I’m sorry if the broken chapters are causing problems, but I thought no one would want to sit through over 3,000 words in one sitting, especially staring at a computer screen. I’ll post the rest later so you don’t have to wait days for the next excerpt.
You will also notice I’ve changed tense from present to past, I’m thinking past tense reads better. If you’d like to tell me what you think after you’ve finished reading, I’d be interested to know.
Chapter 2. Part 1.
The next two days I kept to myself. Jodie hadn’t returned from her visit to see her family, so I still had the good fortune of having the room to myself for a while longer. I attempted to stay away from everyone, but mealtimes proved unavoidable. Lack of food spelled imminent disaster.
Lucky for me, the break from school hadn’t finished yet. Unlucky for me, the poor excuse of too much schoolwork hadn’t fooled Sam. She pretended to understand of course, albeit a weak acceptance. Then, lying never came easy to me, my in-built thermometer a dead giveaway.
I often wondered if that came from my parents. Who knows?
However, these peculiarities were leading me to believe the answers remained paramount to my sanity. No matter if, my endeavour to discover the truth killed me.
I flogged the search engine on my laptop for solutions, researching the various forms of mental illness. Avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dissosociative identity disorder, nightmare disorder, schizoaffective disorder. An endless list of problems, and like a hypochondriac I found a connection in all of them.
I’d gone about this the wrong way. The internet didn’t hold the cure to my ailment, what ever I had locked away in my head, did. I needed a hypnotist. With renewed vigour, I typed in — ‘list of hypnotists in Norwich’ and found a site that looked promising. The search found nine in total; I contained the scream of excitement, chose the closest one and jotted down the address.
The squawking bird alarm—Sam set on my phone as a joke—made me jump. Dinnertime already? Lost in the moment an honest smile paraded across my face, before disappearing in seconds. A long, uninterrupted growl erupted from my stomach. I soon realised not from hunger, though. The thought of seeing Sam caused the interruption.
Sure, I’d admit her razor-sharp retorts and mind-reading stares left me lost for words on a few occasion. Nevertheless, I had no one to blame but myself for that. And cowardice, like an ill-fitted coat I forced myself to wear every day, never brought much pleasure.
Go you moron.
The racket emanating from the dining room made me stop outside the door. Too noisy for my liking, I contemplated going back to my room. On the other hand, maybe the idea of seeing Sam caused me to waver.
If he didn‘t stop using that term, I swear… I turned quick and flashed the most, say-that-again-and-I’ll-thump-you stare possible.
Michael stood against the wall, smirking, wearing one of those pec-hugging sweatshirts he seemed so fond of, the kind that drew admiring attention from the other kids in the home. I’d concluded ages ago that he somehow bewitched them. A knack he possessed similar to the pied piper, but instead of a pipe he would tempt them with his muscles. I tried not to look, but come on; he didn’t make it easy not to notice.
No. I couldn’t see Michael as anything but a friend. Or more to the point, my constant tormentor. I refused to fall under his spell, whether his looks affected me or not. I pulled my attention back to his face. An amused smile wrinkled the skin around his deep-brown eyes. God, he knew how to play it.
“Ooo, I’m scared,” he said, shifting back, waving his fingers in mock terror.
“So you should be,” I tried to retain some sense of annoyance and folded my arms and glared at him. “You can’t resist, can you.”
“Oh, all right. Eve, will you please allow me the honour.” He bowed and winked, and his mouth creased in a playful grin.
How could I refuse. “Okay, just this once.” I grabbed his arm before he changed his mind.
The stark white fluorescents bounced light off the shiny, speckled-green tabletops, making me squint. The air drenched with excited chatter, nagging at my ears. I peered behind at the soft orange glow of the hallway, cursing my stupidity. My pied piper theory had proven correct.
My integrated radar sprang to life. I’d acquired the freaky talent along with the nightmares (much to my horror) the day I’d turned eight. Both unwanted gifts I couldn’t give away. Not that I hadn’t tried.
Their voices tumbled unwanted into my head. A mish-mash of conversations of the latest clothing trends, football stats, most liked boy-bands and who’d achieved the best kill score. As if, vying for me to hear them.
A sudden jerk of movement snapped me back. Michael had my hand in a bone crunching hold, towing me to our table by the window. I skipped like a clumsy idiot, dodging between the chair-legs, smiling a somewhat frightening apology at the faces who‘d taken the time to stare back. I looked away, attempting to hide my embarrassment.
Sam and Jason responded to the sound of my shoes squeaking on the tiled floor. Jason kind of smiled, amused by my innate coordination, hi-lighting the dimple in his left cheek. Although not related, Jason and Michael shared an uncanny resemblance to each other. And for the past ten years, I still couldn’t get over the similarities between them. One resounding difference though, Jason never made it his mission to humiliate me constantly. But hidden behind those dark brown eyes, lied a secret even I couldn’t fathom.
Sam broke the connection by growling something unpleasant and then turned away. I’d expected a show of resentment, but I never imagined this. Okay, maybe I deserved it; as of late my duty as her best friend did reek of inadequacy.
Here you go, pandering to others needs.
“Hi Eve, how’s the studying going?” Jason said, smoothing the bristle of anger working its way up my back.
“Fine I suppose, nearly finished,” I hated myself for lying to him.
I dared another glimpse at Sam, chewing the inside of her mouth now. A nasty habit indicating her anger could explode at any minute. I swallowed hard in response.
“Hi Sam, sorry if I’ve upset you in any way. But you forgive me, right?” I clasped my hands together, hiding the tremor making my fingers dance.
She shifted position and faced me, her cornflower-blue eyes darkening with resentment. “You know, I don’t get you, Eve. You’ve avoided me the past few days and now you want to bloody talk, typical.”
“Ooo, someone’s in troub—”
“Shut it Michael,” Sam said, shrieking at him.
Her unexpected screech stunned the room into silence. A quick glance up confirmed my worries, everyone had zeroed in on our table. A warm flush erupted on my cheeks. I looked at Michael—the king of one-liners—silenced by her outburst. Then took a fleeting look at Jason who for some reason, didn’t appear fazed by the watchful eyes.
“Oh, did I say something wrong? Well, I’m certain you’ll survive.”
I didn’t know this person. She sure as hell didn’t represent the Sam I’d grown to love.
“Sam, that’s enough—”
“Sorry, have I embarrassed you Michael. Can’t have that, Sam the usurper, toppling the king from his beloved throne.”
“For Christ sake Sam, will you just shut it.” The words shot from my mouth before my brain had time to register. “I’m, sorry.”