ed
'#%"htened. 1e w%$ed the slee+e o' h%s #%"ht #m o+e# h%s 'o#ehed( then $lced the 'lute
&c) %n h%s mouth nd wh%stled st#n"e l%ttle tune.
3dm 5ct coc)ed he# hed( then $$e#ed to nod. She c#wled c#oss the t&le unt%l she
ws %n '#ont o' 3#. C#e$sle!. 1e lowe#ed h%s #%"ht hnd( nd she c#e$t u$ h%s #m. The
thou"ht o' those lon" h%#! le"s c#ee$%n" lon" h%s 'lesh mde me swet ll o+e#. And
Ili5ed s$%de#s- Peo$le who we#e '#%d o' them must h+e &een ne#+ousl! chew%n" the
%ns%des o' the%# chee)s to $%eces.
When she "ot to the to$ o' h%s #m( she scuttled lon" h%s shoulde#( u$ h%s nec)( o+e# h%s
e#( nd d%dn't sto$ unt%l she #eched the to$ o' h%s hed( whe#e she lowe#ed he# &od!. She
loo)ed l%)e 'unn! )%nd o' ht.
A'te# wh%le( 3#. C#e$sle! &e"n $l!%n" the 'lute "%n. 3dm 5ct sl%d down the othe#
s%de o' h%s 'ce( lon" the sc#( nd wl)ed #ound unt%l she ws stnd%n" u$s%de down on
h%s ch%n. Then she s$un st#%n" o' we& nd d#o$$ed down on %t.
She ws hn"%n" &out th#ee %nches &elow h%s ch%n now( nd slowl! &e"n #oc)%n" '#om
s%de to s%de. Soon she ws sw%n"%n" &out le+el w%th h%s e#s. 1e# le"s we#e tuc)ed %n( nd
'#om whe#e I ws s%tt%n" she loo)ed l%)e &ll o' wool.
Then( s she mde n u$w#d sw%n"( 3#. C#e$sle! th#ew h%s hed &c) nd she went 'l!%n"
st#%"ht u$ %nto the %#. The th#ed sn$$ed nd she tum&led #ound nd #ound. I wtched
he# "o u$( then come down. I thou"ht she'd lnd on the 'loo# o# the t&le( &ut she d%dn't.
Insted( she lnded %n 3#. C#e$sle!'s mouth-
I ne#l! "ot s%c) when I thou"ht o' 3dm 5ct sl%d%n" down h%s th#ot nd %nto h%s &ell!.
I ws su#e she'd &%te h%m nd )%ll h%m. But the s$%de# ws lot sm#te# thn I )new. As she
ws 'll%n"( she'd stuc) he# le"s out nd the! hd cu"ht on h%s l%$s.
1e &#ou"ht h%s hed 'o#w#d( so we could see h%s 'ce. 1%s mouth ws w%de o$en nd
3dm 5ct ws hn"%n" &etween h%s l%$s. 1e# &od! th#o&&ed %n nd out o' h%s mouth nd
she loo)ed l%)e &lloon tht he ws &low%n" u$ nd lett%n" the %# out o'.
I wonde#ed whe#e the 'lute ws nd how he ws "o%n" to cont#ol the s$%de# now. Then 3#.
Tll $$e#ed w%th nothe# 'lute. 1e couldn't $l! s well s 3#. C#e$sle!( &ut he ws "ood
enou"h to m)e 3dm 5ct t)e not%ce. She l%stened( then mo+ed '#om one s%de o' 3#.
C#e$sle!'s mouth to the othe#.
I d%dn't )now wht she ws do%n" t '%#st( so I c#ned m! nec) to see. When I sw the &%ts
o' wh%te on 3#. C#e$sle!'s l%$s I unde#stood0 she ws s$%nn%n" we&-
When she ws '%n%shed( she lowe#ed he#sel' '#om h%s ch%n( l%)e she hd &e'o#e. The#e ws
l#"e we& s$un c#oss 3#. C#e$sle!'s mouth. 1e &e"n chew%n" nd l%c)%n" the we&- 1e
te the whole th%n"( then #u&&ed h%s &ell! ;&e%n" c#e'ul not to h%t 3dm 5ct< nd s%d(
9Del%c%ous. Noth%n" tst%e# thn '#esh s$%de#we&s. The! #e t#et whe#e I come '#om.9
1e mde 3dm 5ct $ush &ll c#oss the t&le( then "ot he# to &lnce on to$ o' %t. 1e
set u$ smll $%eces o' "!m "e#( t%n! we%"hts nd #o$es nd #%n"s( nd $ut he# th#ou"h he#
$ces. She ws &le to do ll the th%n"s humn could( l%)e l%'t we%"hts &o+e he# hed nd
cl%m& #o$es nd $ull he#sel' u$ on the #%n"s.
Then he &#ou"ht out t%n! d%nne# set. The#e we#e m%n% $ltes nd )n%+es nd 'o#)s nd
teen!*ween! "lsses. The $ltes we#e '%lled w%th ded 'l%es nd othe# smll %nsects. I don't
)now wht ws %n the "lsses.
3dm 5ct te tht d%nne# s netl! s !ou $lese. She ws &le to $%c) u$ the )n%+es nd
'o#)s( 'ou# t t%me( nd 'eed he#sel'. The#e ws e+en ')e sltsh)e# tht she s$#%n)led
o+e# one o' the d%shes-
It ws #ound the t%me she ws d#%n)%n" '#om the "lss tht I dec%ded 3dm 5ct ws the
wo#ld's most m,%n" $et. I would h+e "%+en e+e#!th%n" I owned 'o# he#. I )new %t could
ne+e# &e 3om nd Dd wouldn't let me )ee$ he# e+en %' I could &u! he# &ut tht d%dn't sto$
me '#om w%sh%n".
When the ct ws o+e#( 3#. C#e$sle! $ut the s$%de# &c) %n he# c"e nd &owed low wh%le
e+e#!&od! cl$$ed. I he#d lot o' $eo$le s!%n" %t wsn't '%# to h+e )%lled the $oo# "ot(
&ut %t hd &een th#%ll%n".
I tu#ned to Ste+e to tell h%m how "#et I thou"ht the s$%de# ws( &ut he ws wtch%n" 3#.
C#e$sle!. 1e d%dn't loo) sc#ed n!mo#e( &ut he d%dn't loo) no#ml( e%the#.
9Ste+e( wht's w#on":9 I s)ed.
1e d%dn't nswe#.
9Ste+e:9
9Ssshhh-9 he sn$$ed( nd wouldn't s! nothe# wo#d unt%l 3#. C#e$sle! hd le't. 1e
wtched the odd*loo)%n" mn wl) &c) to the w%n"s. Then he tu#ned to me nd "s$ed0
9Th%s %s m,%n"-9
9The s$%de#:9 I s)ed. 9Itwas "#et. 1ow do !ou th%n) 89
9I'm not tl)%n" &out the s$%de#-9 he sn$$ed. 9Who c#es &out s%ll! old #chn%d: I'm
tl)%n" &out 3# 8 C#e$sle!.9 1e $used &e'o#e s!%n" the mn's nme( s thou"h he'd
&een &out to cll h%m someth%n" d%''e#ent.
93#. C#e$sle!:9 I s)ed( con'used. 9Wht ws so "#et &out h%m: All he d%d ws $l! the
'lute.9
9You don't unde#stnd(9 Ste+e s%d n"#%l!. 9You don't )now who he #ell! %s.9
9Andyou do:9 I s)ed.
9Yes(9 he s%d( 9s mtte# o' 'ct I do.9 1e #u&&ed h%s ch%n nd st#ted loo)%n" wo##%ed
"%n. 9I 7ust ho$e he doesn't )now I )now. I' he does( we m%"ht ne+e# m)e %t out o' he#e
l%+e 89
T1ERE WAS AN5T1ER BREA@'te# 3#. C#e$sle! nd 3dm 5ct's ct. I t#%ed "ett%n"
Ste+e to tell me mo#e &out who the mn ws( &ut h%s l%$s we#e seled. All he s%d ws0 9I
h+e to th%n) &out th%s.9 Then he closed h%s e!es( lowe#ed h%s hed( nd thou"ht h#d.
The! we#e sell%n" mo#e cool stu'' du#%n" the &#e)0 &e#ds l%)e the &e#ded ld!'s( models
o' 1ns 1nds( nd( &est o' ll( #u&&e# s$%de#s tht loo)ed l%)e 3dm 5ct. I &ou"ht two(
one 'o# me nd one 'o# Ann%e. The! we#en't s "ood s the #el th%n" &ut the!'d h+e to do.
The! we#e lso sell%n" cnd! we&s. I &ou"ht s%6 o' those( us%n" u$ the lst o' m! mone!(
nd te two wh%le w%t%n" 'o# the ne6t '#e) to come out. The! tsted l%)e cotton cnd!. I
stuc) the second one o+e# m! l%$s nd l%c)ed t %t the sme w! 3#. C#e$sle! hd.
The l%"hts went down nd e+e#!&od! settled &c) %nto the%# sets. /e#th Teeth ws ne6t
u$. She ws &%" womn w%th th%c) le"s( th%c) #ms( th%c) nec)( nd th%c) hed.
9Ld%es nd "entlemen( I m /e#th Teeth-9 she s%d. She sounded st#%ct. 9I h+e the
st#on"est teeth %n the wo#ld- When I ws &&!( m! 'the# $ut h%s #%n"e#s %n m! mouth(
$l!%n" w%th me( nd I &%t two o' them o''-9
A 'ew $eo$le lu"hed( &ut she sto$$ed them w%th 'u#%ous loo). 9I m not comed%n-9
she sn$$ed. 9I' !ou lu"h t me "%n( I w%ll come down nd &%te !ou# nose o''-9 Tht
sounded $#ett! 'unn!( &ut no&od! d#ed chuc)le.
She s$o)e +e#! loudl!. E+e#! sentence ws shout nd ended %n n e6clmt%on m#);-<.
9Dent%sts ll o+e# the wo#ld h+e &een stounded &! m! teeth-9 she s%d. 9I h+e &een
e6m%ned %n e+e#! m7o# dentl cente#( &ut no&od! hs &een &le to '%"u#e out wh! the! #e
so tou"h- I h+e &een o''e#ed hu"e mounts o' mone! to &ecome "u%ne $%"( &ut I l%)e
t#+el%n" nd so I h+e #e'used-9
She $%c)ed u$ 'ou# steel &#s( ech &out ten %nches lon"( &ut d%''e#ent w%dths. She s)ed
'o# +oluntee#s nd 'ou# men went u$ onst"e. She "+e ech o' them &# nd s%d to t#!
&end%n" them. The! d%d the%# &est( &ut we#en't &le. When the! hd '%led( she too) the
th%nnest &#( $ut %t %n he# mouth( nd &%t clen th#ou"h %t-
She hnded the two hl+es &c) to one o' the men. 1e st#ed t them %n shoc)( then $ut
one end %n h%s own mouth nd &%t on %t( to chec) tht %t ws #el steel. 1%s howls when he
lmost c#c)ed h%s teeth $#o+ed tht %t ws.
/e#th d%d the sme to the second nd th%#d &#s( ech o' wh%ch ws th%c)e# thn the '%#st.
When %t cme to the 'ou#th( the th%c)est o' the &unch( she chewed %t to $%eces l%)e cnd!
&#.
Ne6t( two o' the &lue*hooded ss%stnts &#ou"ht out l#"e #d%to# nd she &%t holes %n %t-
Then the! "+e he# &%)e nd she "nshed %t u$ %nto l%ttle &ll( t%#es nd ll- I don't th%n)
the#e ws n!th%n" %n the wo#ld /e#th Teeth couldn't chew he# w! th#ou"h %' she set he#
m%nd to %t.
She clled mo#e +oluntee#s u$ onst"e. She "+e one sled"ehmme# nd l#"e ch%sel(
one hmme# nd smlle# ch%sel( nd the othe# n elect#%c sw. She l! 'lt on he# &c) nd
$ut the l#"e ch%sel %n he# mouth. She nodded t the '%#st +oluntee# to sw%n" the
sled"ehmme# t the ch%sel.
The mn #%sed the sled"ehmme# h%"h &o+e h%s hed nd &#ou"ht %t down. I thou"ht he
ws "o%n" to smsh he# 'ce o$en nd so d%d lots o' othe#s( 7ud"%n" &! the "s$s nd $eo$le
co+e#%n" the%# e!es w%th the%# hnds.
But /e#th ws no 'ool. She swun" out o' the w! nd the sled"ehmme# slmmed %nto the
'loo#. She st u$ nd s$t the ch%sel out o' he# mouth. 91h-9 she sno#ted. 91ow c#,! do
!ou th%n) I m:9
5ne o' the &lue*hoods cme out nd too) the sled"ehmme# '#om the mn. 9I onl! clled
!ou u$ to show the sled"ehmme# %s #el-9 she told h%m. 9Now(9 she s%d to those o' us %n
the ud%ence( 9wtch-9
She l! &c) "%n nd stuc) the ch%sel %n he# mouth. The &lue*hood w%ted moment(
then #%sed the sled"ehmme# h%"h nd swun" %t down( 'ste# nd h#de# thn the mn hd.
It st#uc) the to$ o' the ch%sel nd the#e ws '%e#ce no%se.
/e#th st u$. I e6$ected to see teeth 'll%n" out o' he# mouth( &ut when she o$ened %t nd
#emo+ed the ch%sel( the#e wsn't s much s c#c) to &e seen- She lu"hed nd s%d0 91h-
You thou"ht I hd &%tten o'' mo#e thn I could chew-9
She let the second +oluntee# "o to wo#)( the one w%th the smlle# hmme# nd ch%sel. She
w#ned h%m to &e c#e'ul o' he# "ums( then let h%m $os%t%on the ch%sel on he# teeth nd
whc) w! t %t. 1e ne#l! hmme#ed h%s #m o''( &ut he wsn't &le to h#m he# teeth.
The th%#d +oluntee# t#%ed sw%n" them o'' w%th the elect#%c sw. 1e #n the sw '#om one
s%de o' he# mouth to the othe#( nd s$#)s we#e 'l!%n" e+e#!whe#e( &ut when he $ut %t down
nd the dust cle#ed( /e#th's teeth we#e s wh%te( "lem%n"( nd sol%d s e+e#.
The Tw%st%n" Tw%ns( S%+e nd See#s( cme on 'te# he#. The! we#e %dent%cl tw%ns nd
the! we#e conto#t%on%sts l%)e Ale6nde# R%&s. The%# ct %n+ol+ed tw%st%n" the%# &od%es
#ound ech othe# so the! loo)ed l%)e one $e#son w%th two '#onts %nsted o' &c)( o# two
u$$e# &od%es nd no le"s. The! we#e s)%ll'ul nd %t ws $#ett! %nte#est%n"( &ut dull
com$#ed to the #est o' the $e#'o#me#s.
When S%+e nd See#s we#e '%n%shed( 3#. Tll cme out nd thn)ed us 'o# com%n". I
thou"ht the '#e)s would come out "%n nd l%ne u$ %n #ow( &ut the! d%dn't. Insted( 3#.
Tll s%d we could &u! mo#e stu'' t the &c) o' the hll on ou# w! out. 1e s)ed us to
ment%on the show to ou# '#%ends. Then he thn)ed us "%n 'o# com%n" nd s%d tht the
show ws o+e#.
I ws l%ttle d%s$$o%nted tht %t hd ended so we)l!( &ut %t ws lte nd I su$$ose the
'#e)s we#e t%#ed. I "ot to m! 'eet( $%c)ed u$ the stu'' I'd &ou"ht( nd tu#ned to s!
someth%n" to Ste+e.
1e ws loo)%n" &eh%nd me( u$ t the &lcon!( h%s e!es w%de. I tu#ned to see wht he ws
loo)%n" t( nd s I d%d( $eo$le &eh%nd us &e"n to sc#em. When I loo)ed u$( I sw wh!.
The#e ws hu"e sn)e u$ on the &lcon!( one o' the lon"est I hd e+e# seen( nd %t ws
sl%d%n" down one o' the $oles tow#d the $eo$le t the &ottom-
T1E SNA@E'S T5N/.E FLIC@ED INnd out o' %ts mouth nd %t seemed m%"ht! hun"#!. It
wsn't +e#! colo#'ul d#) "#een( w%th 'ew 'lec)s o' &#%"hte# colo#s he#e nd the#e &ut %t
loo)ed dedl!.
The $eo$le &eneth the &lcon! #n &c) tow#d the%# sets. The! we#e sc#em%n" nd
d#o$$%n" stu'' s the! #n. A 'ew $eo$le '%nted nd some 'ell nd we#e c#ushed. Ste+e nd
I we#e luc)! to &e ne# the '#ont0 we we#e the smllest $eo$le %n the thete# nd would h+e
&een t#m$led to deth %' we'd &een cu"ht %n the #ush.
The sn)e ws &out to sl%the# onto the 'loo# when st#on" l%"ht '%6ed %tsel' to the sn)e's
'ce. The #e$t%le '#o,e nd st#ed %nto the l%"ht w%thout &l%n)%n". Peo$le sto$$ed #unn%n"
nd the $n%c d%ed down. Those who hd 'llen $ulled themsel+es &c) to the%# 'eet( nd
'o#tuntel! no&od! $$e#ed to &e &dl! hu#t.
The#e ws sound &eh%nd us. I tu#ned to loo) &c) t the st"e. A &o! ws u$ the#e. 1e
ws &out 'ou#teen o# '%'teen( +e#! th%n( w%th lon" !ellow!*"#een h%#. 1%s e!es we#e oddl!
sh$ed( n##ow l%)e the sn)e's. 1e ws d#essed %n lon" wh%te #o&e.
The &o! mde h%ss%n" no%se nd #%sed h%s #ms &o+e h%s hed. The #o&e 'ell w! nd
e+e#!&od! who ws wtch%n" h%m let out loud "s$ o' su#$#%se. 1%s &od! ws co+e#ed %n
scles-
F#om hed to toe he s$#)led( "#een nd "old nd !ellow nd &lue. 1e ws we#%n" $%#
o' sho#ts &ut noth%n" else. 1e tu#ned #ound so we could see h%s &c)( nd tht ws the
sme s the '#ont( e6ce$t 'ew shdes d#)e#.
When he 'ced us "%n( he l! down on h%s &ell! nd sl%d o'' the st"e( 7ust l%)e sn)e. It
ws then tht I #emem&e#ed the sn)e*&o! on the 'l!e# nd $ut two nd two to"ethe#.
1e stood when he #eched the 'loo# nd wl)ed tow#d the &c) o' the thete#. I sw( s he
$ssed( tht he hd st#n"e hnds nd 'eet0 h%s '%n"e#s nd toes we#e 7o%ned to ech othe# &!
th%n sheets o' s)%n. 1e loo)ed l%ttle l%)e tht monste# I sw %n n old ho##o# '%lm( the one
who l%+ed %n the &lc) l"oon.
1e sto$$ed 'ew !#ds w! '#om the $%ll# nd c#ouched down. The l%"ht tht hd &een
&l%nd%n" the sn)e sn$$ed o'' nd %t &e"n to mo+e "%n( sl%d%n" down the lst st#etch o'
$ole. The &o! mde nothe# h%ss%n" no%se nd the sn)e $used. I #emem&e#ed #ed%n"
somewhe#e once tht sn)es cn't he#( &ut cn 'eel sounds.
The sn)e*&o! shu''led l%ttle &%t to h%s le't( then h%s #%"ht. The sn)e's hed 'ollowed h%m
&ut d%dn't lun"e. The &o! c#e$t close# to the sn)e( unt%l he ws w%th%n %ts #n"e. I e6$ected
%t to st#%)e nd )%ll h%m( nd I wnted to sc#em t h%m to #un.
But the sn)e*&o! )new wht he ws do%n". When he ws close enou"h he #eched out nd
t%c)led the sn)e &eneth %ts ch%n w%th h%s we%#d we&&ed '%n"e#s. Then he &ent 'o#w#d nd
)%ssed %t on the nose-
The sn)e w#$$ed %tsel' #ound the &o!'s nec). It co%led &out h%m cou$le o' t%mes(
le+%n" %ts t%l d#$ed o+e# h%s shoulde# nd down h%s &c) l%)e sc#'.
The &o! st#o)ed the sn)e nd sm%led. I thou"ht he ws "o%n" to wl) th#ou"h the c#owd(
lett%n" the #est o' us #u& %t( &ut he d%dn't. Insted he wl)ed o+e# to the s%de o' the thete#(
w! '#om the $th to the doo#. 1e unw#$$ed the sn)e nd $ut %t down on the 'loo#( then
t%c)led %t unde# %ts ch%n once mo#e.
The mouth o$ened w%de th%s t%me( nd I sw %ts 'n"s. The sn)e*&o! l! down on h%s &c)
sho#t d%stnce w! '#om the sn)e( then &e"n w#%""l%n" tow#d %t-
9No(9 I s%d so'tl! to m!sel'. 9Su#el! he's not "o%n" to 89
But !es( he stuc) h%s hed %n the sn)e's w%de*o$en mouth-
The sn)e*&o! st!ed %ns%de the mouth 'o# 'ew seconds( then slowl! esed out. 1e
w#$$ed the sn)e #ound h%m once mo#e( then #olled #ound nd #ound unt%l the sn)e
co+e#ed h%m com$letel!( e6ce$t 'o# h%s 'ce. 1e mn"ed to ho$ to h%s 'eet nd "#%n. 1e
loo)ed l%)e #olled*u$ c#$et-
9And tht( ld%es nd "entlemen(9 s%d 3#. Tll '#om the st"e &eh%nd us( 9#ell! %s the
end.9 1e sm%led nd le$ed '#om the st"e( +n%sh%n" %n m%d%# %n $u'' o' smo)e. When %t
cle#ed( I sw h%m &! the &c) o' the thete#( hold%n" the e6%t cu#t%ns o$en.
The $#ett! ld%es nd m!ste#%ous &lue*hooded $eo$le we#e stnd%n" to h%s le't nd #%"ht(
the%# #ms '%lled w%th t#!s 'ull o' "ood%es. I ws so##! I hdn't s+ed some o' m! mone!.
Ste+e s%d noth%n" wh%le we we#e w%t%n". I could tell '#om the se#%ous loo) on h%s 'ce
tht he ws st%ll th%n)%n"( nd '#om $st e6$e#%ence I )new the#e ws no $o%nt t#!%n" to tl)
to h%m. When Ste+e went %nto one o' h%s moods( noth%n" could 7olt h%m out o' %t.
When the #ows &eh%nd us hd cle#ed out( we mde ou# w! to the &c) o' the thete#. I
&#ou"ht the stu'' I'd &ou"ht w%th me. I lso lu""ed Ste+e's "%'ts( &ecuse he ws so w#$$ed
u$ %n h%s thou"hts( he would h+e d#o$$ed them o# le't them &eh%nd.
3#. Tll ws stnd%n" t the &c)( hold%n" the cu#t%ns o$en( sm%l%n" t e+e#!one. The
sm%le w%dened when we $$#oched.
9Well( &o!s(9 he s%d( 9d%d !ou en7o! the show:9
9It ws '&ulous-9 I s%d.
9You we#en't sc#ed:9 he s)ed.
9A l%ttle(9 I dm%tted( 9&ut no mo#e thn n!&od! else.9
1e lu"hed. 9You'#e tou"h $%#(9 he s%d.
The#e we#e $eo$le &eh%nd us( so we hu##%ed on( not wnt%n" to hold them u$. Ste+e loo)ed
#ound when we ente#ed the sho#t co##%do# &etween the two sets o' cu#t%ns( then lened
o+e# nd wh%s$e#ed %n m! e#0 9/o &c) &! !ou#sel'.9
9Wht:9 I s)ed( sto$$%n". The $eo$le who hd &een &eh%nd us we#e chtt%n" w%th 3#.
Tll( so the#e ws no #ush.
9You he#d(9 he s%d.
9Wh! should I: 9I s)ed.
9Becuse I'm not com%n"(9 he s%d. 9I'm st!%n". I don't )now how th%n"s w%ll tu#n out( &ut
I h+e to st!. I'll 'ollow !ou home lte#( 'te# I'+e 89 1%s +o%ce t#%led o'' nd he $ulled
me 'o#w#d.
We $ushed $st the second set o' cu#t%ns nd ente#ed the co##%do# w%th the t&le( the one
co+e#ed &! the lon" &lc) cloth. The $eo$le hed o' us hd the%# &c)s to us. Ste+e loo)ed
o+e# h%s shoulde#( to m)e su#e no&od! could see( then d%+ed unde#neth the t&le nd h%d
&eh%nd the cloth-
9Ste+e-9 I h%ssed( wo##%ed he ws "o%n" to "et us %nto t#ou&le.
9/o on-9 he h%ssed &c).
9But !ou cn't (9 I &e"n.
9Do wht I s!-9 he sn$$ed. 9/o( 2u%c)( &e'o#e we'#e cu"ht.9
I d%dn't l%)e %t &ut wht else could I do: Ste+e sounded l%)e he'd "o c#,! %' I d%dn't o&e!
h%m. I'd seen Ste+e "et %nto '%e#ce #"es &e'o#e nd he wsn't someone !ou wnted to mess
w%th when he ws n"#!.
I st#ted wl)%n"( tu#ned the co#ne#( nd &e"n down the lon" co##%do# led%n" to the '#ont
doo#. I ws wl)%n" slowl!( th%n)%n"( nd the $eo$le %n '#ont "ot '#the# hed. I "lnced
o+e# m! shoulde# nd sw the#e ws st%ll no&od! &eh%nd me.
And then I s$otted the doo#.
It ws the one we'd sto$$ed &! on ou# w! %n( the one led%n" u$ to the &lcon!. I $used
when I #eched %t nd chec)ed &eh%nd one lst t%me. No&od! the#e.
95)!(9 I s%d to m!sel'( 9I'm st!%n"- I don't )now wht Ste+e's u$ to( &ut he's m! &est
'#%end. I' he "ets %nto t#ou&le( I wnt to &e the#e to hel$ h%m out.9
Be'o#e I could chn"e m! m%nd( I o$ened the doo#( sl%$$ed th#ou"h( shut %t 2u%c)l! &eh%nd
me( nd stood %n the d#)( m! he#t &et%n" s 'st s mouse's.
I stood the#e 'o# lon" t%me( l%sten%n" wh%le the lst o' the ud%ence '%led out. I could he#
the%# mu#mu#s s the! d%scussed the show %n hushed( '#%"htened( &ut e6c%ted tones. Then
the! we#e "one nd the $lce ws 2u%et. I thou"ht I'd &e &le to he# no%ses '#om %ns%de the
thete#( $eo$le clen%n" u$ nd $utt%n" the ch%#s &c) %n $lce( &ut the whole &u%ld%n" ws
s s%lent s "#+e!#d.
I cl%m&ed the st%#s. 3! e!es hd "otten used to the d#) nd I could see $#ett! well. The
st%#s we#e old nd c#e)! nd I ws hl'*'#%d the! would sn$ unde# m! 'eet nd send
me hu#tl%n" to m! deth( &ut the! held.
When I #eched the to$ I d%sco+e#ed I ws stnd%n" %n the m%ddle o' the &lcon!. It ws
+e#! dust! nd d%#t! u$ the#e( nd cold( too. I sh%+e#ed s I c#e$t down tow#d the '#ont.
I hd "#et +%ew o' the st"e. The l%"hts we#e st%ll on nd I could see e+e#!th%n" %n
$e#'ect det%l. No&od! ws #ound( not the '#e)s( not the $#ett! ld%es( not the &lue*hoods
not Ste+e. I st &c) nd w%ted.
A&out '%+e m%nutes lte#( I s$otted shdow c#ee$%n" slowl! tow#d the st"e. It $ulled
%tsel' u$( then stood nd wl)ed to the cente#( whe#e %t sto$$ed nd tu#ned #ound.
It ws Ste+e.
1e st#ted tow#d the le't w%n"( then sto$$ed nd set o'' tow#d the #%"ht. 1e sto$$ed
"%n. I could see h%m chew%n" on h%s n%ls( t#!%n" to dec%de wh%ch w! to "o.
Then +o%ce cme '#om h%"h &o+e h%s hed. 9A#e !ou loo)%n" 'o#me :9 %t s)ed. A '%"u#e
swoo$ed down onto the st"e( %ts #ms out to %ts s%des( lon" #ed clo) 'lot%n" &eh%nd %t
l%)e $%# o' w%n"s.
Ste+e lmost 7um$ed out o' h%s s)%n when the '%"u#e h%t the st"e nd #olled %nto &ll. I
to$$led &c)w#d( te##%'%ed. When I #ose to m! )nees "%n( the '%"u#e ws stnd%n" nd I
ws &le to m)e out %ts #ed clothes( o#n"e h%#( $le s)%n( nd hu"e sc#.
3#. C#e$sle!-
Ste+e t#%ed s$e)%n"( &ut h%s teeth we#e chtte#%n" too much.
9I sw !ou wtch%n" me(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 9You "s$ed loud when !ou '%#st sw me.
Wh!:9
9B*&*&*&ecuse I )n*)n*)now who !ou *#e(9 Ste+e stutte#ed( '%nd%n" h%s +o%ce.
9I m L#ten C#e$sle!(9 the c#ee$!*loo)%n" mn s%d.
9No(9 Ste+e #e$l%ed. 9I )now who !oureally #e.9
95h:9 3#. C#e$sle! sm%led( &ut the#e ws no humo# %n %t. 9Tell me( l%ttle &o!(9 he snee#ed(
9who m I(really :9
9You# #el nme %s Vu# 1o#ston(9 Ste+e s%d( nd 3#. C#e$sle!'s 7w d#o$$ed %n
ston%shment. And then Ste+e s%d someth%n" else( nd m! 7w d#o$$ed( too.
9#ou3re a vampire(9 he s%d( nd the s%lence tht 'ollowed ws s lon" s %t ws te##%'!%n".
3R. CREPSLEY ;5R V.R 15RST5N( %' tht ws h%s #el nme< sm%led. 9So(9 he s%d( 9I h+e
&een d%sco+e#ed. I should not &e su#$#%sed. It hd to h$$en e+entull!. Tell me( &o!( who
sent !ou:9
9No&od!(9 Ste+e s%d.
3#. C#e$sle! '#owned. 9Come( &o!(9 he "#owled( 9do not $l! "mes. Who #e !ou
wo#)%n" 'o#: Who $ut !ou onto me nd wht do the! wnt:9
9I'm not wo#)%n" 'o# n!&od!(9 Ste+e %ns%sted. 9I'+e "ot lots o' &oo)s nd m",%nes t
home &out +m$%#es nd monste#s. The#e ws $%ctu#e o' !ou %n one o' them.9
9Apicture :9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed sus$%c%ousl!.
9A $%nt%n"(9 Ste+e #e$l%ed. 9It ws done %n BCDE( %n P#%s. You we#e w%th #%ch womn.
The sto#! s%d the two o' !ou lmost m##%ed( &ut she 'ound out !ou we#e +m$%#e nd
dum$ed !ou.9
3#. C#e$sle! sm%led. 9As "ood #eson s n!. 1e# '#%ends thou"ht she hd %n+ented
'ntst%c sto#! to m)e he#sel' loo) &ette#.9
9But %t wsn't sto#!( ws %t:9 Ste+e s)ed.
9No(9 3#. C#e$sle! "#eed. 9It ws not.9 1e s%"hed nd '%6ed Ste+e w%th '%e#ce ",e.
9Thou"h %t m%"ht h+e &een &ette# 'o#you %' %t hd &een-9 he &oomed.
I' I'd &een %n Ste+e's $lce( I would h+e 'led s soon s he s%d tht. But Ste+e d%dn't e+en
&l%n).
9You won't hu#t me(9 he s%d.
9Wh! not:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed.
9Becuse o' m! '#%end(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I told h%m ll &out !ou nd %' n!th%n" h$$ens to
me( he'll tell the $ol%ce.9
9The! w%ll not &el%e+e h%m(9 3#. C#e$sle! sno#ted.
9P#o&&l! not(9 Ste+e "#eed. 9But %' I tu#n u$ ded o# m%ss%n"( the!'ll h+e to %n+est%"te.
