Authors: Eden Elgabri
Tags: #romance, #paranormal, #young adult, #psychic, #teen issues
Copyright © 2012 Lyn
Cover art by D. C.
This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, and incidents are products of the author's imagination
or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any
resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced
in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the
case of quotations embodied in articles or reviews.
To my daughter, Tara.
I could not have created this
your constant help and imagination.
To my son, Logan.
For not being upset about the games I missed
or the times I only looked up
when you were at bat.
And to my 318's
- for reading the first draft, typos and all.
I was normal until we moved into
Grandma’s old house. Or maybe it started before then. It’s hard to
tell. Life has changed so much in the past few months, and in case
you haven’t guessed, not for the better.
See, it all began six months
I was sort of pissed at Dad because I
wanted him to teach me to drive. Nothing big, just once or twice
around the parking lot at school after hours. But no. He said I’d
have to wait until I actually got my permit. How lame was
Anyway, being in an anti-dad mood, I
yanked the car door open, and plopped down in the back seat
pretending I wanted to watch a DVD. Stupid, because we didn’t have
far to go and Dad could see right through me.
While I watched the latest horror
flick for the hundredth time and brooded over how unfair life could
be, Dad, who always watched what he said in front of me, dropped
the F bomb.
I looked up and saw a car coming right
at us, head on. Since Dad wasn’t exactly into road rage, I figured
the crazy in the other car was the one who had the urge to play
chicken. I opened my mouth to scream. Air stopped moving through my
lungs, and in that instant, I knew without question I was about to
get my first real taste of unfair.
Luckily, that split second is all I
remember. A crunching sound, movie-theater loud, echoed in my ears.
The seatbelt cut into my stomach like the waistline of jeans two
sizes to small. Then, nothing.
Dad was gone before the ambulance
And me? Except for the large gash on
my head, I barely had a scratch. Or at least that’s what everyone
thought at the time. Just a stupid concussion that caused these
I didn’t realize then the headaches
were going to take me from normal - to out where the buses don’t
Strange thing is, it was only like the
third time in my entire life that I got mad at my father. If I
hadn’t been mad … if I’d been in the front seat like I usually was
… well, I don’t like to think about it.
Since the accident I try to think as
little as possible. Translation, keep busy. Which brings me to the
project at hand. Redecorating.
I glared at the pink-flowered
wallpaper and wondered what my mother had been thinking all those
years ago, when she selected the hideous garden that resided on the
walls of her childhood bedroom. It looked like someone puked
Pepto-Bismol, coated with chunks of corn and string
No wonder I couldn’t adjust. It just
Having to live here sucked.
I missed my
room with my
closets in our
house. But with Dad
gone and Mom going back to the workforce, we had to downsize. This
meant selling our home in North Carolina and moving to Rhode Island
where my mom inherited her parents’ house near the ocean.
The light above me flickered and
threatened to go off. No sign of a storm. Probably just faulty
wiring. The light wavered again as if taunting me, and I shivered.
I reached for my sweatshirt, but as my fingertips touched the
material, I realized the chill wasn’t from the temperature in the
room. I can’t really explain it because there was nothing to back
it up, but you know when the hair on the back of your neck prickles
like a cat? Or it feels like someone is behind you and you turn
around and no one is there? That’s the way I felt, like I’d just
If I’d known how close to the truth I
was, I would have gone back to North Carolina, even if I’d had to
walk to get there.
I looked around the room and then back
at the light fixture, not sure what I was expecting to find. The
stupid bulb stayed steady for a moment then flickered
Why’d my mom even keep this house
after Grandma died? “Extra money and a vacation home,” she’d
claimed. I think she just didn’t want to let go of her childhood
memories and her parents’ house held them all. She’d rented the
cottage out to college kids during the school year, and we enjoyed
seaside family vacations in the ‘beach house’ two weeks every
I never minded it then. To be honest,
not much bothered me in those days. But now that I had to live
here, I totally objected to this butt-ugly shack. Since it had been
a rental, my parents never did much in terms of renovations. My old
tree house ranked higher on the style meter.
Now I know I’m being whiny, and that’s
usually so not me, but with all that’s happened lately, I figure no
one will hold it against me. Hey, everyone’s entitled once in a
Taking the aged wallpaper off was as
easy as peeling a banana. Unfortunately, the ugly tan-colored
backing stayed attached to the wall, like a reminder that change
was never easy.
Sighing, I dipped the sponge in the
large bowl of vinegar until it was saturated then crinkled my nose
at the offensive scent. Taking wallpaper off the wall stunk in more
ways than one. I lifted the sponge gingerly and began sliding it
over the wall like an eraser.
My hand had only managed three or so
swipes when I saw her name appear. The hair on my arms stood up
straight and as the vinegar seeped through to the wall, Grandma’s
name became darker.
