crossed her mind since her flood began. She studied Claire, the raw fear in her eyes, and recognized at once what her sister dared not say: she missed her mother.
“I know you do,” Eureka said.
She checked Dad’s pulse; it was still pulsing, but his hands were white as bone. A deep bruise discolored the left side of his face. Ignoring the stabbing pain in her wrist, Eureka traced her father’s temple. The bruise spread behind his ear, along his neck, to his left shoulder, which had been deeply sliced. She smelled the blood. It pooled in the sandy crevices between the rock’s grooves, flowing like a river from its source. She leaned closer and saw the bone of his shoulder blade, the pink tissue near his spine.
She closed her eyes briefly and remembered the two recent times she’d awoken in a hospital, once after the car accident that took Diana from her, and once after she’d swallowed those dumb pills because life without her mother was impossible. Both times Dad had been there. His blue eyes had watered as hers opened. There was nothing she could do to make him stop loving her.
One summer in Kisatchie, they’d taken a long bike ride. Eureka had sped ahead, joyful to be out of Dad’s view, until she wiped out while rounding a sharp bend. At eight years old the pain of skinned elbows and knees had been blinding, and when her vision cleared, Dad was there, picking pebblesfrom her wounds, using his T-shirt as a compress to stanch the blood.
Now she unbuttoned her own wet shirt, stripping down to the tank top she wore beneath it, and wrapped the cloth as tightly as she could around his shoulder. “Dad? Can you hear me?”
“Is Daddy going to die like Mommy?” Claire wailed, which made William wail.
Cat wiped the blood from William’s face with her cardigan. She gave Eureka a bewildered WTF-do-we-do look. Eureka was relieved to realize William wasn’t physically wounded; no blood flowed from his skin.
“Dad’s going to be okay,” Eureka said to her siblings, to her father, to herself.
Dad didn’t stir. There was so much blood soaking through Eureka’s attempt at a tourniquet. Even as the rain washed swells away, more flowed.
“Eureka,” Ander said behind her. “I was mad and my Zephyr—”
“It’s not your fault,” she said. None of them would have been here in the first place if Eureka hadn’t cried. Dad would be home battering okra over his oil-spattered stovetop, singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” to Rhoda, who wouldn’t have been gone. “It’s my fault.”
She remembered something one of her therapists had said about blame, how it didn’t matter whose fault anything wasafter it was done. What mattered was how you responded, how you recovered. Recovery was what Eureka had to focus on: her father’s, the world’s … Brooks’s, too. But she didn’t know how any of them could recover from a wound so deep.
A longing for Brooks swept over her like a sudden storm. He always knew what to say, what to do. Eureka was still struggling to accept that her oldest friend’s body was now possessed by an ancient evil. Where was Brooks now? Was he as thirsty, cold, and afraid as Eureka was? Were those shades of feeling possible for someone welded to a monster?
She should have recognized the change in him sooner. She should have found some way to help. Maybe then she wouldn’t have cried, because when she had Brooks to lean on, Eureka could get through things. Maybe none of this would have happened. But all of it had happened.
Dad breathed shallowly, eyes still tightly closed. For a few seconds he seemed to rest more easily, like he was detached from the pain—then the agony returned to his face.
“Help!” she shouted, missing Diana more than she could stand. Her mother would tell her to find her way out of this foxhole. “How do we find help? A doctor. A hospital. He always keeps his insurance card in his wallet in his pocket—”
“Eureka.” Ander’s tone told her, of course, that
Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright