Heh. Teaser Tuesday. Alliteration is fun.
So yesterday we covered the whole fighting thing and I know I promised some pot smoking but since we did Colin (Sarah’s boyfriend) yesterday I thought we could spend a little time with Claire (Sarah’s little sister). I promise we’ll get stoned tomorrow. Just to give a little context, this is the first day of school and Claire’s is now a sophomore. At this point in the story, her sister has been missing for just under 4 months.
New year. Anything is possible in a new year. That was my mantra.
Mrs. Barrie went through the list, Allison Anderson, John Annet, Steve Barton, Katherine Beck and Paul Billings. There were a lot of new faces. New faces were good. New faces meant potential new friends. New distractions. New opportunities.
A new life.
I raised my hand. “Here.”
And in that moment, they all turned. Twenty-five heads swiveled, twenty-five pairs of eyes combed over me. I felt like a thing in a shop window. The Newly Minted Only Child.
No. I can’t do this. Remember the mantra: New year. Anything is possible in a new year.
Mrs. Barrie stood stock still for just a moment as her smiled faded. “You’re Claire Evans?”
“Yes.” I forced a smile. Please don’t. Please just move on. Please.
“I…” Mrs. Barrie laid a hand over her heart and began to fiddle with the cross around her neck. “I…”
I wished for two things. One, that Mrs. Barrie just continued on with the roll call, and two, that I sat closer to the front of the room. If I sat in the front I wouldn’t be staring into all these faces right now.
Faces that searched me with wide eyes and down-turned mouths. Twenty-five sets of eyes now tried to read me, to know what it was like at home with Sarah gone, to be the sister of the girl taken. Twenty-five sets of eyes wondering what it was like to walk in this living nightmare.
When they stared at me I didn’t even feel like a person anymore, but like a thing to be observed, to be pitied or feared, lest sorrow and pain and awful bad luck become catchy. Time slowed to a crawl. I couldn’t do this.
“What?” I finally blurted out to all those eyes and frowning faces.
“I…” Mrs. Barrie stuttered. “I…I’m really happy to meet you. I also taught your sister.”
The word came out like an exhale, a sliver of cold air leaving her lungs, slicing through the space between us.
I felt the weight of that word―a word I no longer said. A word that defines a thing I no longer am.
“I…” Mrs. Barrie said again.
New year. Anything is possible in a new year.
“I’m…really…” Mrs. Barrie fumbled her voice catching.
Please just stop. It’s a new year. Anything is possible in a new year.
I closed my eyes and said it over and over again. I didn’t even care if they still looked at me, if they saw my lips moving. I didn’t care if they thought I was crazy. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe we’ve all gone a little fucking crazy.
Okay, drugs tomorrow, I swear. And again, THIS IS SARAH is out this week from BookFish Books who are, without a doubt, some of the most supportive enthusiastic people I’ve ever worked with in the book biz. I owe them.
Peace, Love and Starbursts,