You wouldn't l%)e tht. Lots o' $ol%ce s)%n" 2uest%ons( com%n" he#e %n thedaytime 89
3#. C#e$sle! shoo) h%s hed w%th d%s"ust. 9Ch%ld#en-9 he sn#led. 9I hte ch%ld#en. Wht %s
%t !ou wnt: 3one!: >ewels: The #%"hts to $u&l%sh m! sto#!:9
9I wnt to 7o%n !ou(9 Ste+e s%d.
I lmost 'ell o'' the &lcon! when I he#d tht.:oin him :
9Wht do !ou men:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed( s stunned s I ws.
9I wnt to &ecome +m$%#e(9 Ste+e s%d. 9I wnt !ou to m)e me +m$%#e nd tech me
!ou# w!s.9
9You #e c#,!-9 3#. C#e$sle! #o#ed.
9No(9 Ste+e s%d( 9I'm not.9
9I cnnot tu#n ch%ld %nto +m$%#e(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 9I would &e mu#de#ed &! the
Vm$%#e /ene#ls %' I d%d.9
9Wht #e Vm$%#e /ene#ls:9 Ste+e s)ed.
9Ne+e# !ou m%nd(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 9All !ou need to )now %s( %t cnnot &e done. We do
not &lood ch%ld#en. It c#etes too mn! $#o&lems.9
9So don't chn"e me #%"ht w!(9 Ste+e s%d. 9Tht's o)!. I don't m%nd w%t%n". I cn &e n
$$#ent%ce. I )now +m$%#es o'ten h+e ss%stnts who #e hl'*humn( hl'*+m$%#e. Let
me &e one. I'll wo#) h#d nd $#o+e m!sel'( nd when I'm old enou"h 89
3#. C#e$sle! st#ed t Ste+e nd thou"ht %t o+e#. 1e sn$$ed h%s '%n"e#s wh%le he ws
th%n)%n" nd ch%# 'lew u$ onto the st"e '#om the '#ont #ow- 1e st down on %t nd
c#ossed h%s le"s.
9Wh! do !ou wnt to &e +m$%#e:9 he s)ed. 9It %s not much 'un. We cn onl! come out
t n%"ht. 1umns des$%se us. We h+e to slee$ %n d%#t! old $lces l%)e th%s. We cn ne+e#
m##! o# h+e ch%ld#en o# settle down. It %s ho##%&le l%'e.9
9I don't c#e(9 Ste+e s%d stu&&o#nl!.
9Is %t &ecuse !ou wnt to l%+e 'o#e+e#:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed. 9I' so( I must tell !ou we do
not. We l%+e '# lon"e# thn humns( &ut we d%e ll the sme( soone# o# lte#.9
9I don't c#e(9 Ste+e s%d "%n. 9I wnt to come w%th !ou. I wnt to le#n. I wnt to
&ecome +m$%#e.9
9Wht &out !ou# '#%ends:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed. 9You would not &e &le to see them "%n.
You would h+e to le+e school nd home nd ne+e# #etu#n. Wht &out !ou# $#ents:
Would !ou not m%ss them:9
Ste+e shoo) h%s hed m%se#&l! nd loo)ed down t the 'loo#. 93! dd doesn't l%+e w%th
us(9 he s%d so'tl!. 9I h#dl! e+e# see h%m. And m! mom doesn't lo+e me. She doesn't c#e
wht I do. She $#o&&l! won't e+en not%ce I'm "one.9
9Tht %s wh! !ou wnt to #un w!: Becuse !ou# mothe# does not lo+e !ou:9
9P#tl!(9 Ste+e s%d.
9I' !ou w%t 'ew !e#s( !ou w%ll &e old enou"h to le+e &! !ou#sel'(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d.
9I don't wnt to w%t(9 Ste+e #e$l%ed.
9And !ou# '#%ends:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed "%n. 1e loo)ed +e#! )%nd t the moment( thou"h
st%ll l%ttle sc#!. 9Would !ou m%ss the &o! !ou cme w%th ton%"ht:9
9D##en:9 Ste+e s)ed( then nodded. 9Yes( I'll m%ss m! '#%ends( D##en es$ec%ll!. But %t
doesn't mtte#. I wnt to &e +m$%#e mo#e thn I c#e &out them. And %' !ou don't cce$t
me( I'll tell the $ol%ce nd &ecome +m$%#e hunte# when I "#ow u$-9
3#. C#e$sle! d%dn't lu"h. Insted he nodded se#%ousl!. 9You h+e thou"ht th%s th#ou"h:9
he s)ed.
9Yes(9 Ste+e s%d.
9You #e ce#t%n %t %s wht !ou wnt:9
9Yes(9 cme the nswe#.
3#. C#e$sle! too) dee$ &#eth. 9Come he#e(9 he s%d. 9I w%ll h+e to test !ou '%#st.9
Ste+e stood &es%de 3#. C#e$sle!. 1%s &od! &loc)ed m! +%ew o' the +m$%#e( so I couldn't
see wht h$$ened ne6t. All I )now %s( the! s$o)e to ech othe# +e#! so'tl!( then the#e ws
no%se l%)e ct l$$%n" u$ m%l).
I sw Ste+e's &c) sh)%n" nd I thou"ht he ws "o%n" to 'll o+e# &ut somehow he
mn"ed to st! u$#%"ht. I cn't e+en &e"%n to tell !ou how '#%"htened I ws( wtch%n" th%s.
I wnted to le$ to m! 'eet nd c#! out( 9No( Ste+e( sto$-9
But I ws too sc#ed to mo+e( te##%'%ed tht( %' 3#. C#e$sle! )new I ws he#e( the#e would
&e noth%n" to sto$ h%m '#om )%ll%n" nd et%n" &oth me nd Ste+e.
All o' sudden( the +m$%#e &e"n cou"h%n". 1e $ushed Ste+e w! '#om h%m nd
stum&led to h%s 'eet. To m! ho##o#( I sw h%s mouth ws #ed( co+e#ed %n &lood( wh%ch he
2u%c)l! s$t out.
9Wht's w#on":9 Ste+e s)ed( #u&&%n" h%s #m whe#e he hd 'llen.
9You h+e &d &lood-9 3#. C#e$sle! sc#emed.
9Wht do !ou men:9 Ste+e s)ed. 1%s +o%ce ws t#em&l%n".
9You #e e+%l-9 3#. C#e$sle! shouted. 9I cn tste the mence %n !ou# &lood. You #e
s+"e.9
9Tht's l%e-9 Ste+e !elled. 9You t)e tht &c)-9
Ste+e #n t 3#. C#e$sle! nd t#%ed to $unch h%m( &ut the +m$%#e )noc)ed h%m to the 'loo#
w%th one hnd. 9It %s no "ood(9 he "#owled. 9You# &lood %s &d. You cn ne+e# &e
+m$%#e-9
9Wh! not:9 Ste+e s)ed. 1e hd st#ted to c#!.
9Becuse +m$%#es #e not the e+%l monste#s o' lo#e(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 9We #es$ect l%'e.
You h+e )%lle#'s %nst%ncts( &ut we #e not )%lle#s.
9I w%ll not m)e !ou +m$%#e(9 3#. C#e$sle! %ns%sted. 9You must 'o#"et &out %t. /o
home nd "et on w%th !ou# l%'e.9
9No-9 Ste+e sc#emed. 9I won't 'o#"et-9 1e stum&led to h%s 'eet nd $o%nted sh)%n"
#%n"e# t the tll( u"l! +m$%#e. 9I'll "et !ou 'o# th%s(9 he $#om%sed. 9I don't c#e how lon" %t
t)es. 5ne d!( Vu# 1o#ston( I'll t#c) !ou down nd )%ll !ou 'o# #e7ect%n" me-9
Ste+e 7um$ed '#om the st"e nd #n tow#d the e6%t. 95ne d!-9 he clled &c) o+e# h%s
shoulde#( nd I could he# h%m lu"h%n" s he #n( c#,! )%nd o' lu"h.
Then he ws "one nd I ws lone w%th the +m$%#e.
3#. C#e$sle! st whe#e he ws 'o# lon" t%me( h%s hed &etween h%s hnds( s$%tt%n" &lood
out onto the st"e. 1e w%$ed h%s teeth w%th h%s '%n"e#s( then w%th l#"e hnd)e#ch%e'.
9Ch%ld#en-9 he sno#ted loud( then stood( st%ll w%$%n" h%s teeth( "lnced one lst t%me out
o+e# the ch%#s t the thete# ;I duc)ed down low 'o# 'e# he m%"ht s$ot me<( then tu#ned
nd wl)ed &c) to the w%n"s. I could see d#o$s o' &lood d#%$$%n" '#om h%s l%$s s he went.
I st!ed whe#e I ws 'o# lon"( lon" t%me. It ws tou"h. I'd ne+e# &een s sc#ed s I ws
u$ the#e on the &lcon!. I wnted to #ush out o' the thete# s 'st s m! 'eet would c##!
me.
But I st!ed. I mde m!sel' w%t unt%l I ws su#e none o' the '#e)s o# hel$e#s we#e #ound(
then slowl! c#e$t &c) u$ the &lcon!( down the st%#s( %nto the co##%do#( nd '%nll! out %nto
the n%"ht.
I stood outs%de the thete# 'o# 'ew seconds( st#%n" u$ t the moon( stud!%n" the t#ees
unt%l I ws su#e the#e we#e no +m$%#es lu#)%n" on n! o' the &#nches. Then( s 2u%etl! s I
could( I #ced 'o# home.0y home( not Ste+e's. I d%dn't wnt to &e ne# Ste+e #%"ht then. I
ws lmost s sc#ed o' Ste+e s I ws o' 3#. C#e$sle!. I men( hewanted to &e +m$%#e-
Wht so#t o' lunt%c ctull!wants to &e +m$%#e:
IDIDN'T CALL STEVE T1ATSund!. I told 3om nd Dd we'd hd smll #"ument nd tht
ws wh! I'd come home e#l!. The! we#en't h$$! &out %t( es$ec%ll! m! h+%n" wl)ed
home so lte t n%"ht &! m!sel'. Dd s%d he ws "o%n" to doc) m! llownce nd ws
"#ound%n" me 'o# month. I d%dn't #"ue. The w! I sw %t( I ws "ett%n" o'' l%"htl!.
Im"%ne wht the!'d h+e done to me %' the! )new &out the C%#2ue Du F#e)-
Ann%e lo+ed he# $#esents. She "o&&led the cnd! down 2u%c)l! nd $l!ed w%th the s$%de#
'o# hou#s. She mde me tell he# ll &out the show. She wnted to )now wht e+e#! '#e)
loo)ed l%)e nd wht the!'d done. 1e# e!es went w%de when I told he# &out the wol'*mn
nd how he &%t o'' womn's hnd.
9You'#e 7o)%n"(9 she s%d. 9Tht cn't &e t#ue.9
9It %s(9 I +owed.
9C#oss !ou# he#t:9 she s)ed.
9C#oss m! he#t.9
9Swe# on !ou# e!es:9
9I swe# on m! e!es(9 I $#om%sed. 93! #ts "nw them out %' I'm tell%n" l%e.9
9Wow-9 she "s$ed. 9I w%sh I'd &een the#e. I' !ou e+e# "o "%n( w%ll !ou t)e me:9
9Su#e(9 I s%d( 9&ut I don't th%n) the '#e) show comes he#e tht o'ten. The! mo+e #ound
lot.9
I d%dn't tell Ann%e &out 3#. C#e$sle! &e%n" +m$%#e o# Ste+e wnt%n" to &ecome one( &ut
I thou"ht &out the two o' them ll d! lon". I wnted to cll Ste+e &ut d%dn't )now wht to
s!. 1e would &e &ound to s) wh! I d%dn't "o &c) to h%s $lce( nd I d%dn't wnt to tell
h%m tht I'd st!ed %n the thete# nd s$%ed on h%m.
Im"%ne0 #el*l%'e +m$%#e- I used to &el%e+e the! we#e #el &ut then m! $#ents nd
teche#s con+%nced me the! we#en't. So much 'o# the w%sdom o' "#ownu$s-
I wonde#ed wht +m$%#es we#e #ell! l%)e( whethe# the! could do e+e#!th%n" the &oo)s
nd mo+%es s%d the! could. I hd seen 3#. C#e$sle! m)e ch%# 'l!( nd I'd seen h%m
swoo$ down '#om the #oo' o' the thete#( nd I'd seen h%m d#%n) some o' Ste+e's &lood.
Wht else could he do: Could he tu#n %nto &t( %nto smo)e( %nto #t: Could !ou see h%m
%n m%##o#: Would sunl%"ht )%ll h%m:
As much s I thou"ht &out 3#. C#e$sle!( I thou"ht 7ust s much &out 3dm 5ct. I
w%shed once "%n tht I could &u! one l%)e he#( one I could cont#ol. I could 7o%n '#e)
show %' I hd s$%de# l%)e tht( nd t#+el the wo#ld( h+%n" m#+elous d+entu#es.
Sund! cme nd went. I wtched TV( hel$ed Dd %n the "#den nd 3om %n the )%tchen
;$#t o' m! $un%shment 'o# com%n" home lte &! m!sel'<( went 'o# lon" wl) %n the
'te#noon( nd d!d#emed &out +m$%#es nd s$%de#s.
Then %t ws 3ond! nd t%me 'o# school. I ws ne#+ous "o%n" %n( not su#e wht I ws
"o%n" to s! to Ste+e( o# wht he m%"ht s! to me. Also( I hdn't sle$t much o+e# the
wee)end ;%t's h#d to slee$ when !ou'+e seen #el +m$%#e<( so I ws t%#ed nd "#o""!.
Ste+e ws %n the !#d when I ##%+ed( wh%ch ws unusul. I no#mll! "ot to school &e'o#e
h%m. 1e ws stnd%n" $#t '#om the #est o' the )%ds( w%t%n" 'o# me. I too) dee$ &#eth(
then wl)ed o+e# nd lened "%nst the wll &es%de h%m.
93o#n%n"(9 I s%d.
93o#n%n"(9 he #e$l%ed. The#e we#e d#) c%#cles unde# h%s e!es nd I &et he'd sle$t e+en less
thn me the lst cou$le o' n%"hts. 9Whe#e d%d !ou "o 'te# the show:9 he s)ed.
9I went home(9 I told h%m.
9Wh!:9 he s)ed( wtch%n" me c#e'ull!.
9It ws d#) outs%de nd I wsn't loo)%n" whe#e I ws "o%n". I too) 'ew w#on" tu#ns nd
"ot lost. B! the t%me I 'ound m!sel' somewhe#e 'm%l%#( I ws close# to home thn to !ou#
house.9
I mde the l%e sound s con+%nc%n" s $oss%&le( nd I could see h%m t#!%n" to '%"u#e out %' %t
ws the t#uth o# not.
9You must h+e "otten %nto lot o' t#ou&le(9 he s%d.
9Tell me &out %t-9 I "#oned. 9No llownce( "#ounded 'o# month( nd Dd s%d I'm
"o%n" to h+e to do &unch o' cho#es. St%ll(9 I s%d w%th "#%n( 9%t ws wo#th %t( #%"ht: I
men( ws the C%#2ue Du F#e) su$e#& o# wht-9
Ste+e stud%ed me 'o# one mo#e moment( then dec%ded I ws tell%n" the t#uth. 9Yeh(9 he
s%d( #etu#n%n" m! sm%le. 9It ws "#et.9
Tomm! nd Aln ##%+ed nd we hd to tell them e+e#!th%n". We we#e $#ett! "ood cto#s(
Ste+e nd I. You'd ne+e# h+e "uessed tht he hd s$o)en to +m$%#e on Stu#d!( o# tht
I hd seen h%m.
I could tell( s the d! wo#e on( tht th%n"s would ne+e# &e 2u%te the sme &etween me nd
Ste+e. E+en thou"h he &el%e+ed wht I'd told h%m( $#t o' h%m st%ll dou&ted me. I cu"ht
h%m loo)%n" t me oddl! '#om t%me to t%me( s thou"h I ws someone who hd hu#t h%m.
Fo# m! $#t( I d%dn't wnt to "et too close to h%m n! lon"e#. It sc#ed me( wht he'd s%d to
3#. C#e$sle!( nd wht the +m$%#e hd s%d to h%m. Ste+e ws e+%l( cco#d%n" to C#e$sle!.
It wo##%ed me. A'te# ll( Ste+e ws $#e$#ed to &ecome +m$%#e nd )%ll $eo$le 'o# the%#
&lood. 1ow could I "o on &e%n" '#%ends w%th someone l%)e tht:
We we#e chtt%n" &out 3dm 5ct lte# tht 'te#noon. Ste+e nd I hdn't s%d much
&out 3#. C#e$sle! nd h%s s$%de#. We we#e '#%d to tl) &out h%m( %n cse we let
someth%n" sl%$. But Tomm! nd Aln )e$t $este#%n" us nd e+entull! we '%lled them %n on
the ct.
91ow do !ou th%n) he cont#olled the s$%de#:9 Tomm! s)ed.
93!&e %t ws ')e s$%de#(9 Aln s%d.
9It wsn't ')e(9 I sno#ted. 9None o' the '#e)s we#e ')e. Tht ws wh! %t ws so
&#%ll%nt. You could tell e+e#!th%n" ws #el.9
9So how d%d he cont#ol %t:9 Tomm! s)ed "%n.
93!&e the 'lute %s m"%c(9 I s%d( 9o# else 3#. C#e$sle! )nows how to ch#m s$%de#s( the
w! Ind%ns cn ch#m sn)es.9
9But !ou s%d 3#. Tll cont#olled the s$%de#( too(9 Aln s%d( 9when 3#. C#e$sle! hd
3dm 5ct %n h%s mouth.9
95h. Yeh. I 'o#"ot(9 I s%d. 9Well( I "uess tht mens the! must h+e used m"%c 'lutes.9
9The! d%dn't use m"%c 'lutes(9 Ste+e s%d. 1e hd &een 2u%et most o' the d!( s!%n" less
thn me &out the show( &ut Ste+e ne+e# could #es%st hmme#%n" someone w%th 'cts.
9So whtdid the! use:9 I s)ed.
9Tele$th!(9 Ste+e nswe#ed.
9Is tht someth%n" to do w%th tele$hones:9 Aln s)ed.
Ste+e sm%led( nd Tomm! nd I lu"hed ;lthou"h I wsn't ent%#el! su#e wht 9tele$th!9
ment( nd I &et Tomm! wsn't e%the#<. 93o#on-9 Tomm! chuc)led( nd $unched Aln
$l!'ull!.
9/o on( Ste+e(9 I s%d( 9tell h%m wht %t mens.9
9Tele$th! %s when !ou cn #ed some&od! else's m%nd(9 Ste+e e6$l%ned( 9o# send them
thou"hts w%thout s$e)%n". Tht's how the! cont#olled the s$%de#( w%th the%# m%nds.9
9So wht's w%th the 'lutes:9 I s)ed.
9E%the# the!'#e 7ust 'o# show(9 Ste+e s%d( 9o#( mo#e l%)el!( !ou need them to tt#ct he#
ttent%on.9
9You men n!one could cont#ol he#:9 Tomm! s)ed.
9An!one w%th &#%n( !es(9 Ste+e s%d. 9Wh%ch counts !ou out( Aln(9 he dded( &ut
sm%led to show he d%dn't men %t.
9You wouldn't need m"%c 'lutes o# s$ec%l t#%n%n" o# n!th%n":9 Tomm! s)ed.
9I don't th%n) so(9 Ste+e nswe#ed.
The tl) mo+ed on to someth%n" else 'te# tht socce#( I th%n) &ut I wsn't l%sten%n".
Becuse ll o' sudden the#e ws new thou"ht #unn%n" th#ou"h m! m%nd( sett%n" m!
&#%n on '%#e w%th %des. I 'o#"ot &out Ste+e nd +m$%#es nd e+e#!th%n".
9#ou mean anyone could control her89
9(nyone with a 6rain, yes.9
9#ou wouldn3t need magic 4lutes or special training or anything89
9% don3t thin5 so.9
Tomm!'s nd Ste+e's wo#ds )e$t &ounc%n" th#ou"h m! m%nd( o+e# nd o+e#( l%)e stuc)
CD.
(nyonecould cont#ol he#. Tht n!one could &eme . I' I could "et m! hnds on 3dm
5ct nd commun%cte w%th he#( she could &e m! $et nd I could cont#ol he# nd 8
No. It ws 'ool%sh. 3!&e I could cont#ol he#( &ut I would ne+e# own he#. She ws 3#.
C#e$sle!'s nd the#e ws no w! %n the wo#ld tht he would $#t w%th he#( not 'o# mone! o#
7ewels o# 8
The nswe# h%t me %n 'lsh. A w! to "et he# '#om h%m. A w! to m)e he#
m%ne./lac5mail - I' I th#etened the +m$%#e I could s! I'd "et the $ol%ce 'te# h%m he'd
h+e to let me )ee$ he#.
But the thou"ht o' "o%n" 'ce to 'ce w%th 3#. C#e$sle! te##%'%ed me. I )new I couldn't do
%t. Tht le't 7ust one othe# o$t%on0 I'd h+e tosteal he#-
EARLY 35RNIN/ W5.LD BE T1E&est t%me to stel the s$%de#. 1+%n" $e#'o#med so lte
%nto the n%"ht( most mem&e#s o' the C%#2ue Du F#e) would $#o&&l! slee$ %n unt%l e%"ht o#
n%ne. I'd sne) %nto cm$( '%nd 3dm 5ct( "#& he#( nd #un. I' tht wsn't $oss%&le %' the
cm$ ws w)e I'd 7ust #etu#n home nd 'o#"et &out %t.
The d%''%cult $#t ws $%c)%n" d!. Wednesd! m%"ht &e %del0 the lst show would h+e
$l!ed the n%"ht &e'o#e( so the c%#cus would %n ll l%)el%hood h+e $ulled out &e'o#e m%dd!
nd mo+ed on to %ts ne6t +enue &e'o#e the +m$%#e could w)e nd d%sco+e# the the't. But
wht %' the! le't town d%#ectl! 'te# the show( %n the m%ddle o' the n%"ht: Then I'd m%ss m!
&%" chnce.
It hd to &e tomo##ow Tuesd!. Tht ment 3#. C#e$sle! would h+e ll o' Tuesd! n%"ht
to se#ch 'o# h%s s$%de# 'o#me &ut tht ws #%s) I'd 7ust h+e to t)e.
I went to &ed e#l%e# thn usul. I ws t%#ed nd #ed! to 'll slee$( &ut ws so e6c%ted( I
thou"ht I wouldn't &e &le to. I )%ssed 3om "ood n%"ht nd hu""ed Dd. The! thou"ht I
ws t#!%n" to w%n m! llownce &c)( &ut %t ws %n cse someth%n" h$$ened to me t the
thete# nd I ne+e# sw them "%n.
I h+e #d%o tht %s lso n l#m cloc)( nd I set the l#m 'o# '%+e o'cloc) %n the
mo#n%n"( then stuc) m! hed$hones on nd $lu""ed them %nto the #d%o. Tht w!( I could
w)e u$ n%ce nd e#l! w%thout w)%n" n!one else.
I 'ell slee$ 2u%c)e# thn I e6$ected nd sle$t st#%"ht th#ou"h t%ll mo#n%n". I' I hd n!
d#ems( I cn't #emem&e# them.
Ne6t th%n" I )new( the l#m ws sound%n". I "#oned( tu#ned o+e#( then st u$ %n &ed(
#u&&%n" m! e!es. I wsn't su#e whe#e I ws 'o# 'ew seconds( o# wh! I ws w)e so e#l!.
Then I #emem&e#ed the s$%de# nd the $ln( nd "#%nned h$$%l!.
The "#%n d%dn't lst lon"( &ecuse I #el%,ed the l#m wsn't com%n" th#ou"h m!
hed$hones. I must h+e #olled o+e# %n m! slee$ nd $ulled the co#d out- I le$ed c#oss
m! &ed nd slmmed the l#m o''( then st %n the e#l! mo#n%n" d#)ness( he#t $ound%n"(
l%sten%n" 'o# no%ses.
When I ws su#e m! $#ents we#e st%ll slee$( I sl%d out o' &ed nd "ot d#essed s 2u%etl! s
I could. I went to the &th#oom nd ws &out to 'lush the to%let when I thou"ht o' the no%se
%t would m)e. I !n)ed m! hnd w! '#om the le+e# nd w%$ed the swet '#om m! &#ow.
The! would su#el! h+e he#d tht- A n##ow esc$e. I'd h+e to &e mo#e c#e'ul when I "ot
to the thete#.
I sl%$$ed downst%#s nd let m!sel' out. The sun ws com%n" u$ nd %t loo)ed l%)e %t would
&e &#%"ht d!.
I wl)ed 2u%c)l! nd sn" son"s to $e$ m!sel' u$. I ws &undle o' ne#+es nd lmost
tu#ned &c) do,en t%mes. 5nce I ctull!did tu#n nd st#t wl)%n" home( &ut then I
#emem&e#ed the w! the s$%de# hd hun" '#om 3#. C#e$sle!'s 7w( nd the t#%c)s she hd
$e#'o#med( nd swun" #ound "%n.
I cn't e6$l%n wh! 3dm 5ct ment so much to me( o# wh! I ws $lc%n" m! l%'e %n
such dn"e# to h+e he#. Loo)%n" &c)( I'm no lon"e# su#e wht d#o+e me on. It ws 7ust
th%s %ntense need I couldn't %"no#e.
The c#um&l%n" old &u%ld%n" loo)ed e+en c#ee$%e# &! d!. I could see c#c)s #unn%n" down
the '#ont( holes n%&&led &! #ts nd m%ce( s$%de#we&s %n the w%ndows. I sh%+e#ed nd hu##%ed
#ound to the #e#. It ws dese#ted. Em$t! old houses( 7un)!#ds( sc#$ he$s. The#e would
&e $eo$le mo+%n" #ound lte# %n the d!( &ut #%"ht then %t loo)ed l%)e "host town. I d%dn't
e+en see ct o# do".
As I'd thou"ht( the#e we#e $lent! o' w!s to "et %nto the thete#. The#e we#e two doo#s nd
tons o' w%ndows to choose '#om.
Se+e#l c#s nd +ns we#e $#)ed outs%de the &u%ld%n". I d%dn't s$ot n! s%"ns o# $%ctu#es
on them( &ut I ws su#e the! &elon"ed to the C%#2ue Du F#e). It suddenl! st#uc) me tht
the '#e)s $#o&&l! sle$t %n the +ns. I' 3#. C#e$sle! hd home %n one o' them( m! $ln
ws sun).
I snuc) %nto the thete#( wh%ch 'elt e+en colde# thn %t hd on Stu#d! n%"ht( nd t%$toed
down lon" co##%do#( then nothe#( then nothe#- It ws l%)e m,e &c) the#e nd I st#ted
wo##!%n" &out '%nd%n" m! w! out. 3!&e I should "o &c) nd &#%n" &ll o' st#%n"( so I
could m#) m! w! nd 8
No- It ws too lte 'o# tht. I' I le't( I'd ne+e# h+e the "uts to #etu#n. I'd 7ust h+e to
#emem&e# m! ste$s s &est I could nd s! l%ttle $#!e# when %t cme t%me to le+e.
I sw no s%"n o' n! '#e)s( nd &e"n to th%n) I ws on 'ool's e##nd( tht the! we#e ll
%n the +ns o# %n ne#&! hotels. I'd &een se#ch%n" 'o# twent! m%nutes nd m! le"s 'elt
he+! 'te# so much wl)%n". 3!&e I should 2u%t nd 'o#"et the c#,! $ln.
I ws &out to "%+e u$ when I 'ound set o' st%#s led%n" down to cell#. I $used t the
to$ 'o# lon" t%me( &%t%n" m! l%$s( wonde#%n" %' I should "o down. I'd seen enou"h ho##o#
mo+%es to )now th%s ws the most l%)el! s$ot 'o# +m$%#e( &ut I'd lso seen &unch whe#e
the he#o wl)ed down to s%m%l# cell#( onl! to &e ttc)ed( mu#de#ed( nd cho$$ed u$
%nto l%ttle $%eces-
F%nll! I too) dee$ &#eth nd st#ted down. 3! shoes we#e m)%n" too much no%se( so I
esed them o'' nd $dded lon" %n 7ust m! soc)s. I $%c)ed u$ &unch o' s$l%nte#s( &ut ws
so ne#+ous( I d%dn't 'eel the $%n.
The#e ws hu"e c"e ne# the &ottom o' the st%#s. I ed"ed o+e# to %t nd loo)ed th#ou"h
the &#s. The wol'*mn ws %ns%de( l!%n" on h%s &c)( slee$ nd sno#%n". 1e tw%tched nd
moned s I wtched. I 7um$ed &c) '#om the c"e. I' he wo)e( h%s howls would &#%n" the
whole '#e) show down on me %n seconds 'lt-
As I ws stum&l%n" &c)w#d( m! 'oot h%t someth%n" so't nd sl%m!. I tu#ned m! hed
slowl! nd sw I ws stnd%n" o+e# the sn)e*&o!- 1e ws st#etched out on the 'loo#( h%s
sn)e w#$$ed #ound h%m( nd h%s e!es we#e w%de o$en-
I don't )now how I mn"ed not to sc#em o# '%nt( &ut somehow I )e$t 2u%et nd st!ed
on m! 'eet( nd tht s+ed me. Becuse( e+en thou"h the sn)e*&o!'s e!es we#e o$en( he
ws 'st slee$. I )new &! the w! he ws &#eth%n"0 dee$l!( he+%l!( %n nd out.
I t#%ed not to th%n) &out wht would h+e h$$ened %' I'd 'llen on h%m nd the sn)e nd
wo)en them u$.
Enou"h ws enou"h. I "+e one lst loo) #ound the d#) cell#( $#om%s%n" m!sel' I'd le+e
%' I d%dn't s$ot the +m$%#e. Fo# 'ew seconds I sw noth%n" nd "ot #ed! to sc#m( &ut
then I not%ced wht m%"ht h+e &een l#"e &o6 ne# one o' the wlls.
Itmight h+e &een l#"e &o6. But %t wsn't. I )new ll too well wht %t #ell! ws. It ws
co''%n-
I "ul$ed( then wl)ed c#e'ull! o+e# to the co''%n. It ws &out s%6 'eet lon" nd two nd
hl' 'eet w%de. The wood ws d#) nd st%ned. 3oss ws "#ow%n" %n $tches( nd I could
see 'm%l! o' coc)#oches %n one o' the co#ne#s.
I'd lo+e to s! I ws &#+e enou"h to l%'t the l%d nd $ee) %ns%de( &ut o' cou#se I wsn't nd
d%dn't. E+en the thou"ht o'touching the co''%n "+e me the sh%+e#s-
I se#ched 'o# 3dm 5ct's c"e. I 'elt su#e she wouldn't &e '# '#om he# mste#( nd su#e
enou"h( the#e ws the c"e( on the 'loo# &! the hed o' the co''%n( co+e#ed &! &%" #ed
cloth.
I "lnced %ns%de to m)e su#e( nd the#e she ws( he# &ell! $uls%n"( he# e%"ht le"s
tw%tch%n". She loo)ed ho##%&le nd te##%'!%n" th%s close u$( nd 'o# second I thou"ht &out
le+%n" he#. All o' sudden %t seemed l%)e stu$%d %de( nd the thou"ht o' touch%n" he#
h%#! le"s o# lett%n" he# n!whe#e ne# m! 'ce '%lled me w%th d#ed.
But onl! t#ue cow#d would tu#n &c) now. So I $%c)ed u$ the c"e nd l%d %t %n the
m%ddle o' the cell#. The )e! ws hn"%n" '#om the loc) nd one o' the 'lutes ws t%ed to
the &#s t the s%de.
I too) out the note I hd w#%tten &c) home the n%"ht &e'o#e. It ws s%m$le( &ut hd t)en
me 'o#e+e# to w#%te. I #ed %t s I stuc) %t to the to$ o' the co''%n w%th $%ece o' "um.
0r $repsley,
% 5now who and what you are. % have ta5en 0adam Octa and am 5eeping her. 'o not come
loo5ing 4or her. 'o not come 6ac5 to this town %4 you do, % will tell everyone that you are a
vampire and you will 6e hunted down and 5illed % am not *teve. *teve 5nows nothing a6out
this % will ta5e good care o4 the spider
5' cou#se( I d%dn't s%"n %t-
3ent%on%n" Ste+e $#o&&l! wsn't "ood %de( &ut I ws su#e the +m$%#e would th%n) o'
h%m n!w!( so %t ws 7ust s well to cle# h%s nme.
