[This post is from Kailey Astoris’s point of view.]
Alone. The word echoed in her ears, ricocheted through her thoughts like a buckshot deflecting off one of the old grain silos south of the village. Would they all go, everyone near her age, maybe even younger? Would they really leave with these strangers on their seemingly insane quest for something she wasn’t even sure existed?
Lin believes them—but I’m not sure that I should use him as my stick to measure any of this, either. Sometimes I’m not sure how much of what he believes I should believe.
But so what if she stayed and she was the only one her age that did? It wouldn’t be the first time she’d self-selected herself out of something. I’ve only regretted doing that once or twice, anyway.
She frowned at the door that Peril had disappeared through, jaw tightening.
Rushing off into unknown danger. Sure. That’s the best idea any of us have ever had, right? Let’s absolutely do that. Great idea. She made a disgusted sound, pushing herself to her feet and starting to pace. Rain drummed on the roof above her and thunder growled somewhere nearby. Another summer storm that was nothing to sneeze at and here she was, safe inside, as she so often had been her whole life.
And so what if this is the rest of my life?
Her hands balled into fists, her tea abruptly forgotten. It would serve them right.
It would serve them all right if they assumed and were wrong about me. It would serve them right if I decided to stay.
Hell. Do they really even need me, or do they think they do? She’d been Lin’s shadow all of her life, the one that was always there to try to keep him and Tory and all the rest out of trouble—that had been her whole life, always left to be the responsible one, always looking before they all leapt.
And that’s what I’m doing right now, isn’t it? And I’m afraid of not knowing what’s beyond my sight, what my imagination is painting into the gap.
Thunder boomed close, startling her, sending a shiver through the roof and the walls. Kailey swallowed hard. Was it really fear?
Of course it is. But that doesn’t make it wrong.
That doesn’t make it wrong at all.