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.
And finally, remember there are 10 copies of THIS IS SARAH in the goodreads giveaway if you want to try to get your greedy little hands on them.
Peace, Love and Starbursts,