W%th the note stuc) %n $lce( %t ws t%me to "o. I $%c)ed u$ the c"e nd hu##%ed u$ the
st%#s s 'st s I could ;&e%n" s s%lent s $oss%&le<. I sl%$$ed m! shoes &c) on nd 'ound
m! w! out. It ws es%e# thn I'd %m"%ned0 the hlls loo)ed &#%"hte# 'te# the d#) o' the
cell#. When I "ot outs%de I wl)ed slowl! #ound to the '#ont o' the thete#( then #n 'o#
home( sto$$%n" 'o# noth%n"( le+%n" the thete# nd the +m$%#e nd m! 'e# '# &eh%nd.
Le+%n" e+e#!th%n" &eh%nd e6ce$t 'o# 3dm 5ct-
I3ADE IT BAC@ AB5.Ttwent! m%nutes &e'o#e 3om nd Dd "ot u$. I h%d the s$%de# c"e
t the &c) o' m! closet( unde# $%le o' clothes( le+%n" enou"h holes so 3dm 5ct
could &#ethe. She should &e s'e the#e0 3om le't clen%n" u$ the #oom to me( nd h#dl!
e+e# cme %n snoo$%n" #ound.
I sl%$$ed %nto &ed nd $#etended to &e slee$. Dd clled me t 2u#te# to e%"ht. I $ut on m!
school clothes nd wl)ed downst%#s( !wn%n" nd st#etch%n" l%)e I'd 7ust "otten u$. I te
&#e)'st 2u%c)l! nd hu##%ed &c) u$st%#s to chec) on 3dm 5ct. She hdn't mo+ed
s%nce I'd stolen he#. I "+e the c"e smll sh)e &ut she d%dn't &ud"e.
I would h+e l%)ed to h+e st!ed home nd )e$t n e!e on he# &ut tht ws %m$oss%&le.
3om lw!s )nows when I ')e &e%n" s%c). She's too sm#t to &e 'ooled.
Tht d! 'elt l%)e wee). The seconds seemed to d#" l%)e hou#s( nd e+en &#e) nd
luncht%me went slowl!- I t#%ed $l!%n" socce# &ut m! he#t wsn't %n %t. I couldn't
concent#te %n clss nd )e$t "%+%n" stu$%d nswe#s( e+en to s%m$le 2uest%ons.
F%nll! %t ended nd I ws &le to #ush home nd u$ to m! #oom.
3dm 5ct ws %n the sme s$ot s e#l%e#. I ws hl'*'#%d she ws ded( &ut I could see
he# &#eth%n". Then %t st#uc) me0 she ws w%t%n" to &e 'ed- I'd seen s$%de#s th%s w!
&e'o#e. The! could s%t st%ll 'o# hou#s t t%me( w%t%n" 'o# the%# ne6t mel to come lon".
I wsn't su#e wht I should 'eed he#( &ut I "uessed %t wsn't too d%''e#ent '#om wht
o#d%n#! s$%de#s te. I hu##%ed out %nto the "#den( $us%n" onl! to sntch n em$t! 7ell! 7#
'#om the )%tchen.
It d%dn't t)e lon" to collect cou$le o' ded 'l%es( 'ew &u"s( nd lon" w#%""l! wo#m.
Then I #ced &c) %ns%de( h%d%n" the 7ell! 7# %ns%de m! T*sh%#t( so 3om couldn't see %t nd
st#t s)%n" 2uest%ons.
I closed m! &ed#oom doo# nd stuc) ch%# "%nst %t so no&od! could come %n( then
$lced 3dm 5ct's c"e on m! &ed nd #emo+ed the cloth.
The s$%de# s2u%nted nd c#ouched down lowe# t the sudden su#"e o' l%"ht. I ws &out to
o$en the doo# nd th#ow the 'ood %n when I #emem&e#ed I ws del%n" w%th $o%sonous
s$%de# who could )%ll me w%th cou$le o' &%tes.
I l%'ted the 7# o+e# the c"e( $%c)ed out one o' the l%+e %nsects( nd d#o$$ed %t. It lnded on
%ts &c). Its 'eet tw%tched %n the %# nd then %t mn"ed to #oll o+e# onto %ts &ell!. It &e"n
c#wl%n" tow#d '#eedom &ut d%dn't "et '#.
As soon s %t mo+ed( 3dm 5ct $ounced. 5ne second she ws stnd%n" st%ll s cocoon
%n the m%ddle o' the c"e( the ne6t she ws o+e# the %nsect( &#%n" he# 'n"s.
She swllowed the &u" down 2u%c). It would h+e 'ed no#ml s$%de# 'o# d! o# two(
&ut to 3dm 5ct %t ws no mo#e thn l%"ht snc). She mde he# w! &c) to he#
o#%"%nl s$ot nd loo)ed t me s %' to s!( 95)!( tht ws n%ce. Now whe#e's the m%n
cou#se:9
I 'ed he# the ent%#e contents o' the 7#. The wo#m $ut u$ "ood '%"ht( tw%st%n" nd tu#n%n"
mdl!( &ut she "ot he# 'n"s %nto %t nd #%$$ed %t %n hl'( then %nto 2u#te#s. She seemed to
en7o! the wo#m the most.
I hd n %de nd "#&&ed m! d%#! '#om unde#neth m! mtt#ess. 3! d%#! %s m! most
$#%,ed $ossess%on( nd %t's &ecuse I w#ote e+e#!th%n" down %n %t tht I'm &le to w#%te th%s
&oo). I #emem&e# most o' the sto#! n!w!( &ut whene+e# I "et stuc)( ll I h+e to do %s
o$en the d%#! nd chec) the 'cts.
I 'olded the d%#! o$en to the &c) $"e( then w#ote down ll tht I )new &out 3dm
5ct0 wht 3#. C#e$sle! hd s%d &out he# %n the show( the t#%c)s she )new( the 'ood she
l%)ed. I $ut one chec)m#) &es%de 'ood she l%)ed lot( nd two chec)m#)s &es%de 'ood she
lo+ed ;so '#( onl! the wo#m<. Th%s w! I'd &e &le to '%"u#e out the &est w! to 'eed he#(
nd wht to "%+e he# s t#et when I wnted he# to do t#%c).
I &#ou"ht u$ some "#u& '#om the '#%d"e ne6t0 cheese( hm( lettuce( nd #ost &ee'. She te
7ust &out e+e#!th%n" I "+e he#. It loo)ed l%)e I ws "o%n" to &e )e$t &us! t#!%n" to 'eed
th%s u"l! ld!-
Tuesd! n%"ht ws ho##%&le. I wonde#ed wht 3#. C#e$sle! would th%n) when he wo)e nd
'ound h%s s$%de# m%ss%n" nd note %n %ts $lce. Would he le+e l%)e I told h%m( o# would he
come loo)%n" 'o# h%s $et: 3!&e( s%nce the two o' them could s$e) w%th ech othe#
tele$th%cll!( he would &e &le to t#ce he#here -
I s$ent hou#s s%tt%n" u$ %n &ed( hold%n" c#oss to m! chest. I wsn't su#e %' the c#oss would
wo#) o# not. I )now the! wo#) %n the mo+%es &ut I #emem&e#ed tl)%n" to Ste+e once nd he
s%d c#oss ws no "ood &! %tsel'. 1e s%d the! onl! wo#)ed %' the $e#son us%n" them ws
"ood.
I '%nll! 'ell slee$ &out two %n the mo#n%n". I' 3#. C#e$sle! hd come( I would h+e &een
com$letel! de'enseless( &ut luc)%l!( when I wo)e %n the mo#n%n" the#e ws no s%"n o' h%s
h+%n" come( nd 3dm 5ct ws st%ll #est%n" %n the closet.
I 'elt lot &ette# tht Wednesd!( es$ec%ll! when I $o$$ed &! the old thete# 'te# school
nd sw the C%#2ue Du F#e) hd le't. The c#s nd +ns we#e "one. No t#ce o' the '#e)
show #em%ned.
I'd done %t- 3dm 5ct ws m%ne-
I cele&#ted &! &u!%n" $%,,. 1m nd $e$$e#on%. 3om nd Dd wnted to )now wht
the s$ec%l occs%on ws. I s%d I 7ust 'elt l%)e someth%n" d%''e#ent nd o''e#ed them nd
Ann%e sl%ce( nd the! le't %t t tht.
I 'ed the sc#$s to 3dm 5ct nd she lo+ed them. She #n #ound the c"e l%c)%n" u$
e+e#! lst c#um&. I mde note %n m! d%#!0 9Fo# s$ec%l t#et( $%ece o' $%,,-9
I s$ent the ne6t cou$le o' d!s "ett%n" he# used to he# new home. I d%dn't let he# out o' the
c"e( &ut I c##%ed %t #ound the #oom so she could see e+e#! co#ne# nd "et to )now the
$lce. I d%dn't wnt he# to &e ne#+ous when I '%nll! '#eed he#.
I tl)ed to he# ll the t%me( tell%n" he# &out m! l%'e nd 'm%l! nd home. I told he# how
much I dm%#ed he# nd the )%nd o' 'ood I ws "o%n" to "et he# nd the t!$e o' t#%c)s we
we#e "o%n" to do. She m%"ht not h+e unde#stood e+e#!th%n" I s%d( &ut she seemed to.
I went to the l%&##! 'te# school on Thu#sd! nd F#%d! nd #ed s much &out s$%de#s s
I could '%nd. The#e ws ll so#ts o' stu'' I hdn't )nown. L%)e the! cn h+e u$ to e%"ht
e!es( nd the th#eds o' the%# we&s #e "lue! 'lu%ds tht h#den when the!'#e let out %nto the
%#. But none o' the &oo)s ment%oned $e#'o#m%n" s$%de#s( o# ones w%th tele$th%c $owe#s.
And I couldn't '%nd n! $%ctu#es o' s$%de#s l%)e 3dm 5ct. It loo)ed l%)e none o' the
$eo$le who w#ote these &oo)s hd seen s$%de# l%)e he#. She ws un%2ue-
When Stu#d! cme( I dec%ded %t ws t%me to let he# out o' he# c"e nd t#! 'ew t#%c)s. I
hd $#ct%ced w%th the 'lute nd could $l! 'ew +e#! s%m$le tunes 2u%te well. The h#d
$#t ws send%n" thou"hts to 3dm 5ct wh%le $l!%n". It ws "o%n" to &e t#%c)!( &ut I 'elt
I ws u$ to %t.
I closed m! doo# nd shut m! w%ndows. It ws Stu#d! 'te#noon. Dd ws wo#)%n" nd
3om hd "one to the mll w%th Ann%e. I ws ll lone( so %' n!th%n" went w#on" %t would
&e ent%#el! m! 'ult( nd I would &e the onl! one to su''e#.
I $lced the c"e %n the m%ddle o' the 'loo#. I hdn't 'ed 3dm 5ct s%nce the n%"ht &e'o#e.
I '%"u#ed she m%"ht not wnt to $e#'o#m %' she ws 'ull o' 'ood. An%mls cn &e l,!( 7ust
l%)e humns.
I #emo+ed the cloth( $ut the 'lute %n m! mouth( tu#ned the )e!( nd o$ened the t%n! doo# to
the c"e. I ste$$ed &c) nd s2utted down low( so she could see me.
3dm 5ct d%d noth%n" 'o# wh%le. Then she c#e$t to the doo#( $used( nd sn%''ed the
%#. She loo)ed too 't to s2uee,e th#ou"h the "$( nd I &e"n to th%n) I must h+e o+e#'ed
he#. But somehow she mn"ed to suc) he# s%des %n nd ese out.
She st on the c#$et %n '#ont o' the c"e( he# &%" #ound &ell! th#o&&%n". I thou"ht she
m%"ht wl) #ound the c"e to chec) the #oom out( &ut she d%dn't show the '%ntest s%"n o'
h+%n" n! %nte#est %n the #oom.
1e# e!es we#e "lued tome -
I "ul$ed loudl! nd t#%ed not to let he# sense m! 'e#. It ws d%''%cult &ut I mn"ed not to
sh)e o# c#!. The 'lute hd sl%$$ed &out n %nch '#om m! l%$s wh%le
I ws wtch%n" he# &ut I ws st%ll hold%n" %t. It ws t%me to st#t $l!%n"( so I $#essed %t
&c) &etween m! l%$s nd $#e$#ed to &low.
Tht ws when she mde he# mo+e. In one "%nt le$( she s$#n" c#oss the #oom. She
'lew 'o#w#d( u$ %nto the %#( 7ws o$en( 'n"s #ed!( h%#! le"s tw%tch%n"straight at my
unprotected 4ace -
IF S1E 1AD C5NNECTED( she would h+e sun) he# 'n"s %nto me nd I would h+e d%ed.
But luc) ws on m! s%de( nd %nsted o' lnd%n" on 'lesh( she slmmed "%nst the end o'
the 'lute nd went 'l!%n" o'' to the s%de.
She lnded %n &ll nd ws d,ed 'o# cou$le o' seconds. Rect%n" #$%dl!( w#e tht
m! l%'e de$ended on s$eed( I stuc) the 'lute &etween m! l%$s nd $l!ed l%)e mdmn.
3! mouth ws d#! &ut I &lew #e"#dless( not d#%n" to l%c) m! l%$s.
3dm 5ct coc)ed he# hed when she he#d the mus%c. She st#u""led to he# le"s nd
sw!ed '#om s%de to s%de( s thou"h d#un). I sne)ed 2u%c) &#eth( then st#ted $l!%n"
slowe# tune( wh%ch wouldn't t%#e m! '%n"e#s o# lun"s.
91ello( 3dm 5ct(9 I s%d %ns%de m! hed( shutt%n" m! e!es nd concent#t%n". 93!
nme's D##en Shn. I'+e told !ou tht &e'o#e &ut I don't )now %' !ou he#d. I'm not e+en
su#e %' !ou cn he# %t now.
9I'm !ou# new owne#. I'm "o%n" to t#et !ou #el "ood nd 'eed !ou lods o' %nsects nd
met. But onl! %'you #e "ood nd do e+e#!th%n" I tell !ou nd don't ttc) me "%n.9
She hd sto$$ed sw!%n" nd ws st#%n" t me. I wsn't su#e %' she ws l%sten%n" to m!
thou"hts o# $lnn%n" he# ne6t le$.
9I wnt !ou to stnd on !ou# &c) le"s now(9 I told he#. 9I wnt !ou to stnd on !ou# two
&c) le"s nd t)e l%ttle &ow.9
Fo# 'ew seconds she d%dn't #es$ond. I went on $l!%n" nd th%n)%n"( s)%n" he# to stnd(
then commnd%n" he#( then &e""%n" he#. F%nll!( when I ws lmost out o' &#eth( she
#%sed he#sel' nd stood on two le"s( the w! I wnted. Then she too) l%ttle &ow nd
#el6ed( w%t%n" m! ne6t o#de#.
She ws o&e!%n" me-
The ne6t o#de# I "+e ws 'o# he# to c#wl &c) %nto he# c"e. She d%d s I told( nd th%s
t%me I onl! hd to th%n) %t once. As soon s she ws %ns%de( I closed the doo# nd 'ell &c)
on m! &utt( lett%n" the 'lute 'll '#om m! mouth.
The shoc) I'd "otten when she 7um$ed t me- 3! he#t ws &et%n" so 'st( I ws '#%d %t
ws "o%n" to #un u$ m! nec) nd le$ out o' m! mouth- I l! on the 'loo# 'o# lon" t%me(
st#%n" t the s$%de#( th%n)%n" &out how close to deth I hd come.
Tht should h+e &een w#n%n" enou"h. An! sens%&le $e#son would h+e le't the doo# shut
nd 'o#"ot &out $l!%n" w%th such dedl! $et. It ws too dn"e#ous. Wht %' she hdn't
h%t the 'lute: Wht %' 3om hd come home nd 'ound me ded on the 'loo#: Wht %' the
s$%de# then ttc)ed he# o# Dd o# Ann%e: 5nl! the wo#ld's dum&est $e#son would #un
#%s) l%)e tht "%n.
Ste$ 'o#w#d D##en Shn-
It ws c#,!( &ut I couldn't sto$ m!sel'. Bes%des( the w! I sw %t( the#e ws no $o%nt
h+%n" stolen he# %' I ws "o%n" to )ee$ he# loc)ed u$ %n s%ll! old c"e.
I ws l%ttle sm#te# th%s t%me. I unloc)ed the doo# &ut d%dn't o$en %t. Insted I $l!ed the
'lute nd toldher to $ush %t o$en. She d%d( nd when she cme out she seemed s h#mless
s )%tten nd d%d e+e#!th%n" I'd commun%cted.
I mde he# do lots o' t#%c)s. 3de he# ho$ #ound the #oom l%)e )n"#oo. Then hd he#
hn" '#om the ce%l%n" nd d#w $%ctu#es w%th he# we&s. Ne6t I "ot he# l%'t%n" we%"hts ;
$en( &o6 o' mtches( m#&le<. A'te# tht I told he# to s%t %n one o' m! #emote cont#ol
c#s. I tu#ned %t on nd %t loo)ed l%)e she ws d#%+%n"- I c#shed %t %nto $%le o' &oo)s( &ut
mde he# 7um$ o'' t the lst moment( so she wsn't hu#t.
I $l!ed w%th he# 'o# &out n hou# nd would h+e h$$%l! cont%nued ll 'te#noon( &ut I
he#d 3om ##%+%n" home nd )new she would th%n) %t ws st#n"e %' I st!ed u$ %n m!
#oom ll d!. The lst th%n" I wnted ws he# o# Dd $#!%n" %nto m! $#%+te ''%#s.
So I stuc) 3dm 5ct &c) %n the closet nd #n downst%#s( t#!%n" to loo) s ntu#l s
$oss%&le.
9We#e !ou $l!%n" CD u$ the#e:9 3om s)ed. She hd 'ou# &"s 'ull o' clothes nd hts(
wh%ch she nd Ann%e we#e un$c)%n" on the )%tchen t&le.
9No(9 I s%d.
9I thou"ht I he#d mus%c(9 she s%d.
9I ws $l!%n" 'lute(9 I told he#( t#!%n" to sound csul.
She sto$$ed un$c)%n". 9You:9 she s)ed. 9Pl!%n" 4lute :9
9I do )now how to $l! one(9 I s%d. 9You tu"ht me when I ws '%+e !e#s old(
#emem&e#:9
9I #emem&e#.9 She lu"hed. 9I lso #emem&e# when !ou we#e s%6 nd told me 'lutes we#e
'o# "%#ls. You swo#e !ou we#e ne+e# "o%n" to loo) t one "%n-9
I sh#u""ed s thou"h %t ws no &%" th%n". 9I chn"ed m! m%nd(9 I s%d. 9I 'ound 'lute on
the w! home '#om school !este#d! nd "ot to wonde#%n" %' I could st%ll $l!.9
9Whe#e d%d !ou '%nd %t:9 she s)ed.
95n the #od.9
9I ho$e !ou wshed %t out &e'o#e !ou $ut %t %n !ou# mouth. The#e's no tell%n" whe#e %t
m%"ht h+e &een.9
9I wshed %t(9 I l%ed.
9Th%s %s wonde#'ul su#$#%se.9 She sm%led( then #u''led m! h%# nd "+e m! chee) &%"
wet )%ss.
91e!- =u%t %t- 9I !elled.
9We'll m)e 3o,#t out o' !ou !et(9 she s%d. 9I cn see %t now0 !ou $l!%n" $%no %n
hu"e conce#t hll( d#essed %n &eut%'ul wh%te su%t( !ou# 'the# nd I %n the '#ont #ow 89
9/et #el( 3om.9 I chuc)led. 9It's onl! 'lute.9
9F#om smll co#ns( o) t#ees "#ow(9 she s%d.
91e's s th%c) s n o) t#ee(9 Ann%e s%d( nd "%""led.
I stuc) m! ton"ue out t he# %n #es$onse.
The ne6t 'ew d!s we#e "#et. I $l!ed w%th 3dm 5ct whene+e# I could( 'eed%n" he#
e+e#! 'te#noon ;she onl! needed one mel d!( s lon" s %t ws l#"e one<. And I d%dn't
h+e to wo##! &out loc)%n" m! &ed#oom doo# &ecuse 3om nd Dd "#eed not to ente#
when the! he#d me $#ct%c%n" the 'lute.
I cons%de#ed tell%n" Ann%e &out 3dm 5ct &ut dec%ded to w%t wh%le lon"e#. I ws
"ett%n" lon" well w%th the s$%de# &ut could tell she ws st%ll unes! #ound me. I wouldn't
&#%n" Ann%e %n unt%l I ws su#e %t ws com$letel! s'e.
3! schoolwo#) %m$#o+ed du#%n" the ne6t wee)( nd so d%d m! "ol*sco#%n". I sco#ed
twent!*e%"ht "ols &etween 3ond! nd F#%d!. E+en 3#. Dlton ws %m$#essed.
9W%th !ou# "ood "#des %n clss nd !ou# $#owess on the '%eld(9 he s%d( 9!ou could tu#n
%nto the wo#ld's '%#st $#o'ess%onl socce# $l!e#*cum*un%+e#s%t! $#o'esso#- A c#oss &etween
Pele nd E%nste%n-9
I )new he ws onl! $ull%n" m! le"( &ut %t ws n%ce o' h%m to s! %t ll the sme.
It too) lon" t%me to wo#) u$ the ne#+e to let 3dm 5ct cl%m& u$ m! &od! nd o+e# m!
'ce( &ut I '%nll! t#%ed %t on F#%d! 'te#noon. I $l!ed m! &est son" nd d%dn't let he# st#t
unt%l I'd told he# se+e#l t%mes wht I wnted he# to do. When I thou"ht we we#e #ed!( I
"+e he# the nod nd she &e"n c#ee$%n" u$ the le" o' m! $nts.
It ws '%ne unt%l she #eched m! nec). The 'eel o' those lon" th%n h%#! le"s lmost cused
me to d#o$ the 'lute. I would h+e &een ded duc) %' I hd( &ecuse she ws %n the $e#'ect
$lce to s%n) he# 'n"s. Luc)%l!( m! ne#+e held nd I went on $l!%n".
She c#wled o+e# m! le't e# nd u$ to the to$ o' m! hed( whe#e she l! down 'o# #est.
3! scl$ %tched &eneth he# &ut I hd enou"h sense not to t#! sc#tch%n" %t. I stud%ed m!sel'
%n the m%##o# nd "#%nned. She loo)ed l%)e one o' those F#ench hts( &e#et.
I mde he# sl%de down m! 'ce nd dn"le '#om m! nose on one o' he# we&*st#%n"s. I d%dn't
let he# %nto m! mouth( &ut I "ot he# to sw%n" '#om s%de to s%de l%)e she'd done w%th 3#.
C#e$sle!( nd hd he# t%c)le m! ch%n w%th he# le"s.
I d%dn't let he# t%c)le me too much( %n cse I st#ted lu"h%n" nd d#o$$ed the 'lute-
When I $ut he# &c) %n he# c"e tht F#%d! n%"ht( I 'elt l%)e )%n"( l%)e noth%n" could e+e#
"o w#on"( tht m! whole l%'e ws "o%n" to &e $e#'ect. I ws do%n" well %n school nd t
socce#( nd hd the )%nd o' $et n! &o! would t#de ll h%s wo#ldl! "oods 'o#. I couldn't
h+e &een h$$%e# %' I'd won the lotte#! o# chocolte 'cto#!.
Tht( o' cou#se( ws when e+e#!th%n" went w#on" nd the whole wo#ld c#shed down
#ound m! e#s.
STEVE P5PPED 5VER F5R A VISITlte Stu#d! 'te#noon. We hdn't s%d much to ech
othe# ll wee) nd he ws the lst $e#son I ws e6$ect%n". 3om let h%m %n nd clled me
downst%#s. I sw h%m when I ws hl'w! down( $used( then shouted 'o# h%m to come u$.
1e ",ed #ound m! #oom s thou"h he hdn't &een the#e 'o# months. 9I'd lmost 'o#"otten
wht th%s $lce loo)s l%)e(9 he s%d.
9Don't &e s%ll!(9 I s%d. 9You we#e he#e cou$le o' wee)s "o.9
9It seems lon"e#.9 1e st on the &ed nd tu#ned h%s e!es on me. 1%s 'ce ws se#%ous nd
lonel!. 9Wh! h+e !ou &een +o%d%n" me:9 he s)ed so'tl!.
9Wht do !ou men:9 I $#etended I d%dn't )now wht he ws tl)%n" &out.
9You'+e &een stee#%n" cle# o' me these $st two wee)s(9 he s%d. 9It wsn't o&+%ous t
'%#st( &ut ech d! !ou'+e &een s$end%n" less t%me w%th me. You d%dn't e+en $%c) me when
we we#e $l!%n" &s)et&ll %n "!m lst Thu#sd!.9
9You'#e not +e#! "ood t &s)et&ll(9 I s%d. It ws lme e6cuse( &ut I couldn't th%n) o'
&ette# one.
9I ws con'used t '%#st(9 Ste+e s%d( 9&ut then I '%"u#ed %t out. You d%dn't "et lost the n%"ht
o' the '#e) show( d%d !ou: You stuc) #ound( u$ %n the &lcon! $#o&&l!( nd sw wht
h$$ened &etween me nd Vu# 1o#ston.9
9No( I d%dn't- 9I sn$$ed.
9No:9 he s)ed.
9No(9 I l%ed.
9You d%dn't see n!th%n":9
9No.9
9You d%dn't see me tl)%n" to Vu# 1o#ston:9
9No-9
9You d%dn't 89
9Loo)( Ste+e(9 I %nte##u$ted( 9whte+e# h$$ened &etween !ou nd 3#. C#e$sle! %s !ou#
&us%ness. I wsn't the#e( d%dn't see %t( don't )now wht !ou'#e tl)%n" &out. Now %' 89
9Don't l%e to me( D##en(9 he s%d.
9I'm not l!%n"-9 I l%ed.
9Then how d%d !ou )now I ws tl)%n" &out 3#. C#e$sle!:9 he s)ed.
9Becuse 89 I &%t m! ton"ue.
9I s%d I ws tl)%n" to+ur ,orston .9 Ste+e sm%led. 9.nless !ou we#e the#e( how would
!ou )now tht Vu# 1o#ston nd L#ten C#e$sle! #e one nd the sme:9
3! shoulde#s s""ed. I st on the &ed &es%de Ste+e. 95)!(9 I s%d( 9I dm%t %t. I ws %n the
&lcon!.9
91ow much d%d !ou see nd he#:9 Ste+e s)ed.
9E+e#!th%n". I couldn't see wht he ws do%n" when he ws suc)%n" out !ou# &lood( o#
he# wht he ws s!%n". But $#t '#om tht 89
9E+e#!th%n"(9 Ste+e '%n%shed w%th s%"h. 9Tht's wh! !ou'+e &een +o%d%n" me0 &ecuse he
s%d I ws e+%l.9
9P#tl!(9 I s%d. 9But mostl! &ecuse o' whtyou s%d. Ste+e( !ou s)ed h%m to tu#n !ou
%nto +m$%#e- Wht %' hehad tu#ned !ou %nto one nd !ou'd come 'te# me: 3ost
+m$%#es "o 'te# $eo$le the! )now '%#st( don't the!:9
9In &oo)s nd mo+%es( !es(9 Ste+e s%d. 9Th%s %s d%''e#ent. Th%s %s #el l%'e. I wouldn't h+e
hu#t !ou( D##en.9
93!&e(9 I s%d. 93!&e not. The $o%nt %s( I don't wnt to '%nd out. I don't wnt to &e
'#%ends w%th !ou n!mo#e. You could &e dn"e#ous. Wht %' !ou met nothe# +m$%#e nd
th%s one "#nted !ou# w%sh: 5# wht %' 3#. C#e$sle! ws #%"ht nd !ou'#e #ell! e+%l nd
89
9I'm not e+%l-9 Ste+e shouted( nd sho+ed me &c) on the &ed. 1e le$ed on m! chest nd
stuc) h%s '%n"e#s %n m! 'ce. 9T)e tht &c)-9 he #o#ed. 9T)e tht &c)( o# so hel$ me( I'll
7e#) !ou# hed o'' nd 89
9I t)e %t &c)- I t)e %t &c)-9 I sh#%e)ed. Ste+e ws he+! on m! chest( h%s 'ce 'lushed
nd 'u#%ous. I would h+e s%d n!th%n" to "et h%m o''.
1e st $e#ched on m! chest 'ew seconds lon"e#( then "#unted nd #olled o''. I st u$(
"s$%n"( #u&&%n" m! 'ce whe#e he hd $o)ed %t.
9So##!(9 Ste+e mum&led. 9Tht ws o+e# the to$. But I'm u$set. It hu#t( wht 3#. C#e$sle!
s%d( nd !ou %"no#%n" me t school. You'#e m! &est '#%end( D##en( the onl! $e#son I cn
#ell! tl) to. I' !ou &#e) u$ ou# '#%endsh%$( I don't )now wht I'll do.9
1e st#ted to c#!. I wtched h%m 'o# 'ew seconds( to#n &etween 'e# nd s!m$th!. Then
m! no&le# sel' "ot the &ette# o' me nd I $ut n #m #ound h%s shoulde#. 9It's o)!(9 I s%d.
9I'll st%ll &e !ou# '#%end. C'mon( Ste+e( 2u%t c#!%n"( o)!:9
1e t#%ed &ut %t too) wh%le 'o# the te#s to sto$. 9I must loo) l%)e totl 'ool(9 he '%nll!
sn%''ed.
9No(9 I s%d. 9%3mthe 'ool. I should h+e stood &! !ou. I ws cow#d. I ne+e# sto$$ed to
%m"%ne wht !ou must &e "o%n" th#ou"h. I ws onl! th%n)%n" o' m!sel' nd 3dm 89 I
mde 'ce nd sto$$ed tl)%n".
Ste+e st#ed t me cu#%ousl!. 9Wht we#e !ou "o%n" to s!:9 he s)ed.
9Noth%n"(9 I s%d. 9It ws sl%$ o' the ton"ue.9
1e "#unted. 9You'#e &d l%#( Shn. Alw!s we#e. Tell me wht %t ws !ou we#e &out to
let sl%$.9
I stud%ed h%s 'ce( wonde#%n" %' I should tell h%m. I )new I shouldn't( tht %t could onl!
men t#ou&le( &ut I 'elt so##! 'o# h%m. Bes%des( I needed to tell someone. I wnted to show
o'' m! wonde#'ul $et nd the "#et t#%c)s we could do.
9Cn !ou )ee$ sec#et:9 I s)ed.
95' cou#se(9 he sno#ted.
9Th%s %s &%" one. You cn't tell n!one( o)!: I' I tell !ou( %t hs to st! &etween the two
o' us. I' !ou e+e# tl) 89
9#ou3lltl) &out me nd 3#. C#e$sle!(9 Ste+e s%d( "#%nn%n". 9You h+e me o+e# &##el.
No mtte# wht !ou tell me( !ou )now I cn't &l&( e+en %' I wnted to. Wht's the &%"
sec#et:9
9W%t m%nute(9 I s%d. I "ot o'' the &ed nd o$ened the doo# to the #oom. 93om:9 I
shouted.
9Yes:9 cme he# mu''led #e$l!.
9I'm show%n" Ste+e m! 'lute(9 I !elled. 9I'm "o%n" to tech h%m how to $l! %t( &ut onl! %'
we'#e not d%stu#&ed( o)!:9
95)!(9 she clled &c).
I closed the doo# nd sm%led t Ste+e. 1e loo)ed $u,,led. 9A 'lute:9 he s)ed. 9You# &%"
sec#et %s 'lute:9
9Tht's $#t o' %t(9 I s%d. 9L%sten( do !ou #emem&e# 3dm 5ct: 3#. C#e$sle!'s s$%de#:9
95' cou#se(9 he s%d. 9I wsn't $!%n" much ttent%on to he# when she ws on &ut I don't
th%n) n!one could e+e# 'o#"et c#etu#e l%)e tht. Those h%#! le"s0 &####-9
I o$ened the doo# to the closet wh%le he ws s$e)%n" nd "ot out the c"e. 1%s e!es
s2u%nted when he sw %t( then w%dened. 9Tht's not wht I th%n) %t %s( %s %t:9 he s)ed.
