Authors: Amber Garza
Copyright © 2012 by Amber Garza
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
“Kenzie,” the voice hissed, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end. It sounded evil, animal-like.
Terrified, I spun around in the darkened room and tried to locate the source.
“Kenzie,” it spoke again out of nowhere. Its loud rumble reverberated through my body like rolling thunder.
An icy chill brushed my body. Shivering, I swiveled my head from side to side
but saw nothing. The room was dark
but my eyes were adjusting to the light and I could make out shapes in the room. There were a couple of chairs and a couch. Nothing stirred. Cold air circled me.
“Kenzie, Kenzie, come out and play.”
I sucked in a breath. The voice was so close it tickled my ear. Who was speaking and why did the voice sound oddly familiar? Something wet and slick touched my cheek. Squeezing my eyes shut, I screamed.
When I opened them again it was no longer dark. Light illuminated the room.
My heart hammered
in my ears
and sweat soaked my back. I was lying down. Was it just a dream? On
ly where was I? I took in my unfamiliar surroundings. Getting up off the couch, my gaze swept the large, messy family room. My head swam and
my knees softened
. Reaching down, I steadied myself on the armrest.
Everything felt foggy. My head pounded and my eyes burned.
That’s when everything came flooding back. Memories of the party the night before filled my mind. I cringed, remembering.
filtered in through the vast picture window. Clearly I had passed out
, but where was everyone else?
I thought of Caleb, and
it caused m
y heart to skip
a beat. The events of the night before
the memory of Caleb was crystal clear
. I hoped I hadn’t
done anything stupid. The last thing I wanted to do was
between us. I’d been waiting for him to ask me out for months.
Glancing over at the clock, m
y stomach tightened. Mom was going to kill me
f she even noticed I was gone. I was hoping that she went out
and was now sleeping off a hangover. That was exactly what I planned to do when I got home. Taking a nap sounded incredible. I could barely focus my head hurt so badly.
After finding my shoes, I slipped them on and raced out into the cool morning air.
I swallowed hard, trying to lubricate my dry, scratchy throat. The sun pierced my sensitive eyes. Shielding them with my hand, I ran toward my run-down car that was parked on the curb.
As I drove home
my mind drifted back to my nightmare.
It had seemed so real. Not that it was the first time I had dreamt of the strange voice. It had haunted my dreams since I was a little girl. You would think that by the age of seventeen it would have gone away. Only the dreams seemed to worsen lately. They were coming more often and were much more intense. It left me feeling anxious and worried. A sense of foreboding followed me like a black cloud.
Not wishing to think of it anymore, I forced my thoughts to something more important -
my big date with Caleb Friday night.
Daydreaming about Caleb’s dark hair and eyes, I
pulled up to my house. My stomach twiste
d into knots as I made my way
to the front door.
When I entered our small rental home,
Mom was seated at the
makeshift kitchen table, surrounded
by loose pages of the newspaper,
eating a bowl of cereal. She wore a t-shirt and sweats
and her hair was covered in hot-rollers. Her head popped up
the minute I opened the door
“Where have you been?
Her eyes were glassy and wild, ringed with mascara residue.
“Just out.”I shrugged
and made my way to the coffee maker. I had to kill this headache somehow.
Mom pushed her chair back and stood. It scraped on the floor making a loud squeaking noise. “I’ve been worried sick.”
“Well, that’s a first.” I scoured
the cabinets for a clean coffee mug. I finally found one with minimal lipstick stains. If only my mom didn’t wear so much make-up or we had a dishwasher that actually worked. As I poured hot coffee into the mug, I made the mistake of leaning against the counter. When I pulled back, my sleeve stayed. I yanked harder until it came free. Glancin
, I surmised it was probably maple syrup.
“Don’t turn your back on m
young lady. I expect an explanation.”
My head was really throbbing now. Squinting, I turned to face Mom.
“Have you been drinking?” She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips.
Anger bubbled inside
. “Oh please. Don’t act all high and mighty. Where were you last night? At the bar?”
Mom’s face reddened. “That’s it!” She threw her arms up in exasperation. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m sending you to your grandma’s for the summer.”
I almost laughed at the absurd
ity of her threat
. “Grandmas? As in your mother who you haven’t spoken to in years? Yeah, right.” Grabbing my mug off the counter, I pushed past Mom and walked toward my room.
