Neal arrived at lunch, knocking on the screen door.  Eve smiled warmly as she let him in.

            “I didn’t expect you so soon.”  She said, “I thought that you’d want to spend some time with your dad.”

            “Yeah, well, it’s Friday and he had work at the office.  Tomorrow we’ll talk.  Zoë and Jay are still sleeping, I guess the flight wiped them out.  I wanted to see you.”  He said sheepishly.

            She smiled again, bringing him into the kitchen to eat lunch with Gran and Gwen, who greeted him warmly.

            “I’ve been up since early this morning.” Genevieve said, passing him a plate with a tuna fish sandwich.  “Gwen and I did some talking.  I think I’ll tell you about some of it,” she glanced at her grandmother, busy eating a light salad, “but later.” 

            “Sure.”  He nodded and winked conspiratorially, causing Gran to raise her eyebrow and laugh inwardly.  She remembered what it was like to be young.

            They slipped out the back door in the kitchen as soon as the table was cleared and went for a walk in the backfields.  The day was sunny and warm, but even so, Eve walked with her arms close together as if she were cold.

            “I’m really worried about Ethan.”  She confided to Neal as they walked through the grass.  “And I know that you’re going to say that I shouldn’t be, so don’t bother.  This is serious.  Gwen and Hope found his journals and have been reading them.  Gwen showed me some this morning, and it’s scary.  I’m afraid that Ethan may have schizophrenia or something, because of the bullies in school and that near-death experience in the graveyard.”

            “What?”  Neal said, surprised, “Your brother’s odd sometimes, but schizo?”

            “I’m serious, Neal.  His journals talk about this voice that tells him to do bad things, and the only thing that stops him is his strength and how much he cares about everyone.  I think something’s wrong in his head, and maybe the plane crash made it worse or something, because he was scary after that.  He beat that man to a pulp, Neal.”

            “Well, he’s been quiet before, that’s not new.  Attacking that guy, maybe it was just the strain of the past few weeks, and he was defending you.”  Neal argued, trying to give Ethan the benefit of the doubt.

            “He smiled, Neal, like he enjoyed it.  Dan and Alex almost couldn’t get him off.”  She said fiercely, “Something’s wrong, why won’t you see that?  But that’s not the only thing.”

            “What else is there?”  Neal asked.

            “Have you noticed that Ethan’s been using his left hand to do things?”

            “What?”  He said.  This was the last question he had expected.  What did Ethan’s left hand have to do with anything?

            “He’s right-handed, but lately he does everything with the left.  It took me forever to notice, but it’s there.  I think that he may have actually received that concussion we were afraid of on the mountain, and I think it gave him brain damage or something.”

            “Is that even possible?”  Neal said, doubtful.

            “I don’t know.  But how else would you explain something like that?  People don’t just randomly become left-handed.”

            “So what do we do about it?  He’s there and we’re here.”

            “I don’t know.  We could call Mr. Lamb and tell him that we’re worried.  Maybe he could convince Ethan to see a doctor or something.”

            “I’ll do that tonight.  He’ll take care of it, don’t worry.  I’m sure everything’s fine.”

            Genevieve nodded, hoping that he was right.  Nonetheless, she couldn’t shake the chill she still felt.  Ethan had described the dark other as a tiger, and that had been in her dreams and Jason’s visions.  She didn’t know what that meant, but she feared that it couldn’t be good.

            Neal came back to the house after dinner, and took her for a drive in his dad’s van.  They headed into town to see a movie at the local theatre.  Neal thought it would do her good to get out of the house, that way she might not dwell so much on something she could do very little about.

            “I talked to Lamb,” he said on the way, “and he says he’ll take Ethan to his doctor first thing tomorrow, whether Ethan wants to go or not.  He thinks you may be right, Ethan could’ve been hurt, seeing as how he was unconscious for days.  Lamb felt bad that he hadn’t thought to take us to the doctor, but he thought that we seemed fine.  I told you he’d take care of it.”

            “I’m glad.  Things might turn out okay.”  She felt relief that someone was finally doing something about Ethan’s aberrant behaviour.  Her relief was so great that she forgot that she didn’t completely trust the charismatic Mr. Lamb that much, either.  She actually had fun with Neal that night, and managed not to think about Ethan at all.

            Her mother got her an interview at the local restaurant the next day, and she got the job and started right away.  Neal would often take her out to play mini-golf or go to the movies.  With work and all the attention Neal was paying to her, she entirely forgot to ask him whether Lamb had called to tell him about Ethan’s doctor appointment.  As she and Neal grew closer and started dating, all her worries about Ethan faded away over the summer.   Later on, she would wonder why it had been so easy to forget like that and let her guard down.  But later on, it was too late.

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