The Saints

Page 36

Gates ignored Pruitt, keeping his eyes on Will. Will sloshed toward the school. He couldn’t get cornered.

“I’m heading out,” Will said. “Be back in a bit.”

Will sped up a little, the drag of the knee-high water was slowing his stride.

“Where you going?” Gates said, sloshing through the water to meet Will in the middle of the room.

“I … just need some air.”

Gates got in Will’s way, and Will had to stop. Meanwhile, Pruitt tromped back into the processing facility.

“Hold up. I forgot to tell you. There’s these three Pretty Ones I met. They want to party with us tonight.” Gates slapped Will’s chest. “They’re jonesing for a little more Gates and Will.”

Will laughed. “I’m gonna pass.”

“You hear what I’m saying, right? They want to party. They’re sure things. And they’re hot.”

“I’m not really in the mood tonight.”

Gates looked annoyed for a moment, but he shook it off with a smile.

“Yeah,” he said. “You’re right. Girls can wait. Some other night. What should we do instead? Want to go break some windows?”

“Uh … not really.”

“Yeah, that sucks,” Gates said, then gasped. His eyes lit up. “Forget it—I got it! There’s still a little gas left in the motorcycle, let’s take it on one final joyride through the halls, let every gang hear it fuckin’ rumble. Whattaya say?”

“I just—”

“Then, we torch it. You’d love that.”

Will snapped. “I don’t want to right now! All right? Will you let me go?”

Gates said nothing. Will thought Gates was staring at him, but all Will could see was the dual reflections of his own frustrated face in the lenses of Gates’s shades. The pause went from awkwardly long, to crawl out of your skin long, but then Gates raised his hands in the air and stepped out of Will’s way.

“Do whatever you want, I don’t care,” Gates said.

The room had gone quiet again. Will couldn’t get a read on whether it was okay with Gates that he was leaving or not.

“All right. Later,” Will said.

He kept his eyes forward, and walked the last few feet to the steel doors to McKinley, then stepped over the table dam. Will continued on, into McKinley’s front foyer. The leakage from the white room had spread into a giant puddle that covered most of the foyer’s burned and warped floor. He heard the party ramp back up behind him.

“Oh shit!” he heard Gates say from the white room. “We should ask for a shark!”



A Slut with long, red feather earrings sneered back at Will through the cracked-open door to the cafeteria. She looked at him like he was a homeless man trying to wander into her art gallery.

“She’s not here.”

“I don’t believe you,” Will said.

“Go away,” the Slut said, and started to close the door. Will stopped the door with his foot and leaned against it. The Slut grimaced as she pushed harder.

“What do you want?” Will said to the Slut.


“From the parents. What do you want me to get for you?” Will said.

The Slut didn’t hesitate. “A teepee. Twelve footer,” she said.

Will wrinkled his brow, “All right … weirdo. I’ll make it happen.”

“You better not be lying.”

“I’m sure you’ll kill me if I am. Just let me in.”

The Slut stepped back from the door and opened it for him. Will walked into the cafeteria. He didn’t get more than three steps before a bunch of Sluts had him pressed against the wall and were going through his pockets.

Out came his weapons. A Swiss Army Knife, with five blades, that Gates had gotten him. His new Maglite. The chain he kept wrapped around his forearm to make his punches heavier. The brand-new hatchet he kept stuffed in the back of his pants. They even found the razor blade he kept taped under his belt.

“I’m gonna need all of that back.”

“Depends if you behave yourself or not,” a big Slut said, and gave him a cheap slap in the crotch. Will winced. He would have fought back but he couldn’t screw up his chance to see Lucy.

They shoved him forward. He couldn’t believe how clean it was in the cafeteria. They walked him through a door on the other side of the dining room. Will knew the Sluts had claimed a full hallway of classrooms off the cafeteria, including a small student lounge, but he’d never been inside.

They led him into the triangle-shaped lounge. All of the plastic covers over the fluorescent tube lights in the ceiling were transparent red. The light they gave off was so dim Will had to work to see people’s faces. He felt as if they were all at the bottom of a glass of red wine. Sluts lounged in well-preserved, plushy love seats and cushioned chairs that populated the space. Any of them could have been Lucy in the deep red of the room.

