Okay, fine, so Finn’s body wasn’t found anywhere near there, but I just can’t believe the things that people won’t believe. Or the things people won’t even see. I was in the ninth grade when the vampires came. But even though people started dying, even though people disappeared and stayed gone, even though you could point at one and say, “That’s a vampire,” most people, most adults, still don’t believe it ever happened.
What happens to you when you get older? Do you just forget everything from before you turned eighteen? Do you make yourself forget? I mean the cop was old enough to have been a teenager when the whole soul-eating ghost thing was happening, so did he just block it out of his mind? Did he talk himself into not believing it actually happened? Convince himself it was a virus, that the explosion at the old high school was a gas leak? Or is it that he thought what happened to him was so original, so life-changing and harrowing and amazing, that there’s no way he could ever imagine it happening to anyone else?
It’s not every adult, I know, but still, we see a guy the day he dies and the half-drunk policeman in charge threatens to arrest us.
Honestly. Adults. How do they live in the world?
(Or maybe that is how they live in the world.)
“I told you we shouldn’t bother,” Henna says, sitting next to me, thinking nothing of it. “When Teemu disappeared, the police did exactly nothing. Said he was old enough to make his own choices.”
“At least you still hear from him,” Mel says, gently. “Once in a while.”
Henna shakes her head, like that doesn’t help, which of course it doesn’t. “I think it’s why my mom and dad go on all these mission trips. Try to beat some of the darkness out of the world with their bare hands.”
She makes this sound both impressive and a sad, sad waste of time. There’s also pity. They did lose their son. The Silvennoinens are as complicated as anyone else. More, if you count trying to say their last name out loud.
I touch all of the pointed ends of the tortilla bowl they’ve fried to put my taco stuff in. There are twelve, just like on a clock, which is so pleasing, I only have to count it once. I glance over at Mel’s plate. She’s got some salad and some plain chicken, so that’s fine, and I heard her order a Diet Coke, also good. She hates having people watch her eat, though, so I make a point to look away, as do Henna and Jared.
“I just hope whatever it is gets finished by graduation–” Jared says.
“Weird about that dead kid, huh?” says a voice.
Nathan’s standing there with a tray. And surprisingly, he looks genuinely spooked.
“Hey,” Henna says, a little too brightly. “You want to join us?”
Mel and Jared scoot up to make room, so now I’m sitting across from him. Hooray. “I don’t think we’ve really met,” he says to me. “Nathan.”
“I know who you are,” I say, but I do shake his hand. I’m not that rude.
“This guy who died, though,” he says, and his eyes are still slightly wide. “Did any of you know him?”
“He was an indie kid,” Mel says, “so not really.”
Nathan stares down at his enchilada for a second. Henna and Jared watch him, openly. Mel takes the opportunity to eat more of her chicken. I study Nathan, too. I can’t see what Henna likes at all. His hair ’s that stupid forward swoosh-mess that looks like it’s eating his brain. His clothes are a kind of non-committal faded blue. His eyes are dark enough to be black and his earlobes, when he brushes his hair out of the way, are scarred from where he obviously once had sprocket earrings before having them sewn up again.