At the hospital in Anacortes, they treated me for hypothermia, but they were confused; I was going through more than one kind of shock. Carey told them I’d been lost on Marrow Island overnight—he didn’t know the rest of it yet—and they saw his uniform and took his word. When they asked me what and when I had last eaten, I shrugged, though I remembered my last meal well—the mussels, the heady broth, the bread, the wine, and the birch liquor — and the cramps in my stomach that started not long after. The memory of food brought on the first hunger pangs; the craving for energy, for heat, my metabolism waking up. They were so strong they stabbed at my guts, but the nausea lingered. I couldn’t imagine putting something in my mouth, tasting, swallowing.
Katie told the intake nurse she was my sister, and I didn’t correct her. They let her sit by my bed all night.
“I’m not leaving you alone with her,” Carey told me. She was standing right beside him when he said it, but she didn’t defend herself. I didn’t know what to say; I wanted them both.
Katie held my hand for hours, while my temperature rose and patches of my flesh became livid. I could feel the drunken movement of blood and plasma through my body, my cheeks throbbing, my toes and fingers buzzing. My breasts felt like meat cold from a locker. Eventually Katie slept, head next to mine, nose to my cheek, like when we were girls, like that first night after the quake, clinging to each other under a Mylar sheet in the gymnasium. I listened to her sleep; I felt her moving through her dreams.
Carey sat in a chair by the door, waiting for the sheriff, though he shouldn’t have—he should have been back on Marrow at his post, taking the state troopers through the woods, writing official reports. Soon enough everyone would be looking for all of us, with questions. But they would find what they were looking for at the Colony without our help. And by the time they asked me to tell my part, they would have a story of their own and they wouldn’t veer from it, no matter the details I offered.