“What would you do? If you had a pet monster, I mean?”
Zoe is waiting for him on the sidewalk outside her house, eyes wide and phone clutched in her hand.
“Eli!” She starts running as soon as she sees him, and they crash together bodily in the middle of your street. “Eli, I got your text. What happened? What did you do?” She reaches a hand up to ghost it around the dark halo of his hair, currently even more fried than usual. “You look like you’ve been electrocuted!”
“I saw it!” Eli grabs Zoe’s forearms, hauling her forward. “Zee, I saw it! I saw the monster!”
“Monster?” Zoe’s expression twists, dubious, and she pulls back just slightly. “What monster? Ee, what are you talking about?”
“The monster, Zoe,” Eli says. “The one that killed that dude. It’s real. I saw it. Addi is out again and I was going to make tacos but we didn’t have the ingredients,” it comes out all in one big rush. “So I was walking to the ShopStop down that road that goes behind the houses, y’know? Where you wanted to do the photoshoot? And anyway I saw it. It was . . . it had these antlers and was kind of like a deer, but it had wings, too, and—”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” This time, Zoe does extract herself, stepping backwards and out of Eli’s grasp. “Ee, are you high?”
“No!” God. Monsters nothing. His Aunt would kill him. “Zoe, I know it sounds crazy but you gotta believe me. I saw the monster. It attacked me!”