Seven angry girls, all with pale skin and dark lips and thin eyebrows that slanted down toward the bridges of their noses, followed him as he walked. He passed pretty girls who seemed dead inside. Some of the girls had dates, guys interspersed in the group. Will peered at the dudes. Some ignored him, others casually tried to hide their faces, and then there were the ones that scowled at him until he continued walking past their girl, then they went back to not caring. A skinny girl with a red bob growled at him like she wanted to kill him. A Slut with black lipstick and a train track of gold safety pins pierced through her left eyebrow screwed up her face at Will and flipped him off. He didn’t let any of it shake him. He was a man on a mission.


There she was, in the red, lying on her side on a sofa, her body twisted away from Will. He had to squint. She was wearing a shirt that was hardly a shirt. It draped too loosely on her, threatening to show too much. She wore a pair of sweat shorts that stubbornly refused to cover the bottom of her butt.

That kid, Bart, was lying next to her. He had his stupid arm around her, and she looked cozy as hell all nestled into his side, except for her face, which was stiff with shock. She sat up and straightened her shirt. Bart kept his hold on her.

“What are you doing here?” Lucy said.

“Can we go somewhere and talk?” Will said.

Lucy looked to Bart, concerned. “I’m kinda in the middle of something.”

Will wanted to explode.

“Please, I really need to talk to you.”

Lucy opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Will stayed patient.

“Will … what else is there to say?”

“I love you.”

Lucy stared at Will. Bart started laughing.

Will ignored Bart and pushed on. “Listen, we had a string of really shitty luck and it ended badly, and that sucks. But I want to take care of you and I’ll do whatever it takes to get you back in my life.”

Through the heavy red light, he saw a hopeful little smile bloom on her face for just a second. And then she looked at the other Sluts around her and dropped it.

“Oh god,” Bart said. “That was so lame.”

“Fuck you, Nerd.”

Bart laughed again, harder than before. It was the most annoying laugh Will had ever heard.

“Will, I think you should leave,” Lucy said.

“Lucy, it’s me,” Will said, and he touched her arm.

As soon as he touched her, Sluts converged on him. In a few simple, strong moves, they ripped Will’s hand free of Lucy and wrenched his arms behind his back. He strained and twisted against their grip.

“Get off me,” he said through gritted teeth.

They pulled Will away from Lucy. She stood, but didn’t stop them. She didn’t care.

The Sluts lifted him off of his feet and carried him like they were going to use him for a battering ram. He would have screamed if they hadn’t brought their knives to his throat so quickly.

They carried him out of the lounge, through the cafeteria, and sure enough, opened the door with his head. They threw him out into the hall. His weapons were tossed out after him. He landed on the floor, next to a pile of trash bags that leaked a puddle of red onto the floor.


“I GOTTA GO TO THE BATHROOM,” GATES SAID to Will, in a hallway near Freak territory.

That sounded great by Will. Will could use a break from the guy, even a short one. He’d been hanging with Gates nonstop since Lucy shut him down. He was exhausted, and Gates was beginning to grate on his nerves.

“Go for it,” Will said. “I think there’s a bathroom up there to the right.”

Gates paused.

“Actually, you want to come?”

Will stared in disbelief. Gates wasn’t kidding. It never ended.

“No, I’m good,” Will said.

Gates frowned. “Are you sure?”

“I’m good. I already went.”

“I don’t remember you going.”

“Well … I did,” Will said.

Gates narrowed his eyes at him.

“What,” Will said. “You don’t believe me?”

Gates pursed his lips, and stared at Will until the awkwardness was painful. Will prayed for him to leave.

“Yeah, okay,” he said. “Maybe I just didn’t notice or—yeah, you know what? I’ll go later. Let’s keep looking for it.”

Will sighed, and the two of them continued their search, poking their heads into classrooms that they had no business looking into. Will carried a six-pack of canned beer in one hand and an extension cord lasso in the other. Gates held a spear made from a whittled wooden flagpole.

“This is where that Freak girl said she saw it?” Gates asked.

Will nodded. “Yep. Second floor. Near room 213.”

“Soo-ey,” Gates yelled. “Soo-ey! Here, piggy piggy.”

Will stood in silence, watching Gates as he snorted like a pig. He didn’t know if he wanted to laugh or cry. Gates could be super fun, but Will just couldn’t keep up anymore. Nobody could.

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.