We laugh. A little.
“You won’t, Mikey,” he says. “And if you do, I’ll be there to pull you back.”
Which makes me feel…
Okay, look, Jared likes guys. We all know it, he’s told us, even though he’s never officially had a boyfriend (because who the hell is he going to meet out here who isn’t a creepy old farmer?) and he never really talks about it or what he gets up to on those weekend evenings when we know he’s not working, but still says he can’t come out with us. And fine, he and I have messed around a few times growing up together, even though I like girls, even though I like Henna, because a horny teenage boy would do it with a tree trunk if it offered at the right moment, but you’re going to have to hear this the right way when I tell you that I love exactly three people in the entire world, excluding whatever this is with Henna.
Three people. Mel. Meredith. And the third person isn’t either of my parents.
“You want to talk crazy?” Jared says.
“Yeah,” I say. “Yeah, I know.”
There’s so much crazy in this world, my counting and hand-washing and door-locking and checking and tapping can seem like raging mental health by comparison. Jared’s crazy is way crazier than mine, though I don’t think his makes him lie awake at night in bed, thinking it’d be easier if he was–
And if you don’t know, you don’t want to.
“There’s a mountain lion out there,” Jared says, looking out his window.
I sigh. “There’s always a mountain lion out there.”
CHAPTER THE THIRD, in which indie kid Finn’s body is discovered; Satchel – who once dated Finn – asks Dylan and a second indie kid also called Finn to skip school and help her talk to her alcoholic uncle, who is the lead police officer investigating the death; meanwhile, the Messenger, inside a new Vessel, is already among them, preparing the way for the arrival of the Immortals.
Our town is just like your town. Schools, family-themed restaurants, lots of cars. There’s a bunch of huge churches clustered together, trying to blend in with all the family-themed restaurants, because salvation is as easy as chicken wings, I guess. We’ve got fire stations with signs that tell you when burning season begins and ends. We’ve got sheriff’s offices with signs that tell you to Buckle Up.
We’ve got a lumber yard with signs that tell you angry right-wing puns. We’ve got RV lots, banks, a Walmart, a couple multiplexes.
We’ve got trees. So many trees. Everything here used to be a forest, after all.
And yeah, so fine, our part of town has more than its fair share of trees and less than its fair share of multiplexes, but don’t look down on us. It was just as bad here as it was for you when the indie kids were battling the undead in our neck of the woods (though that was just after I was born, so I only know about it from my Uncle Rick, who doesn’t get invited around very much any more). We had the same amount of heartache when a new round of indie kids exorcized the sorrow from all those soul-eating ghosts eight years later (that was the year they blew up the high school, a heretofore unknown part of the exorcism ritual, I guess). And don’t even get me started on when the indie kids fell in love with and then defeated all the vampires a few years back. Henna’s older brother Teemu got mixed up with them and pretty much vanished one day. They haven’t seen him since, though he writes the occasional email. Always at night.