“Nothing’s really empty,” Emery argued. He looked out the car window and up at the stars as he smiled faintly. “Even the stars have something they’re held in – plasma.”

“So his soul isn’t empty, it’s just… what?” Hassett said. He glanced at the brothers in the rearview mirror. Miles was dozing but Emery, as always, was ready for conversation.

“Well,” Emery murmured. After considering for a long while he said, “He feels like something’s missing – like he’s empty, but… it’s there, just… not in contact with him.”

“He’s lost contact with his soul?” Hassett asked, meeting the boy’s eyes in the mirror.

“That’s why he’s killing people, Hassett. If he was in contact with his soul – with the part of him that is God-given – then he wouldn’t feel so empty and he wouldn’t be killing people.”

“You can be very profound sometimes, Emery,” Hassett said.

He redirected his attention to the road and smiled as he heard Emery add, “At least that’s the only reason I can think of that you’d think other people have parts of you.”