What can YOU say in six sentences?
Intermittently during all the months since he'd pitched his cigarette butt into the weeds and turned for home only to find the crazy motherfucker bearing down on him from out of one of the abandoned houses, Owen had heard similar versions of the same batshit sermon about sanctity and hallowed things and the perverted disorder of lanternflare.
Sometimes Flythe dressed up as a vampire, other times he wore a hollowed pumpkin over his head, sometimes he seemed to morph into something genuinely altered (Owen knew the psycho had been drugging his food and water, but he had to eat, he had to drink), and one time he'd even draped himself in the skin of a victim, capering about like some grinning pagan, but most of all he liked to dress up as a scarecrow, with the button eyes and the stitched mouth.
Tonight, after trussing Owen up on the wall and turning the clubhouse into an abattoir, Flythe had produced a bale of hay he'd been hiding somewhere, and now he began to force-feed clumps of straw to Owen, choking him, ranting all the while: "You're my candle, my perfect pretty, and best of all you're the exact same age as I was when I found out it's better to be the one making people afraid than the one being afraid."
Owen didn't know much about age, except that it was relative, just like people said: he'd considered himself grown up since the day Dad took off when Owen was only eight; ever since then he'd been looking after his little brother, keeping things straight around the house while Mama worked herself to exhaustion at two jobs just trying to keep them in noodles and schoolbooks. He knew that concepts like "maturity" could be confusing, like how he'd felt so scared and at the same time exhilarated when he'd kissed Laura Gilmour last year, and how the best part of it wasn't the sweet taste or even the eager soft feel of her lips but the way he'd been able to feel her heart beating against his chest, except maybe it was his own heart he was feeling, or maybe some third thing that had been created between the two of them, firing away like a jackhammer.
And he was confused now, because it must have been a hallucination he was having, looking past Flythe's shoulder and seeing his little brother sneaking into the back door of the clubhouse, followed closely by lovely Laura and that fat kid from down the block, Theo Somethingorother, but it must have been real enough that his eyes registered some reflection because Flythe suddenly turned and let out a howl that would've put a werewolf to flight.