9Tht de$ends(9 I s%d( wh%$$%n" o'' the cloth. 9I' !ou th%n) %t's dedl! $e#'o#m%n" s$%de#
!ou'#e #%"ht-9
95h mn-9 he "s$ed( lmost 'll%n" o'' the &ed %n shoc). 9Tht's 8 she's 8 whe#e d%d
8 Wow-9
I ws del%"hted w%th h%s #ect%on. I stood o+e# the c"e( sm%l%n" l%)e $#oud 'the#. 3dm
5ct l! on the 'loo#( 2u%et s e+e#( $!%n" no ttent%on to me o# Ste+e.
9She's wesome-9 Ste+e s%d( c#wl%n" close# 'o# &ette# loo). 9She loo)s 7ust the sme s
the one %n the c%#cus. I cn't &el%e+e !ou 'ound one tht loo)s so s%m%l#. Whe#e'd !ou "et
he#: A $et sho$: F#om ,oo:9
3! sm%le sl%$$ed. 9I "ot he# '#om the C%#2ue Du F#e)( o' cou#se(9 I s%d unes%l!.
9F#om the '#e) show:9 he s)ed( 'ce c#%n)l%n". 9The! we#e sell%n" l%+e s$%de#s: I d%dn't
see n!. 1ow much d%d she cost:9
I shoo) m! hed nd s%d0 9I d%dn't &u! he#( Ste+e. I 8 Cn't !ou "uess: Don't !ou
unde#stnd:9
9.nde#stnd wht:9 he s)ed.
9Tht's not similar s$%de#(9 I s%d. 9Tht's thesame one . It's 3dm 5ct.9
1e st#ed t me( s thou"h he hdn't he#d wht I'd s%d. I ws &out to #e$et %t( &ut he
s$o)e u$ &e'o#e I could. 9The 8 sme 8 one:9 he s)ed %n slow( t#em&l%n" +o%ce.
9Yes(9 I s%d.
9You men 8 tht's 8 3dm 5ct:The 3dm 5ct:9
9Yes(9 I s%d "%n( lu"h%n" t h%s shoc).
9Tht's 8 3#. C#e$sle!'s s$%de#:9
9Ste+e( wht's w#on": 1ow mn! t%mes do I h+e to s! %t 'o# !ou to 89
9W%t m%nute(9 he sn$$ed( sh)%n" h%s hed. 9I' th%s %s #ell! 3dm 5ct( how d%d !ou
"et !ou# hnds on he#: D%d !ou '%nd he# outs%de: D%d the! sell he# o'':9
9No&od! would sell "#et s$%de# l%)e th%s(9 I s%d.
9Tht's wht I thou"ht(9 Ste+e "#eed. 9So how d%d 89 1e le't the 2uest%on hn"%n" %n the
%#.
9I stole he#(9 I s%d( $u''%n" u$ $#oudl!. 9I went &c) to the thete# tht Tuesd! mo#n%n"(
c#e$t %n( 'ound whe#e she ws( nd snuc) out w%th he#. I le't note tell%n" 3#. C#e$sle! not
to come loo)%n" 'o# he# o# I'd #e$o#t h%s &e%n" +m$%#e to the $ol%ce.9
9You 8 !ou 89 Ste+e ws "s$%n". 1%s 'ce hd tu#ned wh%te nd he loo)ed l%)e he ws
&out to coll$se.
9A#e !ou ll #%"ht:9 I s)ed.
9You 8 %m&ec%le-9 he #o#ed. 9You lunt%c- You mo#on-9
91e!-9 I shouted( u$set.
9Id%ot- Dum&o- C#et%n-9 he !elled. 9Do !ou #el%,e wht !ou'+e done: Do !ou h+e n!
%de wht )%nd o' t#ou&le !ou'#e %n:9
91uh: 9I s)ed( &ew%lde#ed.
9You stole +m$%#e's s$%de#-9 Ste+e shouted. 9You stole '#om mem&e# o' the unded-
Wht do !ou th%n) he's "o%n" to do when he ctches u$ w%th !ou( D##en: S$n) !ou#
&ottom nd scold !ou: Tell !ou# $#ents nd m)e them "#ound !ou: We'#e tl)%n" &out
vampire - 1e'll #%$ out !ou# th#ot nd 'eed !ou to the s$%de#- 1e'll te# !ou to $%eces nd
89
9No( he won't(9 I s%d clml!.
95' cou#se he w%ll(9 Ste+e #e$l%ed.
9No(9 I s%d( 9hewon3t . Becuse he won't '%nd me. I stole the s$%de# the Tuesd! &e'o#e
lst( so he's hd ne#l! two whole wee)s to t#c) me down( &ut the#e hsn't &een s%"n o'
h%m. 1e le't w%th the c%#cus nd won't e+e# come &c)( not %' he )nows wht's "ood 'o#
h%m.9
9I dunno(9 Ste+e s%d. 9Vm$%#es h+e lon" memo#%es. 1e m%"ht #etu#n when !ou'#e "#own
u$ nd h+e )%ds o' !ou# own.9
9I'll wo##! &out tht when nd %' %t h$$ens(9 I s%d. 9I'+e "otten w! w%th %t 'o# the t%me
&e%n". I wsn't su#e I would I thou"ht he'd t#c) me down nd )%ll me &ut I d%d. So 2u%t w%th
the nmes( ll #%"ht:9
9You'#e someth%n" else.9 1e lu"hed( sh)%n" h%s hed. 9I thou"ht% ws d#%n"( &ut stel%n"
+m$%#e's $et- I ne+e# would h+e thou"ht !ou hd %t %n !ou. Wht mde !ou do %t:9
9I hd to h+e he#(9 I told h%m. 9I sw he# onst"e nd )new I'd do n!th%n" to "et he#.
Then I d%sco+e#ed 3#. C#e$sle! ws +m$%#e nd #el%,ed I could &lc)m%l h%m. It's
w#on"( I )now( &ut he's +m$%#e( so %t's nottoo &d( %s %t: Stel%n" '#om someone &d %n
w! %t's "ood th%n"( #%"ht:9
Ste+e lu"hed. 9I don't )now %' %t's "ood o# &d(9 he s%d. 9All I )now %s( %' he e+e# comes
loo)%n" 'o# he#( I wouldn't wnt to &e %n !ou# shoes.9
1e stud%ed the s$%de# "%n. 1e stuc) h%s 'ce u$ close to the c"e ;&ut not close enou"h
'o# he# to st#%)e h%m< nd wtched he# &ell! &ul"%n" %n nd out.
91+e !ou let he# out o' the c"e !et:9 he s)ed.
9E+e#! d!(9 I s%d. I $%c)ed u$ the 'lute nd "+e toot. 3dm 5ct 7um$ed 'o#w#d
cou$le o' cent%mete#s. Ste+e !el$ed nd 'ell &c) on h%s &utt. I howled w%th lu"hte#.
9You cn cont#ol he#:9 he "s$ed.
9I cn m)e he# do e+e#!th%n" 3#. C#e$sle! d%d(9 I s%d( t#!%n" not to sound &ost'ul. 9It's
#ell! es!. She's $e#'ectl! s'e s lon" s !ou concent#te. But %' !ou let !ou# thou"hts
wnde# 'o# e+en second 89 I d#ew '%n"e# c#oss m! th#ot nd mde cho)%n" no%se.
91+e !ou let he# m)e we& o+e# !ou# l%$s:9 Ste+e s)ed. 1%s e!es we#e sh%n%n"
&#%"htl!.
9Not !et(9 I s%d. 9I'm wo##%ed &out lett%n" he# %n m! mouth0 the thou"ht o' he# sl%$$%n"
down m! th#ot te##%'%es me. Bes%des( I'd need $#tne# to cont#ol he# wh%le she s$un the
we&( nd so '# I'+e &een lone.9
9So '#.9 Ste+e "#%nned. 9But not n!mo#e.9 1e "ot u$ nd cl$$ed h%s hnds. 9Let's do %t.
Tech me how to use tht 'nc! t%n wh%stle nd let me t he#. I'm not '#%d to let he# %n m!
mouth. C'mon( let's "o( let's "o( let's "o "o "o "o /5-9
I couldn't %"no#e e6c%tement l%)e tht. I )new %t ws unw%se to %n+ol+e Ste+e w%th the
s$%de# on such sho#t not%ce I should h+e mde su#e he "ot to )now he# &ette# &ut I %"no#ed
common sense nd "+e %n to h%s w%shes.
I told h%m he couldn't $l! the 'lute( not unt%l he'd $#ct%ced( &ut he could $l! w%th 3dm
5ct wh%le I ws cont#oll%n" he#. I #n h%m th#ou"h the t#%c)s we we#e "o%n" to do nd
mde su#e he unde#stood e+e#!th%n".
9Be%n" 2u%et %s +%tl(9 I s%d. 9Don't s! n!th%n".
Don't e+en wh%stle loudl!. Becuse %' !ou d%stu#& m! ttent%on nd I lose cont#ol o' he# 89
9Yeh( !eh(9 Ste+e s%"hed. 9I )now. Don't wo##!. I cn &e 2u%et s mouse when I wnt.9
When he ws #ed!( I unloc)ed 3dm 5ct's c"e nd &e"n $l!%n". She mo+ed
'o#w#d t m! o#de#. I could he# Ste+e d#w%n" %n h%s &#eth( l%ttle sc#ed now tht she
ws out %n the o$en( &ut he "+e no s%"n tht he wnted to sto$( so I went on &low%n" nd
st#ted he# o'' on he# #out%ne.
I let he# do lot o' stu'' &! he#sel' &e'o#e llow%n" he# ne# Ste+e. We'd de+elo$ed "#et
unde#stnd%n" o+e# the lst wee) o# so. The s$%de# hd "#own used to m! m%nd nd the w!
%t thou"ht( nd hd le#ned to o&e! m! commnds lmost &e'o#e I '%n%shed send%n" them.
I'd le#ned tht she could wo#) '#om the sho#test o' %nst#uct%ons0 I onl! hd to use 'ew
wo#ds to $#om$t he# %nto ct%on.
Ste+e wtched the show %n totl s%lence. 1e lmost cl$$ed 'ew t%mes &ut cu"ht h%msel'
&e'o#e h%s hnds could meet nd $#oduce no%se. Insted o' cl$$%n"( he "+e me the
thum&s*u$ s%"n nd mouthed the wo#ds 9"#et.9 9su$e#.9 9wesome(9 nd so on.
When the t%me cme 'o# Ste+e to t)e $#t %n the ct( I "+e h%m the nod tht we hd "#eed
u$on. 1e "ul$ed( too) dee$ &#eth( then nodded &c). 1e #ose to h%s 'eet nd ste$$ed
'o#w#d( )ee$%n" to the s%de so I wouldn't lose s%"ht o' 3dm 5ct. Then he sn) to h%s
)nees nd w%ted.
I $l!ed new tune nd sent new set o' o#de#s. 3dm 5ct st st%ll( l%sten%n". When she
)new wht I wnted( she st#ted c#ee$%n" tow#d Ste+e. I sw h%m sh%+e#%n" nd l%c)%n" h%s
l%$s. I ws "o%n" to cncel the ct nd send the s$%de# &c) to he# c"e( &ut then he sto$$ed
sh)%n" nd &ecme clme#( so I cont%nued.
1e "+e smll shudde# when she st#ted c#wl%n" u$ the le" o' h%s $nts( &ut tht ws
ntu#l #es$onse. I st%ll "ot the sh)es somet%mes when I 'elt he# h%#! le"s &#ush%n" "%nst
m! s)%n.
I mde 3dm 5ct c#wl u$ the &c) o' h%s nec) nd t%c)le h%s e#s w%th he# le"s. 1e
"%""led so'tl! nd the lst t#ces o' h%s 'e# +n%shed. I 'elt mo#e con'%dent now tht he ws
clme#( so I mo+ed the s$%de# #ound to the '#ont o' h%s 'ce( whe#e she &u%lt smll co&we&s
o+e# h%s e!es nd sl%d down h%s nose nd &ounced o'' h%s l%$s.
Ste+e ws en7o!%n" %t nd so ws I. The#e we#e lots o' new th%n"s I ws &le to do now tht
I hd $#tne#.
She ws on h%s #%"ht shoulde#( $#e$#%n" to sl%de down h%s #m( when the doo# o$ened nd
Ann%e wl)ed %n.
No#mll! Ann%e ne+e# ente#s m! #oom &e'o#e )noc)%n". She's "#et )%d( not l%)e othe#
&#ts he# "e( nd lmost lw!s )noc)s $ol%tel! nd w%ts 'o# #e$l!. But tht e+en%n"( &!
shee# &d luc)( she h$$ened to &#"e %n.
91e!( D##en( whe#e's m! 89 she st#ted to s!( then sto$$ed. She sw Ste+e nd the
monst#ous s$%de# on h%s shoulde#( %ts 'n"s "l%nt%n" s thou"h "ett%n" #ed! to &%te( nd she
d%d the ntu#l th%n".
She sc#emed.
The sound l#med me. 3! hed tu#ned( the 'lute sl%d '#om m! l%$s( nd m! concent#t%on
sn$$ed. 3! l%n) to 3dm 5ct d%s%nte"#ted. She shoo) he# hed( too) cou$le o' 2u%c)
ste$s close# to Ste+e's th#ot( then &#ed he# 'n"s nd $$e#ed to "#%n.
Ste+e #o#ed w%th 'e# nd su#"ed to h%s 'eet. 1e sw%$ed t the s$%de#( &ut she duc)ed nd
h%s hnd m%ssed. Be'o#e he could t#! "%n( 3dm 5ct lowe#ed he# hed( 2u%c) s
sn)e( ndsan5 her poison.tipped 4angs deep into his nec5 -
STEVE STIFFENED AS S55Ns the s$%de# &%t h%m. 1%s !ells sto$$ed ded %n h%s th#ot( h%s
l%$s tu#ned &lue( h%s e!es sn$$ed w%de o$en. Fo# wht seemed n ete#n%t! ;thou"h %t
couldn't h+e &een mo#e thn th#ee o# 'ou# seconds<( he totte#ed on h%s 'eet. Then he
c#um$led to the 'loo# l%)e sc#ec#ow.
The 'll s+ed h%m. As w%th the "ot t the C%#2ue Du F#e) show( 3dm 5ct's '%#st &%te
)noc)ed Ste+e out( &ut d%dn't )%ll h%m #%"ht w!. I sw he# mo+%n" lon" h%s nec) &e'o#e
he 'ell( se#ch%n" 'o# the #%"ht s$ot( $#e$#%n" 'o# the second( )%lle# &%te.
The 'll d%stu#&ed he#. She sl%$$ed '#om Ste+e's nec) nd %t too) he# 'ew seconds to cl%m&
&c) u$.
Those seconds we#e ll I needed.
I ws %n stte o' shoc)( &ut the s%"ht o' he# eme#"%n" o+e# h%s shoulde# l%)e some te##%&le
#chn%d sun#%se s$u##ed me &c) to l%'e. I stoo$ed 'o# the 'lute( 7mmed %t lmost th#ou"h
the &c) o' m! th#ot( nd &lew the loudest note o' m! ent%#e l%'e.
9ST5P-9 I sc#emed %ns%de m! hed( nd 3dm 5ct le$ed &out two 'eet %nto the %#.
9Bc) %ns%de the c"e-9 I commnded( nd she ho$$ed down '#om Ste+e's &od! nd s$ed
c#oss the 'loo#. As soon s she $ssed the &#s o' the doo#( I lun"ed 'o#w#d nd slmmed
%t shut.
W%th 3dm 5ct t)en c#e o'( m! ttent%on tu#ned to Ste+e. Ann%e ws st%ll sc#em%n"
&ut I couldn't wo##! &out he# unt%l I'd seen to m! $o%soned '#%end.
9Ste+e:9 I s)ed( c#wl%n" close to h%s e#( $#!%n" 'o# n nswe#. 9A#e !ou o)!: Ste+e:9
The#e ws no #e$l!. 1e ws &#eth%n"( so I )new he ws l%+e( &ut tht ws ll. The#e ws
noth%n" else he could do. 1e couldn't tl) o# mo+e h%s #ms. 1e wsn't e+en &le to &l%n).
I &ecme w#e o' Ann%e stnd%n" &eh%nd me. She'd sto$$ed sc#em%n" &ut I could 'eel he#
sh)%n".
9Is 8 %s he 8 ded:9 she s)ed %n t%n! +o%ce.
95' cou#se not-9 I sn$$ed. 9You cn see h%m &#eth%n"( cn't !ou: Loo) t h%s &ell! nd
chest.9
9But 8 wh! cn't he mo+e:9 she s)ed.
91e's $#l!,ed(9 I told he#. 9The s$%de# %n7ected h%m w%th $o%son tht sto$s h%s l%m&s. It's
l%)e $utt%n" h%m to slee$( e6ce$t h%s &#%n's st%ll ct%+e nd he cn see nd he# e+e#!th%n".9
I d%dn't )now %' th%s ws t#ue. I ho$ed %t ws. I' the $o%son hd le't the he#t nd lun"s
lone( %t m%"ht lso h+e s)%$$ed h%s &#%n. But %' %t hd "otten %nto h%s s)ull 8
The thou"ht ws too te##%&le to cons%de#.
9Ste+e( I'm "o%n" to hel$ !ou u$(9 I s%d. 9I th%n) %' we mo+e !ou #ound( the $o%son w%ll
we# o''.9
I stuc) m! #ms #ound Ste+e's w%st nd huled h%m to h%s 'eet. 1e ws he+! &ut I too)
no not%ce o' the we%"ht. I d#""ed h%m #ound the #oom( sh)%n" h%s #ms nd le"s( tl)%n"
to h%m s I went( tell%n" h%m he ws "o%n" to &e ll #%"ht( the#e wsn't enou"h $o%son %n one
&%te to )%ll h%m( he would #eco+e#.
A'te# ten m%nutes o' th%s( the#e ws no chn"e nd I ws too t%#ed to c##! h%m n! lon"e#. I
d#o$$ed h%m on the &ed( then c#e'ull! ##n"ed h%s &od! so he would &e com'o#t&le. 1%s
e!el%ds we#e o$en. 1%s e!es loo)ed we%#d nd we#e sc#%n" me( so I closed them( &ut then
he loo)ed l%)e co#$se( so I o$ened them "%n.
9W%ll he &e ll #%"ht:9 Ann%e s)ed.
95' cou#se he w%ll(9 I s%d( t#!%n" to sound $os%t%+e. 9The $o%son w%ll we# o'' 'te# wh%le
nd he'll &e '%ne. It's onl! mtte# o' t%me.9
I don't th%n) she &el%e+ed me &ut she s%d noth%n"( onl! st on the ed"e o' the &ed nd
wtched Ste+e's 'ce l%)e hw). I &e"n wonde#%n" wh! 3om hdn't &een u$ to
%n+est%"te. I c#e$t o+e# to the o$en doo# nd l%stened t the to$ o' the st%#s. I could he#
the wsh%n" mch%ne #um&l%n" %n the )%tchen &elow. Tht e6$l%ned %t0 ou# wsh%n"
mch%ne %s old nd clun)!. You cn't he# n!th%n" o+e# the no%se %t m)es %' !ou'#e %n the
)%tchen nd %t's tu#ned on.
Ann%e ws no lon"e# on the &ed when I #etu#ned. She ws down on the 'loo#( stud!%n"
3dm 5ct.
9It's the s$%de# '#om the '#e) show( %sn't %t:9 she s)ed.
9Yes(9 I dm%tted.
9The $o%sonous one:9
9Yes.9
91ow d%d !ou "et %t:9 she s)ed.
9Tht's not %m$o#tnt(9 I s%d( &lush%n".
91ow d%d she "et loose:9 Ann%e s)ed.
9I let he# out(9 I s%d.
9Youwhat :-9
9It wsn't the '%#st t%me(9 I told he#. 9I'+e hd he# 'o# lmost two wee)s. I'+e $l!ed w%th he#
lots o' t%mes. It's $e#'ectl! s'e s lon" s the#e #e no no%ses. I' !ou hdn't come &#"%n" %n
when !ou d%d( she would h+e &een 89
9No !ou don't(9 she "#owled. 9You #en't l!%n" the &lme on me. Wh! d%dn't !ou tell me
&out he#: I' I'd )nown( I wouldn't h+e come &ust%n" %n.9
9I ws "o%n" to(9 I s%d. 9I ws w%t%n" unt%l I ws su#e %t ws s'e. Then Ste+e cme nd
89I couldn't cont%nue.
I stuc) the c"e &c) %n the closet( whe#e I wouldn't h+e to loo) t 3dm 5ct. I 7o%ned
Ann%e &! the &ed nd stud%ed Ste+e's mot%onless 'o#m. We st s%lentl! 'o# lmost n hou#(
7ust wtch%n".
9I don't th%n) he's "o%n" to #eco+e#(9 she '%nll! s%d.
9/%+e %t mo#e t%me(9 I $leded.
9I don't th%n) t%me w%ll hel$(9 she %ns%sted. 9I' he ws "o%n" to #eco+e#( he should &e
mo+%n" l%ttle &! now.9
9Wht doyou )now &out %t:9 I s)ed #ou"hl!. 9You'#e ch%ld. You )now noth%n"-9
9Tht's #%"ht(9 she "#eed clml!. 9Butyou don't )now n! mo#e &out %t thn me( do !ou:9
I shoo) m! hed unh$$%l!. 9So sto$ $#etend%n" !ou do(9 she s%d.
She l%d hnd on m! #m nd sm%led &#+el! to show she wsn't t#!%n" to m)e me 'eel
&d. 9We h+e to tell 3om(9 she s%d. 9We h+e to "et he# u$ he#e. She m%"ht )now wht to
do.9
9And %' she doesn't:9 I s)ed.
9Then we h+e to t)e h%m to hos$%tl(9 Ann%e s%d.
I )new she ws #%"ht. I'd )nown %t ll lon". I 7ust d%dn't wnt to dm%t %t.
9Let's "%+e %t nothe# '%'teen m%nutes(9 I s%d. 9I' he hsn't mo+ed &! then( we cll he#.9
9F%'teen m%nutes:9 she s)ed unce#t%nl!.
9Not m%nute mo#e(9 I $#om%sed.
95)!(9 she "#eed.
We st %n s%lence "%n nd wtched ou# '#%end. I thou"ht &out 3dm 5ct nd how I
ws "o%n" to e6$l%n th%s to 3om. To the docto#s. To thepolice - Would the! &el%e+e me
when I told them 3#. C#e$sle! ws +m$%#e: I dou&ted %t. The!'d th%n) I ws l!%n". The!
m%"ht th#ow me %n 7%l. The! m%"ht s!( s%nce the s$%de# ws m%ne( I ws to &lme. The!
m%"ht ch#"e me w%th mu#de# nd loc) me w!-
I chec)ed m! wtch. Th#ee m%nutes to "o. No chn"e %n Ste+e.
9Ann%e( I need to s) '+o#(9 I s%d.
She loo)ed t me sus$%c%ousl!. 9Wht:9
9I don't wnt !ou to ment%on 3dm 5ct(9 I s%d.
9A#e !ou c#,!:9 she shouted. 91ow else #e !ou "o%n" to e6$l%n wht h$$ened:9
9I don't )now(9 I dm%tted. 9I'll tell them I ws out o' the #oom. The &%te m#)s #e t%n!.
The! loo) l%)e smll &ee st%n"s nd #e "o%n" down ll the t%me. The docto#s m%"ht not
e+en not%ce them.9
9We cn't do tht(9 Ann%e s%d. 9The! m%"ht need to e6m%ne the s$%de#. The! m%"ht 89
9Ann%e( %' Ste+e d%es( I'll &e &lmed(9 I s%d so'tl!. 9The#e #e $#ts to th%s I cn't tell !ou(
tht I cn't tell n!&od!. All I cn s! %s( %' the wo#st h$$ens( I'll &e le't hold%n" the &".
Do !ou )now wht the! do to mu#de#e#s:9
9You'#e too !oun" to &e t#%ed 'o# mu#de#(9 she s%d( &ut sounded unce#t%n.
9No( I'm not(9 I told he#. 9I'm too !oun" to "o to #el $#%son &ut the! h+e s$ec%l $lces
'o# ch%ld#en. The!'d hold me %n one o' those unt%l I tu#ned e%"hteen nd then 8 Plese(
Ann%e.9 I st#ted to c#!. 9I don't wnt to "o to 7%l.9
She st#ted c#!%n"( too. We held on to ech othe# nd so&&ed l%)e cou$le o' &&%es. 9I
don't wnt them to t)e !ou w!(9 she we$t. 9I don't wnt to lose !ou.9
9Then do !ou $#om%se not to tell:9 I s)ed. 9W%ll !ou "o &c) to !ou# &ed#oom nd
$#etend !ou sw nd he#d none o' th%s:9
She nodded sdl!. 9But not %' I th%n) the t#uth cn s+e h%m(9 she dded. 9I' the docto#s s!
the! cn't s+e h%m unless the! '%nd wht &%t h%m( I'm tell%n". 5)!:9
95)!(9 I "#eed.
She "ot to he# 'eet nd heded 'o# the doo#. She sto$$ed %n the m%ddle o' the #oom( tu#ned(
cme &c)( nd )%ssed me on the 'o#ehed. 9I lo+e !ou( D##en(9 she s%d( 9&ut !ou we#e
'ool to &#%n" tht s$%de# %nto th%s house( nd %' Ste+e d%es( I th%n) !ouare the one who
should &e &lmed.9
Then she #n '#om the #oom( so&&%n".
I w%ted 'ew m%nutes( hold%n" Ste+e's hnd( &e""%n" h%m to #eco+e#( to show some s%"n
o' l%'e. When m! $#!e#s we#en't nswe#ed( I "ot to m! 'eet( o$ened the w%ndow ;to e6$l%n
how the m!ste#! ttc)e# "ot %n<( too) dee$ &#eth( nd then #n downst%#s( sc#em%n"
'o# m! mothe#.
T1E A3B.LANCE ATTENDANTS AS@ED 3Ymothe# %' Ste+e ws d%&et%c o# e$%le$t%c. She
wsn't su#e &ut d%dn't th%n) so. The! lso s)ed &out lle#"%es nd e+e#!th%n"( &ut she
e6$l%ned tht she wsn't h%s mothe# nd d%dn't )now.
I thou"ht the!'d t)e us w%th them %n the m&ulnce( &ut the! s%d the#e wsn't #oom. The!
"ot Ste+e's $hone num&e# nd the nme o' h%s mom( &ut she wsn't home. 5ne o' the
ttendnts s)ed m! mothe# %' she'd 'ollow them to the hos$%tl( to '%ll out s mn! o' the
'o#ms s she could( so the! could m)e st#t. She "#eed nd &undled me nd Ann%e %nto
the c#. Dd st%ll wsn't home( so she clled h%m on h%s cell $hone to e6$l%n whe#e we'd &e.
1e s%d he'd come #%"ht o+e#.
Tht ws m%se#&le #%de. I st %n the &c)( t#!%n" not to meet Ann%e's e!e( )now%n" I
should tell the t#uth( &ut too '#%d to. Wht mde %t e+en wo#se ws( I )new %'% ws the one
l!%n" %n com( Ste+e would own u$ %mmed%tel!.
9Wht h$$ened %n the#e:9 3om s)ed o+e# he# shoulde#. She ws d#%+%n" s 'st s she
could w%thout &#e)%n" the s$eed l%m%t( so she wsn't &le to loo) &c) t me. I ws "ld0 I
don't th%n) I could h+e l%ed st#%"ht to he# 'ce.
9I'm not su#e(9 I s%d. 9We we#e chtt%n". Then I hd to "o to the &th#oom. When I "ot
&c) 89
9You d%dn't see n!th%n":9 she s)ed.
9No(9 I l%ed( 'eel%n" m! e#s #edden%n" w%th shme.
9I cn't unde#stnd %t(9 she mutte#ed. 91e 'elt so st%'' nd h%s s)%n ws tu#n%n" &lue. I
thou"ht he ws ded.9
9I th%n) he ws &%tten(9 Ann%e s%d. I lmost "+e he# d%" %n the #%&s( &ut t the lst second
#emem&e#ed I ws de$end%n" on he# to )ee$ m! sec#et.
9B%tten:9 3om s)ed.
9The#e we#e cou$le o' m#)s on h%s nec)(9 Ann%e s%d.
9I sw them(9 3om s%d. 9But I don't th%n) tht's %t( de#.9
9Wh! not:9 Ann%e s)ed. 9I' sn)e o# 8spider "ot %n nd &%t h%m 89 She "lnced o+e#
t me nd &lushed l%ttle( #ecll%n" he# $#om%se.
9A s$%de#:9 3om shoo) he# hed. 9No( de#( s$%de#s don't "o #ound &%t%n" $eo$le nd
send%n" them %nto shoc)( not #ound he#e.9
9So wht ws %t:9 Ann%e s)ed.
9I'm not su#e(9 3om #e$l%ed. 93!&e he te someth%n" tht d%dn't "#ee w%th h%m( o# hd
he#t ttc).9
9Ch%ld#en don't h+e he#t ttc)s(9 Ann%e #eto#ted.
9The! do(9 3om s%d. 9It's ##e( &ut %t cn h$$en. St%ll( the docto#s w%ll so#t ll tht out.
The! )now mo#e &out these th%n"s thn we do.9
I wsn't used to hos$%tls( so I s$ent some t%me loo)%n" #ound wh%le 3om ws '%ll%n" out
the 'o#ms. It ws the wh%test $lce I'd e+e# seen0 wh%te wlls( wh%te 'loo#s( wh%te un%'o#ms.
It wsn't +e#! &us! &ut the#e ws &u,, to the $lce( sound o' &ed s$#%n"s nd cou"h%n"(
mch%nes humm%n"( docto#s s$e)%n" so'tl!.
We d%dn't s! much wh%le s%tt%n" the#e. 3om s%d Ste+e hd &een dm%tted nd ws &e%n"
e6m%ned &ut %t m%"ht &e wh%le &e'o#e the! d%sco+e#ed wht ws w#on". 9The! sounded
o$t%m%st%c(9 she s%d.
Ann%e ws th%#st!( so 3om sent me w%th he# to "et d#%n)s '#om the mch%ne #ound the
co#ne#. Ann%e "lnced #ound wh%le I ws $utt%n" %n the co%ns( to m)e su#e no&od! could
o+e#he#.
91ow lon" #e !ou "o%n" to w%t:9 she s)ed.
9.nt%l I he# wht the! h+e to s!(9 I told he#. 9We'll let them e6m%ne h%m. 1o$e'ull!
the!'ll )now wht so#t o' $o%son %t %s nd &e &le to cu#e h%m &! themsel+es.9
9And %' the! cn't:9 she s)ed.
9Then I tell them(9 I $#om%sed.
9Wht %' he d%es &e'o#e tht:9 she s)ed so'tl!.
91e won't(9 I s%d.
9But wht %' 89
91e won't-9 I sn$$ed. 9Don't tl) l%)e tht. Don't e+enthin5 l%)e tht. We h+e to ho$e 'o#
the &est. We must &el%e+e he w%ll $ull th#ou"h. 3om nd Dd h+e lw!s told us "ood
thou"hts hel$ m)e s%c) $eo$le &ette#( h+en't the!: 1e needs us to &el%e+e %n h%m.9
91e needs the t#uth mo#e(9 she "#um&led( &ut let the mtte# d#o$. We too) the d#%n)s &c)
to the couch nd d#n) %n s%lence.
Dd ##%+ed not lon" 'te#( st%ll %n h%s wo#) clothes. 1e )%ssed 3om nd Ann%e nd
s2uee,ed m! shoulde#. 1%s d%#t! hnds le't "#ese m#)s on m! T*sh%#t( &ut tht d%dn't
&othe# me.
9An! news:9 he s)ed.
9None !et(9 3om s%d. 9The!'#e e6m%n%n" h%m. It could &e hou#s &e'o#e we he#
n!th%n".9
9Wht h$$ened to h%m( An"el:9 Dd s)ed.
9We don't )now !et(9 3om s%d. 9We'll h+e to w%t nd see.9
9I hte w%t%n"(9 Dd "#um&led( &ut s%nce he hd no othe# cho%ce( he hd to( the sme s
the #est o' us.
