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Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

Author:Stephen Graham Jones
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates


10

BECAUSE DANIELLE HAD DOGS the same as Shanna had—just yappers, not killers, but still, loud yappers—I had to catch her away from her house.

Which? I guess I was saving her dogs too, right? Manny would stomp on dogs as soon as he would crush a family. Maybe even faster, since they’d be sniping in, trying to bite through the hard plastic shell of his feet, get to the pulpy center they knew had to be in there somewhere.

This is what I do, I save people. And dogs.

Anyway, catching her away from her house meant catching her on a date with Steve, one it felt like they were making up as they went along.

In disguise at the vigil for Tim—hoodie, sunglasses, gloves—I kept two or three car-lengths away from them, which was about eighty or ninety students’ worth of padding. Steve was holding Danielle’s hand like he owned her, like he was being “strong” for her in this painful, tragic time. The flags in front of the high school were fluttering halfway down the poles like, I don’t know, like Tim had been a federal building or something, I guess.

There was crying and swaying and singing, and then this part I hadn’t expected, where everybody filed past the school mascot, a cartoon ranger, and left roses and stuffed animals and beer bottles and notes folded over three or four times, held down with rocks.

Tim’s family would have loved it, if they’d been there. But, even not there to appreciate all this love Tim was getting, still, they were one hundred percent alive, I knew. Hugging each other and crying and not having any answers, but Tim’s little brothers, they were going to live, and someday Tim’s mom and dad were probably going to be grandparents, and Tim had been going to die anyway, so it’s not like I even really did anything, right? Anything except save them.

It was like—I was in AP Physics for a couple of weeks, right? Before the math really started? So, in physics, which is also the world, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Or, that reaction, if you look at it the other way, it has a distinct cause. Them being alive and healthy and grieving and all, that was a reaction to the cause I’d been, to me sneaking into Tim’s room and killing him.

Just, if I wanted to save everybody else, I couldn’t say any of this out loud.

Another way to look at that action/reaction thing, it’s that, like that one guy says at the end of the second of those three superhero movies—he’s not even a hero, just a hanger-on journalist writing about all this—Sacrifices must be made.

In AP English that would be passive voice, which erases agency, hides the actual doer of the thing.

That’s how I was saying it in my head the whole vigil, specifically because it erased me from the equation: Sacrifices were having to be made. Prices were having to be paid.

Anyway, I held a candle and



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