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But this house felt strange. Dave asked what was going on, and John explained that the name on the eviction order belonged to the mother of several of the children. She had died two months earlier, and the children had simply gone on living in the house, by themselves. As the movers swept through the rooms, Gray Eyes took charge, giving orders to the other children; the youngest was a boy of about eight or nine. Upstairs, the movers found ratty mattresses on the floor and empty liquor bottles displayed like trophies. In the damp basement, clothes were flung everywhere. The house and the yard were littered with trash. “Disgusting,” Tim said to the roaches scaling the kitchen wall. As the landlord changed the locks with a power drill and the movers pushed the contents of the house onto the wet curb, the children began to run around and laugh. When the move was done, the crew gathered by the trucks, instinctively stomping the ground to shake loose any stowaway roaches. Those who smoked reached for their packs. They didn’t know where the children would go, and they didn’t ask.

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