Death, and the Girl He Loves - Darynda Jones Page 0,1

boy named Wade who paid me any mind. I’d been at the boarding school for weeks, and Wade treated me like we’d known each other forever, but Crystal still looked at me with stars in her eyes. Hopefully my gleam would wear off soon, because she could be a little irritating.

She beamed at me when she caught up, her cerulean eyes sparkling behind round-rimmed glasses and thick dark braids.

Well, irritating in a charming way. She was another scholarship student, a science whiz who was destined to be the next Stephen Hawking if I had anything to say about it. The girl’s mind was like a supercomputer on steroids.

“Hey, Crystal.”

“Hey,” she said back, breathless from trying to catch up to me. “So what are you doing?”

I tried not to chuckle and indicated the door ahead of me with an index finger. “Just headed to class.”

“Oh, right, okay, that’s a good idea. Last class of the day.”

“Yup. And isn’t yours across campus?” I asked her.

She looked around in utter cluelessness, spun in a complete circle to get her bearings. I felt the crush of students acutely, especially when one student knocked me forward as he rushed past. I felt a tug at my coat and started to say something, but I barely caught sight of the back of his head before he disappeared into the crowd. He was wearing a hoodie anyway.

“Yes, it is.” Crystal’s pale face had a light sprinkling of freckles over cheeks slightly chapped from the biting winds of Maine. Under a button nose sat a bow-shaped mouth that made her look even younger than her fourteen years. She looked like a doll I once had. Exactly like a doll I once had. It was eerie. She put one foot behind the other and hitched a thumb over her shoulder. “I guess I should jet, then.”

I couldn’t help a grin. “Okay, you jet. I’ll see you later?”

After flashing me a smile that could have melted the heart of the White Witch in Narnia, she nodded and hurried away.

I watched her leave, a little enamored myself with such a guileless creature, then turned and ran right into the one girl in school I did not want to run into. The only one who accessorized with black nail polish, a razor-blade pendant, and a switchblade.

She gaped, completely offended by my presence, then shoved me away from her. I stumbled back and barely kept from tumbling head over heels by grabbing on to another student’s backpack. He scowled over his shoulder, then jerked out of my grip before I could apologize. Or right myself. I almost fell anyway, but I managed to get my footing without any more humiliation than absolutely necessary.

“Nice save,” Kenya said, raising her brows as though impressed.

But I was still reeling from what I’d gained from our little encounter. I wasn’t fond of Kenya Slater. She wasn’t fond of me. But it was disturbing nonetheless to watch her die.

Unfortunately for me—and everyone around me—I have, for lack of a better word, visions. Sometimes when I touch people, I can see into their futures or their pasts. It’s heart-wrenching on several levels. I never see the time they were laughing at a party or riding a roller coaster at the fair, screaming with exhilaration. No, I see the bad parts of their lives. I see the catastrophic. I see the pain and fear and anxiety. And now, thanks to this nifty skill I’d inherited, I knew exactly when, where, and how Kenya was going to die.

Her death flashed before my eyes the moment we touched. The visions were thoughtful that way. And now I had a decision to make. I’d struggled with the question of divulgence before. Many times. And this scenario was no exception. I might be able to prevent her death if she’d listen to me, but that took a lot of faith. And since she threatened me with a switchblade every chance she got, I didn’t figure faith was her strong suit. Especially faith in me. The new girl. The girl she most liked to harass and promise a slow and painful death to. I was pretty sure I’d developed a nervous twitch after meeting her.

But this was different. Maybe it was a timing thing. She was going to die too soon. Too young. She literally had only days to live. And the vision stole my breath with its vividness.

In it, a storm rolled in, darkening what had been a sunny afternoon. She was on a