I need to ask, are you afraid of spiders?”Nicholas blinked, suddenly caught off guard, “Yes, I’m afraid of spiders.””Were you always?””What are you, a psychiatrist?”Pritam took a breath. He could feel Laine’s eyes on him, appraising his line of questioning.”Is it possible that the trauma of losing your best friend as a child and the trauma of losing your wife as an adult and the trauma of seeing Laine’s husband take his life in front of you just recently…” Pritam shrugged and raised his palms, “You see where I’m going?”Nicholas looked at Laine. She watched back. Her gray eyes missed nothing.”Sure,” agreed Nicholas, standing. “And my sister’s nuts, too, and we both like imagining that little white dogs are big nasty spiders because our daddy died and we never got enough cuddles.””Your father died?” asked Laine. “When?””Who cares?”Pritam sighed. “You must see this from our point of – “”I’d love to!” snapped Nicholas. “I’d love to see it from your point of view, because mine is not that much fun! It’s insane! It’s insane that I see dead people, Pritam! It’s insane that this,” he flicked out the sardonyx necklace,”stopped me from kidnapping a little girl!””That’s what you believe,” Pritam said carefully.”That’s what I fucking believe!” Nicholas stabbed his finger through the air at the dead bird talisman lying slack on the coffee table.
― Stephen M. Irwin,
The Dead Path
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