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Authors: Katie Ganshert

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The Gifting

BOOK: The Gifting
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The Gifting

By K.E. Ganshert

If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.

Tess Eckhart has always felt things nobody else can feel. Then the Ouija board incident happens at a high school party. Her complete freakout sends her family across the country—next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill. Worried that Tess suffers from the same illness that tormented her grandmother, her parents insist she see a psychiatrist.

Tess is more concerned about fitting in at her new school, and hiding the fact that she’s seeing a therapist at the Edward Brooks Facility. She’s used to whispers and stares, but when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

Praise for The Gifting

“Set in a not-too-distant future that feels frighteningly like home, this novel immerses readers within the heart of Tess’s fear from the very first chapter. This is not, however, a novel of horror. Guaranteed to leave you breathless,
The Gifting
is an eerie merging of Gothic-like dystopian mystery and YA romance within a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller. Expect to lose sleep over this book! A must-read addition to any YA reader’s collection, this one’s a keeper!”

~Serena Chase,
USA Today
’s Happy Ever After blog, author of
The Ryn

“Chilling from start to finish! K. E. Ganshert delivers an exciting young adult fantasy that’s just as fun as it is riveting. THE GIFTING will keep you turning pages in an effort to unlock the mystery of this unsettled world.”

~Addison Moore, New York Times Bestselling Author

“K.E. Ganshert brings a fresh new voice to the dystopian romance scene for young adults. Ganshert will wow her audience with captivating prose, a well-paced plot, and just the perfect amount of swoon!”

~Heather Sunseri, author of the Mindspeak series

Edited by: Lora Doncea

Cover Design by: Okay Creations

Interior Design and Formatting by: BB eBooks

Copyright © 2015 K.E. Ganshert

Kindle Edition

This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names, places, and characters are figments of the author’s imagination. The author holds all rights to this work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author.

All right reserved.

For Ryan McGivern, the best big brother a girl could ask for. Without your crazy outside-the-box thinking, I’m pretty sure this story never would have taken flight.

Table of Contents

Title Page

About the Book

Praise for The Gifting

Copyright Page

Dedication

Chapter One:
Birthday Wishes

Chapter Two:
The Incident

Chapter Three:
Tess the Freak

Chapter Four:
A Not So Fresh Start

Chapter Five:
The New Kid

Chapter Six:
Do You See What I See?

Chapter Seven:
Dreams

Chapter Eight:
Paranoia

Chapter Nine:
Routines

Chapter Ten:
Hypnosis

Chapter Eleven:
Genocide

Chapter Twelve:
Mistakes

Chapter Thirteen:
A Fighter

Chapter Fourteen:
Interrogation

Chapter Fifteen:
Unexpected Encounters

Chapter Sixteen:
Revelations

Chapter Seventeen:
Angels

Chapter Eighteen:
Anticipation

Chapter Nineteen:
Confessions

Chapter Twenty:
Discovery

Chapter Twenty-One:
A Ruse

Chapter Twenty-Two:
Parental Concern

Chapter Twenty-Three:
The Halloween Party

Chapter Twenty-Four:
Confrontations

Chapter Twenty-Five:
Doubt

Chapter Twenty-Six:
Drugs

Chapter Twenty-Seven:
The Journal

Chapter Twenty-Eight:
Normalcy

Chapter Twenty-Nine:
Distraction

Chapter Thirty:
Rumors

Chapter Thirty-One:
Forbidden

Chapter Thirty-Two:
The Pile Up

Chapter Thirty-Three:
Breakthrough

Chapter Thirty-Four:
Shady Wood

Chapter Thirty-Five:
Trouble

Chapter Thirty-Six:
Escape

Chapter Thirty-Seven:
The Gifting

About the Author

Excerpt for
The Awakening

Chapter One

Birthday Wishes

A
ccording to science, humans have no souls. There is no afterlife or guardian angels or ghosts or spirits or anything at all supernatural. Our world is purely physical. The government has systematically removed God from society. He is no longer mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance, no longer written on our money, no longer found in our Constitution or acknowledged in any of our political gatherings.

My father thinks this is a good thing. He believes the human race has caused enough damage in the name of religion. We are better off this way, more evolved, and anybody who thinks differently is a fool. He adamantly, wholeheartedly agrees with science. But I’m not as convinced. Because if science is right, then I’m crazy.

And crazy is dangerous.

Seventeen candles flicker on the cake, illuminating a portion of our kitchen. A pocket of warmth expands inside the room. One that has nothing to do with the cake or the people in front of me. The feeling doesn’t originate inside of me at all. It radiates from beyond the border of the light’s reach, pulsing in the dark. Something shimmers beside our refrigerator and for the briefest of moments—before that beautiful shimmering thing disappears—I feel terrified and brave all at once.

