From Nick Lake, Printz-winning author of In Darkness, comes an emotionally charged thriller that deftly exposes the lies we tell others—and the lies we tell ourselves. There Will Be Lies is available now on Kindle.
Summation: Shelby Jane Cooper’s sheltered life consists of weekly Ice Cream for Dinner Nights, hitting baseballs, and checking out “the Boy” at the library. But a sudden car accident forces her to confront the harsh truth: everything she knows about herself might just be a lie.
I go out onto the sidewalk, and walk to the spot where the cab will pick me up. I glance at my watch— it’s about four minutes before she’s due to arrive, and she always arrives when she’s due.
I stand there for a moment, holding the book. I don’t know how I’m going to explain it to Mom. I guess I’ll just say it’s from the library and hope she doesn’t look inside and see that it doesn’t have a stamp.
I look at my watch again. Three more minutes, and then Mom will be there to take me home.
That doesn’t happen.
What happens instead is:
A car, which is actually a Humvee, and as it will turn out is being driven by a driver considerably under the influence, bounces up onto the sidewalk, takes out a trash can, slows just enough not to kill me instantly, then collides with my body hard enough to throw me ten feet through the air.
Lying there, on the concrete, I don’t feel any pain at first. I am on my side and there is a warm trickling feeling all over my leg which doesn’t seem to forebode anything good, though I can’t just now remember how I got to this position.
I am facing the library, or at least the gap between the library and the next building, which I think is a software company. In the cool dark shadow between the buildings, I see two eyes, gleaming.
A coyote steps out and toward me, right there in the dusk. I’ve never seen one before— I know people do at night, especially in North Scottsdale, but he’s my first. I sense that it’s a he.
He, the coyote, comes closer and sniffs at me. He’s beautiful—this wild thing, here in low- rise suburbia. Like walking into a bedroom and seeing a tree growing in there. His fur is red like sunset, his eyes are shining and telling me something that I don’t know how to read, but there’s a kind of light of intelligence in them.
I think: of course, it’s not a dog, Mark’s tattoo. It’s a coyote. I don’t know why I thought it was a dog.
I stare at the coyote. There’s a crackle about him, almost a halo, like his life is running at a voltage different from other living creatures. Like he’s magic. I could really believe that. Then I believe it even more, because the coyote speaks directly into my head, or that’s what it feels like.
There will be two lies, it says. Then there will be the truth. And that will be the hardest of all.
There’s something weird about the way the coyote says this, like the words are somehow inside my head,
echoing, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like grasping a slick frog—it squirts out of my hands.
Then something startles him and he backs away, turns skittishly, almost falling over, and runs back into the shadow where he disappears.
And it’s like he was never there, and I feel bummed about that. This is all wrong, anyway, I think, remembering the book in the library, the open one. You’re meant to see the coyote BEFORE the horrible
thing happens to you. Not after.
I roll a bit and look up and see the moon, pale in the still- light sky, looking down on me like a parent looking down at a sick child.
This is— I think.
And then blackness.
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