(Don't You) Forget About Me

(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Book: (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Karyus Quinn
surrounded the carriage. I ran at them, yelling, praying, begging. The cloud lifted, and from the bottom of it, I could see Skylar’s little baby blanket trailing along with them. My heart stopped. I was certain they’d carried her away. That’s when I heard her high-pitched little scream. This brokenhearted howl. I reached the carriage and it was full of black feathers. I swept them away, and there was Skylar.
    â€œI fell down and wept. I cried until I was sick with it, and then I cried some more. Mrs. Roberts found me. I don’t know how, but it was like she already knew John Paul was gone. She stood beside me, staring at Skylar all alone in that carriage for so long, I was scared, not knowing what she would do. But then she just pushed the carriage back home. She must have told your father where I was, because he came to carry me home a little bit later. Later they sent out search crews, swept the Salt Spring and everything, but it was no use. No one ever saw a trace of that child again. Mrs. Roberts left town soon thereafter. Said a long healthy life had lost its appeal.”
    A shiver travels from the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes. That story, that loss, always goes straight through me. I was too young to remember. That’s what everyone says. But then why do I flinch every time a bird flies by? Why can I still feel those feathers smothering me and blacking out the sky?
    I rummage through cupboards, not really wanting anything but needing a moment to catch my breath. Grabbing a pack of Scooby-Doo fruit snacks, I stomp back through the front room.
    â€œStop telling him those stories,” I growl, not even looking in their direction.
    Sliding my feet into the flip-flops I left in the front hallway, I yank the door open. Humidity hits me like a wet blanket. Big lazy raindrops plop one by one from the sky, so slowly that someone swift could dash between them and get from one end of the town to the other and stay completely dry. I am not that person. The day has barely begun, and I am already tired. I’ll be soaked before I reach the end of the driveway.
    It would be so much easier to go back upstairs and take one of the pills I salvaged from the toilet. Getting it down without gagging might be difficult, but I’d soon forget where I’d last seen it swimming.
    Something heavy lands on my shoulders. I turn and Mom is standing behind me. She places Piper’s old yellow rain slicker—the one she found at the Goodwill and fell in love with—on me.
    I have avoided Piper’s old clothing. Wearing it would feel too much like she was dead and never returning. But also she was so much in everything she wore. Piper didn’t simply wear clothes. She fell in love. Her red cowboy boots. This yellow rain slicker. Daddy’s awful old brown sweater full of moth holes.
    The slicker rubs against my skin just long enough for me to smell it and realize Piper has finally left that too. Her scent, a mixture of coconut shampoo and the red-hot candies she loved to chew, used to cling to everything she’d touched. Now the yellow rain slicker just smells like mildew.
    This is why I am leaving the pills behind today. To find Piper. To bring her back home. I can’t forget that, but I’m afraid that I will.
    I shove my arms into the raincoat’s sleeves. Mom leans in and pinches the snaps closed, starting down at my knees and not finishing until she reaches the one that closes it around my chin. Finally, she flips the hood up.
    â€œIt’s just rain,” I say, but the sharp-edged tone I usually use with her is gone.
    She takes a step back. “You can never be too careful.”
    She doesn’t add “in this town.” She doesn’t need to.
    I nod, turn, and walk outside. Mom stands in the doorway, watching me.
    â€œWhere’s Sky going?” I hear Wills ask.
    â€œOn an adventure,” she says, and I guess that’s the only thing you can say

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