The statues are watching me.

“Leslie, come along,” Ms. Vasquez calls, but I can’t tear my gaze away from those stone eyes. Since spotting Venus inside the sculpture hall, I’ve seen her in every statue’s eyes.

As Father Roberts delivered the Confirmation lesson, Jason glared at his shoes on another boy’s feet. The navy and white British Knights bulged on Marcus, a size too small. Jason had never had shoes like the Dymacels. Sickened, imagining the special silicon soles popping beneath the fat bully, he mashed his face between his hands. He didn’t care if he squeezed his heavy-lidded eyes further closed, didn’t care if the taunts came with more zeal: Crack Baby, Crack Baby.

Albert Smith, Keeper of the Ravens, walked his evening round slowly, wearily. Not for physical decrepitude—he had performed these same tasks every day for thirty years—but in a rising sense of helplessness.