Erica was walking home from the bus stop when one of Them ran past her and shoved her into the ditch. Which one of Them did it, she didn’t know — she had a brief, whirling view of brown hair and sneer as she tumbled, but that could have been any of them. Time seemed to slow. She was wearing new clothes, brand new, the first time, for the first day of school, and the ditch was muddy and reedy and she was ready to cry even before she landed. She tried to curl in on herself to keep her clothes as clean as possible, but her body seemed heavy and stubborn and kept falling. It took forever.

There didn’t seem to be any bottom to the ditch, or at least she was still falling, and Their face was farther away and more confused than it should have been. They turned and yelled something — probably calling more of Them to laugh at her — but They were so far away, miles away, that she could barely see Them. The ditch had narrowed into one long chimney, half mud, half slick green grass. She scrabbled for a hold, trying to stop herself, but the grass just pulled loose and showered her with dirt.

She started to spin, so that now she saw Them, all six, clustered around the top of the ditch, and now the hole, which was dark, and full of stars. Now Them, now the stars.