nothing but life: a novel forthcoming from Dundurn Press on 10.31.2020
How quiet the bells of heaven must be, cold with stars who cannot rhyme their brilliance to our weapons. What rouses our lives each moment? Nothing but life dares dying. from "26," a poem by Rachel Eliza Griffiths (used with permission) Dills and his mom have moved back to Hamilton, her hometown, looking to start again. He can’t talk about the day his stepdad Jesse came into the Wilkson Middle School library and opened fire. It’s hard to think about how many lives Jesse stole, the families he tore apart. Yet Dills doesn’t think Jesse's a monster. Before he became the Wilkson Shooter, he was the Hero Stepdad, a haunted combat veteran who loved his family as fiercely as he fought his demons.
Months after the move, Dills hears Jesse's voice calling him home. However, Jesse tried to kill himself and is wasting away in a Wilkson hospital bed, so Dills knows that the voice is probably just a product of his own bruised psyche. But what if it isn’t? What if Jesse is somehow reaching out to the only person who could possibly listen? Dills has go back. He owes it to Jesse. To himself. Even if there are no answers to be found.