47. The Question

“He didn’t attack you, did he?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He bends the page’s corner back and forth. He’s never been a good liar.

“He said you did something. Everyone heard him, even on our floor.” 

Shou winces.

“He’s in solitary now, you know.” 

The muscles in his face contract. 

She knows the names of every one but doesn’t know what’s going on beneath them. “He said you warned him, Shou.” She leans forward, catches his gaze. “What happened?”

The page beneath his fingers rips. He smooths it flat. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”


Where to Begin

46. Miranda Wants Answers: Library Edition

“Can you wait until I’m done with this section?” He asks, winces, and tsks loudly three times. 

The librarian glares at him, unsure if he’s doing it on purpose. He’s not. 

“What for?” 

“The SAT.”

“Because I’m illiterate. I meant why are you studying, obviously. We won’t be able to go, even if we get out of here.” Miranda doesn’t grieve the lost opportunity. She hasn’t bothered with school in years.

“I will,” he says softly. “I’m going to become a lawyer. I’ll defend the people who need it most.” 

Her eyes narrow, but she waits until he’s done, anyway. 



Where to Begin

45. Miranda vs Therapy: Round 3, Concluded

“That’s our time for today.” Dr. Smith flips his legal pad closed. 

Miranda stands. Her mind is busy elsewhere, so her pride doesn’t stifle her sycophantic forced cheer. “Thanks so much!” 

At the doorway, “Oh!” she says like a thought just occurred to her, “Will Shou get another roommate?”

Dr. Smith smiles. “Soon. But don’t worry: Jeremy won’t. He’ll spend a few days in solitary—just to be sure he isn’t a danger to himself or others.”

Miranda’s mind flashes to the white room, the buzz of silence in her ears.

She forces her lips upwards and bares her teeth. “Great!”



Where to Begin

44. Miranda vs Therapy: Round 3, continued

“Let’s talk about last week.”

“I went to bed and when I woke up, I was in that room.” 

“So you didn’t know Clarke wanted to leave? Why she was digging?”

“He,” she corrects. “Clarke is male.”

Dr. Smith smiles indulgently.

Punching Dr. Smith in the face will get her locked in solitary again, so she retreats into her mind, lets it wander. 

What was that box Clarke dug up? Why did he give up control when he found it? Curiosity rolls over in the back of her mind. 

“Well, however Clarke thinks of herself, let’s talk about her motivation.”



Where to Begin

43. Miranda vs Therapy: Round 3

“You seem distracted, Miranda,” Dr. Smith announces from the other side of his legal pad. 

Clarke jostles closer to the front of her mind. He wants to punish Dr. Smith. He wants to leave. Miranda shakes her head.

“I’m just tired,” she says.“I didn’t get much sleep.”

Dr. Smith nods and stifles a yawn. “Yes, the night staff told me what happened. Very unfortunate. And Jeremy had been doing so well up until this point.”

“Had he?” Miranda asks, trying to sound bored. “This was unexpected, then?”

“Yes and no. But relapse is quite common. Such a tragic illness.”


Where to Begin

42. Logic Over Lies

Lye doesn’t look up from his coffee when Shou enters the cafeteria for breakfast, but Miranda does. She stares at the purple bruise around his neck, the red rim of his eyes. 

Shou drops into the chair across from her. 

“So that was your roommate last night. I thought it might be.”

Shou’s mouth widens.“Delusional-schizophrenic roommate-t-t-t.” His voice is hoarse.

Miranda’s eyes narrow. “Sure,” she clips out.

Shou doesn’t meet her accusing stare.

Lye stands and walks toward the door. 

“They changed his meds yesterday,” Miranda explains. “He’ll probably sleep today. Will you get a new roommate?”

Shou winces.


Where to Begin

41. The Voice that Carries

Miranda wakes with the first shout, dons her glasses, and wonders what Clarke did this time.  

An orderly throws the door open and looks between Miranda, standing in the center of the room, and her barely-conscious roommate. 

“Was that from in here?” 

Miranda shakes her head.

A man’s voice howls from down the hall: “It was him! A giant snake! Don’t keep me in here with him! He said this would happen! He did it! No! It was real!” 

Then another voice: “I need backup!” 

The orderly leaves, relocking the door. Miranda remains awake long after the voices fade, thinking.


Where to Begin