Excerpt of The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
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What each man does will shape his trial and fortune.
For Jupiter is king to all alike; the fates will find their way.
Virgil, The Aeneid
Some things were certain; they were undeniable,
inarguable. Nora Lindell was gone, for
one thing. There was no doubt about that. For another,
it was Halloween when she went missing, which only
served to compound the eeriness, the mysteriousness
of her disappearance. Of course, it wasnt until the
first day of November that most of us found out she
was gone, because it wasnt until the day after Halloween
that her father realized she hadnt come home
the night before and so started calling our parents.
From what we could tell, and from how the phone
tree was ordered that year, Jack Boyds parents got the
first phone call. Mrs. Boyd, as prescribed by the tree,
called Mrs. Epstein, who called Mrs. Zblowski, who
called Mrs. Jeffreys. By the time the tree had been
completed, many mothers had already gotten word
of Noras disappearance either from usrunning from
house to houseor from Mr. Lindell himself, whod
broken phone-tree etiquette and continued making
calls even after getting off the phone with Mrs. Boyd.
It was a breach in etiquette that our mothers forgave,
obviously, but one that they agreed tacitly, behind
the back of Mr. Lindell, added unnecessarily to the
general confusion of the day.
The phone tree produced no new information.
But it did, accidentally, serve to remind our mothers
that the time change had come late that year and
that all the clocks should be set back an hour. How
wed forgotten, none of us knew. But somewhere in
the branches and twigs of the phone tree, a mother
remembered that in addition to having lost Nora,
wed gained an hour. All our mothers could do was
promise Mr. Lindell to ask us about his daughter
when we returned home that night, an hour later than
With our curfew the same but with the day that
much longer, while our mothers waited at home for
our return, while the leaves changed and fell seemingly
in a single afternoon, turned from green to
orange to pewter to nothing, we stayed outdoors
and away from our parents. We stayed away from
the girls as best we couldall but Sarah Jeffreys who,
for various reasons, was nearly impossible to want
to stay away fromas though allegiance to our own
sex would somehow solve the mystery, once wed
learned of it, all the faster. We interrogated each other
for information, eager to be the one to discover the
truth. As it turned out, wed all seen Nora the day
before, but seen her in different places doing different
thingswed seen her at the swing sets, at the
riverbank, in the shopping mall. Wed seen her making
phone calls in the telephone booth outside the
liquor store, inside the train station, behind the dollar
store. Wed seen her in her field hockey sweats, in her
jean jacket, in her uniform. We saw her smoking a
cigarette, sucking a lollipop, eating a hot dog. Surely
shed gone to the midnight thriller trilogy with us all
(we called it the midnight show, though it was over by
ten, just in time for curfew), and yet when we questioned
each otherasked who had gotten to sit next to
her, to share popcorn with her, to scare her when she
was least expecting itnone of us could take credit.
Trey Stephens, the only public schooler among us,
was the last to find out since his parents werent on the
tree. He lived in the neighborhood and wed known
him forever. His was the largest basement, with neon
beer signs and stolen street signs, a giant fish tank and
two dartboards, a full-size pool table and a drum kit.
And it was there that we congregated the evening
after Halloween as the sun began to fall, determined
to wait out the extended curfew, to tell him and each
other the story of Nora Lindell gone missing.
Excerpted from The Fates Will Find Their Way
by Hannah Pittard. Copyright © 2011 by Hannah Pittard.
Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.