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A Bad Idea 109

“Where’s Dad?” David asked, lying in the hospital bed.

“He stayed with your sister in Virginia,” she said. “The move last year was tough enough, but thinking you were dead? She’s struggling. We still haven’t figured out how to explain all this to her.”

All this, David thought. Dying, seeing all my friends die, coming back to life. It really fucked with some kids, even thinking about it. All sorts of studies had been done — behavior getting more reckless when a loved one came back to life, because after all, couldn’t they just come back to life?

His mother saw the look on his face. “Don’t you dare feel guilty.” She leaned over, grabbed his chin. “I’m so happy you’re alive. Everyone will be happy, when they find out.”

“Did Dad ever die?” David asked, knowing the answer.

“Well, no,” she said, “but that was luck as much as anything. He wouldn’t admit that, of course. But he got real lucky, over the years.”

“Like with The Marauders?”

She paused for a second, pushing a strand of long red hair out of her face. “I guess. They weren’t particularly dangerous, though. You father faced much more dangerous enemies over the years.”

“They killed Anne’s mom,” David said.

“Sure, that was sad,” she said, looking her son in the eyes, just so damn thankful he was still alive. “But one person getting killed, in a world as big and crazy as ours? More because of an accident than intent? Well, there are worse things in the world.”

“I guess you’re right.”

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