underwear?â May nodded and opened her door to get out. âWhy?â âItâs a little game we play,â she said. âSometimes we make out, too. Good night, Camper.â Â As Palmer lay in bed that night, she felt her heart jumpingâhiccuping. She pressed her fingers to her neck and felt the irregular beat. Quickly at first, then a pause, then two hard beats at once. The sensation seemed to lock off her breathing for a moment. She sucked in air as powerfully as she could, and her heart staggered harder. By then the pressure was everywhere, blocking her nose and her throat, pressing down on her lungs. The dark in the room got darker. It throbbed. Her hands scrambled for the bedside lamp. Unfortunately, the light only caused everything to glow a heady orange, which made the walls look like they were leaning in. She was unable to move from her position, unable to call out for fear of wasting all the breath she had left. She bent over and pulled the blankets to her abdomen. She concentrated on her breathing. Her chest hurt. The fearless side of Palmer rose up long enough to tell the rest of her to ride it through. She tried imagining being on the field or being at school. Something with daylight, people all around her. She tried to imagine the most boring place to beâthe back row of her algebra class, stuck in line at the supermarket. Sometimes those images were the easiest to pull up. Anything to distract herself, get her mind to a good place. The feeling of dread was impossible to shake. It was like a stench that clung to her clothes. She knew from experience that this would last for at least an hour. These night attacks had started about a month after her father had died. At first theyâd happened about once a month. But sheâd had one once a week for the last three weeks. She went down to the living room and switched on all the lights. She switched on SportsCenter and wound herself up in an afghan. The worst part was still comingâthe feeling that the world was permanently screwed up. That this crippling fear would go right into her bones and stay there. That the afghan would suffocate her. She kicked it off and wondered if she was crazy. Probably. âJesus, Palm,â May said, appearing in the living room doorway a few minutes later and squinting at the television. âCould you turn that down?â âI couldnât sleep,â Palmer said. Though she felt like she should barely have been able to speak, her voice came out very loud. âFine. So you canât sleep. Does it have to be so loud?â Palmer turned the television down a few notches. âDid Brooks come home?â Palmer shook her head mutely. âWhatever,â May growled. âIf she oversleeps, she oversleeps. Iâm sick of this.â May turned and went back upstairs, and Palmer pulled her blanket tighter. This wasnât working. Even the living room seemed like a bad place to be. The dark plaid sofa and the green carpet made her feel claustrophobic. The bobble-headed baseball dolls on the top of the entertainment console seemed to be leering at her. And she needed more air. Someplace cooler. She would go get a flashlight and take a walk. She threw her fleece on over her pajamas and headed out to the garage. As she was sliding alongside the Firebird to get to the shelves on the other side of the room, Palmer looked into the backseat. She barely noticed the car anymore, even though it took up most of the garage. There was something weird about it now. It seemed forbidden. When she was little and couldnât sleep, her father would put her in the backseat, take the top down, and drive her around. Palmer would stare up at the sky, and before she knew it, she would realize that her father was carrying her up to bed. She stared at the door and bit at her cuticles. No one had gone inside the Firebird since that day. If it would help her relax, she didnât care.