Gasp (Visions) - Lisa McMann

For the Midwest, with love


It’s been a week since the shooting, and we’re back on the University of Chicago campus. Ben Galang’s eyes light up when he sees us, and he opens his dorm room door wider to let us in. Sawyer and I step inside and stand awkwardly in the crowded space while Trey eases in after us, taking care not to bump his injured arm on the skateboard that hangs from the ceiling next to the doorway.

Ben and Trey exchange greetings, and Trey’s face floods with color.

“I didn’t know you were coming with them,” Ben says to Trey. He sounds genuinely happy to see him.

“Jules talked me into it,” Trey says.

Right. Like I had to. I try not to laugh. “Yeah, I made him. He needed to get out of the apartment and get some fresh air. Thanks for getting up early on a Sunday.”

“Thanks for saving my life, guys,” Ben says.

“Okay,” Sawyer butts in, “dude, you gotta stop with that.”

“Sawyer is a rather uncomfortable hero,” Trey explains.

“Sorry, man—I won’t mention it again.” Ben grins and points to our seating options.

Trey steps around a pile of laundry to a love seat and carefully picks up a bra from the seat cushion. He glances at Ben, eyebrow raised.

“Roommate’s girlfriend spent the night. It’s awesome,” he says, sounding like it’s totally not awesome. He snatches the bra from Trey’s hand and tosses it on the bottom bunk bed. “They’re slobs. You guys met my roommate—Vernon. He was with me at the hospital. Have a seat. How’s the arm?” He perches on the armrest opposite Trey as Sawyer and I sit in the two desk chairs.

Trey shrugs with his good shoulder. “Eh,” he says. “It’s all right.”

Ben presses his lips together but says nothing more.

“So,” I say, glancing around the room. Bunk beds, two desks, the love seat, a small TV balancing precariously on milk crates. One desk is fairly neat, and there’s a map of the Philippines on the wall above it. “Um,” I start again, turning my gaze back to Ben, “you’re probably wondering why I wanted to talk to you.”

He’s wearing different funky glasses, I notice, and I remember that his got broken in the shooting. He smiles. “Kind of. What’s up?”

I stare at the carpet, knowing that even though I practiced what I was going to say, this is going to sound so ridiculous. I lift my head and catch Sawyer’s eye. He nods, giving me encouragement. My boys are on my side. I’m not alone. But it’s still insanity, and I have to be careful. I turn my head toward Ben, who waits, puzzled.

And then I just blurt it out. “Any chance you’ve started seeing visions recently?”


I expect Ben to laugh, but he doesn’t. He studies me a moment. “No,” he says slowly.

“Oh,” I say. “Um, okay.” I peer more closely at him. “You’re sure?”

He frowns and looks at Trey. “I’m not sure I understand what’s going on here.”

“Sorry,” Trey mutters. “Yeah, it’s a weird question, but she’s not insane, I swear.”

Sawyer nods in agreement.

“See,” Trey continues, “Jules, well, see, it all started . . .” He falters and looks at me.

“A few months ago,” I say. “I got this vision of a truck hitting a building and exploding, and I kept seeing it, and it got more and more frequent, interfering with my life, and I kind of felt like I had to do something to, you know, stop the thing from happening, or whatever. And it turned out that the building was actually Sawyer’s family’s restaurant, and the truck was a snowplow with a dead driver—”

“Not like ghost dead—he had a heart attack while driving,” Trey adds.

“Right,” I say. “We’re not that nuts. So in the vision the snowplow crashes into Sawyer’s family’s restaurant, and there’s a huge explosion and nine body bags in the snow—”

“Including me in one of those body bags,” Sawyer interrupts. “And Jules tried to warn me, but I wouldn’t believe her. But she, and Trey, of course,” he adds, “ended up stopping the truck from hitting the gas line, so our restaurant didn’t explode, but that’s how Jules broke her arm . . .”

“And then I thought the whole vision nightmare thing was over and we could just go back to normal, but apparently I, like, gave it to Sawyer, and then he—”

“And then I,” Sawyer continues, “started seeing a vision too, of . . . of . . .”

The room is suddenly silent and we three glance at each