Noth%n" else h$$ened 'o# cou$le o' hou#s( unt%l Ste+e's mom ##%+ed. 1e# 'ce ws
wh%te l%)e Ste+e's( nd he# l%$s we#e $%nched to"ethe#. She mde st#%"ht 'o# me( "#&&ed
me &! the shoulde#s nd shoo) me h#d. 9Wht h+e !ou done to h%m:9 she sc#eeched.
91+e !ou hu#t m! &o!: 1+e !ou )%lled m! Ste+e:9
91e!- Sto$ tht-9 Dd "s$ed.
Ste+e's mom %"no#ed h%m. 9Wht h+e !ou done:9 she sc#emed "%n( nd shoo) me e+en
h#de#. I t#%ed to s! 9Noth%n"9 &ut m! teeth we#e cltte#%n". 9Wht h+e !ou done: Wht
h+e !ou done:9 she #e$eted( then suddenl! sto$$ed sh)%n" me( let "o( nd coll$sed to
the 'loo#( whe#e she &wled l%)e &&!.
3om "ot o'' the couch nd c#ouched &es%de 3#s. Leon#d. She st#o)ed the &c) o' he#
hed nd wh%s$e#ed sooth%n" wo#ds to he#( then hel$ed he# u$ nd st down w%th he#. 3#s.
Leon#d ws st%ll c#!%n"( nd ws now mon%n" &out wht &d mothe# she'd &een nd
how much Ste+e hted he#.9
9You two "o nd $l! somewhe#e else(9 3om s%d to Ann%e nd me. We st#ted w!.
9D##en(9 3om clled me &c). 9Don't $! ttent%on to wht she ws s!%n". She doesn't
&lme !ou. She's 7ust '#%d.9
I nodded m%se#&l!. Wht would 3om s! %' she )new 3#s. Leon#d ws #%"ht nd Iwas to
&lme:
Ann%e nd me 'ound cou$le o' +%deo "mes to )ee$ us &us!. I d%dn't th%n) I'd &e &le to
$l! &ut 'te# 'ew m%nutes I 'o#"ot &out Ste+e nd the hos$%tl nd "ot cu"ht u$ %n the
"mes. It ws n%ce to sl%$ w! '#om the wo##%es o' the #el wo#ld 'o# wh%le( nd %' I
hdn't #un out o' 2u#te#s( I m%"ht h+e st!ed the#e ll n%"ht.
When we #etu#ned to the w%t%n" #oom( 3#s. Leon#d hd clmed down nd ws o'' w%th
3om( '%ll%n" out 'o#ms( Ann%e nd I st nd the w%t%n" &e"n ll o+e# "%n.
Ann%e &e"n !wn%n" &out ten o'cloc) nd tht set me o''( too. 3om too) one loo) t us
nd o#de#ed us home. I st#ted to #"ue &ut she cut me sho#t.
9You cn't do n! "ood he#e(9 she s%d. 9I'll cll s soon s I he# n!th%n"( e+en %' %t's the
m%ddle o' the n%"ht( o)!:9
I hes%tted. Th%s would &e m! '%nl chnce to ment%on the s$%de#. I cme +e#! close to
s$%ll%n" the &ens( &ut I ws t%#ed nd couldn't '%nd the wo#ds. 95)!(9 I s%d "luml!( then
le't.
Dd d#o+e us home. I wonde#ed wht he'd do %' I told h%m &out the s$%de#( 3#. C#e$sle!(
nd the #est. 1e would h+e $un%shed me( I'm su#e( &ut tht's not wh! I d%dn't tell h%m0 I
)e$t 2u%et &ecuse I )new he'd &e shmed o' the w! I'd l%ed nd $ut m! own well*&e%n"
&e'o#e Ste+e's. I ws '#%d he'd hte me.
Ann%e ws slee$ &! the t%me we "ot home. Dd l%'ted he# %n '#om the &c)set nd too)
he# to &ed. I wl)ed slowl! u$ to m! #oom nd "ot und#essed. I )e$t cu#s%n" m!sel' unde#
m! &#eth.
Dd loo)ed %n s I ws $utt%n" m! clothes w!. 9W%ll !ou &e o)!:9 he s)ed. I nodded.
9Ste+e w%ll #eco+e#(9 he s%d. 9I'm su#e o' %t. The docto#s )now the%# stu''. The!'ll &#%n" h%m
#ound.9
I nodded "%n( not t#ust%n" m!sel' to nswe#. Dd stood %n the doo#w! moment lon"e#(
then s%"hed( le't( nd stom$ed downst%#s to h%s stud!.
I ws hn"%n" m! $nts u$ %n the closet when I not%ced 3dm 5ct's c"e. Slowl!( I
$ulled %t out. She ws l!%n" %n the m%ddle( &#eth%n" es%l!( clm s e+e#.
I stud%ed the colo#'ul s$%de# nd wsn't %m$#essed &! wht I sw. She ws &#%"ht( !es( &ut
u"l! nd h%#! nd nst!. I &e"n to hte he#. She ws the #el +%ll%n( the one who &%t Ste+e
'o# no "ood #eson. I hd 'ed he# nd c#ed 'o# he# nd $l!ed w%th he#. Th%s ws how she
#e$%d me.
9You stu$%d monste#-9 I sn#led( sh)%n" the c"e. 9You un"#te'ul c#ee$-9
I "+e the c"e nothe# sh)e. 1e# le"s "#%$$ed the &#s t%"htl!. Th%s mde me mdde# nd
I !n)ed the c"e #ou"hl! '#om s%de to s%de( t#!%n" to m)e he# lose he# "#%$( ho$%n" to hu#t
he#.
I s$un %n c%#cle( wh%#l%n" the c"e #ound &! the hndle. I ws swe#%n"( cll%n" he# e+e#!
nme unde# the sun( w%sh%n" she ws ded( w%sh%n" I'd ne+e# set e!es on he#( w%sh%n" I hd
the "uts to t)e he# out o' the c"e nd s2uee,e he# to deth.
F%nll!( s m! #"e #eched %ts &o%l%n" $o%nt( I hu#led the c"e s '# w! '#om me s
$oss%&le. I wsn't loo)%n" whe#e I ws th#ow%n"( nd "ot shoc) when I sw %t s%l th#ou"h
the o$en w%ndow nd out %nto the n%"ht.
I wtched %t 'l!%n" w!( then hu##%ed 'te# %t. I ws sc#ed %t would h%t the "#ound nd
&#e) o$en( &ecuse I )new %' the docto#s we#en't &le to s+e Ste+e &! themsel+es( the!
m%"ht &e &le to w%th the hel$ o' 3dm 5ct0 %' the! stud%ed he#( the! m%"ht '%nd out how
to cu#e h%m. But %' she esc$ed 8
I #ushed to the w%ndow. I ws too lte to "#& 'o# the c"e &ut t lest I could see whe#e %t
lnded. I wtched s %t 'loted out nd down( $#!%n" %t wouldn't &#e). It seemed to t)e
'o#e+e# to 'll.
>ust &e'o#e %t h%t the "#ound( hnd d#ted out '#om the shdows o' the n%"ht nd sntched
%t '#om the %#.
( hand8)
I lened 'o#w#d 2u%c)l! 'o# &ette# +%ew. It ws d#) n%"ht nd t '%#st I couldn't see
who ws down the#e. But then the $e#son ste$$ed 'o#w#d nd ll ws #e+eled.
F%#st( I sw h%s w#%n)l! hnds hold%n" the c"e. Then h%s lon" #ed clothes. Then h%s
c#o$$ed o#n"e h%#. Then h%s lon" u"l! sc#. And( '%nll!( h%s sh#$ tooth! "#%n.
It ws0r. $repsley . Thevampire .
And he ws sm%l%n" u$ t me-
IST55D BY T1E WIND5W( e6$ect%n" h%m to tu#n %nto &t nd come 'l!%n" u$( &ut he d%d
noth%n" $#t '#om sh)e the c"e "entl! to m)e su#e 3dm 5ct ws ll #%"ht.
Then( st%ll sm%l%n"( he tu#ned nd wl)ed w!. W%th%n mtte# o' seconds he hd &een
swllowed '#om s%"ht &! the n%"ht.
I shut the w%ndow nd 'led to the s'et! o' m! &ed( whe#e m! m%nd tu#ned %ns%de out w%th
2uest%ons. 1ow lon" hd he &een down the#e: I' he )new whe#e 3dm 5ct ws( wh!
hdn't he t)en he# &e'o#e th%s: I thou"ht he'd &e 'u#%ous( &ut he seemed mused. Wh!
hdn't he #%$$ed out m! th#ot l%)e Ste+e s%d he would:
Slee$ ws %m$oss%&le. I ws mo#e te##%'%ed now thn I hd &een the n%"ht 'te# stel%n" the
s$%de#. Bc) then I could tell m!sel' tht he d%dn't )now who I ws nd the#e'o#e couldn't
'%nd me.
I thou"ht &out tell%n" Dd. A'te# ll( +m$%#e )new whe#e we l%+ed nd hd #eson to
&e# "#ud"e "%nst us. Dd should )now. 1e should &e w#ned nd "%+en chnce to
$#e$#e de'ense. But 8
1e wouldn't &el%e+e me. Es$ec%ll! not now tht 3dm 5ct ws "one. I %m"%ned t#!%n"
to con+%nce h%m tht +m$%#es we#e #el( tht one hd &een to ou# house nd m%"ht come
&c). 1e'd th%n) I ws %nsne.
I ws &le to snoo,e l%ttle when dwn #olled #ound( &ecuse I )new the +m$%#e couldn't
lunch n ttc) unt%l sunset. It wsn't much o' slee$( &ut e+en smll mount o' #est d%d
me "ood nd I ws &le to th%n) cle#l! when I wo)e. I #el%,ed( s I thou"ht %t o+e#( tht I
hd no #eson to &e '#%d. I' the +m$%#e hd wnted to )%ll me( he could h+e done %t lst
n%"ht when I ws un$#e$#ed. Fo# some #eson( he d%dn't wnt me ded( t lest not !et.
W%th tht wo##! o'' m! m%nd( I could 'ocus on Ste+e nd m! #el $#o&lem0 whethe# to
#e+el the t#uth o# not. 3om hd st!ed t the hos$%tl ll n%"ht( t)%n" c#e o' 3#s.
Leon#d( cll%n" #ound to let '#%ends nd ne%"h&o#s )now o' Ste+e's %llness. I' she hd &een
home( I m%"ht h+e told he#( &ut the thou"ht o' tell%n" Dd '%lled me w%th d#ed.
5u#s ws +e#! 2u%et house tht Sund!. Dd coo)ed e""s nd sus"es 'o# &#e)'st( nd
&u#ned them s he no#mll! does when he coo)s( &ut we d%dn't com$l%n. I h#dl! e+en
tsted the 'ood s I "ul$ed %t down. I wsn't hun"#!. The onl! #eson I te ws to $#etend %t
ws n! othe# +e#"e Sund!.
3om clled s we we#e '%n%sh%n". She hd lon" tl) w%th Dd. 1e d%dn't s! much( onl!
nodded nd "#unted. Ann%e nd I st st%ll( t#!%n" to he# wht ws &e%n" s%d. 1e cme %n
nd st down when he ws '%n%shed tl)%n".
91ow %s he:9 I s)ed.
9Not "ood(9 Dd s%d. 9The docto#s don't )now wht to m)e o' %t. It seems Ann%e ws
#%"ht0 %t %s $o%son. But not l%)e n! the! )now. The!'+e sent sm$les to e6$e#ts %n othe#
hos$%tls( nd ho$e'ull! one o' them w%ll )now mo#e &out %t. But 89 1e shoo) h%s hed.
9W%ll he d%e:9 Ann%e s)ed 2u%etl!.
93!&e(9 Dd s%d( &e%n" honest. I ws "ld 'o# tht. All too o'ten dults l%e to )%ds &out
se#%ous mtte#s. I'd #the# )now the t#uth &out deth thn &e l%ed to.
Ann%e st#ted to c#!. Dd $%c)ed he# u$ nd $e#ched he# on h%s l$. 91e!( now( the#e's no
need to c#!(9 he s%d. 9It's not o+e# !et. 1e's st%ll l%+e. 1e's &#eth%n" nd h%s &#%n doesn't
seem to h+e &een ''ected. I' the! cn '%"u#e out w! to '%"ht the $o%son %n h%s &od!( he
should &e '%ne.9
91ow lon" does he h+e:9 I s)ed.
Dd sh#u""ed. 9The w! he %s( the! could )ee$ h%m l%+e 'o# lon" t%me w%th mch%nes.9
9You men l%)e someone %n com:9 I s)ed.
9E6ctl!.9
91ow lon" &e'o#e the! h+e to st#t us%n" mch%nes:9 I s)ed.
9A 'ew d!s( the! th%n)(9 Dd nswe#ed. 9The! cn't s! 'o# su#e( see%n" s how the! don't
)now wht the!'#e del%n" w%th( &ut the! th%n) %t w%ll &e cou$le o' d!s &e'o#e h%s
#es$%#to#! nd co#on#! s!stems &e"%n to shut down.9
91%s wht:9 Ann%e s)ed &etween so&s.
91%s lun"s nd he#t(9 Dd e6$l%ned. 9As lon" s those #e wo#)%n"( he's l%+e. The! h+e
to use d#%$ to 'eed h%m &ut othe#w%se he's o)!. It's wheni4 he sto$s &#eth%n" &! h%msel'
tht the t#ou&le #ell! &e"%ns.9
A cou$le o' d!s. It wsn't much. The d! &e'o#e( he'd hd whole l%'et%me to loo)
'o#w#d to. Now he hd cou$le o' d!s.
9Cn I "o see h%m:9 I s)ed.
9Th%s 'te#noon( %' !ou 'eel u$ to %t(9 Dd s%d. 9I'll 'eel u$ to %t(9 I +owed.
The hos$%tl ws &us%e# th%s t%me( $c)ed w%th +%s%to#s. I'd ne+e# seen so mn! &o6es o'
chocoltes nd 'lowe#s. E+e#!&od! seemed to &e c##!%n" one o# the othe#. I wnted to &u!
someth%n" 'o# Ste+e t the hos$%tl sto#e &ut hd no mone!.
I e6$ected Ste+e to &e %n the ch%ld#en's w#d &ut he ws %n #oom &! h%msel'( &ecuse the
docto#s wnted to stud! h%m( nd lso &ecuse the! we#en't su#e %' wht he hd ws
ctch%n". We hd to we# ms)s nd "lo+es nd lon" "#een "owns when we ente#ed.
3#s. Leon#d ws slee$ %n ch%#. 3om mde s%"n 'o# us to &e 2u%et. She "+e us hu"s(
one &! one( then s$o)e to Dd.
9A cou$le o' #esults h+e come %n '#om othe# hos$%tls(9 she told h%m( he# +o%ce mu''led &!
the ms). 9All ne"t%+e.9
9Su#el!someone )nows wht th%s %s(9 Dd s%d. 91ow mn! d%''e#ent t!$es o' $o%son cn
the#e &e:9
9Thousnds(9 she s%d. 9The!'+e sent s$ec%mens to 'o#e%"n hos$%tls. 1o$e'ull! one o'
them w%ll h+e #eco#d o' %t( &ut %t's "o%n" to &e some t%me &e'o#e the! "et &c) to us.9
I stud%ed Ste+e wh%le the! we#e tl)%n". 1e ws tuc)ed netl! %nto the &ed. A d#%$ ws
ttched to one #m( nd w%#es nd stu'' to h%s chest. The#e we#e needle m#)s whe#e
docto#s hd t)en sm$les o' h%s &lood. 1%s 'ce ws wh%te nd st%''. 1e loo)ed te##%&le-
I st#ted c#!%n" nd couldn't sto$. 3om $ut he# #ms #ound me nd hu""ed me t%"ht( &ut
tht onl! mde %t wo#se. I t#%ed tell%n" he# &out the s$%de# &ut I ws c#!%n" too much 'o#
m! wo#ds to &e he#d. 3om )e$t hu""%n" nd )%ss%n" nd shush%n" me( nd e+entull! I
2u%t t#!%n".
New +%s%to#s ##%+ed( #elt%+es o' Ste+e's( nd 3om dec%ded to le+e them lone w%th h%m
nd h%s mothe#. She led us out( #emo+ed m! ms)( nd w%$ed the te#s '#om m! 'ce w%th
t%ssue.
9The#e(9 she s%d. 9Tht's &ette#.9 She sm%led nd t%c)led me unt%l I "#%nned &c). 91e'll &e
o)!(9 she $#om%sed. 9I )now he loo)s &d( &ut the docto#s #e do%n" ll the! cn. We h+e
to t#ust them nd ho$e 'o# the &est( o)!:9
95)!(9 I s%"hed.
9I thou"ht he loo)ed $#ett! "ood(9 Ann%e s%d( s2uee,%n" m! hnd. I sm%led thn)'ull! t
he#.
9A#e !ou com%n" home now:9 Dd s)ed 3om.
9I'm not su#e(9 she s%d. 9I th%n) I should st%c) #ound l%ttle lon"e# %n cse 89
9An"el( !ou'+e done enou"h 'o# the t%me &e%n"(9 Dd s%d '%#ml!. 9I &et !ou d%dn't "et n!
slee$ lst n%"ht( d%d !ou:9
9Not much(9 3om dm%tted.
9And %' !ou st! on now( !ou won't "et n! tod! e%the#. Come on( An"%e( let's "o.9 Dd
clls 3om 9An"%e9 when he's t#!%n" to sweet*tl) he# %nto someth%n". 9The#e #e othe#
$eo$le who cn loo) 'te# Ste+e nd h%s mothe#. No&od! e6$ects !ou to do e+e#!th%n".9
9All #%"ht(9 she "#eed. 9But I'm com%n" &c) ton%"ht to see %' the! need me.9
9F%# enou"h(9 he s%d( nd led the w! out to the c#. It hdn't &een much o' +%s%t &ut I
d%dn't com$l%n. I ws "ld to "et w!.
I thou"ht &out Ste+e s we d#o+e home( how he loo)ed ndwhy he loo)ed tht w!. I
thou"ht &out the $o%son %n h%s +e%ns nd 'elt $#ett! su#e the docto#s would '%l to cu#e %t. I
&et no docto# %n the wo#ld hd e+e# come c#oss $o%son '#om s$%de# l%)e 3dm 5ct
&e'o#e.
1owe+e# &d Ste+e hd loo)ed( I )new he'd loo) lot wo#se 'te# nothe# cou$le o' d!s. I
%m"%ned h%m hoo)ed u$ to &#eth%n" mch%ne( h%s 'ce co+e#ed w%th ms)( tu&es
st%c)%n" %nto h%m. It ws ho##%&le thou"ht.
The#e ws onl! one w! to s+e Ste+e. 5nl! one $e#son who m%"ht )now &out the $o%son
nd how to &et %t.
0r. $repsley.
As we $ulled %nto the d#%+ew! &c) home nd "ot out o' the c#( I mde u$ m! m%nd0 I
ws "o%n" to t#c) h%m down nd m)e h%m do wht he could to hel$ Ste+e. As soon s %t
"ot d#)( I'd sne) out nd '%nd the +m$%#e( whe#e+e# he m%"ht &e. And %' I couldn't 'o#ce %t
out o' h%m nd come &c) w%th cu#e 8
8 I wouldn't come &c) t ll.
I1AD T5 WAIT .NTIL AL35ST ele+en o'cloc). I would h+e "one e#l%e#( wh%le 3om ws t
the hos$%tl( &ut cou$le o' Dd's $ls cme #ound w%th )%ds o' the%# own nd I hd to
$l! host.
3om #etu#ned home t &out ten. She ws t%#ed( so Dd 2u%c)l! cle#ed the house o'
+%s%to#s. The! hd cu$ o' te nd cht %n the )%tchen( then went u$ to &ed. I let them d#%'t
o'' to slee$( then snuc) downst%#s nd let m!sel' out the &c) doo#.
I s$ed th#ou"h the d#) l%)e comet. No&od! sw o# he#d me( I mo+ed so 'st. I hd
c#oss %n one $oc)et( wh%ch I'd 'ound %n 3om's 7ewel#! &o6( nd &ottle o' hol! wte# %n the
othe#( wh%ch one o' Dd's $en $ls hd sent to us !e#s "o. I wsn't &le to '%nd st)e. I'd
thou"ht &out &#%n"%n" sh#$ )n%'e %nsted( &ut $#o&&l! would onl! h+e cut m!sel'. I'm
clums! w%th )n%+es.
The old thete# ws $%tch &lc) nd dese#ted. I used the '#ont doo# th%s t%me.
I d%dn't )now wht I'd do %' the +m$%#e wsn't the#e( &ut somehow I sensed he would &e. It
ws l%)e the d! Ste+e th#ew the sc#$s o' $$e# u$ %n the %# w%th the w%nn%n" t%c)et h%dden
mon"st them( nd I shut m! e!es nd #eched out &l%ndl!. It wsdestiny .
It too) wh%le to '%nd the cell#. I'd &#ou"ht 'lshl%"ht &ut the &tte#! ws lmost ded
nd %t 'l%c)e#ed out 'te# cou$le o' m%nutes( le+%n" me to "#o$e th#ou"h the d#) l%)e
mole. When I d%d '%nd the ste$s( I st#ted st#%"ht down( not "%+%n" 'e# t%me to ctch u$.
The '#the# down I went( the &#%"hte# %t "ot( unt%l I #eched the &ottom nd sw '%+e tll
'l%c)e#%n" cndles. I ws su#$#%sed we#en't +m$%#es su$$osed to &e '#%d o' '%#e: &ut "ld.
3#. C#e$sle! ws w%t%n" 'o# me t the othe# end o' the cell#. 1e ws s%tt%n" t smll
t&le( $l!%n" "me o' c#ds w%th h%msel'.
9/ood mo#n%n"( 3ste# Shn(9 he s%d( w%thout loo)%n" u$.
I cle#ed m! th#ot &e'o#e #e$l!%n". 9It's not mo#n%n"(9 I s%d. 9It's the m%ddle o' the n%"ht.9
9To me( tht %s mo#n%n"(9 he s%d( then loo)ed u$ nd "#%nned. 1%s teeth we#e lon" nd
sh#$. Th%s ws the closest to h%m I'd &een nd I e6$ected to s$ot ll so#ts o' det%ls #ed
teeth( lon" e#s( n##ow e!es &ut he loo)ed l%)e no#ml humn( l&e%t t#emendousl! u"l!
one.
9You'+e &een w%t%n" 'o# me( h+en't !ou:9 I s)ed.
9Yes. 91e nodded.
91ow lon" h+e !ou )nown whe#e 3dm 5ct ws:9
9I 'ound he# the n%"ht !ou stole he#(9 he s%d.
9Wh! d%dn't !ou t)e he# then:9
1e sh#u""ed. 9I ws "o%n" to( &ut I "ot to th%n)%n" &out the so#t o' &o! who would d#e
stel '#om +m$%#e( nd I dec%ded !ou m%"ht &e wo#th 'u#the# stud!.9
9Wh!:9 I s)ed( t#!%n" to sto$ m! )nees '#om )noc)%n" to"ethe#.
9Wh! %ndeed:9 he #e$l%ed moc)%n"l!. 1e sn$$ed h%s '%n"e#s nd the c#ds on the t&le
7um$ed to"ethe# nd sl%d &c) %nto the $c) &! themsel+es. 1e $ut %t w! nd c#c)ed h%s
)nuc)les. 9Tell me( D##en Shn( wh! h+e !ou come: Is %t to stel '#om me "%n: Do !ou
st%ll des%#e 3dm 5ct:9
I shoo) m! hed. 9I ne+e# wnt to see tht monste# "%n-9 I sn#led.
1e lu"hed. 9She w%ll &e so sd to he# tht.9
9Don't m)e 'un o' me(9 I w#ned h%m. 9I don't l%)e &e%n" tesed.9
9No:9 he s)ed. 9And wht w%ll !ou do %' I cont%nue:9
I $ulled out the c#oss nd &ottle o' hol! wte# nd held them u$. 9I'll st#%)e !ou w%th
these-9 I #o#ed( e6$ect%n" h%m to 'll &c)( '#o,en w%th 'e#. But he d%dn't. Insted he
sm%led( sn$$ed h%s '%n"e#s "%n( nd suddenl! the c#oss nd $lst%c &ottle we#e no lon"e#
%n m! hnds. The! we#e %nhis .
1e stud%ed the c#oss( chuc)led nd s2uee,ed %t %nto l%ttle &ll( s thou"h %t we#e mde o'
t%n'o%l. Ne6t he unco#)ed the hol! wte# nd d#n) %t.
9You )now wht I lo+e:9 he s)ed. 9I lo+e $eo$le who wtch lots o' ho##o# mo+%es nd
#ed ho##o# &oo)s. Becuse the! &el%e+e wht the! #ed nd he#( nd come $c)%n" s%ll!
th%n"s l%)e c#osses nd hol! wte#( %nsted o' we$ons tht could do #el dm"e( l%)e "uns
nd hnd "#endes.9
9You men 8 c#osses don't 8 hu#t !ou:9 I stmme#ed.
9Wh! should the!:9 he s)ed.
9Becuse !ou'#e 8 e+%l(9 I s%d.
9Am I:9 he s)ed.
9Yes(9 I s%d. 9You must &e. You'#e +m$%#e. Vm$%#es #e e+%l.9
9You should not &el%e+e e+e#!th%n" !ou #e told(9 he s%d. 9It %s t#ue tht ou# $$et%tes #e
#the# e6ot%c. But 7ust &ecuse we d#%n) &lood does not men tht we #e e+%l. A#e +m$%#e
&ts e+%l when the! d#%n) the &lood o' cows nd ho#ses:9
9No(9 I s%d. 9But tht's d%''e#ent. The!'#e n%mls.9
91umns #e n%mls( too(9 he told me. 9I' +m$%#e )%lls humn( then !es( he %s e+%l.
But one who 7ust t)es l%ttle &lood to '%ll h%s #um&l%n" &ell! 8 whe#e %s the h#m %n tht:9
I couldn't nswe#. I ws num& nd no lon"e# )new wht to &el%e+e. I ws t h%s me#c!(
lone nd de'enseless.
9I see !ou #e not %n the mood 'o# de&te(9 he s%d. 9Ve#! well. I w%ll s+e the s$eeches
'o# nothe# t%me. So tell me( D##en Shn0 wht %s %t !ou wnt %' not m! s$%de#:9
9She &%t Ste+e Leon#d(9 I told h%m.
9The one )nown s Ste+e Leo$#d(9 he s%d( nodd%n". 9A nst! &us%ness. St%ll( l%ttle &o!s
who $l! w%th th%n"s the! do not unde#stnd cn h#dl! com$l%n %' 89
9I wnt !ou to m)e h%m &ette#-9 I !elled( %nte##u$t%n".
90e:9 he s)ed( ct%n" su#$#%sed. 9But I m not docto#. I m not s$ec%l%st. I m 7ust
c%#cus $e#'o#me#. A '#e). Remem&e#:9
9No(9 I s%d. 9You'#e mo#e. I )now !ou cn s+e h%m. I )now !ou h+e the $owe#.9
93!&e(9 he s%d. 93dm 5ct's &%te %s dedl!( &ut 'o# e+e#! $o%son the#e e6%sts n
nt%dote. 3!&e I do h+e the cu#e. 3!&e I h+e &ottle o' se#um tht w%ll #esto#e !ou#
'#%end's ntu#l $h!s%cl 'unct%ons.9
9Yes-9 I shouted "lee'ull!. 9I )new %t- I )new %t- I 89
9But m!&e(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d( #%s%n" lon" &on! '%n"e# to s%lence me( 9%t %s smll
&ottle. 3!&e the#e %s onl! t%n! mount o' se#um. 3!&e %t %s +e#! $#ec%ous. 3!&e I
wnt to s+e %t 'o# #el eme#"enc!( %n cse 3dm 5ct e+e# &%tesme . 3!&e I do not
wnt to wste %t on n e+%l l%ttle &#t.9
9No(9 I s%d so'tl!. 9You h+e to "%+e %t to me. You h+e to use %t on Ste+e. 1e's d!%n". You
cn't let h%m d%e.9
9I most ce#t%nl! cn.9 3#. C#e$sle! lu"hed. 9Wht %s !ou# '#%end to me: You he#d h%m
the n%"ht he ws he#e0 he s%d he would &ecome +m$%#e hunte# when he "#ew u$-9
91e d%dn't men %t(9 I "s$ed. 91e onl! s%d tht &ecuse he ws n"#!.9
9Pe#h$s(9 3#. C#e$sle! mused( tu""%n" t h%s ch%n nd st#o)%n" h%s sc#. 9But "%n( I s)0
wh! should I s+e Ste+e Leo$#d: The se#um ws e6$ens%+e nd cnnot &e #e$lced.9
9I cn $! 'o# %t(9 I c#%ed( nd tht ws wht he hd &een w%t%n" 'o#. I sw %t %n h%s e!es(
the w! the! n##owed( the w! he hunched 'o#w#d( sm%l%n". Th%s ws wh! he hdn't t)en
3dm 5ct tht '%#st n%"ht. Th%s ws wh! he hdn't le't town.
9P! 'o# %t:9 he s)ed sl!l!. 9But !ou #e onl! &o!. You cnnot $oss%&l! h+e enou"h
mone! to &u! the cu#e.9
9I'll $! %n smll mounts(9 I $#om%sed. 9E+e#! wee) 'o# '%'t! !e#s( o# s lon" s !ou
wnt. I'll "et 7o& when I "#ow u$ nd "%+e !ou ll m! mone!. I swe#.9
1e shoo) h%s hed. 9No(9 he s%d so'tl!. 9You# mone! does not %nte#est me.9
9Whtdoes %nte#est !ou:9 I s)ed %n low +o%ce. 9I'm su#e !ou h+e $#%ce. Tht's wh!
!ou w%ted 'o# me( %sn't %t:9
9You #e cle+e# !oun" mn(9 he s%d. 9I )new tht when I wo)e u$ to '%nd m! s$%de#
"one nd !ou# note %n he# $lce. I s%d to m!sel'( 'L#ten( the#e "oes most #em#)&le
ch%ld( t#ue $#od%"!. The#e "oes &o! who %s "o%n" $lces.'9
9=u%t w%th the &ull nd tell me wht !ou wnt(9 I sn#led.
1e lu"hed nst%l!( then "#ew se#%ous. 9You #emem&e# wht Ste+e Leo$#d nd I tl)ed
&out:9 he s)ed.
95' cou#se(9 I #e$l%ed. 91e wnted to &ecome +m$%#e. You s%d he ws too !oun"( so he
s%d he'd &ecome !ou# ss%stnt. Tht ws ll #%"ht &! !ou( &ut then !ou 'ound out he ws
e+%l( so !ou s%d no.9
9Tht &out sums %t u$(9 he "#eed. 9E6ce$t( %' !ou #ecll( I ws not too )een on the %de o'
n ss%stnt. The! cn &e use'ul &ut lso &u#den.9
9Whe#e's ll th%s led%n":9 I s)ed.
9I h+e hd #eth%n) s%nce then(9 he s%d. 9I dec%ded %t m%"ht not &e such &d th%n" 'te#
ll( es$ec%ll! now tht I h+e &een se$#ted '#om the C%#2ue Du F#e) nd w%ll h+e to
'end 'o# m!sel'. An ss%stnt could &e 7ust wht the w%tch docto# o#de#ed.9 1e sm%led t h%s
l%ttle 7o)e.
I '#owned. 9You men !ou'll let Ste+e &ecome !ou# ss%stnt now:9
91e+ens( no-9 he !el$ed. 9Tht monste#: The#e %s no tell%n" wht he w%ll do s he
mtu#es. No( D##en Shn( I do not wnt Ste+e Leo$#d to &e m! ss%stnt.9 1e $o%nted t
me w%th h%s lon" &on! '%n"e# "%n( nd I )new wht he ws "o%n" to s! seconds &e'o#e he
s%d %t.
9You wntme -9 I s%"hed( &et%n" h%m to the $unch( nd h%s d#)( s%n%ste# sm%le told me I
ws #%"ht.
"Y5.'RE CRAFY-9 I YELLED( ST.3BLIN/&c)w#d. 9The#e's no w! I'd &ecome !ou#
ss%stnt- You must &e md to e+en th%n) such th%n"-9
3#. C#e$sle! sh#u""ed. 9Then Ste+e Leo$#d d%es(9 he s%d s%m$l!.
