As the three of them approached the library annex — Kiddo showed no interest in going away, and she was probably the closest they could find to a local guide anyway — Ben said to Morgan, “I don’t know what’s going on with Kiddo, but it’s weird.”

“No argument from me, Ben,” replied Morgan as he tried to maintain a watchful calm. It was a lot easier in the books. “But it’s not bad weird, so I figure we’ll just roll with it. What do you think her deal is, though?”

“If I was guessing? I think she’s reading our minds enough to pick up the meaning of words right away. That’s why we have to say a word before she knows it.”

“That’s bloody brilliant, Ben. Which means… hey, Kiddo!” When Kiddo turned around, Morgan said, clearly and precisely. “Danger, trouble, weird, enemies, left, right, up, down, ahead, behind, bad, worse, worst, monsters, people, hello, goodbye, please, and help.” He then counted up to twenty, and said, “That’s all, thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” said Kiddo, and turned back to do her own scouting.

Morgan smiled at Ben’s reaction. “What? We can do more words later.”

“No, it’s… you don’t freak out easily, do you?”

“Ben, I’ve been freaking out since I woke up.” Morgan had never seen any reason not to tell anybody about the coma. It was worth it for the looks of envious sympathy he got from telling the story. “By now I’m just numb.”