Read Hidden (Hidden Series Book One) Online

Authors: M. Lathan

Tags: #paranormal romance, #paranormal, #young adult, #witches, #bullying, #shape shifter romance, #psychic abilities, #teen and young adult

Hidden (Hidden Series Book One) (2 page)

BOOK: Hidden (Hidden Series Book One)
9.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

It didn’t make sense to me how humans were
able to defeat my kind. I felt strong enough to take out everyone
in this school. But they did, so they’d do it once more if I blew
my cover.

The bell startled me, like most harmless
sounds did, and I rushed out of class before they could come out of
the lab.

The last two hours before Mass would be
easier. It was also Club Day. Girls like Sienna and Whitney would
be headed to Ballet and Art. I went to the basement for Robotics.
It had the fewest names on the sign-up sheet, so I went for it.

The five girls who made up the St. Catalina
Robotics Team, who called themselves the Robo-Girls, were
considered nerds, but even they didn’t talk to me.

They worked on their huge robot for a
national competition while I tried to get the wheels to work on my
two-foot thing that didn’t deserve to be called one. These girls
were actually smart. I was just here to disappear for a while, so I
stayed out of the way. That worked for everyone here. Sister Sheila
got to read her bible while everyone worked in harmony, the
Robo-Girls didn’t have to include me and risk falling even lower on
the social ladder, and I got to struggle in the back … alone.

Two hours of almost silence was what I
needed before Mass. The Robo-Girls didn’t drag the evil out of me
like the others.

I kept my eyes on my feet as I walked
through the church doors. I thought it was better to look away,
less disrespectful.

The right side of the church was reserved
for the boys from St. Matthew. I’d never spoken to any of them.
They wouldn’t know me as Leah or Christine. They’d probably
identify me as the quiet creep or possibly the lesbian who was in
love with Sienna and Whitney.

I sat in my usual seat on the last row on
the girls’ side. I bowed my head to pray. I pleaded with God, his
entire holy family, and everyone else in heaven for the evil inside
of me to not repel communion, turn crosses upside down, or whatever
else was supposed to happen.

“Hi there, friend,” Sienna said and giggled,
like Mass wasn’t hard enough without her bothering me. I toyed with
the edges of my skirt so I’d look too busy to hear whatever she had
to say. I knew better than to wish I were somewhere else. I’d be
there in a second. “You wanna come sit by us?” she asked.

I picked at my overgrown cuticles as she and
Whitney fell into a bigger laugh. I knew what was so funny – the
time that had actually worked.

Whitney had only been gone a week. I was
eating in the cafeteria at my newly empty table. Then she walked
over, Sienna Martin: the queen of the universe, and said, “
I
hate how things ended with you and Whit. Come sit with us
.” She
smiled, and I picked up my tray and followed her like an idiot.
When we made it to the famed table, she spun around with a
different face than she had before and said, “
Leah, stop
following me. You are so obsessed with us. Let it go. She doesn’t
want to be your friend anymore
.”

Thoroughly horrified and embarrassed, I ran
out of there, lunch tray in hand, and caused an even bigger scene.
They periodically bring up that hilarious moment and others where
I’d lost it, screamed, or bolted out of the room. There were
several where they’d startled me on purpose and I had spilled
something all over my clothes before I banished myself from the
cafeteria.

“Oh, Leah,” she said, not quite done,
apparently. “I heard something disturbing about you. Candice told
Whitney that Hannah told her that
you
… came on to her in
the locker room today.”

I sighed. These accusations were getting
more ridiculous as the years wore on. I didn’t even take gym this
year. I’d opted for an extra science. Physics offered more homework
and less free time.

“Spaz, I’m shocked,” Whitney said. “I
thought you were in love with us. This is no way to show it.”

I stared at the crucifix until they lost
interest in my reaction. They strutted down the aisle like it was a
runway, and Sienna blew a kiss to her boyfriend. I rolled my eyes.
My witch powers, or the devil himself, made me sure that he was
sleeping with Tiffany – one of Sienna’s loudest birds.

There was nothing worse than knowing
something that could hurt her and not using it. But I’d kept it to
myself, hoping it would show God that I didn’t want to be evil.