I sto$$ed #et#et%n". 9Plese(9 I &e""ed( 9the#e must &e nothe# w!.9
9The %ssue %s not o$en to de&te(9 he s%d. 9I' !ou w%sh to s+e !ou# '#%end( !ou must 7o%n
me. I' !ou #e'use( we h+e noth%n" 'u#the# to d%scuss.9
9Wht %' I 89
9Do not wste m! t%me-9 he sn$$ed( $ound%n" on the t&le. 9I h+e l%+ed %n th%s d%#t! hole
'o# two wee)s( $utt%n" u$ w%th 'les nd coc)#oches nd l%ce. I' !ou #e not %nte#ested %n
m! o''e#( s! so nd I w%ll le+e. But do not wste m! t%me w%th othe# o$t%ons( &ecuse
the#e #e none.9
I nodded slowl! nd too) 'ew*ste$s 'o#w#d. 9Tell me mo#e &out &e%n" +m$%#e's
ss%stnt(9 I s%d.
1e sm%led. 9You w%ll &e m! t#+el%n" com$n%on(9 he e6$l%ned. 9You w%ll t#+el w%th me
c#oss the wo#ld. You w%ll &e m! e!es nd hnds du#%n" the d!. You w%ll "u#d me wh%le I
slee$. You w%ll '%nd 'ood 'o# me %' %t %s sc#ce. You w%ll t)e m! clothes to the lund#!. You
w%ll $ol%sh m! shoes. You w%ll loo) 'te# 3dm 5ct. In sho#t( !ou w%ll see to m! e+e#!
need. In #etu#n( I w%ll tech !ou the w!s o' the +m$%#es.9
9Do Ihave to &ecome +m$%#e:9 I s)ed.
9E+entull!(9 he s%d. 9At '%#st !ou w%ll onl! h+e some +m$%#e $owe#s. I w%ll m)e !ou
hl'*+m$%#e. Tht mens !ou w%ll &e &le to mo+e &out du#%n" the d!. You w%ll not need
much &lood to )ee$ !ou st%s'%ed. You w%ll h+e ce#t%n $owe#s &ut not ll. And !ou w%ll
onl! "e t '%'th the #e"ul# #te( %nsted o' the 'ull +m$%#e's tenth.9
9Wht does tht men:9 I s)ed( con'used.
9Vm$%#es do not l%+e 'o#e+e#(9 he e6$l%ned( 9&ut we do l%+e '# lon"e# thn humns. We
"e t &out one*tenth the #e"ul# #te. Wh%ch mens( 'o# e+e#! ten !e#s tht $ss( we "e
one. As hl'*+m$%#e( !ou w%ll "e one !e# 'o# e+e#! '%+e.9
9You men( 'o# e+e#! '%+e !e#s tht $ss( I'll onl! &e one !e# olde#:9 I s)ed.
9Tht %s #%"ht.9
9I dunno(9 I mutte#ed. 9It sounds s)etch! to me.9
9It %s !ou# cho%ce(9 he s%d. 9I cnnot 'o#ce !ou to &ecome m! ss%stnt. I' !ou dec%de %t %s
not to !ou# l%)%n"( !ou #e '#ee to le+e.9
9But Ste+e w%ll d%e %' I do tht-9 I c#%ed.
9Yes(9 he "#eed. 9It %s !ou# ss%stnce o# h%s l%'e.9
9Tht's not much o' cho%ce(9 I "#um&led.
9No(9 he dm%tted( 9%t %s not. But %t %s the onl! one I o''e#. Do !ou cce$t:9
I thou"ht %t o+e#. I wnted to s! no( #un w!( nd ne+e# #etu#n. But %' I d%d( Ste+e would
d%e. Ws he wo#th such del: D%d I 'eel "u%lt! enou"h to o''e# m! l%'e 'o# h%s: The nswe#
ws0
#es.
95)!(9 I s%"hed. 9I don't l%)e %t( &ut m! hnds #e t%ed. I 7ust wnt !ou to )now th%s0 %' I
e+e# "et the chnce to &et#! !ou( I w%ll. I' the o$$o#tun%t! #%ses to $! !ou &c)( I'll t)e
%t. You'll ne+e# &e &le to t#ust me.9
9F%# enou"h(9 he s%d.
9I men %t(9 I w#ned h%m.
9I )now !ou do(9 he s%d. 9Tht %s wh! I wnt !ou. A +m$%#e's ss%stnt must h+e s$%#%t.
You# '%"ht%n" 2ul%t! %s e6ctl! wht d#ew me to !ou. You w%ll &e dn"e#ous ld to h+e
#ound( I m su#e( &ut %n '%"ht( when the ch%$s #e down( I m 7ust s su#e !ou w%ll &e
wo#th! ll!.9
I too) dee$ &#eth. 91ow do we do %t:9 I s)ed.
1e stood nd $ushed the t&le s%de. Ste$$ed 'o#w#d unt%l he ws &out 'oot w!. 1e
seemed tll s &u%ld%n". The#e ws 'oul smell to h%m tht I hdn't not%ced &e'o#e( the
smell o'6lood .
1e #%sed h%s #%"ht hnd nd showed me the &c) o' %t. 1%s n%ls we#en't es$ec%ll! lon" &ut
the! loo)ed sh#$. 1e #%sed h%s le't hnd nd $#essed the n%ls o' the #%"ht %nto the 'lesh!
t%$s o' h%s le't*hnd '%n"e#s. Then he used h%s othe# set o' n%ls to m#) the #%"ht*hnd
'%n"e#s %n the sme w!. 1e w%nced s he d%d %t.
9L%'t !ou# hnds(9 he "#unted. I ws wtch%n" the &lood d#%$ '#om h%s '%n"e#s nd d%dn't
o&e! the commnd. 9Now-9 he !elled( "#&&%n" m! hnds nd 7e#)%n" them u$.
1e du" h%s n%ls %nto the so't t%$s o' m! '%n"e#s( ll ten o' them t once. I c#%ed out w%th
$%n nd 'ell &c)( tuc)%n" m! hnds %n t m! s%des( #u&&%n" them "%nst m! 7c)et.
9Do not &e such &&!(9 he 7ee#ed( tu""%n" m! hnds '#ee.
9It hu#ts- 9I howled.
95' cou#se %t does.9 1e lu"hed. 9It hu#t me too. D%d !ou th%n) &ecom%n" +m$%#e ws
es!: /et used to the $%n. 3uch o' %t l%es hed.9
1e $ut cou$le o' m! '%n"e#s %n h%s mouth nd suc)ed some &lood out. I wtched s he
#olled %t #ound h%s mouth( test%n" %t. F%nll! he nodded nd swllowed. 9It %s "ood &lood(9
he s%d. 9We cn $#oceed.9
1e $#essed h%s '%n"e#s "%nst m%ne( wound to wound. Fo# 'ew seconds the#e ws num&
'eel%n" t the ends o' m! #ms. Then I 'elt "ush%n" senst%on nd #el%,ed m! &lood ws
mo+%n" '#om m! &od! to h%s th#ou"h m! le't hnd( wh%le h%s &lood ws ente#%n" m%ne
th#ou"h m! #%"ht.
It ws st#n"e( t%n"l%n" 'eel%n". I 'elt h%s &lood t#+el u$ m! #%"ht #m( then down the s%de
o' m! &od! nd o+e# to the le't. When %t #eched m! he#t the#e ws st&&%n" $%n nd I
lmost coll$sed. The sme th%n" ws h$$en%n" to 3#. C#e$sle! nd I could see h%m
"#%nd%n" h%s teeth nd swet%n".
The $%n lsted unt%l 3#. C#e$sle!'s &lood c#e$t down m! le't #m nd st#ted 'low%n" &c)
%nto h%s &od!. We #em%ned 7o%ned 'o# cou$le mo#e seconds( unt%l he &#o)e '#ee w%th
shout. I 'ell &c)w#d to the 'loo#. I ws d%,,! nd 'elt s%c).
9/%+e me !ou# '%n"e#s(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. I loo)ed c#oss nd sw h%m l%c)%n" h%s. 93!
s$%t w%ll hel the wounds. You w%ll lose ll !ou# &lood nd d%e othe#w%se.9
I "lnced down t m! hnds nd sw &lood le)%n" out. St#etch%n" them 'o#th( I let the
+m$%#e $ut them %n h%s mouth nd #un h%s #ou"h ton"ue o+e# the t%$s.
When he #elesed them( the 'low hd sto$$ed. I w%$ed the le'to+e# &lood o'' on #". I
stud%ed m! '%n"e#s nd noted the! now hd ten t%n! sc#s #unn%n" c#oss them.
9Tht %s how !ou #eco"n%,e +m$%#e(9 3#. C#e$sle! told me. 9The#e #e othe# w!s to
chn"e humn &ut the '%n"e#s #e the s%m$lest nd lest $%n'ul method.9
9Is tht %t:9 I s)ed. 9Am I hl'*+m$%#e now:9
9Yes(9 he s%d.
9I don't 'eel n! d%''e#ent(9 I told h%m.
9It w%ll t)e 'ew d!s 'o# the e''ects to &ecome $$#ent(9 he s%d. 9The#e %s lw!s
$e#%od o' d7ustment. The shoc) would &e too "#et othe#w%se.9
91ow do !ou &ecome 'ull +m$%#e:9 I s)ed.
9The sme w!(9 he s%d( 9onl! !ou st! 7o%ned lon"e#( so mo#e o' the +m$%#e's &lood
ente#s !ou# &od!.9
9Wht w%ll I &e &le to do w%th m! new $owe#s:9 I s)ed. 9W%ll I &e &le to chn"e %nto
&t:9
1%s lu"hte# #oc)ed the #oom. 9A &t-9 he sh#%e)ed. 9You do not &el%e+e those s%ll! sto#%es(
do !ou: 1ow on E#th could some&od! the s%,e o' !ou o# I tu#n %nto t%n! 'l!%n" #t: .se
!ou# &#%n( &o!. We cn no mo#e tu#n %nto &ts( #ts( o# 'o" thn we cn tu#n %nto sh%$s(
$lnes( o# mon)e!s-9
9So wht cn we do:9 I s)ed.
1e sc#tched h%s ch%n. 9The#e %s too much to e6$l%n #%"ht now(9 he s%d. 9We must tend to
!ou# '#%end. I' he does not "et the nt%dote &e'o#e tomo##ow mo#n%n"( the se#um w%ll not
wo#). Bes%des( we h+e $lent! o' t%me to d%scuss sec#et $owe#s.9 1e "#%nned. 9You could
s! we h+e ll the t%me %n the wo#ld.9
3R. CREPSLEY LED T1E WAYu$ the st%#s nd out o' the &u%ld%n". 1e wl)ed con'%dentl!
th#ou"h the d#)ness. I thou"ht I could see &%t &ette# thn I could when com%n" %n( &ut tht
m%"ht 7ust h+e &een &ecuse m! e!es we#e used to the d#)( not &ecuse o' the +m$%#e
&lood %n m! +e%ns.
5nce outs%de( he told me to ho$ u$ on h%s &c). 9@ee$ !ou# #ms w#$$ed #ound m!
nec)(9 he s%d. 9Do not let "o o# m)e n! sudden mo+ements.9
As I ws "ett%n" u$( I loo)ed down nd sw he ws we#%n" sl%$$e#s. I thou"ht %t ws
st#n"e &ut d%dn't s! n!th%n".
When I ws on h%s &c)( he st#ted #unn%n". I d%dn't not%ce n!th%n" st#n"e t '%#st( &ut
soon &e"n to #el%,e how 'st &u%ld%n"s we#e ,%$$%n" &!. 3#. C#e$sle!'s le"s d%dn't seem to
&e mo+%n" tht 2u%c)l!.
Insted( %t ws s %' the wo#ld ws mo+%n" 'ste# nd we we#e sl%$$%n" $st %t-
We #eched the hos$%tl %n cou$le o' m%nutes. No#mll! %t would h+e t)en twent!
m%nutes( nd tht ws %' !ou s$#%nted ll the w!.
91ow d%d !ou do tht:9 I s)ed( sl%d%n" down.
9S$eed %s #elt%+e(9 he s%d( tu""%n" h%s #ed clo) t%"ht #ound h%s shoulde#s( $ull%n" &c)
%nto the shdows so we could not &e seen( nd tht ws ll the nswe# he "+e.
9Wh%ch #oom %s !ou# '#%end %n:9 he s)ed.
I told h%m Ste+e's #oom num&e#. 1e loo)ed u$( count%n" w%ndows( then nodded nd told
me to ho$ &c) u$ on h%s &c). When I ws %n $os%t%on( he wl)ed o+e# to the wll( too) o''
h%s sl%$$e#s( nd l%d h%s '%n"e#s nd toes "%nst the wll. Then he sho+ed h%s n%ls 'o#w#d
%nto the &#%c)-
91mmm(9 he mutte#ed. 9It %s c#um&l! &ut %t w%ll hold us. Do not $n%c %' we sl%$. I )now
how to lnd on m! 'eet. It t)es +e#! lon" 'll to )%ll +m$%#e.9
1e cl%m&ed u$ the wll( d%""%n" h%s n%ls %n( mo+%n" hnd 'o#w#d( then 'oot( then the
othe# hnd nd 'oot( one 'te# the othe#. 1e mo+ed 2u%c)l! nd w%th%n moments we we#e t
Ste+e's w%ndow( c#ouch%n" on the led"e( ",%n" %n.
I wsn't su#e o' the t%me( &ut %t ws +e#! lte. No*&od! ws %n the #oom e6ce$t 'o# Ste+e.
3#. C#e$sle! t#%ed the w%ndow. It ws loc)ed. 1e l%d the '%n"e#s o' one hnd &es%de the
"lss co+e#%n" the ltch( then cl%c)ed the '%n"e#s o' h%s othe# hnd.
The ltch s$#n" o$en- 1e sho+ed the w%ndow u$ nd ste$$ed %ns%de. I "ot down '#om h%s
&c). Wh%le he chec)ed the doo#( I e6m%ned Ste+e. 1%s &#eth%n" ws mo#e #""ed thn %t
hd &een nd the#e we#e new tu&es ll o+e# h%s &od!( hoo)ed u$ to menc%n"*loo)%n"
mch%nes.
9The $o%son hs wo#)ed #$%dl!(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d( ",%n" down t h%m o+e# m!
shoulde#. 9We m%"ht &e too lte to s+e h%m.9 I 'elt m! %ns%des tu#n to %ce t h%s wo#ds.
3#. C#e$sle! &ent o+e# nd #olled u$ one o' Ste+e's e!el%ds. Fo# 'ew lon" seconds he
st#ed t the e!e&ll nd held Ste+e's #%"ht w#%st. F%nll! he "#unted.
9We #e %n t%me(9 he s%d( nd I 'elt m! he#t l%'t%n". 9But %t %s "ood th%n" !ou d%d not
w%t n! lon"e#. A 'ew mo#e hou#s nd he would h+e &een "one#.9
9>ust "et on w%th %t nd cu#e h%m(9 I sn$$ed( not wnt%n" to )now how close to deth m!
&est '#%end hd come.
3#. C#e$sle! #eched %nto one o' h%s mn! $oc)ets nd $#oduced smll "lss +%l. 1e
tu#ned on the &eds%de lm$ nd held the &ottle u$ to the l%"ht to e6m%ne the se#um. 9I must
&e c#e'ul(9 he told me. 9Th%s nt%dote %s lmost s lethl s the $o%son. A cou$le o' d#o$s
too mn! nd 89 1e d%dn't need to '%n%sh.
1e t%lted Ste+e's hed to one s%de nd told me to hold %t tht w!. 1e lened one o' h%s n%ls
"%nst the 'lesh o' Ste+e's nec) nd mde smll cut. Blood oo,ed out. 1e stuc) h%s '%n"e#
o+e# %t( then #emo+ed the co#) o' the &ottle w%th h%s othe# hnd.
1e l%'ted the +%l to h%s mouth nd $#e$#ed to d#%n). 9Wht #e !ou do%n":9 I s)ed.
9It must &e $ssed on &! mouth(9 he s%d. 9A docto# could %n7ect %t &ut I do not )now &out
needles nd the l%)e.9
9Is tht s'e:9 I s)ed. 9Won't !ou $ss on "e#ms:9
3#. C#e$sle! "#%nned. 9I' !ou wnt to cll docto#( 'eel '#ee(9 he s%d. 95the#w%se( h+e
some '%th %n mn who ws do%n" th%s lon" &e'o#e !ou# "#nd'the# ws &o#n.9
1e $ou#ed the se#um %nto h%s mouth( then #olled %t '#om s%de to s%de. 1e lened 'o#w#d nd
co+e#ed the cut w%th h%s l%$s. 1%s chee)s &ul"ed out( then %n( s he &lew the se#um %nto
Ste+e.
1e st &c) when he ws '%n%shed nd w%$ed #ound h%s mouth. 1e s$t the lst o' the 'lu%d
onto the 'loo#. 9I m lw!s '#%d o' swllow%n" tht stu'' &! cc%dent(9 he s%d. 95ne o'
these n%"hts( I m "o%n" to t)e cou#se nd le#n how to do th%s the es! w!.9
I ws &out to #e$l!( &ut then Ste+e mo+ed. 1%s nec) 'le6ed( then h%s hed( then h%s
shoulde#s. 1%s #ms tw%tched nd h%s le"s st#ted to 7e#). 1%s 'ce c#esed u$ nd he &e"n
to mon.
9Wht's h$$en%n":9 I s)ed( '#%d tht someth%n" hd "one w#on".
9It %s ll #%"ht(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d( $utt%n" w! the &ottle. 91e ws on the &#%n) o' deth.
The 7ou#ne! &c) %s ne+e# $lesnt one. 1e w%ll &e %n $%n 'o# some t%me( &ut he w%ll
l%+e.9
9W%ll the#e &e n! s%de e''ects:9 I s)ed. 91e won't &e $#l!,ed '#om the w%st down o#
n!th%n":9
9No(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 91e w%ll &e '%ne. 1e w%ll 'eel &%t st%'' nd w%ll ctch colds +e#!
es%l!( &ut othe#w%se he w%ll &e the sme s he ws &e'o#e.9
Ste+e's e!es shot o$en suddenl! nd 'ocused on me nd 3#. C#e$sle!. A $u,,led loo)
swe$t c#oss h%s 'ce nd he t#%ed s$e)%n". But h%s mouth wouldn't wo#)( nd then h%s e!es
went &ln) nd closed "%n.
9Ste+e:9 I clled( sh)%n" h%m. 9Ste+e:9
9Tht %s "o%n" to h$$en lot(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 91e w%ll &e sl%$$%n" %n nd out o'
consc%ousness ll n%"ht. B! mo#n%n" he should &e w)e nd &! 'te#noon he w%ll &e s%tt%n"
u$ nd s)%n" 'o# d%nne#.
9Come(9 he s%d. 9Let us "o.9
9I wnt to st%c) #ound wh%le lon"e#( to m)e su#e he #eco+e#s(9 I #e$l%ed.
9You men !ou wnt to m)e su#e I h+e not t#%c)ed !ou.9 3#. C#e$sle! lu"hed. 9We w%ll
come &c) tomo##ow nd !ou w%ll see tht he %s '%ne. We #ell! must "o now. I' we st! n!
89
All o' sudden( the doo# o$ened nd nu#se wl)ed %n-
9Wht's "o%n" on he#e:9 she shouted( stunned to see us. 9Who the hell #e 89
3#. C#e$sle! #ected 2u%c)l!( "#&&%n" Ste+e's &edco+e#s nd th#ow%n" them o+e# the
nu#se. She 'ell down s she t#%ed to #emo+e the sheets( "ett%n" he# hnds stuc) %n the%# 'olds.
9Come(9 3#. C#e$sle! h%ssed( #ush%n" to the w%ndow. 9We h+e to le+e %mmed%tel!.9
I st#ed t the hnd he ws hold%n" out( then t Ste+e( then t the nu#se( then t the o$en
doo#.
3#. C#e$sle! lowe#ed h%s hnd. 9I see(9 he s%d %n &le) +o%ce. 9You #e "o%n" to "o &c)
on ou# del.9 I hes%tted( o$ened m! mouth to s! someth%n"( then ct%n" w%thout th%n)%n"
tu#ned nd mde dsh 'o# the doo#-
I thou"ht he would sto$ me( &ut he d%d noth%n"( onl! howled 'te# me s I #n0 9Ve#! well.
Run( D##en Shn- It w%ll do !ou no "ood. You #e c#etu#e o' the n%"ht now. You #e one
o' us- You w%ll &e &c). You w%ll come c#wl%n" on !ou# )nees( &e""%n" 'o# hel$. Run(
'ool( #un-9
And he &e"n to lu"h.
1%s lu"hte# 'ollowed me th#ou"h the co##%do#( down the st%#s( nd out the '#ont doo#. I
)e$t "lnc%n" o+e# m! shoulde# s I #n( e6$ect%n" h%m to swoo$ down on me( &ut the#e
ws no s%"n o' h%m on the w! home( not "l%m$se o# smell o# sound.
All tht #em%ned o' h%m ws h%s lu"hte#( wh%ch echoed th#ou"h m! &#%n l%)e w%tch's
cc)l%n" cu#se.
IACTED S.RPRISED W1EN 353 /5To'' the $hone tht 3ond! mo#n%n" nd told me Ste+e
hd #eco+e#ed. She ws e6c%ted nd d%d l%ttle dnce w%th me nd Ann%e %n the )%tchen.
91e sn$$ed out o' %t &! h%msel':9 Dd s)ed.
9Yes(9 she s%d. 9The docto#s cn't unde#stnd %t( &ut no&od!'s com$l%n%n"-9
9Inc#ed%&le(9 Dd mutte#ed.
93!&e %t's m%#cle(9 Ann%e s%d( nd I hd to tu#n m! hed s%de to h%de m! sm%le. Some
m%#cle-
Wh%le 3om went o'' to see 3#s. Leon#d( I st#ted out 'o# school. I ws hl'*'#%d the
sunl%"ht would &u#n me when I le't the house( &ut o' cou#se %t d%dn't. 3#. C#e$sle! hd told
me I would &e &le to mo+e #ound du#%n" the d!.
I wonde#ed( '#om t%me to t%me( %' %t hd &een &d d#em. It seemed c#,!( loo)%n" &c).
Dee$ down I )new %t ws #el( &ut I t#%ed &el%e+%n" othe#w%se( nd somet%mes lmost d%d.
The $#t I hted most ws the thou"ht o' &e%n" stuc) %n th%s &od! 'o# so lon". 1ow would I
e6$l%n %t to 3om nd Dd nd e+e#!&od! else: I'd loo) s%ll! 'te# cou$le o' !e#s(
es$ec%ll! t school( stuc) %n clss w%th $eo$le who loo)ed olde# thn me.
I went to +%s%t Ste+e on Tuesd!. 1e ws s%tt%n" u$( wtch%n" TV( et%n" &o6 o'
chocoltes. 1e ws del%"hted to see me nd told me &out h%s st! %n the hos$%tl( the 'ood(
the "mes nu#ses &#ou"ht h%m to $l! w%th( the $#esents tht we#e $%l%n" u$.
9I'll h+e to "et &%tten &! $o%sonous s$%de#s mo#e o'ten(9 he 7o)ed.
9I wouldn't m)e h&%t o' %t %' I we#e !ou(9 I told h%m. 9You m%"ht not "et well ne6t
t%me.9
1e stud%ed me thou"ht'ull!. 9You )now( the docto#s #e &''led(9 he s%d. 9The! don't
)now wht mde me s%c) nd the! don't )now how I #eco+e#ed.9
9You d%dn't tell them &out 3dm 5ct:9 I s)ed.
9No(9 he s%d. 9The#e d%dn't seem much $o%nt. It would h+e ment t#ou&le 'o# !ou.9
9Thn)s.9
9Wht h$$ened to he#:9 he s)ed. 9Wht d%d !ou do w%th he# 'te# she &%t me:9
9I )%lled he#(9 I l%ed. 9I "ot md nd stom$ed he# to deth.9
9Rell!: 9he s)ed.
9Rell!.9
1e nodded slowl!( ne+e# t)%n" h%s e!es o'' me. 9When I '%#st wo)e u$(9 he s%d( I thou"ht
I swyou . I must h+e &een m%st)en( &ecuse %t ws the m%ddle o' the n%"ht. But %t ws
l%'el%)e d#em. I e+en thou"ht I sw someone w%th !ou( tll nd u"l!( d#essed %n #ed( w%th
o#n"e h%# nd lon" sc# down the le't s%de o' h%s 'ce.9
I d%dn't s! n!th%n". I couldn't. I loo)ed down t the 'loo# nd s2uee,ed m! hnds
to"ethe#.
9Anothe# 'unn! th%n"(9 he s%d. 9The nu#se who d%sco+e#ed me w)e swo#e the#e we#e
two $eo$le %n the #oom( mn nd &o!. The docto#s th%n) %t ws he# m%nd $l!%n" t#%c)s
nd s%d %t doesn't mtte#. St#n"e( thou"h( %sn't %t:9
9Ve#! st#n"e(9 I "#eed( un&le to loo) h%m %n the e!e.
I &e"n not%c%n" chn"es %n m!sel' o+e# the ne6t cou$le o' d!s. I 'ound %t h#d "ett%n" to
slee$ when I went to &ed( nd )e$t w)%n" %n the m%ddle o' the n%"ht. 3! he#%n" %m$#o+ed
nd I ws &le to he# $eo$le tl)%n" '#om '# w!. In school( I could l%sten to +o%ces '#om
the ne6t two #ooms( lmost s %' the#e we#e no wlls &etween m! clss nd the%#s.
I &e"n to "et %n &ette# sh$e. I ws &le to #un #ound the !#d du#%n" &#e) nd lunch
w%thout wo#)%n" u$ swet. No&od! could )ee$ u$ w%th me. I ws lso mo#e w#e o' m!
&od! nd ws &le to cont#ol %t. I could m)e socce# &ll do $#ett! much wht I wnted(
d#%&&l%n" #ound o$$onents t w%ll. I sco#ed s%6teen "ols on Thu#sd!.
I "#ew st#on"e#( too. I ws &le to do $ush*u$s nd $ull*u$s now( s mn! s I l%)ed. I
d%dn't h+e new muscles none tht I could see &ut the#e ws st#en"th 'low%n" th#ou"h me
tht hdn't &een the#e &e'o#e. I hd !et to test %t $#o$e#l! &ut I &el%e+ed %t m%"ht &e
%mmense.
I t#%ed h%d%n" m! new tlents &ut %t ws d%''%cult. I e6$l%ned w! the #unn%n" nd socce#
s)%lls &! s!%n" I ws e6e#c%s%n" nd $#ct%c%n" lot mo#e( &ut othe# th%n"s we#e t#%c)%e#.
L%)e when the &ell #n" on Thu#sd! t the end o' lunch. The &ll hd 7ust &een )%c)ed %nto
the %# &! the "ol%e who I'd $ut s%6teen "ols $st. It ws com%n" tow#d me( so I stuc) u$
m! #%"ht hnd to ctch %t. I d%d( &ut s I s2uee,ed( m! n%ls sun) %n nd &u#st %t-
And when I ws et%n" d%nne# t home tht n%"ht( I wsn't concent#t%n". I could he# ou#
ne6t*doo# ne%"h&o#s h+%n" '%"ht nd I ws l%sten%n" to the%# #"ument. I ws et%n"
'#ench '#%es nd hot do"s( nd 'te# wh%le I not%ced the 'ood ws tou"he# thn %t should
h+e &een. I "lnced down nd #el%,ed I'd &%tten the hed o'' the 'o#) nd ws chew%n" %t
to $%eces- Luc)%l!( no one sw( nd I ws &le to sl%$ %t %nto the wste&s)et s I ws
wsh%n" u$.
Ste+e clled tht n%"ht. 1e'd &een let out o' the hos$%tl. 1e ws su$$osed to t)e th%n"s
es! 'o# 'ew d!s nd not come to school unt%l 'te# the wee)end( &ut he s%d he ws
"o%n" c#,! w%th &o#edom nd hd $e#suded h%s mothe# to let h%m come tomo##ow.
9You men !ouwant to come to school:9 I s)ed( shoc)ed.
9Sounds we%#d( doesn't %t:9 1e lu"hed. 9No#mll! I'm loo)%n" 'o# n e6cuse to st! home.
Yet now( when I h+e one( I wnt to "o- But !ou don't )now how dull %t %s &e%n" stuc)
%ndoo#s lone ll the t%me. It ws 'un 'o# cou$le o' d!s( &ut whole wee) o' %t 8&###-9
I thou"ht o' tell%n" Ste+e the t#uth &ut wsn't su#e how he'd t)e %t. 1e hdwanted to
&ecome +m$%#e. I d%dn't th%n) he'd l%)e )now%n" 3#. C#e$sle! hd $%c)ed me %nsted o'
h%m.
And tell%n" Ann%e ws out o' the 2uest%on. She hdn't ment%oned 3dm 5ct s%nce Ste+e
#eco+e#ed &ut I o'ten 'ound he# wtch%n" me. I don't )now wht ws "o%n" th#ou"h he#
hed( &ut m! "uess %s %t ws someth%n" l%)e0 9Ste+e "ot &ette#( &ut %t wsn't &ecuse o'you .
You hd the chnce to s+e h%m nd !ou d%dn't. You told l%e nd #%s)ed h%s l%'e( 7ust so !ou
wouldn't "et %nto t#ou&le. Would !ou h+e done the sme %' %t hd &eenme :9
Ste+e ws the cente# o' ttent%on tht F#%d!. The whole clss c#owded #ound nd &e""ed
'o# h%s sto#!. The! wnted to )now wht hd $o%soned h%m( how he'd su#+%+ed( wht the
hos$%tl hd &een l%)e( %' the!'d o$e#ted on h%m( %' he hd n! sc#s( nd so on.
9I don't )now wht &%t me(9 he s%d. 9I ws t D##en's house. I ws s%tt%n" &! the w%ndow.
I he#d no%se &ut &e'o#e I could loo) to see wht %t ws( I "ot &%tten nd $ssed out.9 Th%s
ws the sto#! we hd "#eed u$on when I went to +%s%t h%m t the hos$%tl.
I 'elt st#n"e# thn e+e# tht F#%d!. I s$ent the mo#n%n" ",%n" #ound the clss#oom(
'eel%n" out o' $lce. It seemed so $o%ntless. 9I shouldn't &e he#e(9 I )e$t th%n)%n". 9I'm not
no#ml )%d n!mo#e. I should &e out e#n%n" m! l%+%n" s +m$%#e's ss%stnt. Wht "ood
w%ll En"l%sh( h%sto#!( nd "eo"#$h! do me now: Th%s %sn't m! scene.9
Tomm! nd Aln told Ste+e &out m! s)%ll on the socce# '%eld. 91e's #unn%n" l%)e the w%nd
these d!s(9 Aln s%d.
9And $l!%n" l%)e Pele(9 Tomm! dded.
9Rell!:9 Ste+e s)ed( loo)%n" t me oddl!. 9Wht's &#ou"ht on the &%" chn"e( D##en:9
9The#e %sn't n! chn"e(9 I l%ed. 9I'm 7ust on #oll. I'm luc)!.9
9L%sten to 3#. 3odest-9 Tomm! lu"hed. 93#. Dlton hs s%d he m%"ht $ut h%m t 'o#w#d
'o# the unde#*se+enteen socce# tem. Im"%ne one o' us $l!%n" 'o# the unde#*se+enteens-
No&od! ou# "e hs e+e# mde tht tem.9
9No(9 Ste+e mused. 9The! h+en't.9
9Aw( %t's 7ust Dlton tl)%n"(9 I s%d( t#!%n" to &#ush %t s%de.
93!&e(9 Ste+e s%d. 90ay6e9
I $l!ed &dl! tht luncht%me( on $u#$ose. I could tell Ste+e ws sus$%c%ous. I don't th%n)
he )new wht ws "o%n" on( &ut he sensed someth%n" ws d%''e#ent &out me. I #n slowl!
nd m%ssed chnces I no#mll! would h+e $ut w! e+en w%thout the s$ec%l $owe#s.
