Winter in Binghamton had finally hit.
“I’m glad you made up your mind,” said Athena, a warm smile on her face. “I had been concerned. It’s been a somewhat trying year. For both of us, I imagine.” Her smile faded, and her eyes went down. “I’m sorry about your friends. About Alfred, and about Polly. Betrayal hurts, and there are few betrayals greater than a hero’s death.”
The blue paper gown. My fingers rub and stroke along the material. It’s different from cotton or silk or felt or any of those. You can tell it’s different. It’s the little things that tell you that you’re mad. The institutional nature, for one thing. If they think you’re insane, you need to be put in something that you can’t possibly hurt yourself with. Something that can’t be made into a noose or a cutting edge or a bludgeon. It doesn’t matter that you’re not suicidal. You’re unwell, and so you must undergo the same procedures as everyone else until you can prove you’re not.
I threw open the door. “Alfred. We need to move.”
“Did you know about this?” I asked, as we drove. Jack sat in the back with the Atlantean girl, the only one at the temple who I was able to get a hold of. Alfred sat in the passenger seat, checking his phone occasionally for the directions we had been given by Inanna. “I mean, the whole family thing.”
“You know,” I said, as we studied the crypt, “this is really nice.”
“This is vile,” I growled, pacing the streets. “It’s late September, and it still feels like July.”
I leaned over as Jack and I sat at the red light, and checked the box in her lap. “How are those files going?”
“Is her presence necessary?”
“Friends,” said Alfred, in the tone that most people reserve for people on the opposite side of the political spectrum.