A Novelette By Robert Swartwood

Chapter 7

While Ty goes off into the garage to get things in order—he’s planning on taking out gasoline, hedge clippers, anything he thinks will work—I head inside to take a piss. Only when I see the caller ID blinking do I stop and check, and would you believe it, Amanda’s called. Three times. I have to stop myself and wonder if I should call her back, if—

The phone rings.

It’s my father. I know it’s him, checking in to make sure I’m home, to tell me I’m still grounded, no matter how bad he might feel for saying what he did.

But the caller ID’s telling me it’s Amanda, so I answer.

“Josh, stay right there.”

It’s good hearing her voice—especially with everything that’s happened—but at the moment it sounds rushed.

“Amanda?”

“Stay right there. I need to see you.”

“But—”

There’s a click, and I’m left standing with the phone dead in my hand.

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