We leave for Brazil on January 11, Levi and I. While it’s our intent to find Eve and Mason and bring them back, right now all we have is their address from pre-Apocalypse, and a series of phone numbers, none of which work. Levi is setting up his new administration—he gets sworn in as Mayor on January 20—so it’s fallen into my lap to make a decent game plan.
I see a full load of patients today, but in between sticking in needles and taking them out—and hoping like hell I’m not hurting anyone—I double down my efforts.
I have a phone number for Eve’s mother. I’ve rung it before, but lately I’ve been trying every day, at different hours. Still no answer; but the way the phone rings so confidently on the other end teases me into dialing it over and over. If someone wasn’t paying that bill, there’d be a recording saying so, right?
Carter, Eve’s cousin who’s more like a sister to Eve, has never been my favorite person, but I do have her number. Today, I grit my teeth—figuratively, of course, for actual gritting is unattractive—and try it. The call is answered by someone with a deep voice and strong accent who definitely isn’t Carter. Nor does the answerer seem to be an employee or agent or anyone who has anything to do with her. The number was either never right—I wouldn’t put it past Carter to have given me one that’s completely made up—or she changed phones. Or she died, and is now a zombie.
This thought cheers me.
I try calling Eve’s old landlord. I know him, since her shop was was only two doors down from Shazaam’s. He’s alive, I already knew that much. But he doesn’t have any forwarding address other than what I have.
“How would I know anything?” he says. “You’re her friend—you’re the one who should know.”
That stings. He’s right. How can it be that I truly don’t know? Not a shred of anything about my best friend, even as basic as alive or dead?
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.