“Hell yeah, you are.” Kavinsky retrieved yet more alcohol — maybe he’d been dreaming that, too — and joined Ronan on the hood of the faulty Camaro. They drank in silence for several minutes. Kavinsky poured a handful of green pills into Ronan’s palm; Ronan pocketed them. He wished passionately for something besides Twizzlers. He was wasted on dreams.

If Gansey saw him now . . . the thought twisted and blackened in him, curled like burned paper.


“Bonus round,” Kavinsky said. Then: “Open.”

He put an impossibly red pill on Ronan’s tongue. Ronan tasted just an instant of sweat and rubber and gasoline on his fingertips. Then the pill hit his stomach.

“What’s this one do?” Ronan asked.

Kavinsky said, “Dying’s a boring side effect.”

It took only a moment.

Ronan thought, Wait, I changed my mind.

But there wasn’t any going back.

Ronan was a stranger in his own body. The sunset cut into his gaze, slantwise and insistent. As his muscles twitched, he lowered himself onto his chest and then rested his cheek against the hood, the heat of the metal not quite painful enough to be unbearable. He closed his eyes. This wasn’t the hurtling-to-sleep pill of before. This was a liquid fatality. He could feel his brain shutting down.

After a moment, he heard the hood groan as Kavinsky leaned over him. Then he felt the ridged callus of a finger drag slowly over the skin on his back. A slow arc between his shoulder blades, drawing the pattern of his tattoo. Then sliding down his spine, tensing every muscle it moved over.

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The fuse inside him was burning to nothing, nothing at all.

Ronan didn’t move. If he moved, the touch on his spine would stab him — a wound like this pill. No coming back.

But when his eyes slitted, battling sleep, Kavinsky was just doing another line of coke off the roof, body stretched over the windshield.

He might have imagined it. What was real?

Again the Camaro was parked in the dreaming trees. Again Orphan Girl crouched on the other side of it, eyes sad. The leaves quivered and faded.

He felt this place’s power dissipating.

He crept toward the car.



“Ronan,” whispered Orphan Girl. “Quid furantur a nos?”

(Why do you steal from us?)

She was faded as Noah, smudgy as the dead.

Ronan whispered, “Just one more. Please.” She stared at him. “Unum. Amabo te. It’s not for me.”



But he didn’t hide this time. He wasn’t a thief. Instead, he stood, rising from his hiding place. The dream, suddenly aware, shuddered around him. Flickered. The trees leaned away.

He hadn’t stolen Chainsaw, the truest thing he’d ever taken from a dream.

He wasn’t going to steal the car. Not this time.

“Please,” Ronan said again. “Let me take it.”

He ran his hand across the elegant line of the roof. When he lifted his palm, it was dusted green. His heart thudded as he rubbed pollen-covered fingertips against each other. The air was suddenly hot, sweat sticky in the crease of his elbows, gasoline pricking his nostrils. This was a memory, not a dream.

He pulled open the door. When he got in, the seat burned his bare skin. He was aware of everything around him, down to the scuffed vinyl beneath the improperly restored window cranks.

He was lost in time. Was he sleeping?

“Call it by name,” said Orphan Girl.

“Camaro,” Ronan said. “Pig. Gansey’s. Cabeswater, please.”

He turned the key. The engine turned, turned, turned, finicky as it had always been. It was as real as anything had ever been.

When it caught, he woke up.

Kavinsky grinned in the windshield at him. Ronan sat in the driver’s seat of the Pig.

Air sputtered in the air-conditioning vents, scented with gasoline and exhaust. Ronan didn’t have to look under the hood to know that the thundering he felt in his feet came from a proper engine.


Also, he thought he knew why Cabeswater had disappeared. Which meant he might know how to get it back. Which meant he might get his mother back. Which meant he might make Matthew smile for a little while longer. Which meant he had something besides a restored car to bring back to Gansey.

He rolled down the window. “I’m going.”

For a moment, Kavinsky’s face was perfectly blank, and then Kavinsky flickered back onto it. He said, “You’re shitting me.”

“I’ll send flowers.” Ronan revved the engine. Exhaust and dust swirled in a wild torment behind the Camaro. It coughed at twenty-eight-hundred rpm. Just like the Pig. Everything was back the way it was.

“Running back to your master?”

“This was fun,” Ronan said. “Time for big boy games now, though.”

“You’re a player in his life, Lynch.”

The difference between us and Kavinsky, Gansey whispered in Ronan’s head, is we matter.

“You don’t fucking need him,” Kavinsky said.

Ronan released the parking brake.

Kavinsky threw up a hand like he was going to hit something, but there was nothing but air. “You are shitting me.”

“I never lie,” Ronan said. He frowned disbelievingly. This felt like a more bizarre scenario than anything that had happened to this point. “Wait. You thought — it was never gonna be you and me. Is that what you thought?”

Kavinsky’s expression was scorched. “There’s only with me or against me.”

Which was ludicrous. It had always been Ronan against Kavinsky. There was never any possibility of with. “It was never going to be you and me.”

