Sixteen year old Mimi Alston has company. No less than three ghosts follow her around, and only she can see them. At her last school, she was known as the girl with imaginary friends. Now Mimi’s starting fresh in a new town, where she’s determined to make some real friends and fit in for once. She’s ready for a normal life...except Mimi never counted on her fascination with troubled goth-boy, Drew.
When she’s invited to join the elite Gifted Program, Mimi discovers she’s not the only one at the school with an unusual talent. Maybe being normal isn’t even an option anymore.
14+ due to mild violence and adult situations
My final class was English. Drew was there. He looked terrible, like something had broken him. I couldn’t help but stare and he looked back into my face with those green eyes. I thought about my face smiling and sparkling in the mirror and realised I was actually conscious of how I looked when it came to Drew. That wasn’t like me. Did he have some kind of compulsion towards me, like Gabe had said? Maybe I just had a compulsion towards him.
There was only one seat left, possibly because I had been examining myself in the mirror for too long at break. It was next to Drew. I took the seat with a mixture of delight and dread. He stared at his notebook when he saw me coming his way. Our lesson was on characterisation, and the teacher was explaining archetypes, protagonists and antagonists. I found it hard to concentrate but then suddenly it was time for partner discussions. We were supposed to decide which roles the different types of characters fulfilled in our assigned novel.
I looked at Drew. He was staring down at his file and drawing another of his black ink vortexes on a blank sheet of paper.
“So, err, are we going talk about protagonists?” I asked.
“Are you serious?” he replied without looking up.
I was relieved. “Cool. I didn’t really want to either. But it would look weird to Mr Cambridge if we didn’t talk at all.”
Drew scribbled more furiously. I waited. Eventually the pen stopped and he looked into my face. My heart just about stopped. My mouth went dry.
“What is with you?” he hissed angrily.
I shrank away. So much for a compulsion, Gabe, I thought bitterly, turning my face away as tears threatened to flood my eyes. More like revulsion. I flicked through my textbook blindly, hoping the teacher would figure I was trying to work out his characterisation problem.
But after a few more moments Drew spoke again, his voice devoid of anger and bitterness.
“Sorry, Mimi,” he said. “Just … sorry.”
Ugh, the tear spilled onto my cheek. Lame. I pretended to brush my hair back and swiped past my cheek, removing all evidence.
“What’s your problem?” I said coolly, still flicking through my book.
“You shouldn’t let yourself get sucked in by them,” he said, his voice low and so desperate that I turned back to look into his eyes again, forgetting the fear of showing my tears. “It’s bullshit … all bullshit. None of this gift crap is real. She’s encouraging our delusions.”
Now I got angry. “Screw you,” I said, my voice shaking with the effort to stay quiet. “Do you know how long I’ve believed I am insane? I just found out I’m not and you know what? I’m glad. It’s not fun to think you’re nuts. You can wallow in it all you like, but I just got released from the psycho ward and I can’t wait to get my life back.”
Drew dropped all pretence of being tough, or cool or whatever. He stared at me with his mouth open. I glared for a few moments and then looked away. It was hard to keep gazing angrily at his face without being distracted by the extraordinary beauty there. Even the thick white makeup and black painted lips couldn’t hide it.
“You don’t know anything about it,” he said in my ear after a pause. “You just wait.”
It sounded like a threat. I raised my hand and excused myself. I went straight to my dorm room after making a brief appearance in the nurse’s office to claim a migraine. She took my temperature and peered at me for a moment, but seemed to believe me and told me to go lie down.
I lay on my bed, my mind buzzing. I tried not to think about Drew because I felt bad whenever my mind went there. I had been completely honest with him––I wasn’t crazy, and I was celebrating. I could hardly wait until the next time I could sit in that roomful of gifted kids and find out more. I was okay. I had a gift. These three ghosts who silently joined me as I lay on my bed, one on my swivel chair and two sitting on my floor, were ghosts … not figments of a psychotic imagination. For me, no matter what Drew thought, that could only be good news.