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Jacob

Riana Pfefferkorn will break your heart

It takes Jacob thirty-nine seconds to grow up. For the last twenty-six, Piper is there too. Bandit starts out next to Jacob but disappears, gray-muzzled and bent, soon after Piper shows up. Zomba’s cameo in the middle is a firework of black. The images wriggle, change hues, fade and brighten.

Snapshots every week: even when he wasn’t speaking to them, fourteen, sullen, hair hiding his face; even when she had a broken leg, the hated, leaden cast. At twenty-four frames per second, those pains disappear. The weeks are too fleeting to notice, the years barely register. Hit replay. Again. Again.

Jacob

The problem with inheriting a two-hundred-year-old mansion with its own staff and wrought-iron candlesticks and everything is that eventually somebody’s going to get killed in there, guaranteed, one night while the roads and the power are out and your old frenemies are in town; you’ll quickly come to understand why the candlestick is a weapon in that board game, and the greed of your compatriots will light their faces as they decide to silence you for good, so go ahead and hang out with a murderer (Jacob) in college, and at least that way you’ll already know.

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