Shadowed (Fated) - By Sarah Alderson

Chapter 1

‘Would he have become a murderer anyway? Evie?’

Evie turned her head reluctantly away from the fogged-up window and back to the classroom, suddenly aware of two dozen eyes burning into her. Someone in the back row was sniggering. Her fingers tightened instinctively around her pencil, which she was gripping in her fist as though it was a switchblade.

Mr Fielder, her English teacher, was standing with his arms crossed over his chest, staring at her. ‘Evie, so nice of you to join us,’ he said with a tight, sarcastic smile.

The sniggering grew louder. Evie forced her hand to relax, laying it flat on the desk.

‘I was asking about the three witches,’ Mr Fielder went on. ‘Did they really foresee Macbeth becoming king? Or did they just plant the idea in his head? Was it fate, or did he have free will? Would you care to share your thoughts, Ms Tremain?’

Laughter bubbled in Evie’s chest. She choked it down, her stomach muscles tensing with the effort, and focused on her hands, folded on the desk before her – noting how the Mixen acid burns had faded and now looked like freckles.

‘Hello? Evie?’ Mr Fielder pressed.

The laughter inside her died abruptly, something more savage taking its place. Before she could think it through she was on her feet, knocking her chair over and sending the books on the desk behind flying. She grabbed her bag from the empty seat beside her and strode towards the door.

A hushed awe descended over the room. As she flung open the door she caught sight of Mr Fielder staring at her, his mouth opening and closing in mute astonishment, and she noticed too her ex-boyfriend Tom, sitting in the back row, frowning at her.

Nothing new there, she thought to herself with a sigh before she walked out of the class.

Her pickup truck was parked in the far corner of the lot. She headed straight for it, tossed her bag onto the passenger seat and climbed in. Her hand was shaking so hard she couldn’t get the key in the ignition, and eventually she just gave up and rested her forehead against the steering wheel instead.

That’s when it began, the sob erupting out of the centre of her, as if it had been there all along, poised like a vicious dog, waiting to get her alone. Evie clenched her teeth and tried to fight it, but it tore free anyway. She thumped the dashboard and tried to get a grip, closing her eyes and instantly confronting the image branded on the back of her eyelids of Lucas – lying in her lap, grey eyes dilating black as the blood rushed out of him in warm, sticky pulses. When would this picture stop being the only thing she saw every time she closed her eyes?

When Evie finally lifted her head wearily from the wheel she saw Tom standing in front of the pickup, his bag slung over his shoulder and his hands thrust into the pockets of his jeans. She glared at him for a full twenty seconds hoping to convince him to move out of the way. When he didn’t budge she turned the key in the ignition and let the shriek of the engine as her foot hit the floor do the encouraging for her.

Tom merely tipped his head to the side and raised his eyebrows in amusement. The engine started to whine. She took her foot off the gas and, exhaling loudly, reached over and unlocked the passenger door. She caught the smile that Tom tried to hide as he strolled around to the passenger side and climbed in beside her.

‘So,’ Tom said, pushing her bag to the floor and making himself comfortable, ‘that was an interesting reaction to Shakespeare. Care to share?’

Evie knotted her hands around the wheel and kept staring straight ahead. It had started to drizzle. She didn’t care to share. If she told anyone about what had happened to her in the last three months they’d commit her to the nearest mental institution.

She could feel Tom looking at her and knew that, if she turned her head she’d find his brown eyes filled with a mix of three parts pity, one part frustration. She started to wonder why she’d unlocked the door and let him in. She should just have driven over him.

‘Evie,’ Tom said, shifting in his seat so that he was facing her, ‘what’s going on?’

‘Nothing,’ she answered flatly.

His hand came to rest tentatively on her shoulder and her body