Good thing John was awake to smell the smoke. Just don’t ask him why he was up in the first place.
They followed the man with the white hair down the paved stones that wound its way through the private bungalows. Peggy had pulled the handkerchief she kept in her jacket pocket out and had it pressed up to her face. The scratches from the bark of the branch would heal pretty quickly, but the black eye and fat lip were going to linger. Aster was walking close enough next to her that their arms were brushing up against each other. After passing a couple of the bungalows Peggy took Aster’s hand and squeezed. They gave her a watery smile. It had never happened to Peggy, but she couldn’t imagine being possessed was a fun thing you could just throw off.
At first, all he was aware of was his stomach being pulled up into his throat and the sickening, nauseating squeeze and roll it was doing. His heart was pounding to beat out of his chest, pounding so hard he could hear it in his ears even over the air rushing by. His ears and nose immediately froze and became numb. He was squeezing his eyes shut so hard he could see silent green fireworks blooming over and over and over. The panic and fear inside had become so absolute and so pure it had replaced every single rational thought with nothing but loud television static.
This is how the phone call went: Aster: Hi, can you put Steve on the phone?
June wakes up in the middle of the night, knowing something is wrong. The problem is figuring out what.
They were halfway down the next sleeper car but his brain was still in Joey’s room, turning the thought over and over.
They had left Naomi sitting on her new leather couch, bitterly weeping, with a promise to get things sorted. A promise to try to get things sorted.
Joey pulled Vinnie into his sleeper car and slammed the door. “Come on, kid, we’ve got seconds to make this work.”
Naomi Wallace wasn’t home. Aster called Maria on the payphone at the corner, and after a few super fun minutes where Mario would write something down and then Maria would read it over the phone only for Aster to come back with a brand new question, they eventually figured out that as long as Naomi’s schedule hadn’t changed drastically since the breakup she’d be home in an hour. Thankfully, Yellow SUBmarine was across the street.
It wasn’t supposed to get this hot, this high up in the mountains. Birdie could remember her childhood, all the way back in the last millennium and she couldn’t ever remember temperatures above ninety degrees. Oh, sure, odd heat waves here and there. A couple of days, three tops. And then the winds would change and the temperatures would fall back into the upper seventies. Hot enough when you’re used to Easters and Halloweens buried in snow.