Read Speak No Evil-Gifted 6 Online

Authors: Marilyn Kaye

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic, #School & Education

Speak No Evil-Gifted 6 (8 page)

BOOK: Speak No Evil-Gifted 6
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‘Hey, get up.’

Paul opened his eyes. Three teenage boys, older and bigger than him, had arrived in the garden. Two of them had plopped down in the other two chairs, and the third seemed to want the chair Paul occupied.

‘I said, get up!’ the boy barked.

Paul did as he was told. He rose from the chair. The boy pushed him aside and sat down.

‘Now beat it.’

Automatically, Paul turned to leave. But then something inside him made him stop. It was nice out there, the sun was shining, he didn’t want to go back to his little room. He didn’t want to leave the garden. Why had he just given up his chair so easily? Because the other boy was bigger, and Paul was afraid of him?

‘Beat it!’ the boy yelled. ‘Get outta here!’

And a realization hit Paul hard. He didn’t have to do what he was told to do. He didn’t have to be afraid. Because he had a gift. And now was the time to use it.

He allowed a soft, shivery sensation to engulf him. A moment later a shriek went up from the boys as a huge wolf took over the space where Paul had been standing. The animal opened its mouth, baring large sharp teeth, and let out a howl. The three boys fled the scene and ran back into the building.

A window flew open. ‘Omigod!’ someone screamed. ‘Quick, call animal control! There’s a wolf in the garden!’

Paul let out another howl, louder this time. It felt wonderful, like a cry of freedom. He ran round the garden, leaping over the chairs and benches. Now more people were looking out of the windows and screaming.

‘Get the security guard,’ someone yelled. ‘He’s got a gun!’

Paul froze. He ducked around to the side of the garden, where no one could see him. And he turned back into a boy.

When the security guard appeared, all he saw was a small, thin boy sitting on a lawn chair.

‘Did you see a wolf?’ the guard asked.

Paul shook his head. Then he got up and went back into the building.

C
HAPTER
T
EN
 

I
N THE MEADOWBROOK MIDDLE School canteen, it was traditional for boys to sit with boys and girls to sit with girls. Even if they were friends, even if they were hooked up, boys and girls separated at lunch. It wasn’t a law, it wasn’t school policy – that’s just the way it was.

But this was an opportunity to talk to Ken, and Amanda was going to have to break the unwritten rule. So when she picked up her tray she didn’t go directly to her usual table, where Nina and her other friends were sitting. She waited until Ken emerged from the line.

‘I have to tell you about Harmony House,’ she said.

He didn’t ask why the story couldn’t wait for class. His eyes searched the room. ‘There’s a table.’

Amanda knew people were looking at them as they sat down at the empty table together, and she knew that she’d have to answer for this later, but it was unavoidable. She was impressed that Ken didn’t even look embarrassed. He really was too cool for words.

‘What happened?’ he asked. ‘Did you get inside?’

Amanda shook her head. ‘There wasn’t anyone checking in. But I talked to Doctor Paley.’

‘About Carter?’

‘Not really.’ She reported the conversation she’d had with the doctor. ‘I got this feeling he knows all about the kind of gifts we have. And I think he can help us.’

‘Help us do what?’

She hesitated. She really had no proof of what she was about to say. But she couldn’t help herself. It seemed like a possibility, and Ken would be just as interested as she was.

‘Help us lose our gifts.’

Ken’s eyebrows shot up. ‘You really think so?’

‘He’s a doctor, Ken. I bet he knows more about our conditions than Madame does.’

‘Wow,’ Ken breathed. ‘Wouldn’t that be something . . .’ His eyes shifted. ‘Hi, Nina.’

‘Hi, Ken. Amanda, Britney’s got a big problem. We need you!’

Amanda gritted her teeth. What could she do? Ken might think she was selfish if she didn’t rush to the aid of her friend.

‘See you in class,’ Ken said. He picked up his tray and strolled over to a table where some of his friends were sitting. Amanda took her tray back to her usual table, where Britney, Sophie and Katie were sitting.

