Read Gifted Touch Online

Authors: Melinda Metz

Tags: #Social Issues, #Teenage Girls, #Family, #Juvenile Fiction, #9780060092382 9780064472654 0064472655, #HarperTeen, #Extrasensory Perception, #Mysteries & Detective Stories, #General, #Telepathy

Gifted Touch

BOOK: Gifted Touch
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gifted touch

melinda metz

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coinciden-tal and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

GIFTED TOUCH. Copyright © 2001 by 17th Street Productions, an Alloy Online, Inc. company, and Melinda Metz. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or here-inafter invented, without the express written permission of PerfectBound™.

PerfectBound ™ and the PerfectBound™ logo are trademarks of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Adobe Acrobat E-Book Reader edition v 1. November 2001

ISBN 0-06-009238-6

First Avon edition, 2001

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Contents

Prologue

Rae Voight studied her palette, then dipped her brush into the deep purple…

Chapter

1 “Is there anything you need for school tomorrow?” Rae’s father asked…

2
Somebody’ll probably ask if they gave you
electric shock.
Rae shook her head as she 3
English first period,
Anthony thought as he slammed his locker shut, then started out…

4“So how was school?” Rae’s father asked before she even had her butt…

5 “Are you feeling okay sitting up?” Mr. Rocha asked Rae.

6
There will be a day when I will want Rae Voight
dead. No, that’s not true.

7 Rae headed across her front lawn, eager to get inside the house.

8 “Rae. Over here!” Yana called. Rae smiled as she spotted Yana in the school parking 9 I know Rae’s powers are developing. I can almost see it

10 Rae slowly walked home from the bus stop, her hands jammed in the front pocket…

11 Rae stood at the bus stop near the police station, peering down the street.

12 Anthony watched Jesse head across the visitors’ room the next day.

Q & A with Melinda Metz

Gifted Touch Trivia-O-Rama

About the Author

Credits

About the Publisher

Front Cover

Preview: Haunted

Rae Voight’s clock radio started blaring.

Without lifting her head off the pillow, she For Jane Cooper, who helped me become a writer Prologue

Rae Voight studied her palette, then dipped her brush into the deep purple paint, only dimly aware of the sound of the bell ringing and everyone else in her art class bolting for the door.

“I have to head over to the cafeteria. I’m on guard duty today,” Ms. O’Banyon told Rae as she paused by Rae’s easel. “But stay and work if you want. I love what you’re doing here.”

Rae didn’t bother to glance up. She just gave her teacher a distracted grunt as the brush began flying across the canvas. Rae was in the zone, that place where it felt like electricity was running through her veins instead of blood. Nobody should expect her to talk right now. Nobody should expect her to do anything but paint. She jammed the brush onto the palette 1

again, really globbing on the oil paint, its pungent scent filling her nose. And then her hand was slashing the brush across the canvas. Faster. Faster.

Done. Rae let out a long, shuddering breath as she took a step back from the easel and studied her work.

She’d been intending to paint the words in the style of an old-fashioned storybook—ornate capital letters, with maybe even some gold around the edges. But when she was in the zone, her hand had a will of its own, and the words had come off the brush in a psycho-killer scrawl.
Once upon a time, when we all lived in
the forest and no one lived anywhere else . . .

At least the writing matches the rest of the painting,
she thought. When Ms. O’Banyon had assigned the class to do a landscape, Rae had planned to do a kind of fairy-tale forest, with beautiful flowers of improbable sizes.

The flowers were still there, but something was off about them, as if when they had grown so large and lush, they had also mutated in other ways, becoming sentient and greedy for even more size and power.

One of the flowers had a dove trapped deep in the hollow of its dewy petals. Another’s roots were wrapped around what appeared to be the slender leg of a fawn.

“Hey, Rae, do you really think it’s a good idea to leave Marcus alone in the cafeteria?” a familiar voice called from the open door of the art room. “I mean, we’re talking Marcus Salkow.”

2

Rae quickly threw a sheet over her canvas and turned to face Lea Dessin. Lea was her best friend and everything, but Rae didn’t especially want her to see the painting. Lea would just think it was weird, and weird was something Lea had a low tolerance for.

“I’d trust Marcus alone in the Playboy man-sion,” Rae bragged. She dunked her paint-smeared brush into a coffee can filled with water, then started unbuttoning the big white shirt she’d snagged from her dad—the one she always wore when she was painting.

“Oh, right. Now that you’ve grown breasts—

unlike me—no guy can resist you. I forgot,” Lea teased. Then, Lea being Lea, she strolled across the room and over to the easel, where she immediately reached for the sheet.

“There’s nothing wrong with your breasts,” Rae said, hoping to distract Lea, who had the capacity to discuss her breasts and other parts of herself—the frustrating straightness of her black hair, the unattractiveness of the line that ran from her waist to her hips—for multiple hours at a stretch. Which was pretty annoying sometimes, considering that for all Lea’s complaints, she was gorgeous. Lean, with a face that was all angles—high cheekbones, pointy chin, perfectly straight nose—and amazing hair. She had that whole Lucy Liu thing going.

