Chapter Eight - "Lions and Anacondas and Bears, Oh Mind!"

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I don't like to see my grandmother hurt. And while I know Moritz didn't mean to hurt her more than she already was hurting with his question, I know he did hurt her more. Yet, I don't regret him asking it. I wouldn't take it back. Because really, when Luviel first caught my grandmother's attention, and after she talked to my grandmother the way she did, I too, wanted to ask that very question. It was Luviel's skin, however, that brought me off to it.

"Don't worry Jeopardy crew. You'll have all the answers you're looking for soon enough," Zero responded.

After that, he told Luviel to shut her mouth. He didn't tell her. But he made that finger movement—that gesture--my uncle first made at me at the store when Oso was knocking, ready to take me away—and he did take me away, him and Congo. Zero's finger is longer, of course. It's thinner than my uncle's too. Zero's nails are also longer. Their edges are sharper than my uncle's as well. Boy, now that I really see him—Zero, I mean—I notice how much he is not like my uncle. Not much like him at all, and if it weren't for that finger gesture, they'd probably have nothing in common.

I don't think about that anymore. I don't think about anything anymore.

I want it to be black, like the van.

I want it all to go to black.

I want nothing but I want to see everything.

I want to see where I cannot go.

I want to see where my life will take me.

I want it all to be like it never was before. Or maybe like it was before. Maybe I just want to go back to the other side of the Wall.

With Moritz in front of me, him and his bright, bold logo, his sport's team, his showing off of all the time one has to waste on the other side of the Wall that you can watch a sports team and that you have money to watch a sports team, it all makes me miss that side of the wall all so much more.

"Why didn't you ever try to reach out?" Moritz asks. "Why didn't you try to contact me and tell me you were in trouble?" he says, like it was so easy, like he's been on this whole ride with me, like he's seen this world through my eyes, like he's seen what I've seen.

Hell, Moritz, I think. I want to tell you. I want to tell you for sure. But now is not the time. And maybe, if we make it out, I can tell you. But not now.

"How would I?" I then answered, expecting Moritz to know my answer, expecting him to know what I thought he'd know of me, or expecting him to do as I thought he'd expect of me, and vice versa. "I didn't have a phone," I then say.

"You didn't have a phone? So that's how easy it is for you to forget me?"

"What do you mean? How can I call you if I didn't have a phone?"

"So before leaving you didn't have a phone?"


"Yeah, that's what I thought."

Moritz is right. I did have a phone before crossing over to this side of the wall. So why didn't I call him?

"I'm sorry. My grandmother left me before I could plan everything," I lie.

"I gave you a week's notice," my grandmother then reveals, giving my lie away.

"Thanks, grandma," I reply.

"I did though," she insists, as if I hadn't heard her—or Moritz hadn't heard her—the first time.

"I know. I know."

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