think your gift is an angelic power.”
To her surprise, he burst out laughing. It was a rich, booming laugh that caused Mrs. Millburn to look up. On seeing that, he quieted down, but inadvertent chuckles still escaped.
“Hardly,” he scoffed. “That’s the furthest thing from the truth.”
“No, I’m sure it is,” Nora persisted. “That’s the only explanation I could come up with.”
“No, it definitely is not that. It’s a curse, if anything.”
“How can you say that?”
“There are still parts of me you don’t know, Nora.”
“I…can’t tell you.”
“So you do know more than me!”
“About your ability!”
“Yes, a bit more,” he admitted reluctantly. “But it’s nothing you should worry over.”
“You’ve shown me so much already,” Nora pouted. “It’s not fair for you to not tell me more!”
“Nora, I wish I could, but I can’t.”
“Why not?” She knew she was pressing the subject, but didn’t care. She had to know more.
“Some things aren’t meant to be shared,” he said. Then, he added quietly, as if to himself, “Some things are burdens you must bear on your own.”
“What was that?” Nora asked.
He shook his head. “Nothing.” For a second, he appeared to be waging an internal battle over conflicting thoughts. He sighed. “Nora, I can’t tell you everything, but if you want…I can show you some of it.”
“Show me? You mean something other than the mind thing?”
“Yes.” He paused. “In a way.”
She studied his serious expression. Did she trust him? She hesitated. “Ummm…okay. When?”
“Today?” A glint lit his eyes. Excitement? Eagerness? Nerves ?
“Like, right now?”
“No, not right now,” he laughed, “but after we’re done here.”
“Oh.” Nora thought for a second. “My mom’s picking me up after. Because of the animal warning.”
“Yeah, haven’t you heard?”
“How could you not know? Everyone’s talking about it. It’s been all over the news for the past few days and is pretty much the only thing on the community’s mind.”
“Well, if you haven’t noticed,” he said drily, “I’m somewhat new here.”
“Oh.” Nora blushed. “That’s right. Well, there was this murder last week, sometime Thursday evening, by the movie theater. A fight got out of hand between two men, and they took it outside. Apparently, one of them got knocked out, and the other left. But that wasn’t the lethal blow. When the police found the guy who was knocked out a few hours later, he had two inexplicable, large, like…teeth marks…on his neck. And his body had been drained completely of blood. They’re not sure what did it, but they think some type of animal was responsible. So they issued a warning for nobody to walk anywhere alone until they figure it all out.”
“So that’s what they’re calling it,” he said quietly, half to himself. Nora was sure she wasn’t meant to hear. Then he looked up at her. “I have a car,” he said. “I can drive you after school.”
“Well, okay. I’ll text my mom then.” She pulled her phone out of her pocket and switched it on. While she was typing, she spoke up again. “So what you want to show me… is it similar to the mind thing?”
“You’ll see,” he said mysteriously.
She laughed. “I can’t wait.”
~At the Lake~
When the clock hit 4:15, Nora and Hunter were dismissed from their afterschool detention. She’d already texted her mom, saying she was going out with a friend and she’d have a ride home.
Hunter led her outside, where a few cars dotted the parking lot. He made his way over to one in the corner. It was an old gray Camaro, with a few dents along its outer body. The tires looked worn, and a bit of rust edged out from underneath the vehicle.
“ That’s your car?” Nora asked incredulously.
“She’s old, but she’s