Katy, Wes and Ricky begin their exploration of the Outside, but Wes isn’t the only one to be affected by the atmosphere in this other dimension.
CWs: body horror, family-context aggression, thinking of people as objects, blood/accidental cut (superficial).
Wes was out in front, making the balancing act along the outcrop look easy. Katy made the mistake of looking down, at the sheer drop to a narrow ledge the other side, the slope below that littered with loose coal-black scree, the yawning fissure ending the incline abruptly with a sudden drop into nothing.~ C. M. Rosens, Thirteenth, p. 339
She wanted to be in between the boys, in case one of them pushed the other again, but she hoped Ricky had a little more dignity even if he had enough spite.
Every now and then, they’d look back to check she was following. It was getting hotter. Katy realised this when her mouth was dry and her top was plastered to her back, nape
prickling with sweat. They had nothing to drink.
Carrie’s kitchen felt so close, but there was no way to get there.
“If anything comes out of this hole I’m feeding you two to it first,” she muttered, sticky and irritable.
“Noted,” Ricky called over his shoulder, and she flushed, not knowing he could hear that well.
Every inch became leaden effort.
In this section, Katy is struggling with what she is and what she is becoming, which you can read in a number of ways if you want. She is also trying to figure out her cousin’s relationship with her brother, and trying to work out her own place in the world.
Thirteenth takes place over a few weeks in January, rather than over 33 days (the timeline of The Crows). Everything is claustrophobic and intense, and the forced proximity of Ricky and Wes, who don’t really have much to do with each other unless Wes wants a reading, skews their perceptions of things by bringing up a lot of memories they don’t normally think about. This is exacerbated by having to relate to a 17-year-old girl they’ve ended up babysitting, which makes them both recall what it was like for them at that age.
Ricky’s sexual experiences as a teen were few and far between, never when sober, and all (?) involved Wes in some way (in The Crows the first time he was spontaneously aroused was age 15 in a voyeuristic situation watching Wes with Layla). This was also his only time of spontaneous arousal, implying that while he was up for experimenting when drunk/high, he was never really sexually attracted to Wes during that time and it was a purely physical response to stimuli. Ricky’s unreliable way of recalling his past by leaving things out is echoed in the way he tells Carrie he never spent 3 nights away from the cottage before he stayed with her, and she points out this isn’t true. What he’s done is cancel out everything prior to around age 20/21, when he fully adopted asceticism and sobriety, so nothing before then counts.
As for Wes, who at the time felt Ricky led him on, this isn’t as important anymore. All it did was show him that Ricky can’t be trusted in personal terms. What’s worse in his view is that Ricky sold him out to Grandad for a shot at the shrine, and turned him into the invisible man, which Ricky refutes. So there’s a lot going on, and Katy doesn’t have a clue about most of this context as she was too young at the time and Wes had already moved out of the house.
The dynamics between them here in these chapters are very new for all of them, because they are all in a situation where they can’t check out, leave, or have a mediator/buffer. They’re thrown together and have to work together, and that means having to get to know each other more, or at least having to examine what they feel about this.
I love this trope, but I don’t like easy resolutions, so don’t expect everything to be wrapped up in a “chosen family” quite yet…