Entanglement (YA Dystopian Romance) - By Dan Rix
28 Days, 19 hours, 15 minutes
“Scar tissue,” said the doctor, “here.” She tapped the white lump on the MRI scan.
“Is that in my brain?” said Aaron.
“Just touching it, actually. Between the grey matter and the skull. Aaron, how long have you been having these headaches?”
“Since I was a kid. It’s gotten worse recently.”
“Well, the good news is it’s not cancerous.” The doctor stretched on a pair of latex gloves and probed the back of Aaron’s head with two fingers. “The pain is always here?”
“Yeah, like something tugging back there.” Aaron Harper shifted, still jumpy from the MRI, and his sticky palms suctioned the paper off the exam table with an irritating crinkle. “What’s the bad news?”
“You said the good news is you don’t think it’s cancerous. What’s the bad news?”
He felt the doctor’s breath on his scalp.
“The bad news is that according to your MRI, that scar tissue is right here—” she tapped the very back of his skull, “in the region of your clairvoyant channel, possibly obstructing it. Since you’re almost eighteen, my guess is you’re experiencing a boost in clairvoyant activity with your half. Hence the inflammation in the surrounding tissue.”
Aaron fought the urge to swallow. “But we’re okay, right? Me and my half? I mean, I would have felt if something was blocking us.”
“Well . . . ” the doctor scrunched up her eyebrows, “not necessarily. I doubt you’ll notice the symptoms until you meet her. After that, it really depends on both of you.”
“The symptoms of what?”
With a whip-like snap that made Aaron flinch, the doctor peeled off her gloves. “Aaron, I’m sorry, but with that scar tissue blocking your channel, your half could literally be standing right in front of you—kissing you even. Part of you is going to feel like she’s not really there.”
In the Sansum Clinic parking lot outside the Radiology wing, Aaron jabbed at his Mazda’s ignition but couldn’t slot the key. His hand still trembled from the doctor’s words.
The girl born at the exact same time as him, somewhere else in the world. Like all seventeen-year-olds, he was scheduled to meet her on his eighteenth birthday.
Now it felt like a death sentence.
The key lodged. He cranked the ignition and thrust his foot down, and the tires burned out with a screech. Smoke rose in the rearview.
In twenty-nine days, he was supposed to meet his soul mate. Eighteen years of waiting, wondering, fantasizing . . . looking forward to someone perfect.
Now this crap.
That evening as the buzzer concluded the first league volleyball game between Pueblo High School and Corona Blanca, Aaron, Pueblo’s starting setter, ripped off his jersey and flung it into the stands.
His coach grabbed his shoulder. “Cool it, Harper.”
“Where the hell was Franco tonight?” said Aaron, stooping to catch his breath.
“He’s eighteen now.”
“Coach, it takes forty-five minutes to win a volleyball game. He can’t leave his half for forty-five minutes?”
“And I wouldn’t ask him to,” said his coach. “Just like I won’t ask you after your birthday.”
With a nervous twinge, Aaron recalled his visit to the doctor. All the things he didn’t get to look forward to. He stood, shrugged off the coach’s hand, and made for the exit.
His coach called after him. “Put a goddamn shirt on, number eleven.”
Aaron punched the wall on his way out. Outside the gym, the night cooled his sweaty skin, and Corona’s fans parted around him. He never reached the bus, though.
Someone’s hard shoulder crunched into his spine. In that split-second of contact, he felt a shock-like twinge at the back of his skull, then something crawling inside his scalp. He staggered forward and grabbed the back of his head. But the skin wasn’t broken.
Aaron spun toward the culprit and saw a figure in a gray hoodie vanish into the crowd of Corona fans, oblivious.
Aaron started after him. “Hey!” he called, but the figure slipped out of view. Aaron charged through green-jerseyed fans. He shoved aside a Corona player and saw a flash of gray hoodie. He lunged.
But his hand closed on empty air.
The figure darted past the last cluster of students and receded into the night. Aaron tore after him, and for a brief, blind moment, the wind whistled in his ears—before he collided with a chain link fence. He caught his breath and peered into the shadows beyond the fence.
There, under a dark hoodie, two pale blue eyes—Aaron blinked. No, just shadows.
He slammed the fence in frustration. As the pain in the back of his head subsided, his skin formed goose bumps.