3! $lo! wo#)ed. B! the end o' the "me he'd sto$$ed stud!%n" m! e+e#! mo+e nd ws
&e"%nn%n" to 7o)e w%th me "%n. But then someth%n" h$$ened tht #u%ned e+e#!th%n".
Aln nd me we#e #unn%n" 'o# the sme &ll. 1e shouldn't h+e &een "o%n" 'o# %t( &ecuse I
ws closest. But Aln ws l%ttle !oun"e# thn the #est o' us nd somet%mes cted stu$%dl!.
I thou"ht &out $ull%n" &c) &ut I ws s%c) o' $l!%n" &dl!. Lunch ws lmost o+e# nd I
wnted to sco#e t lest one "ol. So I dec%ded( 9The hell w%th Aln 3o##%s. Tht's m! &ll
nd %' he "ets %n m! w!( tou"h-9
We clshed w%th ech othe# 7ust &e'o#e #ech%n" the &ll. Aln "+e !ell nd went 'l!%n".
I lu"hed( t#$$ed the &ll unde# m! 'oot( nd tu#ned tow#d "ol.
The s%"ht o' &lood sto$$ed me %n m! t#c)s.
Aln hd lnded w)w#dl! nd cut h%s le't )nee. It ws &d "sh nd &lood ws well%n"
u$. 1e hd st#ted to c#! nd ws m)%n" no mo+e to co+e# %t w%th t%ssue o# sc#$ o'
cloth.
Some&od! )%c)ed the &ll w! '#om &eneth m! 'oot nd #n o'' w%th %t. I too) no not%ce.
3! e!es we#e 'ocused on Aln. 3o#e s$ec%'%cll!( on Aln's )nee. 3o#e s$ec%'%cll! st%ll(
on Aln's6lood .
I too) ste$ tow#d h%m. Then nothe#. I ws stnd%n" o+e# h%m now( &loc)%n" the l%"ht.
1e ",ed u$ nd must h+e seen someth%n" odd %n m! 'ce( &ecuse he sto$$ed c#!%n" nd
st#ed t me unes%l!.
I d#o$$ed to m! )nees nd( &e'o#e I )new wht I ws do%n"( I hd co+e#ed the cut on h%s
le" w%th m! mouth nd ws suc)%n" out h%s &lood nd "ul$%n" %t down-
Th%s went on 'o# 'ew seconds. 3! e!es we#e closed nd the &lood '%lled m! mouth. It
tsted m,%n". I'm not su#e how much I would h+e d#n) o# how much h#m I would
h+e done to Aln. Luc)%l!( I d%dn't "et the chnce to '%nd out.
I &ecme w#e o' $eo$le #ound me nd o$ened m! e!es. Ne#l! e+e#!one hd sto$$ed
$l!%n" nd ws st#%n" t me %n ho##o#. I #emo+ed m! l%$s '#om Aln's )nee nd loo)ed
#ound t m! '#%ends( wonde#%n" how to e6$l%n th%s.
Then the solut%on h%t me nd I 7um$ed u$ nd s$#ed m! #ms. 9I m the +m$%#e lo#d-9 I
!elled. 9I m the )%n" o' the unded- I w%ll suc) the &lood '#om ll o' !ou-9
The! st#ed t me %n shoc)( then lu"hed. The! thou"ht %t ws 7o)e- The! thou"ht I ws
onl! $#etend%n" to &e +m$%#e.
9You'#e nut( Shn(9 some&od! s%d.
9Tht's "#oss-9 "%#l s2ueled s '#esh &lood d#%$$ed down m! ch%n. 9You should &e
loc)ed w!-9
The &ell #n" nd %t ws t%me to #etu#n to clss. I ws 'eel%n" $lesed w%th m!sel'. I
thou"ht I'd 'ooled e+e#!&od!. But then I not%ced someone ne# the &c) o' the c#owd nd
m! 7o! 'ded. It ws Ste+e( nd h%s d#) 'ce told me he )new e6ctl! wht hd h$$ened.
1e hdn't &een 'ooled t ll. 1e5new .
IAV5IDED STEVE T1AT EVENIN/ AND#ushed st#%"ht home. I ws con'used. Wh! hd I
ttc)ed Aln: I d%dn't wnt to d#%n) n!&od!'s &lood. I hdn't &een loo)%n" 'o# +%ct%m. So
how come I'd 7um$ed on h%m l%)e w%ld n%ml: And wht %' %t h$$ened "%n: And wht
%' ne6t t%me the#e ws no&od! #ound to sto$ me nd I went on suc)%n" unt%l 8
No( tht ws c#,! thou"ht. The s%"ht o' &lood hd t)en me &! su#$#%se( tht ws ll. I
hdn't &een e6$ect%n" %t. I would le#n '#om th%s e6$e#%ence nd ne6t t%me I'd &e &le to
hold m!sel' &c).
The tste o' &lood ws st%ll %n m! mouth( so I went to the &th#oom nd wshed %t out w%th
se+e#l "lsses o' wte#( then &#ushed m! teeth.
I stud%ed m!sel' %n the m%##o#. 3! 'ce loo)ed the sme s e+e#. 3! teeth we#en't n!
lon"e# o# sh#$e#.
3! e!es nd e#s we#e the sme. I hd the sme old &od!. No e6t# muscles( no dded
he%"ht( no '#esh $tches o' h%#. The onl! +%s%&le d%''e#ence ws %n m! n%ls( wh%ch hd
h#dened nd d#)ened.
So wh! ws I ct%n" so st#n"el!:
I d#ew one o' m! n%ls lon" the "lss o' the m%##o# nd %t mde lon" dee$ sc#tch. 9I'll
h+e to &e c#e'ul o' those(9 I thou"ht to m!sel'.
3! ttc) on Aln s%de( I d%dn't $$e# to &e too &dl! o''. In 'ct( the mo#e I thou"ht
&out %t( the less d#ed'ul %t seemed. 5)!( %t would t)e lon" t%me to "#ow u$( nd I'd
h+e to &e c#e'ul %' I sw '#esh &lood. Those we#e downe#s.
But $#t '#om tht( l%'e should &e '%ne. I ws st#on"e# thn n!&od! else m! "e( 'ste#
nd '%tte#. I could &ecome s$#%nte# o# &o6e# o# socce# $l!e#. 3! "e would wo#)
"%nst me &ut %' I ws tlented enou"h( tht wouldn't mtte#.
Im"%ne0 +m$%#e socce# $l!e#- I'd m)e m%ll%ons. I'd &e on TV tl) shows( $eo$le
would w#%te &oo)s &out me( '%lm would &e mde o' m! l%'e( nd I m%"ht &e s)ed to
m)e son" w%th 'mous &nd. 3!&e I could "et wo#) %n the mo+%e &us%ness s
stuntmn 'o# othe# )%ds. 5# 8
3! thou"hts we#e %nte##u$ted &! )noc) on the doo#. 9Who %s %t: 9I s)ed.
9Ann%e(9 cme the #e$l!. 9A#e !ou '%n%shed !et: I'+e &een w%t%n" 'o#e+e# to use the
&th#oom.9
9Come %n(9 I told he#. 9I'm done.9
She ente#ed. 9Adm%#%n" !ou#sel' %n the m%##o# "%n:9 she s)ed.
95' cou#se.9 I "#%nned. 9Wh! shouldn't I:9
9I' I hd 'ce l%)e !ou#s( I'd st! w! '#om m%##o#s.9 She "%""led. She hd towel
w#$$ed #ound he#. She tu#ned on the &th 'ucets nd #n hnd unde# the wte# to m)e
su#e %t wsn't too hot. Then she st on the ed"e o' the tu& nd stud%ed me.
9You loo) st#n"e(9 she s%d.
9I don't(9 I s%d. Then( loo)%n" %n the m%##o#( I s)ed0 9Do I:9
9Yeh(9 she s%d. 9I don't )now wht %t %s( &ut the#e's someth%n" d%''e#ent &out !ou.9
9You'#e 7ust %m"%n%n" th%n"s(9 I told he#. 9I'm the sme s I lw!s ws.9
9No(9 she s%d( sh)%n" he# hed. 9You'#e de'%n%tel! 89 The tu& &e"n '%ll%n" u$( so she
sto$$ed s$e)%n" nd tu#ned s%de to tu#n o'' the 'ucets. As she ws &end%n" o+e#( m! e!es
'ocused on the cu#+e o' he# nec)( nd suddenl! m! mouth went d#!.
9As I ws s!%n"( !ou loo) 89 she &e"n( tu#n%n" &c) #ound.
She sto$$ed when she sw m! e!es.
9D##en:9 she s)ed ne#+ousl!. 9D##en( wht #e 89
I #%sed m! #%"ht hnd nd she went 2u%et. 1e# e!es w%dened nd she st#ed s%lentl! t m!
'%n"e#s s I w+ed them slowl! '#om s%de to s%de( then #ound %n smll c%#cles. I wsn't su#e
how I ws do%n" %t( &ut I ws h!$not%,%n" he#-
9Come he#e(9 I "#owled( m! +o%ce dee$e# thn no#ml. Ann%e #ose nd o&e!ed. She mo+ed
s %' slee$wl)%n"( e!es &ln)( #ms nd le"s st%''.
When she sto$$ed &e'o#e me( I t#ced the outl%ne o' he# nec) w%th m! '%n"e#s. I ws
&#eth%n" he+%l! nd see%n" he# s thou"h th#ou"h m%st! cloud. 3! ton"ue slowl! l%c)ed
#ound m! l%$s nd m! &ell! #um&led. The &th#oom 'elt s hot s 'u#nce( nd I could
see &eds o' swet #oll%n" down Ann%e's 'ce.
I wl)ed #ound the &c) o' he#( m! hnds ne+e# le+%n" he# 'lesh. I could 'eel the +e%ns
th#o&&%n" s I st#o)ed them( nd when I $#essed down on one ne# the &ottom o' he# nec)( I
could see %t stnd%n" out( &lue nd &eut%'ul( &e""%n" to &e #%$$ed o$en nd suc)ed d#!.
I &#ed m! teeth nd lened 'o#w#d( 7ws w%de o$en.
At the lst moment( s m! l%$s touched he# nec)( I cu"ht s%"ht o' m! #e'lect%on %n the
m%##o#( nd thn)'ull! tht ws enou"h to m)e me $use.
The 'ce %n the m%##o# ws tw%sted( un'm%l%# ms)( 'ull o' #ed e!es( sh#$ w#%n)les( nd
+%c%ous "#%n. I l%'ted m! hed 'o# close# loo). It ws me &ut t the sme t%me %t wsn't. It
ws l%)e the#e we#e two $eo$le sh#%n" one &od!( no#ml humn &o! nd s+"e n%ml
o' the n%"ht.
As I st#ed( the u"l! 'ce 'ded nd the u#"e to d#%n) &lood $ssed. I ",ed t Ann%e(
ho##%'%ed. I'd &een &out to6ite he#- I would h+e4ed on m! own s%ste#-
I 'ell w! '#om he# w%th c#! nd co+e#ed m! 'ce w%th m! hnds( '#%d o' the m%##o#
nd wht I m%"ht see. Ann%e st""e#ed &c)w#d( then loo)ed #ound the &th#oom %n
d,ed )%nd o' w!.
9Wht's "o%n" on:9 she s)ed. 9I 'eel we%#d. I cme %n 'o# &th( d%dn't I: Is %t #ed!:9
9Yes(9 I s%d so'tl!. 9It's #ed!.9
I ws #ed!( too. Red! to &ecome +m$%#e-
9I'll le+e !ou lone(9 I s%d( nd let m!sel' out.
I 'ell "%nst the wll %n the hll( whe#e I s$ent cou$le o' m%nutes t)%n" dee$ &#eths nd
t#!%n" to clm down.
It couldn't &e cont#olled. The th%#st 'o# &lood ws someth%n" I wouldn't &e &le to &et. I
d%dn't e+en h+e to see s$%lled &lood now. >ust th%n)%n" o' %t hd &een enou"h to &#%n" out
the monste# %n me.
I stum&led to m! #oom nd coll$sed u$on m! &ed. I c#%ed s I l! the#e( &ecuse I )new
m! l%'e s humn hd come to n end. I could no lon"e# l%+e s $l%n old D##en Shn.
The +m$%#e %n me could not &e cont#olled. Soone# o# lte# %t would m)e me do someth%n"
te##%&le nd I would end u$ )%ll%n" 3om o# Dd o# Ann%e.
I couldn't let tht h$$en. Iwouldn3t . 3! l%'e ws no lon"e# %m$o#tnt( &ut those o' m!
'#%ends nd 'm%l! we#e. Fo# the%# s)es( I would h+e to t#+el '# w!( to $lce whe#e I
could do no h#m.
I w%ted 'o# d#) to 'll( then let m!sel' out. No hn"%n" #ound th%s t%me unt%l m! $#ents
'ell slee$. I d%dn't d#e( &ecuse I )new one o' them would come to m! #oom &e'o#e "o%n"
to &ed. I could $%ctu#e %t( 3om &end%n" o+e# to )%ss me "oodn%"ht( "ett%n" the shoc) o' he#
l%'e s I &%t %nto he# nec).
I d%dn't le+e note o# t)e n!th%n" w%th me. I wsn't &le to th%n) &out such th%n"s. All I
)new ws( I hd to "et out( the soone# the &ette#. An!th%n" tht del!ed m! e6%t ws &d.
I wl)ed 2u%c)l! nd ws soon t the thete#. It no lon"e# loo)ed sc#!. I ws used to %t.
Bes%des( +m$%#es h+e noth%n" to 'e# '#om d#)( hunted &u%ld%n"s.
3#. C#e$sle! ws w%t%n" 'o# me %ns%de the '#ont doo#.
9I he#d !ou com%n"(9 he s%d. 9You lsted lon"e# %n the wo#ld o' humns thn I thou"ht.9
9I suc)ed &lood '#om one o' m! &est '#%ends(9 I told h%m. 9And I lmost &%t m! !oun"e#
s%ste#.9
9You esc$ed l%"htl!(9 he s%d. 93n! +m$%#es )%ll someone close to them &e'o#e
#el%,%n" the! #e doomed.9
9The#e's no w! &c)( %s the#e:9 I s)ed sdl!. 9No m"%c $ot%on to m)e me humn "%n
o# )ee$ me '#om ttc)%n" $eo$le:9
9The onl! th%n" tht cn sto$ !ou now(9 he s%d( 9%s the "ood old st)e th#ou"h the he#t.9
9Ve#! well(9 I s%"hed. 9I don't l%)e %t( &ut I "uess I'+e "ot no othe# cho%ce. I'm !ou#s. I won't
#un w! "%n. Do w%th me s !ou w%sh.9
1e nodded slowl!. 9You $#o&&l! w%ll not &el%e+e th%s(9 he s%d( 9&ut I )now wht !ou #e
"o%n" th#ou"h nd I 'eel so##! 'o# !ou.9 1e shoo) h%s hed. 9But tht %s ne%the# he#e no#
the#e. We h+e wo#) to do nd cnnot ''o#d to wste t%me. Come( D##en Shn(9 he s%d(
t)%n" m! hnd. 9We h+e much to do &e'o#e !ou cn ssume !ou# #%"ht'ul $lce s m!
ss%stnt.9
9L%)e wht:9 I s)ed( con'used.
9F%#st o' ll(9 he s%d( w%th sl! sm%le( 9we h+e to5ill you -9
I SPENT 3Y LAST WEE@END SAYIN/ s%lent "ood*&!es. I +%s%ted e+e#! one o' m! '+o#%te
s$ots0 l%&##!( sw%mm%n" $ool( c%nem( $#)s( socce# '%eld. I went to some o' the $lces
w%th 3om o# Dd( some w%th Aln 3o##%s o# Tomm! >ones. I would h+e l%)ed to s$end
t%me w%th Ste+e &ut couldn't &e# to 'ce h%m.
I "ot the 'eel%n"( e+e#! so o'ten( tht I ws &e%n" 'ollowed( nd the h%#s on the &c) o' m!
nec) stood on end. But whene+e# I tu#ned to loo)( no&od! ws the#e( E+entull! I $ut %t
down to ne#+es nd %"no#ed %t.
I t#eted e+e#! m%nute w%th m! 'm%l! nd '#%ends s %' %t ws s$ec%l. I $%d close ttent%on
to the%# 'ces nd +o%ces( so I would ne+e# 'o#"et. I )new I'd ne+e# see these $eo$le "%n
nd tht to#e me $#t %ns%de( &ut %t ws the w! %t hd to &e. The#e ws no "o%n" &c).
The! could do noth%n" w#on" tht wee)end. 3om's )%sses d%dn't em&##ss me( Dd's
o#de#s d%dn't &othe# me( Aln's stu$%d 7o)es d%dn't nno! me.
I s$ent mo#e t%me w%th Ann%e thn w%th n!&od! else. I ws "o%n" to m%ss he# the most. I
"+e he# $%""!&c) #%des nd swun" he# #ound &! the #ms nd too) he# to the socce# '%eld
w%th me nd Tomm!. I e+en $l!ed w%th he# dolls-
Somet%mes I 'elt l%)e c#!%n". I'd loo) t 3om o# Dd o# Ann%e nd #el%,e how much I
lo+ed them( how em$t! m! l%'e would &e w%thout them. I hd to tu#n s%de t moments l%)e
tht nd t)e lon"( dee$ &#eths. A cou$le o' t%mes tht d%dn't wo#) nd I #ushed w! to
c#! %n $#%+te.
I th%n) the! "uessed someth%n" ws w#on". 3om cme %nto m! #oom tht Stu#d! n%"ht
nd st!ed 'o# lon" t%me( tuc)%n" me %nto &ed( tell%n" me sto#%es( l%sten%n" to me tl). It
hd &een !e#s s%nce we'd s$ent t%me to"ethe# l%)e tht. I 'elt so##!( 'te# she'd "one( tht we
hdn't hd mo#e n%"hts l%)e th%s.
In the mo#n%n"( Dd s)ed %' the#e ws n!th%n" I wnted to d%scuss w%th h%m. 1e s%d I
ws "#ow%n" !oun" mn nd would &e "o%n" th#ou"h lots o' chn"es( nd he'd unde#stnd
%' I hd mood sw%n"s o# wnted to "o o'' &! m!sel'. But he would lw!s &e the#e 'o# me
to tl) to.
9#ou3ll&e the#e( &ut% won't &e-9 I 'elt l%)e c#!%n"( &ut I )e$t 2u%et( nodded m! hed( nd
thn)ed h%m.
I &eh+ed s $e#'ectl! s $oss%&le. I wnted to le+e '%ne '%nl %m$#ess%on( so the! would
#emem&e# me s "ood son( "ood &#othe#( "ood '#%end. I d%dn't wnt n!&od! th%n)%n"
&dl! o' me when I ws "one.
Dd ws "o%n" to t)e us out to #estu#nt 'o# d%nne# tht Sund!( &ut I s)ed %' we could
st! home to et. Th%s would &e m! lst mel w%th them nd I wnted %t to &e s$ec%l. When
I ws loo)%n" &c) on %t %n lte# !e#s( I wnted to &e &le to #emem&e# us to"ethe#( t
home( h$$! 'm%l!.
3om coo)ed m! '+o#%te 'ood0 ch%c)en( #ost $ottoes( co#n on the co&. Ann%e nd me hd
'#eshl! s2uee,ed o#n"e 7u%ce to d#%n). 3om nd Dd sh#ed &ottle o' w%ne. We hd
st#w&e##! cheesec)e 'o# desse#t. E+e#!&od! ws %n "ood mood. We sn" son"s. Dd
c#c)ed te##%&le 7o)es. 3om $l!ed tune w%th $%# o' s$oons. Ann%e #ec%ted 'ew
$oems. E+e#!&od! 7o%ned %n 'o# "me o' ch#des.
It ws d! I w%shed would ne+e# end. But( o' cou#se( ll d!s must( nd '%nll!( s %t
lw!s does( the sun d#o$$ed nd the d#)ness o' n%"ht c#e$t c#oss the s)!.
Dd loo)ed u$ 'te# wh%le( then t h%s wtch. 9T%me 'o# &ed(9 he s%d. 9You two h+e
school %n the mo#n%n".9
9No(9 I thou"ht( 9I don't. I don't h+e school e+e# "%n.9 Tht should h+e chee#ed me u$
&ut ll I could th%n) ws0 9No school mens no 3#. Dlton( no '#%ends( no socce#( no school
t#%$s.9
I del!ed "o%n" to &ed s lon" s I could. I s$ent 'o#e+e# t)%n" o'' m! clothes nd $utt%n"
on m! $7ms? lon"e# st%ll wsh%n" m! hnds nd 'ce nd &#ush%n" m! teeth. Then( when
%t could &e +o%ded no lon"e#( I went downst%#s to the l%+%n" #oom( whe#e 3om nd Dd
we#e tl)%n". The! loo)ed u$( su#$#%sed to see me.
9A#e !ou ll #%"ht( D##en:9 3om s)ed.
9I'm '%ne(9 I s%d.
9You'#e not 'eel%n" s%c):9
9I'm '%ne(9 I ssu#ed he#. 9I 7ust wnted to s! "ood n%"ht.9 I $ut m! #ms #ound Dd( then
)%ssed h%m on the chee). Ne6t I d%d the sme w%th 3om. 9/ood n%"ht(9 I s%d to ech.
9Th%s %s one 'o# the &oo)s.9 Dd lu"hed( #u&&%n" h%s chee) whe#e I hd )%ssed h%m. 91ow
lon" s%nce he )%ssed the two o' us "ood n%"ht( An"%e:9
9Too lon".9 3om sm%led( $tt%n" m! hed.
9I lo+e !ou(9 I told them. 9I )now I h+en't s%d %t +e#! o'ten( &ut I do. I lo+e the &oth o'
!ou nd lw!s w%ll.9
9We lo+e !ou( too(9 3om s%d. 9Don't we( De#mot:9
95' cou#se we do(9 Dd s%d.
9Well(tell h%m(9 she %ns%sted.
Dd s%"hed. 9I lo+e !ou( D##en(9 he s%d( #oll%n" h%s e!es %n w! he )new would m)e
me lu"h. Then he "+e me hu". 9Rell! I do(9 he s%d( se#%ous th%s t%me.
I le't them then. I stood outs%de the doo# wh%le( l%sten%n" to them tl)( #eluctnt to de$#t.
9Wht do !ou th%n) &#ou"ht tht on:9 3om s)ed.
9@%ds(9 Dd sno#ted. 9Who )nows how the%# m%nds wo#):9
9The#e's someth%n" u$(9 3om s%d. 91e's &een ct%n" oddl! 'o# some t%me now.9
93!&e he's "ot "%#l'#%end(9 Dd su""ested.
93!&e(9 3om s%d( &ut d%dn't sound con+%nced.
I'd l%n"e#ed lon" enou"h. I ws '#%d tht %' I w%ted n! lon"e#( I m%"ht #ush %nto the
#oom nd tell them wht ws #ell! the mtte#. I' I d%d( the!'d sto$ me '#om "o%n" hed
w%th 3#. C#e$sle!'s $ln. The!'d s! tht +m$%#es we#en't #el nd '%"ht to )ee$ me w%th
them( %n s$%te o' the dn"e#.
I thou"ht o' Ann%e nd how close I'd come to &%t%n" he#( nd )new I must not let them sto$
me.
I t#ud"ed u$st%#s to m! #oom. It ws w#m n%"ht nd the w%ndow ws o$en. Tht ws
%m$o#tnt.
3#. C#e$sle! ws w%t%n" %n the closet. 1e eme#"ed when he he#d me clos%n" the doo#. 9It
%s stu''! %n the#e(9 he com$l%ned. 9I 'eel so##! 'o# 3dm 5ct( h+%n" hd to s$end so
much t%me %n 89
9Shut u$(9 I told h%m.
9No need to &e #ude(9 he sn%''ed. 9I ws me#el! m)%n" comment.9
9Well( don't(9 I s%d. 9You m%"ht not th%n) much o' th%s $lce &ut I do. Th%s hs &een m!
home( m! #oom( m! closet( e+e# s%nce I cn #emem&e#. And I'm ne+e# "o%n" to see %t "%n
'te# ton%"ht. Th%s %s m! lst l%ttle wh%le he#e. So don't &d*mouth %t( ll #%"ht:9
9I m so##!(9 he s%d.
I too) one lon" lst loo) #ound the #oom( then s%"hed unh$$%l!. I $ulled &" out '#om
unde#neth the &ed nd hnded %t to 3#. C#e$sle!. 9Wht %s th%s:9 he s)ed sus$%c%ousl!.
9Some $e#sonl stu''(9 I told h%m. 93! d%#!. A $%ctu#e o' m! 'm%l!. A cou$le o' othe#
th%n"s. Noth%n" tht w%ll &e m%ssed. W%ll !ou wtch %t 'o# me:9
9Yes(9 he s%d.
9But onl! %' !ou $#om%se not to loo) th#ou"h %t(9 I s%d.
9Vm$%#es h+e no sec#ets '#om ech othe#(9 he s%d. But( when he sw m! 'ce( he
sh#u""ed. 9I w%ll not o$en %t(9 he $#om%sed.
9All #%"ht(9 I s%d( t)%n" dee$ &#eth. 9Do !ou h+e the $ot%on:9 1e nodded nd hnded
o+e# smll d#) &ottle. I loo)ed %ns%de. The l%2u%d ws d#) nd th%c) nd 'oul*smell%n".
3#. C#e$sle! mo+ed &eh%nd me nd l%d h%s hnds on m! nec).
9You'#e su#e th%s w%ll wo#):9 I s)ed ne#+ousl!.
9T#ust me(9 he s%d.
9I lw!s thou"ht &#o)en nec) ment $eo$le couldn't wl) o# mo+e(9 I s%d.
9No(9 he #e$l%ed. 9The &ones o' the nec) do not mtte#. P#l!s%s onl! h$$ens %' the s$%nl
co#d lon" ne#+e #unn%n" down the m%ddle o' the nec) &#e)s. I w%ll &e c#e'ul not to
dm"e %t.9
9Won't the docto#s th%n) %t's st#n"e:9 I s)ed.
9The! w%ll not chec)(9 he s%d. 9The $ot%on w%ll slow !ou# he#t down so much( the! w%ll
&e su#e !ou #e ded. The! w%ll '%nd the &#o)en nec) nd $ut two nd two to"ethe#. I' !ou
we#e olde#( the! m%"ht "o hed w%th n uto$s!. But no docto# l%)es cutt%n" ch%ld o$en.
9Now( #e !ou totll! cle# on wht %s "o%n" to h$$en nd how !ou must ct:9 he s)ed.
9Yes(9 I s%d.
9The#e must &e no m%st)es(9 he w#ned. 9I' !ou m)e 7ust one sl%$ ou# $lns w%ll 'll
$#t.9
9I'm not 'ool- I )now wht to do-9 I sn$$ed.
9Then do %t(9 he s%d.
So I d%d.
W%th one n"#! "estu#e( I swllowed the contents o' the &ottle. I "#%mced t the tste( then
shudde#ed s m! &od! st#ted to st%''en. The#e wsn't much $%n &ut n %c! 'eel%n" s$#ed
th#ou"h m! &ones nd +e%ns. 3! teeth &e"n to chtte#.
It too) &out ten m%nutes 'o# the $o%son to wo#) %ts dedl! ch#ms. At the end o' tht t%me I
couldn't mo+e n! o' m! l%m&s( m! lun"s we#en't wo#)%n" ;well( the! we#e( &ut +e#!( +e#!
slowl!<( nd m! he#t hd sto$$ed ;"%n( not 'ull!( &ut enou"h 'o# %ts &et to &e
undetect&le<.
9I m "o%n" to sn$ the nec) now(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d( nd I he#d 2u%c) cl%c)%n" sound
s he 7e#)ed m! hed to one s%de. I couldn't 'eel n!th%n"0 m! senses we#e ded. 9The#e(9 he
s%d. 9Tht should do %t. Now I m "o%n" to th#ow !ou out o' the w%ndow.9
1e c##%ed me o+e# nd stood the#e moment w%th me( &#eth%n" %n the n%"ht %#.
9I h+e to th#ow !ou h#d enou"h to m)e %t loo) "enu%ne(9 he s%d. 9You m%"ht &#e)
some &ones %n the 'll. The! w%ll st#t hu#t%n" when the $ot%on we#s o'' 'te# 'ew d!s
&ut I w%ll '%6 them u$ lte# on.
91e#e we "o-9
1e $%c)ed me u$( $used moment( then hu#led me out nd down.
I 'ell 2u%c)l!( the house wh%,,%n" $st %n &lu#( nd lnded he+%l! on m! &c). 3! e!es
we#e o$en nd I 'ound m!sel' st#%n" t d#%n t the 'oot o' the house.
Fo# wh%le m! &od! went undetected( so I l! the#e( l%sten%n" to the sounds o' the n%"ht. In
the end( $ss%n" ne%"h&o# s$otted me nd %n+est%"ted. I couldn't see h%s 'ce &ut I he#d
h%s "s$ when he tu#ned me o+e# nd sw m! l%'eless &od!.
1e #ushed st#%"ht #ound to the '#ont o' the house nd $ounded on the doo#. I could he#
h%s +o%ce s he shouted 'o# m! mothe# nd 'the#. Then the%# +o%ces s he led them #ound
&c). The! thou"ht he ws $ull%n" the%# le" o# hd &een m%st)en. 3! 'the# ws m#ch%n"
n"#%l! nd mutte#%n" to h%msel'.
The 'ootste$s sto$$ed when the! #ounded the &end nd sw me. Fo# lon"( te##%&le
moment the#e ws com$lete s%lence. Then Dd nd 3om #ushed 'o#w#d nd $%c)ed me u$.
9D##en-9 3om sc#emed( clutch%n" me to he# chest.
9Let "o( An"%e(9 Dd shouted( $#!%n" me '#ee nd l!%n" me down on the "#ss.
9Wht's w#on" w%th h%m( De#mot:9 3om w%led.
9I don't )now. 1e must h+e 'llen.9 Dd stood nd ",ed u$ t m! o$en &ed#oom w%ndow.
I could see h%s hnds 'le6%n" %nto '%sts.
91e's not mo+%n"(9 3om s%d clml!( then "#&&ed me nd shoo) me '%e#cel!. 91e's not
mo+%n"-9 she sc#emed. 91e's not mo+%n". 1e's 89
Dd once "%n esed he# hnds w!. 1e &ec)oned ou# ne%"h&o# o+e# nd hnded 3om to
h%m. 9T)e he# %ns%de(9 he s%d so'tl!. 9Cll 'o# n m&ulnce. I'll st! he#e nd loo) 'te#
D##en.9
9Is he 8 ded:9 ou# ne%"h&o# s)ed. 3om moned loudl! when he s%d %t nd &u#%ed he#
'ce %n he# hnds.
Dd shoo) h%s hed so'tl!. 9No(9 he s%d( "%+%n" 3om's shoulde# l%"ht s2uee,e. 91e's 7ust
$#l!,ed( l%)e h%s '#%end ws.9
3om lowe#ed he# hnds. 9L%)e Ste+e:9 she s)ed hl'*ho$e'ull!.
9Yes.9 Dd sm%led. 9And he'll sn$ out o' %t l%)e Ste+e. Now "o cll 'o# hel$( o)!:9
3om nodded( then hu##%ed w! w%th ou# ne%"h&o#. Dd held h%s sm%le unt%l she ws out o'
s%"ht( then &ent o+e# me( chec)ed m! e!es( nd 'elt m! w#%st 'o# $ulse. When he 'ound no
s%"n o' l%'e( he l%d me &c) down( &#ushed loc) o' h%# out o' m! e!es( then d%d
someth%n" I'd ne+e# e6$ected to see.
1e st#ted to c#!.
And tht ws how I cme to ente# new( m%se#&le $hse o' m! l%'e( nmel!death .
IT DIDN'T TA@E T1E D5CT5RSlon" to $#onounce the%# +e#d%ct. The! couldn't '%nd n!
&#eth o# $ulse o# mo+ement. It ws n o$en*nd*shut cse s '# s the! we#e conce#ned.
The wo#st th%n" ws )now%n" wht ws "o%n" on #ound me. I w%shed tht I'd s)ed 3#.
C#e$sle! to "%+e me nothe# $ot%on( wh%ch could h+e $ut me to slee$. It ws te##%&le(
he#%n" 3om nd Dd c#!%n"( Ann%e sc#em%n" 'o# me to come &c).
