Hysteria

Hysteria by Megan Miranda Read Free Book Online

Book: Hysteria by Megan Miranda Read Free Book Online
Authors: Megan Miranda
nighttime dorm lurker, skillfully pull out yet another
     obnoxious grin.
    Reid narrowed his eyes and looked around the group gathered in front of him. “What
     do you want, Jason?” he asked. For the moment, I trusted Reid’s untrusting expression.
    “Hanging with my new friend, Mallory.” He rested a hand on my shoulder.
    I slunk down and stepped away. “New friend, huh?” Reid asked. But before I had a chance
     to throw an “I’d rather have my teeth pulled” expression his way, Reid shrugged, and
     it didn’t seem like the shrug was directed at me.
    “This is the quad, obviously,” Reid said as he started walking backward, like he owned
     this place.
    Jason leaned in close as we followed Reid. “I get the feeling you don’t like me.”
    I didn’t answer.
    “Didn’t mean to scare you last night. I wanted you to feel welcome.”
    I grabbed Bree’s arm and said, “This is Bree. She’s new. Welcome her.”
    Bree dislodged her arm and rolled her eyes. She was nobody’s second choice. And she
     sure as hell didn’t want my leftovers.
    We walked out the gate with the M over the top and started walking around the perimeter. Reid said, “This is the West
     Gate — what the town considers our main entrance, but our main entrance is actually farther
     down this road.” He pointed behind him as he walked backward, and we all strained
     to see. Apparently there was a gate in our immediate future, but the only thing I
     could see was the car pulled off the side of the road, engine off. Same color as the
     surrounding weeds.
    Jason was trying to say something again, but I had stopped moving. “Mallory?” Reid
     asked, shooting a glance from me to Jason.
    They were all still moving toward the car. I turned around, picked a spot in the distance,
     woods on woods on woods.
    And, like always, I ran.

 
     
    Chapter 4
    I ran past the scarlet M again, past the corner of campus, and then I kept running as the sidewalk turned
     into packed dirt, roots, and stone mangling the ground. And again my flip-flops held
     me back, so I kicked them off and ran some more. The path narrowed, twigs and briars
     reaching toward me, and then suddenly opened again to a large clearing.
    I bent over at the entrance, still sheltered by the trees, and sucked in some air.
     Then I held my breath so I could hear the noises around me — wind filtering through the trunks, leaves rustling up high, faint scurrying below.
     But nothing human. So I rested on the side of a fallen tree and took in the unnatural
     scene in front of me: a dilapidated brick building, half-walls standing, piles of
     bricks scattered around the floor of the clearing.
    Those half-walls were the perfect place to hide, so I balanced myself on the piles
     of bricks and carefully stepped my way to the building, watching for nails or sharp
     rocks as the bricks dislodged and scattered below each step. Then I crouched at the
     spot where two of the partially standing walls still stood and leaned back into the
     corner.
    I closed my eyes, but in my mind I could still see through the back window of the
     car, and I pictured her hair poofing over the top of the seat. I imagined her turning
     and watching me with those eyes, red and dry. I could see her rise higher still, pulling
     herself over the seat, and I could see her clenched jaw and the vein fighting to escape
     her neck, pulsating and pulsating.
    Like I saw at Brian’s funeral.

    Brian’s mom didn’t see me then. Nobody saw me. Not even Colleen, who didn’t tell me
     she was going. But there she was, squeezed between Cody and either Joe or Sammy — I couldn’t tell from the distance. I didn’t know whether Colleen was there for Cody
     or as some sort of atonement for herself. Or if maybe she was there for me. Colleen
     had her hand cupped over her mouth, and I could tell, even from between the pickets
     of the fence across the street, that she was doing that thing where she wasn’t really
     crying, but her body

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