I blink and it’s gone. The only thing hovering near our refrigerator is empty air. The temperature returns to normal, but my heartbeat does not. It thuds in my ears. My younger brother Pete yawns and shakes dark hair from even darker eyes, looking like he’d rather be anywhere else but here—at my lame, four-person birthday party. Dad stands with his arm wrapped around my mother’s waist. She clasps her hands beneath her chin and nods encouragingly. “Go on, Tess. Make a wish.”

So I ignore my brother and fill my lungs with oxygen and wish for the one thing I want most, the one thing that is constantly elusive.

I wish I could be normal.

I blow toward the candles as hard as I can, but the room does not go black. One small flame dances on a wick, mocking me.

Chapter Two

The Incident

I
t’s August on the panhandle of Florida and I can’t get warm. The icy chill that woke me in the night refuses to leave. It hovers nearby when I get ready for my first day of junior year, and it follows me into the kitchen where Dad reads the morning newspaper.

There was an earthquake in California, the second one in a month, another riot broke out at a fetal modification clinic in Chicago, a drive-by shooting in Tallahassee, which is like, twenty minutes from where we live, and the unrest in north Africa continues to escalate. Dad thinks it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. gets involved. Dad thinks if we don’t get Egypt under control as soon as possible, we’ll have World War III on our hands. I think he should read the newspaper to himself. But he insists Pete and I know what’s going on in the world.

I grab a carton of orange juice from the refrigerator. “Do you think the Chief of Press ever wants to off himself?”

Mom frowns. “Tess.”

“What? The news is seriously depressing.” I take a swig of o.j.

Mom’s frown deepens. To her, the habit is disgusting. To me, it’s economical.

The paper crinkles as Dad flips to the business section. “You gonna join me at work on Saturday, kiddo?”

“You have to go in this weekend again?” Mom takes the carton from my hands to pour some orange juice in a glass. When she’s finished, she gives me the cup and returns the carton to the top shelf of our fridge.

“I need to get this account finished by Monday.” Dad peers at me over the top of his paper. “Would love your help.”

“Yeah, sure.” While most kids my age hang out with friends on the weekends, I go to work with Dad. It’s the way we bond. I probably know more about security systems than all of his employees at Safe Guard’s west Florida branch combined.

Mom gives Pete and me a goodbye kiss on our cheeks and tells us to have a great first day. The icy chill follows me to school and remains while the principal of Jude High welcomes all 300 of us to a new year. It follows me into Mr. Greeley’s classroom, too. He teaches Current Events, a course every high school student in the country is required to take, because apparently, the government agrees with my dad. Ignorance is unacceptable.

Mr. Greeley calls attendance over the familiar, excited chatter that marks the first day of school. Somehow, I can never figure out how to become a part of it. So I slouch in my seat and doodle mindless swirls on the cover of my folder while Missy Calloway flirts with Dustin O’Malley, a red-headed soccer player with a face full of freckles. Dustin isn’t very cute—but he’s confident and funny and is pretty much the reason why Jude’s soccer team won state last year, so all the girls forgive him.

He crumples a gum wrapper and throws it at Missy. The foil ball tangles in her bleach-blond hair. She half giggles-half shrieks in that
stop-it-but-really-don’t
kind of way and tries to throw it back. The foil ball lands on the corner of my desk.

Sydney Lauren—whose lips are never the same color—leans forward and pokes Dustin in the back with her pencil. “Psst.”

He twists around.

“I’m having people over tonight. Nothing big. Just a small back-to-school get together.”

I tuck my hair behind my ear to peek at Dustin, but my elbow knocks into my notebook. It falls to the ground. I have to turn all the way around to pick it up and when I do, Sydney raises her eyebrows at me. “You should come too.”

The only reason I’m ever invited anywhere is because girls think if I come, my brother will too. And girls really like Pete, even though he’s a skinny sophomore.

“So …?” Sydney’s eyebrows creep higher up her forehead. “Are you gonna come?”

“It’s a school night.”

“And?”

I can feel Dustin and Missy staring. “I—uh—already have plans.”

Sydney shrugs. “Well, your brother should still come. Tell him I insist.”

“Yeah. Okay.” The last time I went to a party, I kept seeing stars in the periphery of my vision, as if I had some sort of concussion. I ended up coming home two hours before curfew. My mom was actually disappointed. I turn back around and resume my doodling. Only somehow, the mindless lines have turned into a form—one that resembles a monster with a forked tongue and horns, one I swear I’ve seen before—and for reasons I don’t understand, I have the overwhelming urge to throw the folder away. Or tear it in half. I don’t want that thing or the memory of it anywhere near me.

A collective giggle ripples through the class.

When I look up, Mr. Greeley is staring at me over the top of his clipboard. “Teresa Eckhart?” It’s obvious it’s not the first time he’s called my name.

I clear my throat. “It’s Tess.”

“Speak up please,” he says.

The class giggles again.

“I go by Tess.” My voice escapes like a mouse.

*

BOOK: The Gifting
13.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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