Here’s an extract from The Rest of Us Just Live Here. You can download a slightly longer extract here.
CHAPTER THE THIRD, in which indie kid Finn’s body is discovered; Satchel – who once dated Finn – asks Dylan and a second indie kid also called Finn to skip school and help her talk to her alcoholic uncle, who is the lead police officer investigating the death; meanwhile, the Messenger, inside a new Vessel, is already among them, preparing the way for the arrival of the Immortals.
Our town is just like your town. Schools, family-themed restaurants, lots of cars. There’s a bunch of huge churches clustered together, trying to blend in with all the family-themed restaurants, because salvation is as easy as chicken wings, I guess. We’ve got fire stations with signs that tell you when burning season begins and ends. We’ve got sheriff’s offices with signs that tell you to Buckle Up. We’ve got a lumber yard with signs that tell you angry right-wing puns. We’ve got RV lots, banks, a Walmart, a couple multiplexes.
We’ve got trees. So many trees. Everything here used to be a forest, after all.
And yeah, so fine, our part of town has more than its fair share of trees and less than its fair share of multiplexes, but don’t look down on us. It was just as bad here as it was for you when the indie kids were battling the undead in our neck of the woods (though that was just after I was born, so I only know about it from my Uncle Rick, who doesn’t get invited around very much any more). We had the same amount of heartache when a new round of indie kids exorcized the sorrow from all those soul-eating ghosts eight years later (that was the year they blew up the high school, a heretofore unknown part of the exorcism ritual, I guess). And don’t even get me started on when the indie kids fell in love with and then defeated all the vampires a few years back. Henna’s older brother Teemu got mixed up with them and pretty much vanished one day. They haven’t seen him since, though he writes the occasional email. Always at night.
And we dream the same in my town as you probably do in a city. We yearn the same, wish the same. We’re just as screwed-up and brave and false and loyal and wrong and right as anyone else. And even if there’s no one in my family or my circle of friends who’s going to be the Chosen One or the Beacon of Peace or whatever the hell it’s going to be next time around, I reckon there are a lot more people like me than there are indie kids with unusual names and capital-D Destinies (though I’m being mean here; they’re often quite nice, the indie kids, just … they’ve got a clan and they’re sticking to it).
Me, all I want to do is graduate. And have a last summer with my friends. And go away to college. And (more than) kiss Henna (more than) once. And then get on with finding out about the rest of my life.
“Did you get in trouble?” Jared asks the next morning as we sit down in the back row of a Calculus class that he’s already got so much extra-credit in he could skip the final and still get an A.
“Just the weekly lecture on how keeping a united family front is more important than usual in an election year, blah blah blah.” I glance at him. “You were mentioned.”
He grins. “I bet.”
The school bell goes as the classroom door opens a last time, and Nathan comes in.
“Sorry,” he says, flashing a smile at Ms Johnson, the Calculus teacher. She’s this really smart, funny older lesbian so the smile totally shouldn’t work on her. Somehow it still does.
I count out the four corners of my desk. Seven times.
“Dude,” Jared whispers. “It’s just a guy. He’s not the Devil.”
“Henna likes him.”
“She said he was pretty. He is.”
I stop counting.
“Well, he is,” Jared shrugs. “Just calling the facts.”
“Yeah, but why would you transfer into a new school five weeks before–”
The intercom system crackles. Attention students, I guess, says our Principal. He’s French Canadian and no matter what he says, he always sounds like he’s dying of boredom. I have some troubling and sad news that some of you will have already seen on social media, no doubt. I am afraid that the body of one of our seniors, Finn Brinkman, was found this morning. There are, as yet, no leads to the cause of his death, but we urge all students to take extra care, to not travel alone, and to report anything suspicious to the authorities. Counselling is available in the office should you need it or something.
Calculus has fallen silent. I turn to Jared. I know he’s thinking the same thing I’m thinking.
“We should tell someone,” I say.
“Yep,” he says. “Won’t do any good.”
No. No, it probably won’t.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or, if real, used fictitiously. All statements, activities, stunts, descriptions, information and material of any other kind contained herein are included for entertainment purposes only and should not be relied on for accuracy or replicated as they may result in injury.
First published 2015 by Walker Books Ltd
87 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5HJ
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Copyright © 2015 Patrick Ness
Cover design by Walker Books Ltd
Endpaper illustration by Richard Merritt
The right of Patrick Ness to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
“Hunter” written by Björk © 1997. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist.
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This book has been typeset in Sabon and Futura
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, St Ives plc
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data:
a catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978-1-4063-3116-5 (Hardback)
ISBN 978-1-4063-6747-8 (Exclusive)
ISBN 978-1-4063-6179-7 (Trade paperback)