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“Then Tim’s like ‘big nasty teeth! Like this!'” Annie lets go of the wheel to demonstrate; Bruce and Deshaun yelp.

“Fine,” she rolls her eyes, “babies. And he goes ‘and big nasty, uh, ears–‘”

“Nasty claws,” says Bruce.

“This is the zenith of nerd humor?” says Deshaun, thoroughly dubious.

Danielle smiles and crinkles down into the borrowed jacket. The warm car smells like french fries and teenagers. The music’s too loud, and the thump of its bass is in time with the seams in the concrete: together, her secret pulse.

“And then!” says Annie. “The bunny rips out his throat!”


It’s odd, Danielle thinks, and she herself is odd, frankly. Stupid. She hasn’t even opened it yet. It’s only a note, folded in triangles, corners beginning to round off. But it’s hers now: Annie Deshaun Annie Deshaun Bruce Annie Danielle.

She’s known those three must communicate like this, of course, they’re so tight and so clever. Three years older, too. Are they cool just because she’s a first-year? No. Still, why does her sudden inclusion matter so much?

Because it says You are special, she thinks. You are important. We are what you want to be, and you are like us.