From Chapter 1: Smoke and Mirrors of Borrowed Saints, available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook (soon).
Phoebe Ellison hated mirrors, and mirrors shared the sentiment.
She stood before a mirror in one of the less-traveled ladies restrooms in Springdale High, exchanging a glare with the reflection. Tiny white lines on her forearms reached from the glass and shouted in her ears. Phoebe ran a finger across her skin, wondering if it was her imagination or the truth she felt in those little, rigid scars.
Muffled voices sounded in the hall. Phoebe’s hands worked without thought—her left turned the hot water tap, and her right reached for the soap dispenser. The bathroom door crashed open. Haley Garret and her entourage brushed behind her, close enough Phoebe could smell Haley’s perfume, sick and sweet and stinging her eyes like rubbing alcohol.
If she only had a match, they would all go up in flames.
“Lookie here,” Haley said. She positioned her well-tanned face over Phoebe’s shoulder in the mirror. “A piece of fresh meat. A newbie.”
Phoebe’s neck bristled. She could leave—walk out now and not look back.
“Whatcha doing, fresh meat?”
Haley’s clones giggled.
“Washing my hands.” Steam began to rise in the basin, distorting the faces in the mirror. “Going back to class.”
“Right.” Haley pushed her shoulder into Phoebe’s back as she turned. “Don’t be late, fresh meat. Bad things happen to newbies who are late. Bad things.” Haley’s breath was close enough for Phoebe to taste.
The giggling trio disappeared through the door. Water vapor condensed on the mirror, blurring it to a white haze. The steam began to tease Phoebe’s dark hair. She smelled fire—felt it burn her nose. Smoke and ash. Voices crying. The voices always blended into a memory of her parents’ final cries. How long had it been—three months? Only three months. Pain radiated through Phoebe’s forearm, to her shoulder, across her back, and into her lips. Sweet pain. When she pulled back her hand, the hot water had seared a red mark on her skin.
She wanted to smash the mirror. She wanted to crush it into a million pieces and grind the pieces beneath her sneakers. Her right hand balled into a fist. Maybe she’d cut her knuckles on the shards. There’d be blood. Blood and pain. Phoebe fought the smile at the thought, and the bell rang, forcing her out of the bathroom, right hand clutched over the left to hide the burn.
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