Nina hadn’t been lying. Poor Britney looked like she was on the verge of tears.

‘He hasn’t even spoken to me today,’ she whimpered. ‘He acts like I’m not even there.’

‘Who are you talking about?’ Amanda asked.

Sophie answered for her. ‘Tommy Clerk, of course.’

Amanda’s brow furrowed. ‘Tommy Clerk?’ She looked at the others. ‘Why is she crying over him?’

Katie frowned at her. ‘Amanda, where have you been? Britney’s been talking about Tommy for weeks!’

Amanda recovered a dim memory of Britney’s latest crush. ‘Oh yeah, right. Sorry, Britney, I forgot.’

Real tears began to flow. ‘How could you forget?’ Britney wailed softly. ‘I’m in
love
with him!’

It was on the tip of Amanda’s tongue to remind her that she’d been in and out of love with half a dozen boys since September, but she managed to keep this to herself. Britney looked up to her, the way Nina used to, and Amanda didn’t need any more ‘frenemies’. She had to be sympathetic and offer some advice.

‘Tell me what happened,’ she ordered Britney. At the same time, she handed her a tissue.

Britney blew her nose. ‘He always goes to his locker just before lunch. So I went by there, and I said “hi”.’

‘And then?’

‘He said “hi”.’ Fresh tears began to flow. ‘And that was all! He closed his locker and walked away!’

‘Boys can be so cruel,’ Katie muttered. ‘Forget about him, Brit. You can do better.’

‘But I want Tommy!’ Britney sobbed. She appealed to Amanda. ‘What shall I do?’

The other girls, even Nina, looked at Amanda and waited expectantly for the Queen Bee to speak. Amanda was on the line, and she needed to show them she was still in charge of the clique.

‘You’re not flirting, that’s the problem,’ she told Britney firmly. ‘Saying “hi” isn’t enough. You have to come on a little stronger.’

Nina raised her eyebrows. ‘But you’re always saying we should play hard to get. You said boys don’t like girls who show how they feel.’

Amanda met Nina’s doubtful eyes. ‘Up to a point,’ she declared. ‘Tommy might think Britney’s out of his league. He could be afraid to speak to her. Boys can be insecure, you know.’

Britney gazed at her in amazement. ‘Really?’

‘Absolutely,’ Amanda said. ‘You should go over to his table right now. Don’t sit down, just ask him something. You’ve got a class with him, haven’t you?’

‘Biology.’

‘OK. Say something about that, ask him something.’

‘Something like what?’

‘It doesn’t matter! Just make sure you make eye contact, and when you walk away, look back and give him a little smile. Not too big. Like this.’ Amanda demonstrated her well-practised ‘I’m just a little bit into you’ smile.

‘And then what?’ Britney wanted to know.

‘Then it’s his turn. Make sure you run into him after the last bell, and I bet he’ll ask you if you want to hang out.’

‘You really think that will work?’ Nina asked sceptically.

‘Of course it will,’ Amanda snapped. But even as she spoke, she wasn’t really all that sure. Britney had never been able to flirt easily. If she went over to speak to Tommy now, she’d probably start giggling and fumbling with her words. And if Amanda wanted her crew to respect her, she had to show that her advice would result in success for Britney.

There was only one way to guarantee this. As Sophie, Katie and Nina debated Amanda’s proposal, Amanda kept her eyes fixed on Britney.
Poor Britney, so shy, she can be really pathetic when it comes to boys . . .

That was all it took. In less than a second, Amanda was looking across the table at robot-Amanda. She had taken over Britney’s body.

She rose from the table, turned and searched the canteen for Tommy Clerk. She spotted him at a table with some other guys, and sauntered over.

She acted as if she was just walking past the table, and then stopped, as if an idea had struck her. ‘Tommy . . .’

The boy looked up. ‘Yeah?’

‘Do you understand that stuff about plants? What’s it called – photo, photo something.’

‘Photosynthesis?’ Tommy asked.

‘Yeah, that. Do you know what it is?’

