Opal, p.4
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       Opal, p.4

         Part #4.50 of The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
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  “Come on, Lynch,” Adam said.

  Ronan retrieved a receipt as it danced and twirled across the driveway. They were delicious, but sometimes the edges gave Opal a paper cut on the corners of her lips if she put them in her mouth the wrong way. He stuffed it into the bag. “Sometimes I don’t even know if I’m a real thing. Why isn’t there anyone else like me?”

  “Your dad. Kavinsky.”

  “I meant living people. Unless the takeaway is that we’re all just really good at being dead.”

  “Ronan. What the hell are you even doing?”

  Ronan put a soda bottle in the bag. “What does it look like? Cleaning the car before you take it. I just want you to go, tonight.”

  Adam laughed, but it was a laugh that sounded like punching air. “It’s like you want it. It’s like some part of you always wants it.”

  Ronan rummaged in the trunk, which was a part of the car Opal had been forbidden to harvest from. She had tried to guess what might be in there, thrilling herself with the most terrifying and terrible of options (her favorite was that there was another Opal in there). She couldn’t see what was in it now, but it was making a chattering, metallic sound. “That’s not true.”

  “It’s like you don’t care if it happens, then. It’s like you’re never afraid.”

  The noise in the trunk stopped. Ronan said, “You already knew that part of me got fucked a long time ago, Parrish, and it’s not changing anytime soon.”

  Adam crossed his arms. He was getting very upset, and Opal’s heart was bursting with love for him, and when she held on to him, he didn’t push her away. “Well, that’s not okay with me.”

  “Luckily for you, looks like that isn’t going to matter.” Ronan threw his car keys in the direction of the front porch. They clattered and slammed against the topmost stair, where they remained. Ronan was often losing his car keys by putting them in stupid places, and Opal thought about how this was just another stupid place because no one would think to look on the front porch stair for the keys.

  Adam turned away and just looked at the front door as if it were the most interesting thing. It was not, so Opal turned back to Ronan, who sank down into the passenger seat of the car and let his harvest bag rest on the ground. Black was running out of his ears and soaking his collar, and between his parted lips his teeth were coated in it.

  They both smelled very afraid, but neither of them said anything more. The car was chiming the single first note of a song but never getting any further.

  She couldn’t bear this. She called out, “Kerah Kerah Kerah!”

  She clattered over to him, her hooves kicking up gravel. Ronan turned his face away, but she had already seen all the unmaking he was trying to hide from her.

  “Not now,” Ronan told her. “Please.”

  But there was only now. This was not a dream where Ronan would reboot and dream again, no matter what happened. This was the animal world, where the cloud lady died and stayed dead. And Adam, who could solve many things with animal solutions, would never fix this one. It was a dream problem.

  Which meant it had to be her.

  “Dream,” she told him. She didn’t like to look at him the way he looked now, with black on his teeth and coming out of his eyes and ears, but she had seen him worse in a dream before. She sat on the driveway in front of him.

  He didn’t look at her still.

  “Dream,” she said again.

  When he didn’t answer her, she reached into her sweater. She didn’t like to do this, because she did not want to be punished. She would be punished for going into the long barn when she was not supposed to, but if she had to choose — and she was being forced to — she would rather be punished than have Ronan die for good and then die herself.

  She took out the little bit of the furry rain cloud that she had stolen from the long barn. She squeezed it a few times until it turned back into rain, and then she held her palm out in front of him so the drops skittered over her skin.

  Happiness and sadness washed over them as thunder pressed against their ears.

  The stairs creaked as Adam joined them. He crouched beside Opal. “I thought you said you couldn’t do the rain. I thought that was why you hadn’t done it yet.”

  Ronan replied sullenly, “I could.”

  “I don’t understand, then.”

  “Dream,” Opal said urgently. She was annoyed that they were not instantly accepting her solution.

  Ronan wiped his face on his shoulder. It just made both smeary. “I can’t make it as good as the old one.”

  Opal was so angry that she picked up his bag of harvesting and hurled it away from her. Half its contents gladly escaped and flew across the yard before being caught in the grass. He never tried to hold conversations while dying in his dreams. “Dream!”

  “Is that why you stopped?” Then Adam seemed to put things together, in the way that he always seemed to know when something was a dream thing, and he turned to Opal. “That’s why this is happening, isn’t it?”

  “Vos pot—” she began, and then restarted. “You can’t stop dreaming. Dreamers dream. Or this.”

  “No,” Ronan said. “No, I’ve stopped before.”

  Adam asked, “For this long? On purpose? Nothing dreamed accidentally? It’s been all summer, hasn’t it? When was the last time you dreamed something?”

  It was too complicated of a thought to convey in English, but Opal thought to herself how it didn’t matter how long it had been, anyway. Dreamtime didn’t work the same way as animal time, she had discovered, and so unlike animal time, with its absolute rules and soldierlike march forward, dreamtime could suddenly run out because it seemed like it ought.

  “All this is because you were trying to make the new Cabeswater perfect?” Adam asked.

  Ronan leaned back across the center console and snatched the driver’s side door. He slammed it shut and the chiming of the car finally stopped. “What is the point otherwise?”

  “Do you remember what you told me next to your mudpit? I told you to remind me. ‘It’s not going to be what you imagined, but it’ll be just as good.’”

  Ronan sighed. He closed his eyes. “I liked it better when I said it.”

  “I’ll bet.”

  “I’m supposed to dream something right now?”

  Opal was glad to see he was slowly turning his ship toward the shore of solutions. She seized his hand and flapped it. “Yes.”

  Not opening his eyes, Ronan asked, “What am I dreaming?”

  Adam’s relief rained out of the cloud of his voice. “Dream me a fix for the shitbox so I can go and so I can come back. And then dream up a new Cabeswater. It doesn’t have to be like the other one. Just as good as you can make it.”

  The happiness and sadness rose up in Opal, even though she had misplaced the tiny bit of dreamrain that she’d stolen. It might have just been her own happiness and sadness, over things going well and badly at the same time, over Adam going away and Ronan being saved and Adam coming back again. It was funny how a dream really just contained the absolute best and absolute worst parts of the animal world. She’d been so afraid of the absolute worst that she’d forgotten how she missed the absolute best.

  She was no longer afraid of the promise of a new Cabeswater. She was ever so much more excellent when she was in a dream.

  “Yes,” Opal said. “Because I want to go home.”

  Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and Sinner. Her novel The Scorpio Races was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. The first book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven Boys, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and the second book and third books, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue, were ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.

>   Also by Maggie Stiefvater

  The Raven Boys

  The Dream Thieves

  Blue Lily, Lily Blue

  The Raven King

  The Scorpio Races





  Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception

  Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie

  Copyright © 2018 by Maggie Stiefvater

  All rights reserved. Published by Scholastic Inc., Publishers since 1920. SCHOLASTIC and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc.

  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  This edition first printing 2018

  Book design by Christopher Stengel

  e-ISBN 978-1-338-30664-4

  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, write to Scholastic Inc., Attention: Permissions Department, 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.



  Maggie Stiefvater, Opal

  (Series: The Raven Cycle # 4.50)




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