Maybe it was working. I didn’t vomit when I
took communion, nor did I spontaneously combust.

“The Mass has ended, go in peace to love and
serve the Lord.”

“Thanks be to God,” we all said together,
and I raced through the church doors.

My dorm was the biggest of the four. The
current junior class, my class, made up most of the population at
St. Catalina – the kids orphaned in the darkest year of the war. We
took up the entire building and had since we were infants. The
common room had grown up with us. It used to be the open space
where we were coached to walk and talk. Then it turned into a
playroom. I pulled on the double doors and entered its current
incarnation. Pink and purple lanterns hung from the ceiling over
plush sofas and beanbag chairs, facing different flat screens
around the room.

Sienna had been in charge of this remodel.
Even if she hadn’t claimed this room as the court where her
subjects come to worship her, I still would’ve banished myself from
it. Sitting around with humans outside of class was the last thing
I wanted to do.

I planned my weekends according to one goal:
be invisible. I’d incurred a sacrificial tardy in first period so I
could set my laundry to dry while the girls were gone and my
delicates were safe from pranks. I knew I’d get here first after
Mass, it was mingling time, and had left my laundry basket waiting
by the dryer. I passed through the kitchen that permanently smelled
of chocolate chip cookies and grabbed the plastic bag I’d packed
and left in the front of the fridge to make for a quick exit.

Groceries for the weekend,
check
. I
dropped the bag in my basket and piled the clothes on top. Laundry,
check
. A television blared in the common room just as the
staircase door slammed behind me. Leah out of sight until Monday
morning,
check
.

I knew my door would be unlocked today.
Sister Phyllis, the guardian of our dorm, had inspected rooms while
we were in class. I still reached for my key; the inspection hadn’t
been announced.

Even with my bedroom door closed and locked
behind me, my act had to continue. I dropped the laundry basket and
took two steps to my desk to deposit my bag. Then three to the
closet to drop off my shoes. Then six more to my bed. I’d memorized
my careful dance, a performance I suspected hadn’t gone unnoticed
over the years. Even now, it felt like I was being watched. I
shrugged my blazer off and confirmed my suspicion. It usually
happened late at night, but the hairs on my forearm were standing
at attention. They’d been that way for the past few days, almost
constantly, making me completely sure that eyes were on me. It felt
like they wanted to see me be normal, human, and I wanted to show
them just that.

I reached for the remote slowly so it
wouldn’t fly into my hand. I had a movie all cued up for my
performance. I’d taken it from the movie library this morning. I
figured no one would come knocking on my door for the dusty VHS
copy of
The Little Rascals
.

I crashed on my bed, exhausted, and faced
the little TV once used for princess movies with Whitney. I could
have upgraded using money from my student account – money my
parents left behind. But I rarely watched TV, and I had bigger
problems than the size of my screen, like having my head mounted on
Lydia Shaw’s wall.

I ate my typical meal – a turkey sandwich –
for dinner. I made my orange last the entire movie to savor the
scent.

After Uh-Huh learned a new word, I went into
the bathroom for my shower. The hairs on my arms relaxed as I
stepped through the door; it was the only place I didn’t feel
watched.

The shower sprang to life just before I
touched the knob. “I’m sorry,” I said to God. “I didn’t mean to do
that.” I waited as the hot water beat down on me to see if that
slip would make this night my last.

I checked the hairs on my arm. Still down.
Still alive for now.

A far second to oranges, the song I sang in
the shower every night had a way of soothing me. More than
anything, it made me tired enough to fall asleep. With Whitney
gone, I didn’t have to whisper it.

The stars are out,

It’s time for bed.

Now close your eyes,

And rest your head.

May angels shield you with their wings,

As you dream your little angel dreams.

I didn’t recall composing that song, but
apparently, I used to think I was good and perfect like the angels.
I knew better now.

I stepped out of the shower and tugged a
brush through my unruly brown tangles. I stared into the mirror
over the sink as I started the song again. My skin screamed winter.
I should be a warmer tan; I looked less creepy in the summer. Maybe
that was why the girls had been digging into me so hard. I looked
rather witchy. The unease that made them mock me was probably their
souls warning them, urging them to notice I was different and
dangerous.

