Everything Changes

Simon steadily applied pressure to the gash in his left arm. The trickle of blood was slowing now, but he knew it didn’t matter. The smell was already out there. He couldn’t call it back.

He had cut himself on the chain link fence outside of Seabrook High. They had been running across the soccer field toward the nearby housing tract, hoping they could find somewhere to hide. They had almost reached the sidewalk when Beth’s foot got stuck in a gopher hole. Her ankle twisted, and she went down hard. Simon had lunged to help her up — she was screaming and sobbing — and he grazed the jagged edge of the fence as he reached desperately for her hand.

Last week was a lifetime ago. He thought back to that day in the quad, his talk with Jay about the news reports, about what they suspected was happening. Their friend Evan, who hadn’t believed them. (He was gone now.)

And Beth, who walked past them with her cheerleader friends. How untouchable she’d seemed.

Simon shivered. They weren’t even the same people now.

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