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That the town deserved to die

For his castle was never built

Or he would see it with his own eyes

The bird said, “But king, you merely assumed.

You didn’t even try

Look from a different perspective.

Don’t just look from your own two eyes.”

The bird then led him over to where

The castle should surely be

He then moved aside a boulder

And King Flip fell to his knees

For inside the mountain was the castle

The most magnificent one ever built

King Flip couldn’t believe his eyes

He quickly became wrecked with guilt

He had killed so many people

People he should have protected

Simply because he couldn’t see

The castle from their perspective

“Hide their bodies!” King Flip yelled.

“Hide every last one!

Put them inside the mountain.

And then close those doors for good!”

The king’s army hid the bodies

And King Flip fled the land

He went back to his old castle

And never spoke of Perspective again

Some say this story isn’t true

Some say the town never existed

But look at any map and you’ll see

There is no longer a town called Perspective.

I flip back to the first page of the poem, a little in shock by what I just read. This is a children’s poem? This is just as morbid, if not more morbid than the art he creates. And the fact that Moby now believes it’s a true story!

“You know this is fiction, right?” I look down at Moby but his eyes are closed. I didn’t even notice he had fallen asleep while I was reading. I place the story back on his nightstand. I turn off the light before I leave the room and head straight to Quarter One. Sagan is in the kitchen helping Honor wash the dishes. “What is wrong with you?”

They both look up at me, but I’m staring at him.

“Is that an open-ended question?” he asks.

“You slaughtered an entire town of innocent people!”

He nods as registration marks his expression. “Oh, you read to Moby.”

“That’s disturbing! It’s his favorite story now.”

“What are you talking about?” Honor asks me.

I flip a hand in her morbid boyfriend’s direction. “He wrote a poem for Moby, but it’s the worst children’s story I’ve ever read.”

“It’s not that bad,” he says in defense. “It has a good message.”

“Does it?” I ask, flabbergasted. “Because the message I got was that a materialistic ruler wasn’t happy with the peasants he hired to build his castle, so he slaughtered them all, hid their bodies in a mountain, and went on with his happy life.”

Honor makes a face to show how disturbed she is. I make it a point never to make that expression. Seeing it on her lets me know how unappealing it would be on me.

“You completely missed the message, then,” he says. “It’s a poem about perspective.”

“What are we talking about?” Utah asks as he walks into the kitchen.

“The story I wrote for Moby.”

Utah laughs as he grabs a soda from the refrigerator. “I loved that story,” he says, right before he takes a sip. He wipes his mouth. “I can’t listen to this all night,” he says, referring to the arguing still coming from Quarter Three. “Want to go swimming?”

“We’re in,” Honor says, referring to Sagan and herself. “Anything to get out of this house.”

They all look at me. No one verbally invites me, but with the way they’re all looking at me, I assume this is their way of asking if I’d like to come along.

“I’m good,” I say, turning down their nonverbal invite. I’ve never gone swimming at the hotel with Honor and Utah before. It’s gotten to where they don’t even invite me, but since I’m standing right in front of them they probably feel pressured. When I turn them down, Honor almost looks relieved.

“Suit yourself,” she says, tossing the dish towel on the counter.

Sagan is still looking at me, but with a touch of curiosity in his expression. “You sure you don’t want to come?” he asks.

The fact that he looks like he’d appreciate my company makes me want to change my mind. With Honor and Utah, it’s obvious they prefer to hang out without me. They don’t find my presence an added bonus. To them, my presence is an inconvenience. But the way he’s staring at me, it seems he might actually value my presence.

It confuses me. It makes me want to go swimming with my siblings for the first time since they started going the day Utah got his license.

The bedroom door to Quarter Three opens and Luck appears. He walks into the kitchen with his hands shoved in his pockets. My father and Victoria are close behind. My father clears his throat as he addresses all of us.

“Luck will be staying with us for a while. Victoria and I would appreciate it if you would all make him feel welcome.”

It’s odd, because even though it seems Luck won this argument, his demeanor says otherwise.

“Welcome,” Utah says to him. “Feel like going swimming?”

“You have a pool?” Luck asks.

Utah shakes his head. “No, but there’s a hotel in town with an indoor heated pool and Honor has connections.”

“Nice,” Luck says. “Let me grab some shorts.” He begins to walk out of the kitchen, but turns to me. “You’re coming, too, right?” Luck says this as if it’s a plea not to leave him stranded with the rest of my siblings.

I am the only one he’s had any interaction with beyond an introduction. I nod. “Yeah, I’ll come.”

Sagan is just about to round the corner when he hears me accept Luck’s invite. He looks over his shoulder at me with a moment of pause, but then continues walking.

“Where’s Moby?” Victoria asks.

“I put him to bed already.” I let that be the end of our conversation as I head toward my room.

Earlier today I was regretting running into Luck at the store, but now it seems I might finally have a friend in this house. I never go swimming with Utah and Honor because they never seem to want me to, but I’m afraid if I don’t go tonight, Luck will bond with the three of them and I’ll be odd man out again.

I grab a one-piece and an oversized T-shirt and head back into the hallway. Sagan is walking out of his room and pauses when he sees me. He opens his mouth, but before he says whatever he’s about to say, Honor opens her door. His mouth clamps shut.

Now I’ll be wondering what he was about to say for the rest of the evening.

They follow Utah and Luck outside. I stop by the bathroom and grab a few towels. Before I reach the front door, I look up at the statue of Cheesus Christ.

I wonder if God answers prayers before they’re asked of Him? Is that why Luck is here? Is he the distraction from Sagan that I prayed for earlier?

“Are you responsible for His sacrilegious outfit?”

My father’s voice jolts me from my thoughts. He’s standing a few feet away, staring at the statue.

“Nope,” I lie. “It must have been an immaculate conception of wardrobe.”

I go to close the front door and I hear my father’s muffled voice from the other side. “If the Cowboys lose, you’re grounded!”

The Cowboys chances of losing are good. The chances of my father actually following through with a threat are not.

Chapter Six

One of the most utilized vehicles in our driveway is the Ford Windstar. It holds seven people, but at the rate our household is growing this month, we’ll need an upgrade soon. I was the last one to the van but Honor’s boyfriend sat in the back and left one of the middle bucket seats open for me. Luck is in the other one. Honor is in the front passenger seat and Utah is driving.

We live in the middle of nowhere, in a town too small to be significant enough for a hotel with a pool. It’s twelve miles to the nearest store and even farther to the hotel we’re heading for. This will be at least a fifteen-mile drive. But in a rural area like this, it’ll only take thirteen minutes to get there.

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