At my worst, it feels like the fire that
could easily shoot from my palm is raging inside of me. My heart
picks up, more than when I’m scared. It pounds, I can’t hear. My
blood dances, taunting me, begging me to hurt whoever’s hurt me.
And I know that I can. I feel that I can.

But I don’t. I breathe and pray and let the
magic cool. I didn’t want to be this way – consumed by rage and
thoughts of death. I’d much rather be normal and not feel so
distant from everyone around me. It would be nice to join the art
club and not have to worry about what I’d do to the catty girls
there. Before the powers, I’d thought that was where my life was
headed – being the quiet girl with the natural artistic abilities.
The nuns had thought drawing and painting would bring me out of my
shell, make me finally want to talk to someone, connect with
someone, change how I’d been since I was an infant.

I was, in their words, impossible to sooth
until one day I stopped crying and making any noise all together.
Like I’d tired myself out, and I never recovered. I guessed I
couldn’t because of what I was – the only soulless creature
alive.

Art couldn’t help that, so now, I didn’t
draw for the fun of it. It was how I filled the hours before sleep
when the hairs were excited on my arm. I drew for whoever was
watching. I flipped through the pages of my notebook, past the gray
depictions of my more ethical obsessions – oranges, the view of the
forest from my window, and the birds that live there.

I filled an entire page with them, some
flying, some pecking at the blue lines and the spirals of the
notebook, waiting for the hairs to fall. Sleep overtook me before
they did.

 

 

Chapter Two

The birds met me in my dream. I stretched
out on the grass in the courtyard in my pajamas, and they flocked
around me. One, the smallest one, hopped onto my leg then up to my
stomach. It chirped, a happy greeting, and took off into the air.
The others followed. So did I.

The girls looked like ants from where we
were. Insignificant nothings.

I didn’t have to flail my arms. I glided
through the air with them, the smell of coming rain filling my
nose. We flew over St. Matthew and sped down to the forest that
separated the schools from town.

I extended my feet when I was close to the
ground. The flock peeped and hopped on the forest floor with me –
over roots and under branches, avoiding sharp edges that would
spill my dirty blood. They led me to a cabin overgrown with vines
and flowers. The birds flew to the roof, settling at the point over
the door. They were telling me to go inside.

The door opened in front of me. I wasn’t
afraid. My body finally wasn’t shaking like I was waiting to take
my last breath.

Inside, the floorboards creaked as I stepped
softly through the house. Not a haunting sound, more like it was
coming alive to welcome me. A single chair sat in the middle of the
living room in front of a fireplace. It rocked back and forth when
I nudged it. There was a table in the kitchen with one chair tucked
under it. It was set for one.

I followed the creaking wood to the back of
the cabin to the only other room. There was a bed in the corner.
The comforter was soft and girly, covered in pink flowers.

“This cabin is built for one?” My question
echoed in the silent house. The birds sang together. An answer, I
guessed. “Is it mine?” They chirped yes, again. “I don’t have to go
back?”

They fluttered away. I saw them take the sky
from the window over the bed.

Someone tapped lightly on the front door.
Then harder as I made it to the hall. The impatient visitor banged
again, rattling the door and startling me awake in my dorm
room.

I heard the knocking I’d heard in the dream.
Someone was really at my door.

“Yes?” I asked, my voice raspy from
sleep.

“Morning, Spaz … I mean Leah,” Sienna said.
Whitney snickered loud enough for me to know she’d tagged along on
this prank my magic hadn’t warned me of. “We heard some of the
sisters talking at the dance last night.” She giggled again. “I
think you’d like to know what they said about you. Let us in,
friend.” I rolled my eyes. As if I were stupid enough to let her in
this room. By Monday, the rumor would be that I begged her to come
inside and tried to kiss her or something. More feet shuffled
outside of the door. She had a little audience out there. “I’ll
tell you from here then. Since I’m such a great friend, I think you
should know that they have you on suicide watch.”

BOOK: Hidden (Hidden Series Book One)
9.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

How Happy to Be by Katrina Onstad