For a second my body froze, and my
breath lodged midway in my throat. Then, well, let’s face it; I had
My hand shook but I dunked the sponge
again in the pungent vinegar. Still shaking, I wiped the wall
beneath her signature.
Gritting my teeth, I
sponged above her name. I held my breath as little by little the
words appeared like on the Maurader’s Map in
. Bold as anything like
an omen were the words, “I’m watching over you.”
That’s when I freaked.
It didn’t take two seconds to drop the
sponge and run like hell. I hate to admit it, but I was screaming,
“Mom!” at the top of my lungs like I was some sort of
A ghost nipping at my heels couldn’t
have moved me any faster. I bounded down the stairs and collided
with my mother who’d just come around the corner from the kitchen
in response to my blood-curdling shrieks.
Mom, you’ve got to come
upstairs. Now!” Once the words spilled out I couldn’t replenish the
air in my lungs. Gasping for breath and unable to speak, I grabbed
her arm and pulled her in the direction of the stairs.
After two steps her feet planted
firmly on the floor. “Salem, what’s wrong? You’re so pale, honey.”
She placed her hand on my forehead as if checking my temperature.
Yeah, like okay, that’d make no sense if I looked pale.
But since Dad died, she uses any
excuse to come into physical contact with me. I mean, she was
always a “huggy” mom, but now she seems to keep touching me to make
sure I’m there, and not some figment of her imagination.
She does this all the time. I mean,
can you say annoying? And the closer she tries to get, the more I
back away. Except for times like this, when it worked to my
Mom, please.” My voice,
raspy and foreign, begged. Not my usual confident tone. I clutched
her hand and tugged her toward the stairs.
What’s wrong?” she asked
again, evidently recognizing that if I took her hand by choice then
there had to be a real problem.
I just shook my head and practically
yanked her arm out of its socket to make her follow. When we
reached my room, I pushed her in first and then slid in behind her.
My hand shook as I pointed at the writing on the wall.
Instead of bolting, her face went all
soft. It was the same expression she used to get when Dad would
bring home flowers for no reason.
Then she looked at me and started to
laugh. All-out belly laughs straight from her toes. The more she
looked at me the more she laughed. I scowled feeling like a little
kid who’d overheard a joke but didn’t get the punch line. “You find
Mom cleared her throat and smoothed
out her blouse in an attempt to compose herself. “It’s just, well,
you look so scared.”
I stood tall and made my tone haughty
and indignant. “I’m not scared. And why would it be funny if I
It wouldn’t,” Mom said
trying to dig her way out of the hole she’d dug. “It’s just, I
understand why you spazzed.”
I so did not,” I jumped in
before she could continue. I hate it when she tries to talk like
she’s my age. I mean, please. Spazzed? Plus, I couldn’t let her
think I was scared … especially when she wasn’t.
It didn’t make sense.
Inside my stomach flipped like a competitor at a gymnastic meet,
yet Mom, who can’t even keep her eyes open during a scary movie,
found this real life spook fest amusing. I mean, really, she had to
sleep with the light on after watching
Exorcism of Emily Rose
. I didn’t get
Don’t you find this weird?
I mean, why is Grandma hanging out in my new room writing on my
walls? It’s a little strange don’t you think? You know, given that
Mom choked on another laugh. “That’s
the point, Salem. Grandma actually wrote those words years ago when
I was just a kid.”
I tightened my lips and knit my brows
in my best thundercloud scowl expression, the one I saved for when
I was really ticked. I wanted her to know I so didn’t believe her.
Since Dad died, Mom just wasn’t as trustworthy as she’d been
before, which pissed me off even more.
Explain.” I dropped the
one word like it was a bomb and waited.
Mom ignored my tone and pointed to
where the words hung like an accusation. “You might not have even
noticed this if the backing hadn’t stayed on the wall. It’s the
vinegar that’s causing the words to come through.”
I just folded my arms across my chest
and stared at her exactly the way she always did when it was taking
me way too long to get to the point.
It took a moment, but she caught on
and speeded things up.
When I was little I used
to have nightmares. Grandpa would get mad when I’d wake Grandma in
the middle of the night. I always begged and begged to sleep in
their bed, which they weren’t about to allow. So, before I chose
this wallpaper, she wrote that on the wall for me.”
I stared her down, but she didn’t
avert her eyes. “I’m watching over you? She wrote that on the
wall?” I asked as if both Grandma and Mom were a few cards short of
the proverbial deck.
Mom traced her fingers along the
writing and shut her eyes. “She told me that I’d have nothing to
fear because her words were always there. Even if I couldn’t see
them through the wallpaper, I’d know they were there and that she
was watching over me.” A lone tear escaped and Mom brushed her
fingers across her bottom lashes.