The next day, Dr. Collins came in to see him. “Hey Hunter!” he said enthusiastically as he walked in the door.
“Hi, Dr. Collins,” Hunter responded without returning the enthusiasm.
Dr. Collins picked up on that immediately. “Not having such a good day?”
Hunter turned his head and looked blankly out the window. “Would you be? Anyone or anything that gets close to me ends up getting hurt or dying.”
“Explain to me why the terrible tragedies that have happened are your fault?”
“Well isn’t it obvious?” turning back to face the counselor.
“Not to me,” Dr. Collins said sincerely, cocking his head to one side.
“Let me spell it out for you,” Hunter said in a distinctly AT manner. He looked up at the ceiling, a bit embarrassed at his own behavior but not willing to apologize. “My mom is dead all because I wasn’t there.”
“How could your being there have possibly changed anything?”
“I could have protected her!” Hunter said, snapping his head back toward Dr. Collins and giving him his best threatening glare.
Dr. Collins gave a little shrug. “You don’t know that. Maybe you could have. But maybe not.”
“I could have! And now Sally is probably going to die, too. All because of me!” He pressed his lips tightly together, clenched his fists and pounded the bed.
“Tell me why you were out there.”
“I was heading to the bus station in Rattlesnake Gulch. And as soon as I can get out of here, I’m going to find my father.”
“And do what?”
Hunter shook his head. He really hadn’t thought that far. “I don’t know. But somehow I will make him pay for what he did.”
“Why not let the justice system do its job?”
“Sometimes revenge is justice.”
“Remember when Smokey told you about the two sides of the horse’s brain, the reacting side and the thinking side?”
Hunter looked steadily at Dr. Collins and didn’t answer. It didn’t require a response. He knew what he meant. The energy from his outburst dissipated, and Hunter felt like his insides were caving in. He turned his head and looked back out the window.
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