Made for You Page 50

“You’re going to work, Mom,” I call out. “Dad needs you there. I’m fine here with Nate. Promise!”

She doesn’t answer me, but her voice is a quiet hum in the background as she brings him up to speed. I’m copying and pasting possible meanings for flowers and cicadas and the word “judge.” I remember from class that there was a book in the 1800s that was supposedly all about the official flower meanings, but I’m guessing that the killer uses the internet if he’s anyone younger than thirty.

Gladiolus: “I’m very sincere,” preparedness, flowers of the gladiators (Note: Dedicated/serious in his crazy?)

Red lily: “high bred” or “high souled” (Note: Online it’s called a “scarlet lily,” but the orange one means “hatred.” I think this is red/scarlet though. He either is saying I’m high bred, or he is, or it’s to be orange and he hates me.)

Honeysuckle: united in love, devoted love, fidelity (Note: He’s telling me he’s a creeper. Figured that out already without the flowers.)

Asphodel: regrets beyond the grave, I follow you to the grave, remember me after the grave (Note: Who had the asphodel? Micki or Amy?)

Amaryllis: pride, pastoral poetry (Note: guessing it’s not the poetry. So who is he calling prideful? Or is he saying he’s proud of what he did?)

Cicada: regeneration, change, rebirth, longevity, patience, immortality

Judge: to form an opinion, to try, to weigh in, to find guilty or innocent; an authority

Yours: What’s mine? The flowers? The cicada? The blame? The killer? All of it???

In a separate file, I jot down what I remember of the death visions, the deaths that already happened, and prosopagnosia. I add my notes that prosopagnosics use voice, clothing, hair color, walk, and other details to identify people. Maybe that’s the trick I need to try in my visions. I’m still staring at my notes, googling other meanings on the flowers, and flipping between them when Nate comes to stand behind me. He looks over my shoulder at my screen listing the flowers and says, “I’m sure the police already started looking up what the flowers he left with Micki and Amy meant.”

“I can’t not think about it.” I look back at him. “The killer carved my name on Amy’s body when he killed her. He killed Micki and tried to kill me. And now”—I motion to the counter—“he’s sending me flowers and dead bugs and cryptic messages.”

“I know.” He looks so calm that I feel better just having him near me. “That doesn’t make it your fault.”

As much as I want that to be true, it feels like it’s somehow my fault. I save the document and close my laptop. I don’t say anything, but Nate knows me. Even though it’s been far too long since we were kids, I don’t think I’ve changed so much that he can’t figure out that I disagree with him.

He pulls out the chair my mother had been using and sits down. I reach out for his hand before he takes mine. It’s more forward than I would be, especially if we are truly just friends, but I feel like my seams are loose. I’m afraid that he’ll touch me, and I can’t bear looking at his death. I thought I was holding it all together, and I’d planned to test my visions, but last night I realized that I’m ready to fracture.

“They’ll catch him,” Nate says.

“Everyone keeps saying that, but Amy and Micki are dead.”

His hand tightens on mine, and I’m reminded of those weird days between death and funerals. In Jessup, my family makes a lot of appearances at the homes of the grieving. My mother has an almost pathological need to take covered dishes to mourners. Dad says it’s because she lost her mother so young. Looking out for the grieving makes her feel less helpless, but being inside the house where death is clinging to every thought makes me feel lost. There’s a hazy sense of being out of time and place in that grief window—sort of like being in the hospital. I feel desperate to talk about something, anything other than death, but it’s there in every room and under every word. It’s inescapable.

It’s all part of why I hate funerals. They’re so heavy with awkward desire to talk about anything other than loss, but the guilt of doing so makes it impossible. It’s suffocating—and there will be another one in a matter of days.

“We’ll have to go to Amy’s funeral,” I think out loud.

Nate’s expression is stony. “There’s a killer who’s obsessing on you. I’m not sure going to Amy’s funeral is a good idea.”

“I agree,” says a voice from behind me. I look over my shoulder and see the detective standing there with my mother.

“You can’t stop me,” I point out, calling upon my television police knowledge. “I’m not even a material witness. I’m allowed to go anywhere I want.”

Detective Grant’s lips twist into a smile of sorts. “Everyone I’ve interviewed describes you as sweet and almost meek. I’m not sure they were right.”

I tilt my chin upward and stare at her. “I’m not going to live in a cage because of some sicko.”

She walks past me to examine the flowers, the card, and the cicada. She doesn’t touch them, telling us, “A tech will be by to collect these shortly.”

I push myself up, using the table for leverage. Nate wraps an arm around my waist to help steady me. I reach for my crutches and pull away from him.

“I wore gloves,” I point out.

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