THE DEAD GAME — DAY 87Much more impatient, Linda cried out, “Louise! You’re alive! We assumed that you were dead! Mike saw you hanging in the gazebo!”

“I’d been so sure that I was going to die. I remember thinking that I was too young to die. Instead I woke up on the sand below End House. But I remember hanging in the gazebo with creatures dancing around me, chanting in a weird language.”

Todd began throwing questions at her, fast and furiously: “Did you happen to see their faces? Do you remember anything else? Why—”

“I remember recognizing one of the faces,” Louise said. “But I just can’t seem to recall his or her face.”

“Don’t worry; it will all come back to you. We’re so happy that you are alive and well. Mike, David, and Shana will want to hear that you’re back.” Linda tucked the colorful knitted blanket, which had been lying across the back of the couch, around Louise’s shivering body. She was surprised to find Louise’s hands cold, like ice. She placed her hand on Louise’s forehead and also found it cold to her touch.

Todd appeared eager to grill Louise with more questions, so she pushed him away from Louise; suggesting that he should notify everyone of her surprise return from the dead.

Once Todd left the room, Louise rose up from the couch to announce that she was hungry. Linda led her to the kitchen. Louise walked zombielike with her head down—without her usual chatter and happy bounce to her step. She seemed much different than before. It had to be because of the traumatic experience that she’d survived last night. But then she remembered that Louise had been moody and unhappy this whole past week. She would just have to accept the fact that they had all changed in some way since that awful party.

Linda almost emptied out her whole refrigerator in her eagerness to feed Louise. But Louise sat before the huge display of food, only nibbling on a breadstick. As Linda watched her, she realized that Louise didn’t have enough strength to eat anything. Just as she was about to lead her back to the couch, Shana rushed into the apartment. She enveloped Louise in a big bear hug…all the while sobbing about her supposed death. Louise appeared uncomfortable as she tried to pull away.

Linda heard loud voices in the living room, and then the door burst open with David and Mike running in. Mike stood back while David hugged Louise. Louise closed her eyes and Linda could have sworn that she was smiling contentedly back at David.


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