Someone Knows - Lisa Scottoline
Nobody tells you that you’ll do things when you’re young that are so stupid, so unbelievably stupid, so horrifically stupid that years later you won’t be able to believe it. You’ll be on your laptop, or reading a book, or pumping gas, and you’ll find yourself shaking your head because you’ll be thinking no, no, no, I did not do that, I was not a part of that, that could not have happened.
You’ll tell yourself that you were young, that you were drinking, that good teenagers make bad decisions all the time. But you know that’s not it. You know that when teenagers get together, something dark can take over. Call it peer pressure, call it a collective idiocy, call it something more primal and monstrous, like whatever makes frat boys haze their so-called brothers to death. Writ large, it makes Nazis murder millions and soldiers torch Vietnamese villages. But whatever you call it, it will make you do the worst thing you ever did in your life. And in your darkest moments, you will wonder if it made you do it, or simply allowed you to.
You know this now but you didn’t then, and you’ll shake your head, thinking I can’t believe I did that, I can’t believe I was a part of that, but you were, and not in Nazi Germany, My Lai, or a frat house, but in the safest place you can imagine—in the suburban housing development where you grew up, specifically in a patch of woods mandated by township zoning, confined by fences, and bordered by the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In other words, in a completely civilized location where even Nature herself is domesticated and nothing ever happens.
Except this one night.
You and your friends decide to play Russian Roulette, a game so obviously lethal that you can’t even imagine what you were thinking. Days later, years later, a decade later, it’s still so unspeakable you can’t say a word to anyone, and all the books you read that you should’ve learned something from—Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, and Crime and Punishment—teach you absolutely nothing. You read like a fiend, you always have, but you don’t let the books teach you anything. You never apply them to your life because they’re fiction, or even if they seem real, they’re someone else’s life, not your life, except that you and your friends decided to play a prank and someone blew their brains out in front of you.
You won’t be able to remember exactly what happened because of the booze and the horror, the absolute horror, and yet you won’t be able to forget it, though you’ll spend night after night trying. People say something was a night to remember, but this was a night to forget and yet you can’t forget, and then you’ll hear some random playlist and Rihanna singing don’t act like you forgot and you’ll realize you’ve been acting like you forgot your entire adult life, and you’ll feel accused by a song, nailed by a phrase, and don’t act like you forgot is everything, don’t act like you forgot is all, and you’ll pick up the bottle and say to yourself, I’m acting like I forgot but I didn’t, I didn’t forget, and you’ll need to be put out of your own misery, so you’ll drink and drink, trying to drink yourself to death.
But that takes too long. Years too long. Time doesn’t move fast enough. You learned that the hard way.
One night, you’ll lose patience.
Allie gripped the wheel, heading to the cemetery. The death was awful enough in someone so young, agonizing because it was a suicide. The family would be anguished, wracking their brains, asking why. But Allie knew why, and she wasn’t the only one. There used to be four of them, and now there were three. They had kept it a secret for twenty years. She didn’t know if she could keep it secret another minute.
Allie drove ahead, her thoughts going back to the summer of ’99. She could hear the gunshot ringing in her ears. She could see the blood. It had happened right in front of her. Her gut twisted. She felt wrung by guilt. She had nightmares and flashbacks. She’d been fifteen years old, and it had been a night of firsts. First time hanging with the cool kids. First time getting drunk. First time being kissed. First time falling in love. And then the gunshot.
Allie clenched the wheel, holding on for dear life,