‘It’s the process when plants turn carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen.’

Amanda-Britney had no idea what he was talking about, but this sounded good. ‘Oh, OK. Thanks!’ She turned as if to walk away, and then looked back, aiming her special smile at Tommy. She hoped the smile looked as flirtatious on Britney’s face as it did on her own. From the way Tommy’s eyes widened, she had a feeling it did.

She sashayed back to her own table, sat down, and fixed her gaze on robot-Amanda. Almost instantly, she found herself back in her own body.

‘That was good, Britney!’ she exclaimed.

Britney seemed dazed. ‘Huh?’

‘What you just did!’

Britney looked at her blankly. ‘What did I do?’

‘Britney!’ Katie exclaimed. ‘You talked to Tommy!’

‘I did?’

Amanda turned to the others and rolled her eyes. ‘Can you believe her? She must have been so nervous, she blanked out!’

The girls grinned knowingly, and Amanda wasn’t surprised when even Britney bought this.

Britney had never been the sharpest crayon in the box.

C
HAPTER
E
LEVEN
 

‘Y
OU TURNED INTO A wolf outside just now, didn’t you, Paul?’

Paul nodded.

‘Why?’

Paul looked at him helplessly. He wanted to tell Dr Paley but the words just wouldn’t come.

‘Were there other people out in the garden?’

Paul nodded.

‘Did they frighten you? Is that why you shape-shifted?’ Dr Paley smiled. ‘This makes perfect sense, Paul. Many of your fellow students developed their gifts as a response to something uncomfortable.’

Paul had mixed feelings about this. He wasn’t proud of the fact that he’d been afraid. But he liked being compared with his classmates, knowing he had this in common with them.

‘Let’s watch some more of your hypnosis video,’ Dr Paley said, and he turned on the TV. Paul looked at himself and listened to the off-screen doctor’s voice.

‘Let’s talk about Serena, Paul.’

Paul watched his own face contort on the screen. He looked like he was in pain.

‘I don’t want to talk about her.’

Dr Paley’s voice was gentle but firm. ‘You must, Paul. You betrayed your classmates. It wasn’t your fault – she put you under some kind of spell. But you need to face up to what you did. How did you first meet Serena?’

‘Mr Jackson brought me to see her.’

‘Mr Jackson . . . Ah yes, the former principal of your school. Serena hypnotized you and asked you questions. Do you remember this?’

‘Yes.’

‘What did she ask you?’

‘She asked me about the gifted class. She asked questions about the students. She asked me what kind of gifts they have.’

‘And you told her?’

‘Yes.’

‘But Madame had warned the class never to reveal their gifts, isn’t that right?’

‘Yes.’ Paul was clearly in great distress. ‘I didn’t want to tell her. I wanted to keep our secret.’

‘It’s all right, Paul,’ Dr Paley said. ‘She probably gave you some kind of post-hypnotic suggestion. You couldn’t stop yourself. And you were probably afraid of those people. For good reason, too. They were dangerous people. You have nothing to be ashamed about, Paul. Your classmates will forgive you.’

The boy on the screen seemed to relax a little.

Dr Paley hit the pause button, and turned to Paul. ‘There’s one thing that puzzles me though, Paul. We were talking about your shape-shifting ability as a response to fear. If you were afraid of Serena, Mr Jackson and the other people in that group, why didn’t you shift? You could have become some kind of large animal. You could have attacked them. Or you could have become a small animal and escaped. Why didn’t that happen, Paul? Why didn’t you shift?’

Again, Paul could only look at him helplessly. This time, the doctor had no speculations to offer. ‘You’re not sure, you probably don’t even remember. Well, let’s get back to the video.’

But Paul knew perfectly well why he hadn’t shifted when he was with those bad people. He didn’t know then that he
could.
It was true that he’d shifted before, at home, when the bad guys shot his parents. But back when he was turned off, he didn’t know he could do it on purpose – he didn’t know that he had some control over this strange and mysterious gift.

But he knew now.

BOOK: Speak No Evil-Gifted 6
7.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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