Shadow Unit

Case Files

Teasers & Deleted Scenes

At the edge of Tennessee, November 2011

They were halfway home when Sol couldn't take it anymore.

"You're awfully quiet over there, Grasshopper," he said, and from the corner of his eye, he saw Chaz twitch.

"Just thinking about that little girl," Chaz said vaguely.

Deflection. Sol countered: "Which one? Patty or Stephanie?"

"Both, I guess," Chaz said. Ambiguity. But just before Sol set himself for another try--he had a momentary ridiculous image of the two of them as jousting knights--Chaz said, "Patty, mostly. I'm trying to get my head around having your parents tell you you're going to grow up to be evil."

"Mr. MacIntyre is a piece of work," Sol agreed.

Chaz shook his head, like a horse trying to shake off a biting fly. "My mom never--" He stopped, tried again. "She never made me feel like a freak, even though..."

Sol held his breath and tried to remember to keep his eyes on the goddamn road.

Chaz said, "I remember breast-feeding, you know? I remember the taste and her arm supporting my whole body and how I didn't understand the words she was singing. Not yet. I was twenty before I figured out that wasn't normal. Because my mom...everything I threw at her, and God there must have been some crazy shit, she just smiled and loved me and it was part of our world. Hers and mine. And I guess I thought... I mean, I know people abuse their kids and do horrible fucking things to them--I've always known that. But somehow I still thought my mom was... That that's what real parents did."

"It is," Sol said carefully. "But sometimes it seems like there aren't many real parents in the world."

"Yeah," Chaz said and rubbed his face tiredly. "Sometimes it does."