We spent all this weekend driving around, which was fun for about six hours because we had the rabbit back, but then we were back to square one: on the road with nothing to do and nowhere we were going.
Which I’m fine with! I did some drawing, relaxed, listened to music. Now that I know that I’m definitely not going to die in the back of that car, it’s way easier to get comfortable, even when Neal is driving and we’re blasting along the highway, racing the other cars. The ANXIETY.
Why do they need to be so damn restless all the time? Why couldn’t we just find another cabin to hang out at, hm?
Which is exactly what I asked them this morning, sitting in a kitschy little diner.
“We could be drinking beers on a deck somewhere right now,” I said. “We could go fishing!”
Neal laughed at me. “What do you know about fishing, Shiloh?”
“We generally try to steer clear of hobbies that involve hunting live animals,” Julian said. He was scrolling through his phone and eating a mountain of pancakes. That boy has a hollow leg, I swear to god.
“Okay, but I could be swimming,” I said. “In a lake. Anywhere in the country. And instead we’re…”
“Eating pancakes,” Neal said with relish, mouth full of food. He pointed at me with his fork. “You need to live in the moment.”
I was for SURE gonna let that spiral into an argument, but then Julian flipped his phone towards us. “Look at this,” he said.
It was a local newspaper, opened to an article about a little girl who had apparently STABBED HER FOSTER SIBLING IN THE FACE WITH A FORK.
Neal laughed. “Bad ass. How old is she, like seven?”
“The parents say it was totally unprovoked, but that the girl is apparently nonverbal and doesn’t seem to understand what they say.”
“Unprovoked, huh,” Neal said. “That I doubt.”
“’David just reached out to touch her shoulder to get her attention and she spun around and stabbed him right in the cheek,’” Julian read. “’We’ve made every effort to make sure all our children are safe, and have access to everything they need, but we’re at our wits end with Jane.’” He zoomed in on the picture of the little girl. “Look at her ear,” he said.
“Oh, shit,” Neal said, squinting. I craned to see, too. There were three jagged notches in the rim of the girl’s ear. “Nonverbal, huh? Unresponsive?”
“Looks that way,” Julian said. “Looks like she’s been in foster care for just a couple months.”
“Yeah, we’ll go pick her up,” Neal said. “Does it say where she’s at?”
“No, we’re gonna have to make some calls,” Julian said. “Shit, poor kid.”
“Yeah, who do I need to call?”
And just like that breakfast was over.
Obviously, I didn’t understand why a little girl with some ear scarring and an admirable attitude problem were a case, until Julian explained it as we were unpacking the car.
“You think rifts are a one-way problem? Or that beasties are the only creatures to come through them?”
Basically, they think this little girl is from another world, that she fell through a rift, and that’s why she’s trying to do in her foster siblings with flatware.
“Most often, if a person falls into our world, it’s because they fell into a well in a country called Feneca,” Julian explained. “Over the last hundred years, we know for certain this has happened three separate times.”
You’d think they’d just seal up the well, but whatever.
“Luckily,” Neal added, “we happen to know a little bit about Feneca. This should be a piece of cake.”
Our only challenge now is to figure out how to meet this kid.