Before I found out who I was, I’d remembered enough that I didn’t question the vagueness of my memories, but now?
Now I knew too much to not question.
“I don’t remember anything that feels … concrete.” I lifted my gaze to Zoe’s. “Are you saying I was just missing during that time?”
“I don’t know if missing is the right word, but Luc had eyes on that house from the beginning. He didn’t see you. That’s not saying that you weren’t there or that you didn’t leave, but it’s strange.” She sat back, crossing her arms. “Her choices were just … strange.”
Suddenly, I thought about what Mom had said to me before she’d shown me the missing photos of the real Evie.
I just wish I’d made different choices so that you could have made different ones.
I’d thought she’d been talking about Luc.
But what if she was talking about something entirely different? And if Luc had eyes on that house those months between when he took me there and when I went to school, why in the hell hadn’t he brought this up?
What did he know?16When I left Zoe, I didn’t go home. I just … I couldn’t at that moment, so I drove out to Centennial Lake and did something I hadn’t done in a while.
With my camera in hand, I started snapping pictures of all the reds and golds of autumn. My camera was sort of my shield, and it was once again in front of me, keeping a barrier between the world and me and forming a barrier within myself. I needed that, because what Zoe said was tattooing my skin, drilling into my bones.
Why did Mom give me Evie’s life?
I spent most of the afternoon there, leaving just as dusk crept across the sky. Getting out there, doing something that I loved, helped calm the itchy restlessness. I didn’t have a better understanding of everything or sudden clarity, but I felt more like me than I had for weeks.
Whoever me was.
When I got home, Mom wasn’t there, and I ended up standing in the kitchen, dragging my fingers along the cool granite of the kitchen island, feeling like I should be doing something … else. Something more.
Something with a purpose.
Like going out there and searching for the still-missing, possibly zombified Sarah, but where would I even begin to look? If Luc, Grayson, and Dawson couldn’t find her, why would I be able to?
Skin too tight and itchy, I turned slowly in the kitchen. Mom had finally gotten new candles to replace the damaged ones. They were positioned in the center—thick, white pillars on distressed gray wooden candleholders. The downstairs finally looked like it had before Micah showed up.
I picked up my phone from where I’d left it on the counter and opened up my text messages. My finger hovered over the last text Luc had sent Friday afternoon, which had been another weird rant about how raccoons don’t get enough love.
My fingers flew over the keyboard, typing out the words Why did she give me Evie’s life?
I didn’t hit send.
Because I wasn’t sure what was worse—Luc not knowing or … Luc knowing exactly why.
Sighing, I deleted the text and then headed into the living room, picking up the camera from the back of the couch. I made my way to my bedroom, placing my phone on the nightstand beside Diesel. My history textbook lay open on my bed. Knowing that I had an exam coming up, I should have been studying, but I was too restless for that.
Instead, I sat down and clicked on my camera. I hadn’t looked at any of the pictures I’d taken in the last several weeks, not even the ones of Luc, and what was better than mindlessly clicking through pictures?
At this moment, there was nothing.
Scrolling back to the pictures I’d taken of Luc, I realized immediately that I’d been right when I’d taken the photos. All those striking lines of his face had communicated through the lens.
The black-and-white photograph of him was my favorite. There was something about the monochromatic colors that gave it a raw, brutal edge. The corners of my lips turned up as I kept thumbing through the photos. It had been ages since I’d uploaded them or even looked at them on the camera, but I was still surprised when I came upon the pictures I’d taken the day my classmate Colleen had been found dead in a school bathroom.
Goodness, I’d forgotten I’d taken them.
I continued flipping through them as a knot of emotion swelled in my throat. Seeing these pictures was like being back in that moment, swallowed up by confusion and fear. The faces in the photos were blurs to me as I blinked rapidly to clear my vision. The images of their shadows on the pavement hit me hard.