“I will burn you down,” Kavinsky said.

Ronan’s smile was sharp as a knife. He had already been burned to nothing. “You wish.”

Kavinsky made a gun of his thumb and finger and put it to Ronan’s temple.

“Bang,” he said softly, withdrawing the fake gun. “See you on the streets.”


So now Adam had a car.

The vehicle was but one of three objects Adam had acquired that morning. As each of the other Ganseys had gone out the door, they’d all bestowed a gift, eccentric fairy godmothers. Richard Gansey II checked his tie in a hallway mirror and handed Adam a checked vest.

“I’m not as thin as I used to be,” he told Adam. “I was going to give this to Dick, but it will suit you better, I think. Here, put it on.”

It was not even a gift; it was an order.

Next was Mrs. Gansey, peering out the window to verify that her driver was out front before saying, “Dick, I’ve gotten you another mint plant to take back. Don’t forget it. Adam, I picked you up a rubber plant, too. You boys never think about feng shui.”

He knew it was because they had retrieved him pathetically from the side of an interstate, but he didn’t feel he could refuse. It was a plant. And he had ruined their Saturday.

Gone, he thought. He’d ruined their Saturday, but he’d entirely lost his Saturday. Whatever made him Adam had just vanished while his body shambled on.

If he let himself think about it, the terror just —

It wouldn’t happen again. It couldn’t.

As the boys were headed out the door, Gansey holding his tiny mint plant and Adam struggling beneath a five-gallon pot of rubber tree, Helen came down dragging a tiny black wheeled suitcase.

“Dick,” she said, “those guys from the tow place said they couldn’t come this morning. Could you please take care of it before you go? I’m going to miss my flight.”

Gansey, who’d already looked terse, increased the irritation on his face to officially harassed. “Does it run? Can we just drop it off?”

“It runs. I guess. But it’s in Herndon, the drop off.”


“I know. That’s why I was having it towed. It’s costing me more to get it there than I’m getting to donate it. Hey, do you have any need for it? Adam, you want a piece of shit car? Save me the tow.”

The offer felt imaginary. Consciousness was being played on a movie screen.

Three Ganseys, three gifts, and three hours back to Henrietta.

Don’t let me lose control on the way home, Adam thought. Just get me back, that’s all I ask.

His new car was of uncertain make and model year. It was a two-door something and smelled of automotive body fluids. The hood, passenger-side door, and right rear fender were clearly from three entirely different cars. It was a stick shift. Adam was in the peculiar position of knowing how to rebuild a clutch better than how to operate one. But he’d get better, with practice.

It was nothing, but it was Adam Parrish’s nothing.

This day — this place — this life —

It felt like he’d always been here in D.C., born in the simmering asphalt petri dish of the city. He’d dreamt Henrietta and Aglionby. It was taking everything in him to remember that there was a future beyond this immediate moment.

Just get back , he thought. Get back so you can find out . . . “Look, just flash your lights if something goes wrong,” Gansey said, standing before the open door of his black Suburban. He ordinarily kept it here, but no one really trusted Adam’s new vehicle to make the drive across the state. Gansey rocked the driver’s side door a little. Adam could tell that he wanted nothing more than to ask, Are you all right? or What do you need, Adam? The mint plant, placed on the dash, peered anxiously around Gansey’s shoulder.

“Don’t,” Adam warned.

A frown, angrier than the night before last. “You don’t even know what I was going to say.”

“It’s possible I did.”

Gansey swung the door another time. The Suburban was huge behind him. Adam’s new car and the Pig would fit inside it, with room for a bicycle or two. Adam remembered how breathtaking its existence had been when he first learned of it. Rich enough for two cars?

“What was I going to say, then?”

The power lines shivered above Adam. Something was singing and shaking inside him. He needed to get back. Soon. That was all he knew.

Adam said, “I don’t think we should do this now.”

“Are we doing something now? I thought what was happening was that you were being —” With visible effort, Gansey checked himself. “Are you coming back to Monmouth or . . .”

No time. No time for that. He needed to stop waiting and start acting. He was no better than Gansey hoping for someone else to wake the ley line. He needed to move.

“I’m going to Fox Way to ask for advice,” Adam replied.

Gansey opened his mouth. There were a hundred things he could say, and ninety-nine of them would only make Adam angry. Gansey seemed to intuit this, because he took his time before he said, “I’ll check up on Ronan, then.”

Adam sank into the worn and dusty seat of his new old car. Whispers escaped from the air vents. Fine, I’m coming, I’m coming.

Gansey was still staring at Adam, but what did he want him to say? It was taking everything in him to remember who he was.

“Just flash your lights,” Gansey said finally, “if something goes wrong.”


When Maura opened the door of 300 Fox Way, she found the Gray Man standing pensively on the other side. He had brought her two things: a daisy chain crown, which he somberly placed on her head, and a pink switchblade, which he handed to her. Both had taken some effort to procure. The first because the Gray Man had forgotten how to efficiently link daisies and the second because switchblades were illegal in Virginia, even if they were pink.

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