“I’m serious, Mackenzie!” Mom called after me.
See, she’s trying to get rid of you. She doesn’t want you.
An icy breeze blew over me. The familiar words ran through my mind like a mantra. As if guided by unseen hands, I ended up in the bathroom. There was only one thing that would make me feel better.
As if in obedience to the voice in my head, I slammed the bathroom door and reached into the medicine cabinet for my remedy.
y best friend Haley and I walked together into the cafeteria
warm of students pushing past
. The scent of sweat, tennis shoes and fried food permeated my senses. Loud laughing and chatting swirled around us.
Do you really think she’ll send you away for the summer
?” Haley raised a brow while tossing a lon
g strand of auburn hair over her shoulder
I don’t know
Normally I wouldn’t believe her
but I do think she wants to get rid of me. With me gone, she can spend all her time with her new boy-toy.
” We arrived at our table and sat down on the bench.
“She has a new boyfriend? Hopefully he’s not a loser like the last one.
Haley scrunched up her freckled nose.
“Who has a b
?” Chelsea squeezed in next to us, choking me with the scent of too much perfume. Her over made-up lips smiled at me
and she batted her long lashes under the fringe of her platinum blonde hair.
“No one.” I shook my head and threw Haley a severe look that told her to keep her mouth shut. We’d been best friends since seventh grade, so we didn’t always need words to communicate. Haley immediately closed her mouth and lowered her gaze.
Chelsea was nice enough
but I didn’t really trust her. Haley and I moved up to the popular table a few weeks ago when Caleb and I started talking. Before that, Chelsea and her friends wouldn’t give us the time of day.
“Are you and Caleb finally
? I wondered when he’d make it official.” Chelsea snapped on her pink bubble gum, emitting a fruity smell into the air. I never saw Chelsea eat, only chew gum. I guess that’s how she stayed so thin.
“Oooh, were you guys at Scarlet’s party this weekend? I was so bummed I had to miss it.
I frowned. Haley’s face paled. Neither of us wanted to share the outcome of that party.
“Who’s talking about a party?” Caleb slid in next to me, his thigh touching mine. His proximity sent my pulse racing.
“If you mean the one this weekend, it was awesome.” He winked at me
and my heart
leapt in my chest
. So apparently I didn’t make a total idiot of myself.
Good to know.
arm came around my shoulders.
“Hey guys.” Derek plopped down across from us
cheeks turned pink
. Even though they’d been dating for awhile, Haley still seemed flustered in his
presence. Not that I blamed her.
e was pretty good looking. I mean, nothing compared to Caleb
but still cute.
There was only one boy who was hotter than Caleb at our school.
As if on cue, Tan
ner joined us
. He looked like he was posing for a magazine spread with his muscular tanned body, blond hair and icy blue eyes. As he and Caleb struck up a conversation, my palms clammed up and I wiped them on my jeans. I’d had a crush on Tanner for as long as I could remember. Of course, he only had eyes for Scarlet. They’d been a couple all through high school.
Glancing to my left, I saw Scarlet chatting with Chelsea. When she caught me staring
she narrowed her eyes at me. I turned away. A shadow c
ast over my shoulder
breeze blew over my neck
causing me to shudder.
I sensed I was being watched.
I whipped around, but no one was there.
It was late. Mom was still at work. She said she had clients at the salon all evening. I was sure any minute she’d come waltzing in smelling like bleach and hairspray. I sat on the
flipping through the channels. There was nothing but mindless reality shows on
and I felt myself zoning out. A creaking sound perked my ears. I froze. When I heard it again, I turned toward the window. It was pitch black outside with only a smattering of stars against the inky sky. My reflection stared back at me in the smudged glass.
I let out a startled gasp when the
of a man appeared
on the front lawn
. The air in the room shifted and goose bumps arose on my flesh.
“Kenzie,” the evil voice from my dreams spoke into the silent room.
My breath caught in my throat and a chill shivered down my spine. With shaky fingers
I reached for the phone that sat on the end table. Just as my fingers grazed it, the lights went out. Darkness swallowed me.
“Kenzie,” the voice spoke again.
Paralyzed with fear, I
stayed still. I barely breathed. My heart beat so erratically in my chest that I thought I woul
d have a heart attack. So badly
I wanted to get up and run for help
but I literally couldn’t move.