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The legion of shrieks and moans and whimpers coming from the violent wind that pelted the building, and which had managed to sneak past those plywood barriers in the office windows, mixed with Bette’s weeping. No one else spoke, no one else made a sound. Only Tina continued to sob softly as Katie held her to her shoulder.
Rita had been the slowest to wake up from all the commotion, but now had come over to Bette and knelt down beside her, holding her shoulder, hanging her head. LoriAnn’s aggressive posture had softened some, and her mouth drooped in the corners. Martin kept rubbing his face, shaking his head, finally going to the burnt coals over in the fire pit from the night before and reviving the fire by stoking it and lying on more wood. Ryan Doyle had sat back down on his cot. At the moment he held his head with his hands, slicking back his fine strawberry blond waves and scratching his fair stubble. And Kit, she was still sitting on Tina’s cot, but had released Tina’s hands. She held stone-still, watching Bette and waiting for her to regain some control.
Bette wiped her nose with the sleeve of her shirt and stared up at the blacked and decaying ceiling above her. Her guilt had doubled in just a matter of seconds once she realized that there must be something to what Kit had been saying all along. Something was in these ruins. Something had gone after Tina. And that something had tormented Alice, driven her away in fear, and most likely caused her mind to fragment, resulting in her losing control of the RV and crashing off the 89. And what if she had believed Alice the first time, she wondered. What if she hadn’t explained away Alice’s bizarre behavior as a result of drinking and drugs?
She sat up painfully, patted Rita’s hand, and she made eye contact with Kit. Had she been right all along? But it was something her mind couldn’t admit to just yet.
“Okay, this is what we’re going to do,” she began. “Martin, you and Rita go get Harlan up and bring him in here.”
“Harlan,” Tina said.
Everyone looked at her.
“Does he have red tennis shoes, too?” Tina asked.