F#%ends o' the 'm%l! &e"n ##%+%n" 'te# cou$le o' hou#s( the cue 'o# mo#e so&&%n" nd
mons.
I'd h+e lo+ed to +o%d th%s. I would h+e #the# #un w! w%th 3#. C#e$sle! %n the m%ddle
o' the n%"ht( &ut he'd told me tht wsn't $oss%&le.
9I' !ou #un w!(9 he'd s%d( 9the! would 'ollow. The#e would &e $oste#s u$ e+e#!whe#e(
$%ctu#es %n the $$e#s nd w%th the $ol%ce. We would )now no $ece.9
F)%n" m! deth ws the onl! w!. I' the! thou"ht I ws ded( I'd &e '#ee. No&od! comes
se#ch%n" 'o# ded $e#son.
Now( s I he#d the sdness( I cu#sed &oth 3#. C#e$sle! nd m!sel'. I shouldn't h+e done
%t. I shouldn't h+e $ut them th#ou"h th%s.
St%ll( loo)%n" on the &#%"ht s%de( t lest th%s would &e the end o' %t. The! we#e sd( nd
would &e 'o# some t%me( &ut the! would "et o+e# %t e+entull! ;I ho$ed<. I' I'd #un w!( the
m%se#! could h+e lsted 'o#e+e#0 the! m%"ht h+e l%+ed the #est o' the%# l%+es ho$%n" I'd
come &c)( se#ch%n"( &el%e+%n" I would one d! #etu#n.
The unde#t)e# ##%+ed nd cle#ed the #oom o' +%s%to#s. 1e nd nu#se und#essed me nd
e6m%ned m! &od!. Some o' m! senses we#e #etu#n%n" nd I could 'eel h%s cold hnds
$#odd%n" nd $o)%n" me.
91e's %n e6cellent cond%t%on(9 he s%d so'tl! to the nu#se. 9F%#m( '#esh( nd unm#)ed. I'll
h+e +e#! l%ttle to do w%th th%s one. >ust some #ou"e to m)e h%m loo) l%ttle #edde# #ound
the chee)s.9
1e #olled u$ m! e!el%ds. 1e ws chu&&!( h$$!*loo)%n" mn. I ws '#%d he'd s$ot l%'e
%n m! e!es &ut he d%dn't. All he d%d ws #oll m! hed "entl! '#om s%de to s%de( wh%ch mde
the &#o)en &ones %n m! nec) c#e).
9So '#"%le c#etu#e %s mn(9 he s%"hed( then went hed w%th the #est o' the e6m%nt%on.
The! too) me &c) home tht n%"ht nd l%d me %n the l%+%n" #oom on lon" t&le w%th
l#"e cloth s$#ed c#oss %t( so $eo$le could come nd s! "ood&!e.
It ws we%#d( he#%n" ll those $eo$le d%scuss%n" me s thou"h I we#en't the#e( tl)%n"
&out m! l%'e nd wht I'd &een l%)e s &&! nd how '%ne &o! I ws nd wht "ood
mn I would h+e "#own u$ to &e %' I'd l%+ed.
Wht shoc) the!'d h+e "otten %' I le$ed u$ nd shouted0 9Boo-9
T%me d#""ed. I don't th%n) I cn e6$l%n how &o#%n" %t ws to l%e st%ll 'o# hou#s on end(
un&le to mo+e o# lu"h o# sc#tch m! nose. I couldn't e+en st#e t the ce%l%n" &ecuse m!
e!es we#e shut-
I hd to &e c#e'ul s 'eel%n"s #etu#ned to m! &od!. 3#. C#e$sle! hd told me th%s would
h$$en( tht t%n"les nd %tches would st#t( lon" &e'o#e I 'ull! #eco+e#ed. I couldn't mo+e(
&ut %' I'd mde #el e''o#t( I could h+e tw%tched l%ttle( wh%ch m%"ht h+e "%+en me w!.
The %tches ne#l! d#o+e me c#,!. I t#%ed %"no#%n" them &ut %t ws %m$oss%&le. The! we#e
e+e#!whe#e( scm$e#%n" u$ nd down m! &od! l%)e t%n! s$%de#s. The! we#e wo#st #ound
m! hed nd nec)( whe#e the &ones hd sn$$ed.
Peo$le '%nll! &e"n le+%n". It must h+e &een lte( &ecuse soon the #oom ws em$t! nd
totll! s%lent. I l! the#e &! m!sel' 'o# t%me( en7o!%n" the 2u%et.
And then I he#d no%se.
The doo# to the #oom ws o$en%n"( +e#! slowl! nd +e#! 2u%etl!.
Footste$s c#ossed the #oom nd sto$$ed &! the t&le. 3! %ns%des went cold( nd %t wsn't
&ecuse o' the $ot%on. Who ws he#e: Fo# moment I thou"ht %t m%"ht &e 3#. C#e$sle! &ut
he hd no #eson to come c#ee$%n" %nto the house. We we#e set to meet t lte# dte.
Whoe+e# %t ws( he o# she ws )ee$%n" +e#! 2u%et. Fo# cou$le o' m%nutes the#e ws no
sound t ll.
Then I 'elt hnds on m! 'ce.
1e #%sed m! e!el%ds nd sh%ned smll 'lshl%"ht onto m! $u$%ls. The #oom ws too d#)
'o# me to see who he ws. 1e "#unted( lowe#ed the l%ds( then $#%ed o$en m! mouth nd l%d
someth%n" on m! ton"ue0 %t 'elt l%)e $%ece o' th%n $$e# &ut %t hd st#n"e( &%tte# tste.
A'te# #emo+%n" the o&7ect '#om m! mouth( he $%c)ed u$ m! hnds nd e6m%ned the
'%n"e#t%$s. Ne6t the#e ws the sound o' cme# t)%n" $hotos.
F%nll! he stuc) sh#$ o&7ect %t 'elt l%)e needle %nto me. 1e ws c#e'ul not to $#%c) me
%n $lces whe#e I would &leed( nd st!ed w! '#om m! +%tl o#"ns. 3! senses hd
$#t%ll! #etu#ned( &ut not 'ull!( so the needle d%dn't cuse much $%n.
A'te# tht( he le't. I he#d h%s 'ootste$s c#oss%n" the #oom( s 2u%etl! s &e'o#e( then the
doo# o$en%n" nd clos%n"( nd tht ws tht. The +%s%to#( whoe+e# %t hd &een( ws "one(
le+%n" me $u,,led nd l%ttle &%t sc#ed.
E#l! the ne6t mo#n%n"( Dd cme %n nd st w%th me. 1e s$o)e 'o# lon" t%me( tell%n" me
ll the th%n"s he'd hd $lnned 'o# me( the colle"e I would h+e "one to( the 7o& he'd
wnted 'o# me. 1e c#%ed lot.
Tow#d the end( 3om cme %n nd st w%th h%m. The! c#%ed on ech othe#'s shoulde#s nd
t#%ed to com'o#t themsel+es. The! s%d the! st%ll hd Ann%e nd could m!&e h+e nothe#
ch%ld o# do$t one. At lest %t hd &een 2u%c) nd I hdn't &een %n $%n. And the! would
lw!s h+e the%# memo#%es.
I hted &e%n" the cuse o' so much hu#t. I would h+e "%+en n!th%n" %n the wo#ld to s$#e
them th%s.
The#e ws lot o' ct%+%t! lte# tht d!. A co''%n ws &#ou"ht %n nd I ws l%d %ns%de. A
$#%est cme nd st w%th the 'm%l! nd the%# '#%ends. Peo$le st#emed %n nd out o' the
#oom.
I he#d Ann%e c#!%n"( &e""%n" me to sto$ 'ool%n" nd s%t u$. It would h+e &een much
es%e# %' the!'d t)en he# w!( &ut I "uess the! d%dn't wnt he# to "#ow u$ 'eel%n" the!'d
#o&&ed he# o' he# chnce to s! "ood*&!e to he# &#othe#.
F%nll!( the l%d ws $lced on the co''%n nd sc#ewed %nto $lce. I ws l%'ted o'' the t&le
nd led out to the he#se. We d#o+e slowl! to chu#ch( whe#e I couldn't he# much o' wht
ws &e%n" s%d. Then( w%th 3ss out o' the w!( the! c##%ed me to the "#+e!#d( whe#e I
could he# e+e#! wo#d o' the $#%est's s$eech nd the so&s nd mons o' the mou#ne#s.
And then the! &u#%ed me.
ALL S5.NDS FADED AWAY ASthe! lowe#ed me down the d#)( dn) hole. The#e ws 7olt
when the co''%n h%t &ottom( then the #%nl%)e sound o' the '%#st hnd*'uls o' so%l &e%n" tossed
u$on the l%d.
The#e ws lon" s%lence 'te# tht( unt%l the "#+e d%""e#s &e"n sho+el%n" the e#th &c)
%nto the "#+e.
The '%#st 'ew sho+el'uls 'ell l%)e &#%c)s. The he+! dull thuds shoo) the co''%n. As the
"#+e '%lled nd e#th $%led u$ &etween me nd the to$s%de wo#ld( the sounds o' the l%+%n"
"#ew so'te#( unt%l '%nll! the! we#e onl! '#w! mu''les.
At the end the#e we#e '%nt $ound%n" no%ses( s the! $tted the mound o' e#th 'lt.
And then com$lete s%lence.
I l! %n the 2u%et d#)ness( l%sten%n" to the e#th settle( %m"%n%n" the sound o' wo#ms
c#wl%n" tow#d me th#ou"h the d%#t. I'd thou"ht %t would &e sc#! &ut %t ws ctull! 2u%te
$ece'ul. I 'elt s'e down he#e( $#otected '#om the wo#ld.
I s$ent the t%me th%n)%n" &out the lst 'ew wee)s( the 'l!e# 'o# the '#e) show( the st#n"e
'o#ce tht hd mde me close m! e!es nd #ech &l%ndl! 'o# the t%c)et( m! '%#st "l%m$se o'
the d#) thete#( the cool &lcon! whe#e I hd wtched Ste+e tl)%n" w%th 3#. C#e$sle!.
The#e we#e so mn! %m$o#tnt moments. I' I'd m%ssed the t%c)et( I wouldn't &e he#e. I' I
hdn't "one to the show( I wouldn't &e he#e. I' I hdn't stuc) #ound to see wht Ste+e ws
u$ to( I wouldn't &e he#e. I' I hdn't stolen 3dm 5ct( I wouldn't &e he#e. I' I'd s%d no to
3#. C#e$sle!'s o''e#( I wouldn't &e he#e.
A wo#ld o' 9%'s(9 &ut %t mde no d%''e#ence. Wht ws done ws done. I' I could "o &c) %n
t%me 8
But I couldn't. The $st ws &eh%nd me. The &est th%n" now would &e to sto$ loo)%n" o+e#
m! shoulde#. It ws t%me to 'o#"et the $st nd loo) to the $#esent nd 'utu#e.
As the hou#s $ssed( mo+ement #etu#ned. It cme to m! '%n"e#s '%#st( wh%ch cu#led %nto
'%sts( then sl%$$ed '#om m! chest( whe#e the! hd &een c#ossed &! the unde#t)e#. I 'le6ed
them se+e#l t%mes( slowl!( wo#)%n" the %tches out o' m! $lms.
3! e!es o$ened ne6t &ut tht wsn't much "ood. 5$en o# closed( %t ws ll the sme down
he#e0 $e#'ect d#)ness.
The 'eel%n"s &#ou"ht $%n. 3! &c) ched '#om whe#e I'd 'llen out o' the w%ndow. 3!
lun"s( nd he#t h+%n" &een out o' the h&%t o' &et%n" hu#t. 3! le"s we#e c#m$ed( m!
nec) ws st%''. The onl! $#t o' me tht esc$ed the $%n ws m! #%"ht &%" toe-
It ws when I st#ted &#eth%n" tht I &e"n to wo##! &out the %# %n the co''%n. 3#.
C#e$sle! hd s%d I could su#+%+e 'o# u$ to wee) %n m! com*l%)e stte. I d%dn't need to
et o# use the to%let o# &#ethe. But now tht m! &#eth ws &c)( I &ecme w#e o' the
smll mount o' %# nd how 2u%c)l! I ws us%n" %t u$.
I d%dn't $n%c. Pn%c would m)e me "s$ nd use mo#e %#. I #em%ned clm nd &#ethed
so'tl!. L! s st%ll s I could0 mo+ement m)es !ou &#ethe mo#e.
I hd no w! o' )now%n" the t%me. I t#%ed count%n" %ns%de m! hed &ut )e$t los%n" t#c) o'
the num&e#s nd h+%n" to "o &c) nd st#t o+e#.
I sn" s%lent son"s to m!sel' nd told sto#%es &eneth m! &#eth. I w%shed the!'d &u#%ed me
w%th TV o# #d%o( &ut I "uess the#e's not much cll 'o# such %tems mon" the ded.
F%nll!( 'te# wht seemed l%)e se+e#l centu#%es stc)ed one on to$ o' the othe#( the sounds
o' d%""%n" #eched m! e#s.
1e du" 2u%c)e# thn n! humn( so 'st %t seemed he wsn't d%""%n" t ll( &ut #the#
suc)%n" the so%l out. 1e #eched me %n wht must h+e &een #eco#d t%me( less thn '%'teen
m%nutes. As '# s I ws conce#ned( %t wsn't moment too soon.
1e )noc)ed th#ee t%mes on the co''%n l%d( then st#ted unsc#ew%n" %t. It too) cou$le o'
m%nutes( then he th#ew the l%d w%de o$en nd I 'ound m!sel' st#%n" u$ t the most &eut%'ul
n%"ht s)! I hd e+e# seen.
I too) dee$ &#eth nd st u$( cou"h%n". It ws '%#l! d#) n%"ht &ut 'te# s$end%n" so
much t%me unde#"#ound %t seemed &#%"ht s d! to me.
9A#e !ou ll #%"ht:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed.
9I 'eel ded t%#ed.9 I "#%nned we)l!.
1e sm%led t the 7o)e. 9Stnd u$ so I cn e6m%ne !ou(9 he s%d. I w%nced s I stood0 I hd
$%ns nd needles ll o+e#. 1e #n h%s '%n"e#s l%"htl! u$ m! &c)( then o+e# m! '#ont. 9You
we#e luc)!(9 he s%d. 9No &#o)en &ones. >ust &%t o' &#u%s%n"( wh%ch w%ll d%e down 'te#
cou$le o' d!s.9
1e $ulled h%msel' u$ out o' the "#+e( then #eched down nd "+e me hnd u$. I ws
st%ll $#ett! st%'' nd so#e.
9I 'eel l%)e $%ncush%on tht's &een s2ushed(9 I com$l%ned.
9It w%ll t)e 'ew d!s 'o# the 'te#e''ects to $ss(9 he s%d. 9But do not wo##!0 !ou #e %n
"ood sh$e. We #e luc)! the! &u#%ed !ou tod!. I' the! hd w%ted nothe# d! to $ut !ou
unde#( !ou would &e 'eel%n" much wo#se.9
1e ho$$ed &c) %nto the "#+e nd closed the co''%n l%d. When he eme#"ed( he $%c)ed u$
h%s sho+el nd &e"n toss%n" the e#th &c) %n.
9Do !ou wnt me to hel$:9 I s)ed.
9No(9 he s%d. 9You would slow me down. /o 'o# st#oll nd wl) some o' the st%''ness
out o' !ou# &ones. I w%ll cll when I m #ed! to mo+e on.9
9D%d !ou &#%n" m! &":9 I s)ed.
1e nodded t ne#&! hedstone( '#om wh%ch the &" ws hn"%n".
I "ot the &" nd chec)ed to see %' he'd se#ched %t. The#e ws no s%"n o' h%s h+%n"
%n+ded m! $#%+c!( &ut I couldn't tell 'o# su#e. I'd 7ust h+e to t)e h%m t h%s wo#d.
An!w!( %t d%dn't mtte# much0 the#e ws noth%n" %n m! d%#! he d%dn't l#ed! )now.
I went 'o# wl) mon" the "#+es( test%n" m! l%m&s( sh)%n" m! le"s nd #ms( en7o!%n"
%t. An! 'eel%n"( e+en $%ns nd needles( ws &ette# thn none t ll.
3! e!es we#e st#on"e# thn e+e# &e'o#e. I ws &le to #ed nmes nd dtes on hedstones
'#om se+e#l !#ds w!. It ws the +m$%#e &lood %n me. A'te# ll( d%dn't +m$%#es s$end
the%# whole l%+es %n the d#): I )new I ws onl! hl'*+m$%#e( &ut ll the suddenl!( s I
ws th%n)%n" &out m! new $owe#s( hnd #eched out '#om &eh%nd one o' the "#+es(
w#$$ed %tsel' #ound m! mouth( then d#""ed me down to the "#ound nd out o' s%"ht o'
3#. C#e$sle!-
I shoo) m! hed nd o$ened m! mouth to sc#em( &ut then sw someth%n" tht sto$$ed me
ded %n m! t#c)s. 3! ttc)e#( whoe+e# he ws( hd hmme# nd l#"e wooden st)e(
the t%$ o' wh%ch ws $o%nt%n"directly at my heart -
IF Y5. 35VE EVEN A'#ct%on(9 m! ttc)e# w#ned( 9I'll d#%+e th%s #%"ht th#ou"h !ou
w%thout &l%n)%n"-9
The ch%ll%n" wo#ds d%dn't h+e hl' s much %m$ct on me s the 'm%l%# +o%ce tht utte#ed
them.
9*teve-9 I "s$ed( "lnc%n" u$ '#om the t%$ o' the st)e to '%nd h%s 'ce. It ws h%m( su#e
enou"h( t#!%n" to loo) &#+e( &ut o&+%ousl! te##%'%ed. 9Ste+e( wht the 89 I &e"n &ut he
cut me sho#t w%th $o)e o' the st)e.
9Not wo#d-9 he h%ssed( c#ouch%n" down &eh%nd the stone $%ll#. 9I don't wnt !ou#4riend
o+e#he#%n".9
93! 8: 5h( !ou men 3#. C#e$sle!(9 I s%d.
9L#ten C#e$sle!( Vu# 1o#ston(9 Ste+e snee#ed. 9I don't c#e wht !ou cll h%m. 1e's
+m$%#e. Tht's ll tht &othe#s me.9
9Wht #e !ou do%n" he#e:9 I wh%s$e#ed.
9Vm$%#e hunt%n"(9 he "#owled( $#odd%n" me "%n w%th the st)e. 9And loo)ee he#e0
seems l%)e I 'ound me $%#-9
9L%sten(9 I s%d( mo#e nno!ed thn wo##%ed ;%' he ws "o%n" to )%ll me( he would h+e
done %t %mmed%tel!( not st #ound tl)%n" '%#st( l%)e the! do %n the mo+%es<( 9%' !ou'#e
"o%n" to st%c) tht th%n" %n me( do %t. I' !ou wnt to tl)( $ut %t w!. I'm so#e enou"h s %t %s
w%thout !ou m)%n" new holes %n me.9
1e st#ed( then $ulled the st)e &c) 'ew cent%mete#s.
9Wh! #e !ou he#e:9 I s)ed. 91ow d%d !ou )now to come:9
9I ws 'ollow%n" !ou(9 he s%d. 9I 'ollowed !ou ll wee)end 'te# see%n" wht !ou d%d to
Aln. I sw C#e$sle! "o%n" %nto !ou# house. I sw h%m toss !ou out the w%ndow.9
9You'#e the one who sne)ed %nto the l%+%n" #oom-9 I "s$ed( #emem&e#%n" the m!ste#%ous
lte*n%"ht +%s%to#.
9Yes.9 1e nodded. 9The docto#s we#e +e#! 2u%c) to s%"n !ou# deth ce#t%'%cte. I wnted to
chec) 'o# m!sel'( to see %' !ou we#e st%ll t%c)%n".9
9The $%ece o' $$e# %n m! mouth:9 I s)ed.
9L%tmus $$e#(9 he s%d. 9It chn"es colo# when !ou st%c) %t on dm$ su#'ce. When !ou
st%c) %t on living &od!. Tht nd the m#)s on the '%n"e#s t%$$ed me o''.9
9You )now &out the m#)s on the '%n"e#s:9 I s)ed( m,ed.
9I #ed &out %t %n +e#! old &oo)(9 he s%d. 9The sme one( %n 'ct( tht I 'ound Vu#
1o#ston's $o#t#%t %n. The#e ws no ment%on o' %t n!whe#e else( so I thou"ht %t ws 7ust
nothe# +m$%#e m!th. But then I stud%ed !ou# '%n"e#s nd 89
1e sto$$ed nd coc)ed h%s hed. I #el%,ed I could no lon"e# he# d%""%n" sounds. Fo#
moment the#e ws s%lence. Then 3#. C#e$sle!'s +o%ce h%ssed c#oss the "#+e!#d.
9D##en( whe#e #e !ou:9 he clled. 9D##en:9
Ste+e's 'ce coll$sed w%th 'e#. I could he# h%s he#t &et%n" nd see the &eds o' swet
#oll%n" down h%s chee)s. 1e d%dn't )now wht to do. 1e hdn't thou"ht th%s th#ou"h.
9I'm '%ne(9 I shouted( cus%n" Ste+e to 7um$.
9Whe#e #e !ou:9 3#. C#e$sle! s)ed.
95+e# he#e(9 I #e$l%ed( stnd%n"( %"no#%n" Ste+e's st)e. 93! le"s we#e we)( so I l! down
'o# m%nute.9
9A#e !ou ll #%"ht:9 he s)ed.
9I'm '%ne(9 I s%d. 9I'll #est l%ttle lon"e#( then t#! them "%n. /%+e me shout when !ou'#e
#ed!.9
I s2utted &c) down so I ws 'ce to 'ce w%th Ste+e. 1e d%dn't loo) so &#+e n!mo#e.
The t%$ o' the st)e ws $o%nt%n" down t the "#ound( th#et no mo#e( nd h%s whole &od!
s""ed m%se#&l!. I 'elt so##! 'o# h%m.
9Wh! d%d !ou come he#e( Ste+e:9 I s)ed.
9To )%ll !ou(9 he s%d.
9To5ill me: Fo# he+en's s)e( wh!:9 I s)ed.
9You'#e +m$%#e(9 he s%d. 9Wht othe# #eson do I need:9
9But !ou'+e "ot noth%n" "%nst +m$%#es(9 I #em%nded h%m. 9#ouwnted to &ecome one.9
9Yes(9 he sn#led. 9%wnted to( &utyou3re the one who d%d. You $lnned th%s ll lon"( d%dn't
!ou: You told h%m I ws e+%l. You mde h%m #e7ect me so tht !ou could 89
9You'#e tl)%n" nonsense.9 I s%"hed. 9I ne+e# wnted to &ecome +m$%#e. I onl! "#eed to
7o%n h%m %n o#de# to s+e !ou# l%'e. You would h+e d%ed %' I hdn't &ecome h%s ss%stnt.9
9A l%)el! sto#!(9 he sno#ted. 9To th%n) I used to &el%e+e !ou we#e m! '#%end. 1-9
9I m !ou# '#%end-9 I c#%ed. 9Ste+e( !ou don't unde#stnd. I would ne+e# do n!th%n" to
h#m !ou. I hte wht's h$$ened to me. I onl! d%d %t to 89
9S$#e me the so& sto#!(9 he sn%''ed. 91ow lon" we#e !ou $lnn%n" th%s: You must h+e
"one to h%m tht n%"ht o' the '#e) show. Tht's how !ou "ot 3dm 5ct( wsn't %t: 1e
"+e he# to !ou %n #etu#n 'o# !ou# &ecom%n" h%s ss%stnt.9
9No( Ste+e( tht's not t#ue. You mustn't &el%e+e tht.9 But he d%d &el%e+e %t. I could see %t %n
h%s e!es. Noth%n" I s%d ws "o%n" to chn"e h%s o$%n%on. As '# s he ws conce#ned( I'd
&et#!ed h%m. I hd stolen the l%'e he 'elt should h+e &een h%s. 1e would ne+e# 'o#"%+e me.
9I'm "o%n" now(9 he s%d( st#t%n" to c#wl w!. 9I thou"ht I'd &e &le to )%ll !ou ton%"ht(
&ut I ws w#on". I'm too !oun". I'm not st#on" enou"h o# &#+e enou"h.
9But heed th%s( D##en Shn(9 he s%d. 9I'll "#ow. I'll "et olde# nd st#on"e# nd &#+e#. I'm
"o%n" to de+ote m! ent%#e l%'e to de+elo$%n" m! &od! nd m! m%nd( nd when the d!
comes 8 when I'm #ed! 8 when I'm 'ull! e2u%$$ed nd $#o$e#l! $#e$#ed 8
9%3m going to hunt you down and 5ill you9he +owed. 9I'm "o%n" to &ecome the wo#ld's &est
+m$%#e hunte# nd the#e won't &e s%n"le hole !ou cn '%nd tht I won't &e &le to '%nd(
too. Not hole o# #oc) o# cell#.
9I'll t#c) !ou to the ends o' the E#th %' I h+e to.9 he s%d( h%s 'ce "low%n" mdl!. 9You
nd !ou# mento#. And when I '%nd !ou( I'll d#%+e steel*t%$$ed st)es th#ou"h !ou# he#ts(
then cho$ o'' !ou# heds nd '%ll them w%th "#l%c. Then I'll &u#n !ou to shes nd sctte#
!ou c#oss #unn%n" wte#. I won't t)e n! chnces. I'll m)e su#e !ou ne+e# come &c)
'#om the "#+e "%n-9
1e $used( $#oduced )n%'e( nd cut smll c#oss %nto the 'lesh o' h%s le't $lm. 1e held %t
u$ so I could see the &lood d#%$$%n" '#om the wound.
95n th%s &lood( I swe# %t-9 he decl#ed( then tu#ned nd #n( d%s$$e#%n" %n seconds %nto
the shdows o' the n%"ht.
I could h+e #un 'te# h%m( 'ollow%n" the t#%l o' &lood. I' I'd clled 3#. C#e$sle!( we could
h+e t#c)ed h%m down nd $ut n end to &oth Ste+e Leo$#d nd h%s th#ets. It would h+e
&een the w%se th%n" to do.
But I d%dn't. I couldn't. 1e ws m! '#%end 8
3R. CREPSLEY WAS S355T1IN/ 5VERthe mound o' e#th when I #etu#ned. I wtched h%m
wo#). The sho+el ws l#"e nd he+! &ut he hndled %t s %' %t we#e mde out o' $$e#. I
wonde#ed how st#on" he ws nd how st#on" I would one d! &e.
I cons%de#ed tell%n" h%m &out Ste+e &ut ws '#%d he'd "o 'te# h%m. Ste+e hd su''e#ed
enou"h. Bes%des( h%s th#et ws n %dle one. 1e'd 'o#"et &out me nd 3#. C#e$sle! %n 'ew
wee)s( when someth%n" new "#&&ed h%s ttent%on.
I ho$ed.
3#. C#e$sle! loo)ed u$ nd '#owned. 9A#e !ou su#e !ou #e ll #%"ht:9 he s)ed. 9You
seem +e#! u$t%"ht.9
9So would !ou %' !ou'd s$ent the d! %n co''%n(9 I #e$l%ed.
1e lu"hed out loud. 93ste# Shn( I h+e s$ent mo#e t%me %n co''%ns thn mn! o' the
t#ul! ded-9 1e "+e the "#+e one lst h#d whc)( then &#o)e the sho+el %nto l%ttle $%eces
nd tossed them w!. 9Is the st%''ness we#%n" o'':9 he s)ed.
9It's &ette# thn %t ws(9 I s%d( tw%st%n" m! #ms nd w%st. 9I wouldn't l%)e to ')e m!
deth too o'ten( thou"h.9
9No(9 he mused. 9Well( ho$e'ull! %t w%ll not &e necess#! "%n. It %s dn"e#ous stunt.
3n! th%n"s cn "o w#on".9
I st#ed t h%m. 9You told me I'd &e s'e(9 I s%d.
9I l%ed. The $ot%on somet%mes d#%+es %ts $t%ents too '# tow#d deth nd the! ne+e#
#eco+e#. And I could not &e su#e the! would not $e#'o#m n uto$s! on !ou. And 8 Do !ou
wnt to he# ll th%s:9 he s)ed.
9No(9 I s%d s%c)l!. 9I don't.9 I too) n n"#! sw%n" t h%m. 1e duc)ed out o' the w!
es%l!( lu"h%n" s he d%d.
9You told me %t ws s'e-9 I shouted. 9You l%ed-9
9I hd to(9 he s%d. 9The#e ws no othe# w!.9
9Wht %' I'd d%ed:9 I sn$$ed.
1e sh#u""ed. 9I would &e down one ss%stnt. No "#et loss. I m su#e I could h+e 'ound
nothe#.9
9You 8 !ou 8 5h-9 I )%c)ed the "#ound n"#%l!. The#e we#e lots o' th%n"s I could h+e
clled h%m &ut I d%dn't l%)e us%n" &d ln"u"e %n the $#esence o' the ded. I'd tell h%m wht
I thou"ht &out h%s t#%c)e#! lte#.
9A#e !ou #ed! to "o:9 he s)ed.
9/%+e me m%nute(9 I s%d. I 7um$ed u$ on one o' the tlle# hedstones nd ",ed #ound
t the town. I couldn't see much '#om he#e &ut th%s would &e m! lst "l%m$se o' the $lce
whe#e I hd &een &o#n nd l%+ed( so I too) m! t%me nd t#eted e+e#! d#) lle! s $osh
cul*de*sc( e+e#! c#um&l%n" house s she%)'s $lce( e+e#! two*sto#! &u%ld%n" s
s)!sc#$e#.
9You w%ll "#ow used to le+%n" 'te# t%me(9 3#. C#e$sle! s%d. 1e ws stnd%n" on the
stone &eh%nd me( $e#ched on l%ttle mo#e thn th%n %#. 1%s 'ce ws "loom!. 9Vm$%#es #e
lw!s s!%n" "ood*&!e. We ne+e# sto$ n!whe#e +e#! lon". We #e 'o#e+e# $%c)%n" u$ ou#
#oots nd mo+%n" on to new $stu#es. It %s ou# w!.9
9Is the '%#st t%me the h#dest:9 I s)ed.
9Yes(9 he s%d( nodd%n". 9But %t ne+e# "ets es!.9
91ow lon" &e'o#e I "et used to %t:9 I wnted to )now.
93!&e 'ew decdes(9 he s%d. 93!&e lon"e#.9
'ecades. 1e s%d %t s thou"h he ws tl)%n" o' months.
9Cn't we e+e# m)e '#%ends:9 I s)ed. 9Cn't we e+e# h+e homes o# w%+es o# 'm%l%es:9
9No(9 he s%"hed. 9Ne+e#.9
9Does %t "et lonel!:9 I s)ed.
9Te##%&l! so(9 he dm%tted.
I nodded sdl!. At lest he ws &e%n" t#uth'ul. As I'+e s%d &e'o#e( I'd lw!s #the# the
t#uth howe+e# un$lesnt %t m%"ht &e thn l%e. You )now whe#e !ou stnd w%th the t#uth.
95)!(9 I s%d( ho$$%n" down. 9I'm #ed!.9 I $%c)ed u$ m! &" nd dusted some "#+e!#d
d%#t '#om %t.
9You m! #%de on m! &c) %' !ou w%sh(9 3#. C#e$sle! o''e#ed.
9No( thn) !ou(9 I #e$l%ed $ol%tel!. 93!&e lte#( &ut I'd #the# wl) the st%''ness out o' m!
le"s '%#st.9
9Ve#! well(9 he s%d.
I #u&&ed m! &ell! nd l%stened to %t "#owl. 9I h+en't eten s%nce Sund!(9 I told h%m. 9I'm
hun"#!.9
93e too(9 he s%d. Then he too) m! hnd %n h%s nd "#%nned &loodth%#st%l!. 9Let us "oeat .9
I too) dee$ &#eth nd t#%ed not to th%n) &out wht would &e on the menu. I nodded
ne#+ousl! nd s2uee,ed h%s hnd. We tu#ned nd 'ced w! '#om the "#+es. Then( s%de &!
s%de( the +m$%#e nd h%s ss%stnt( we &e"n wl)%n" 8 %nto the n%"ht.
T5 BE C5NTIN.ED %n &oo) G.

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