3

Lea didn’t take the bait this time. She whipped off the sheet and studied the painting. Rae felt her stomach shrivel into the size of an aspirin. Paintings like this . . . They made Rae feel like there was another person living inside her. A person who was really and truly her mother’s daughter.

Rae grabbed the sheet back from Lea and covered the canvas again. “Come on. I’m starving. Aren’t you?” She steered Lea out of the art room, taking half a second to jam her painting shirt on one of the hooks by the door, then led the way down the hall.

“Check out what Kayla Carr has on,” Lea said, her voice low. She jerked her chin at Kayla as she disappeared into the girls’ bathroom, wearing an unfortunate trying-way-too-hard-to-be-cool retro seventies ensemble. “Maybe we should all chip in and buy her a lightbulb. Clearly she dresses in the dark.”

“Clearly,” Rae agreed, then felt a little spurt of guilt.
But come on,
Rae told herself. Kayla deserved it. It’s not like it was hard to figure out what to wear.

All you had to do was check out some mags and pay attention to what the non-socially-marginal girls had on. Rae was hardly Miss Live for Fashion. She’d be just as happy—happier, actually—in paint-stained sweats with her wildly curly auburn hair in a ponytail.

But she was smart enough to know that that wouldn’t cut it. In the critical summer between public school 4

sixth grade and private school seventh grade, she’d done the makeover thing. First the basics—the clothes, the hair, the makeup. Then the name—she’d started out the seventh grade as Rae, not Rachel, because Rae was more distinctive and because there was just something cool about a girl whose name sounds like a guy’s.

She and Lea had become friends pretty much on day one of being Rae. Lea was a new girl that year.

Rae liked that Lea didn’t even have a flicker of memory of the somewhat dorky Rachel, the girl who’d drawn unicorns on the top of every single assignment she’d turned in. Unicorns with
names
printed under them—names like Flirtalina and Fabulousa.

“So tell me about last night,” Lea said as they started past the mural that ran from the main office to the cafeteria. “You and Marcus disappeared from the party for quite some time, young lady.” Lea nudged Rae with her elbow.

“Lea, there’s this thing called privacy,” Rae answered.

Lea flipped her chin-length, sleek black hair away from her face. “Just tell me one thing—did all your clothes remain on?”

“Yes. And that’s all I’m saying,” Rae answered.

She veered toward her locker, which was across from the part of the mural that depicted all the wonderful 5

things Sanderson Prep graduates could do with their wonderful education.

Today Rae hardly saw all the ecstatic, super-achieving grads. Her mind was flooding with memories of last night with Marcus. There was this moment when Marcus had slid his hand under her shirt, and she’d felt like—

“Was there something you wanted to get out of there? Or did you just want to admire the form and line of your locker?” Lea asked, pulling Rae out of her thoughts.

A hot flush shot up the back of Rae’s neck.
Get a
grip
, she ordered herself. She reached for her lock, and her binder fell to the floor. When she bent down to snag the binder, her knees, which had become all quivery during her little mental visit with Marcus, didn’t feel like they’d support her, so she pressed one hand against Amy Shapiro’s locker for balance.

/Please, please, please, let me pass the
physics test/

Rae jerked backward. Why on earth had she thought that? She didn’t even take physics. But that little nerve in the corner of her eyelid started jumping the way it always did when she was panicked about a test she wasn’t prepared for. Rae liked to be prepared.

“Are you okay?” Lea asked, a hint of impatience in her voice.

6

“Yeah. Fine.” Rae grabbed the binder, shoved herself to her feet, and dialed in her locker’s combination. “I just want to grab that lipstick I borrowed from Jackie before French.” She yanked open the locker door and grabbed the lipstick off the little shelf near the top.

/
Rae thinks she’s so special
/

“What?” Rae demanded.

“What, what?” Lea asked, one of her perfectly plucked eyebrows arching up.

“Nothing. I just . . .” Rae let her words trail off.

What was she going to say—
I just thought I heard
someone saying something très snotty about me, then
realized it was me thinking something très snotty about
myself?
She slammed her locker shut and snapped the lock closed. “Never mind. Let’s go.” Rae strode toward the cafeteria. She used both hands to push her way through the heavy double doors.

/If Andreas says even one thing/
can see that zit from
/
hope
it’s pepperoni
/
at four-thirty I have to
/

A whirlpool of emotion ripped through her—

anger, anxiety, anticipation—and Rae’s heart fluttered in her chest. She was a vegetarian. There’s no way she’d be hoping for pepperoni. And the Andreas thing . . . Rae didn’t even know anyone named Andreas. Where were these bizarre thoughts—

thoughts and
feelings
—coming from?

7

She tried to stop the answer from coming, but it slammed into her brain so hard, she could feel the impact all the way through her body.

Was this how it had started for her mom? With thoughts and feelings that didn’t feel like her own? Was Rae going to end up in a mental institution, too? Was she going to die there the way her mother—

“Are you waiting for a round of applause from the masses or what?” Lea asked, giving Rae a little push.

Rae realized she had frozen in place, with one hand pressed against her chest, as if that would slow down her heart. Trying to make it look casual, she dropped her arm back to her side. “Well, I did think everyone needed a chance to admire my new shoes,” Rae answered, relieved when her voice came out sounding steady and . . . sane.

BOOK: Gifted Touch
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ads

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