CIN 3

ALLY’S SECRET

(Coming Soon)

Ally won’t tell Alex what she did. Finally, the story behind the fire, Ally’s obsession with her own ‘death’, and the horrible truth behind who Rat is…Ally's Secret OTHER SITES

Ally’s Secret
Book 3 in the C I N Series

An Excerpt…

© Copyright 2012-2016 Christina Leigh Pritchard. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

____________________

Under Copyright Law: No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise (except for brief quotation in printed or digital review) without prior written permission of the copyright owner.

LISA
IN THE DORM ROOM AT C I N

I sat on Donna’s bed.

The sheets still smelled like her obnoxiously too sweet perfume. I used to hate the smell. Today, though, I cherished it. The scent lingered in my nostrils, reminding me of the inevitable. Soon there’d be nothing left of our friendship. Marie would be in to strip the beds. Donna’s perfume would then be washed away. Ally already filled fourteen trash bags with items belonging to the “Traitor”.

Ally was outside with many of the others, burning Donna’s things. I’d never heard such revengeful passion in Ally’s voice before today. Had I ever really known either of them?

For once, I was glad my room was windowless. It was the only quiet place I could go where I couldn’t hear or see Ally and the others destroy all that reminded me of my best friend. Soon, I’d be kicked out of our old room, too.

Sure, I understood “why” I had to leave our pretend dormer. Now that there were so many of us fulgurites, Charles and two others would be taking our room at C I N and Ally and I would have to stay at Aunt Millie’s with Kimi. Tears trickled down my cheeks. Donna wouldn’t be joining us this time. There’d be no one to talk incessantly through movie night or mix M&M’s in with our popcorn. Who’d do Ally’s hair or force her to wear make-up? No one would.  Donna wasn’t really my friend. It’d all been a trick. She’d been an accomplice to Dr. John. When Celeste and I reversed things, Donna ran off with Tobey—err, Dr. John. She’d secretly been against us, but for how long?

I frowned, tossing a bouncy ball. It flickered with colored lights each time it hit the wall. Blues, pinks, yellows… Ally’s pictures in her decorated shell frames shook, their corners tapping the walls. There was a picture of the three of us. We seemed happy. Were we?

I’d never felt more betrayed by people I loved like I had since moving to Lynn. I tossed the ball harder, knocking a frame from its hook. It hit the floor, the shells scattering. Out of everyone, Donna had been my favorite. Sure, she was annoying but, when I needed to talk, she made me feel like I was being heard, as if, someone actually cared about what I’d said. Even when her powers began changing her, she still listened.

Do you know what it’s like to have a friend that, okay, had some serious flaws, but was fun? She loved adventure and would follow along as I pretended to be a “butterfly” flapping my wings (or arms) down the empty movie theater’s aisle or “thanked the academy” for my “award” while shopping in the city’s main streets. Everyone at C I N acted like they had a stick up their butt. Not Donna.

What happened to us? She was supposed to be my best friend forever. Is Donna’s ability to turn on you the reason everyone hated her? Didn’t they try to warn me? What’s worse than never having a carefree friend like her?

…Losing her.

People warned me about Ally too. How many of the new fulgurites that I’d met should I worry about—if I didn’t really know my own friends? I let the bouncy ball drop from my fingers. My eyes blurred on the flickering blues and pinks. I’d held onto that stupid ball for one reason. It had been Donna’s. Tears poured down my cheeks. I hated being trapped in this wretched place.

Too bad I couldn’t cross the boundary. I’d be so out of this place! I thought losing Alex was hard. Being friendless and alone—that was the real torture. Anna’s family keeps telling me they understood the reason behind her death that I had to kill her. But, it doesn’t take a genius to realize they’re angry with me. I’m mad at me, too. No one should’ve died.

Marie tapped on the door. I turned away. “Come in.”

“Sorry, Lisa, but it’s time. Alex is insistent.” Marie rubbed my back. “I have to strip the bed.”

I wiped my eyes. “Can’t you just pretend to take them? Leave the sheets on, I won’t tell anyone.”

“Oh Lisa,” Marie sighed. “I can’t, I’m so sorry.”

Pete stepped inside with a laundry basket. “I’m here to collect the unwanted trash.”

“You can’t take them off yet.” I wrapped myself up in the sheets. “They still smell like Donna.”

“Lisa,” Pete said. “You’re going to be okay.”

I knew I’d be fine. They were only sheets; idiotic ones too with cartoonish cats and rainbows. I hated them. I once bought Donna some silk sheets that she promptly gave to one of the groupies.

Speaking of groupies… Celeste entered my room.

“Get up,” Celeste said. She grabbed my arm, jerking me forward. “This is pathetic. Donna betrayed us. But no one was more dishonored by her actions than you.”

“I don’t believe that she would—”

“Where is she then? Do you see your best friend?”

“Don’t start with me!” My lip trembled. I struggled, her grip tightening. “Let me go. I can walk out on my own. You don’t need to treat me like a prisoner.” I broke free.

Celeste glanced at Pete and Marie. “Wait until we’re out in the hall before you do anything.” Her fingers twitched, a powerful force surrounded me. My body slid across the floor towards her. She wrapped her hand around my arm.

“Get off of me.”  I said. “You’re not my warden, ya know.”

“Chill out drama queen. Let’s go.”

Celeste dyed her hair purple today. She loved to change it up. It’s like her hair was a mirror to her ever changing moods.

There, standing in the lobby, was Alex. His head lowered and I watched his hair fall in his face. It grew harder to breathe with each step we took towards him.

“Did Pete and Marie get the sheets?” Alex asked.

My stomach ached. I hated seeing him now that we weren’t together. He wouldn’t look at or speak directly to me anymore.

“No, they didn’t, not yet.” I said, poking his shoulder. I just wanted him to hurt the way I did. He recoiled, screaming. I smirked, “still hurts you, Alex, but not me.”

What was my problem?

Celeste smacked me in the back of the head. “Knock it off, Lisa. You’re a moron. Let’s go.”

I glanced back at my old dorm. Pete stood in the doorway as if on guard. Yes, I was a prisoner. Maybe wherever Donna went was a place where someone like me could be accepted. I was supposed to be their “beginning” or whatever but I wasn’t given half the respect they gave to Anna. It sucked. Why didn’t anyone take my feelings into consideration? I was the one who risked my life for them, I was the one who freed them and I was the one who lost everything.

“Stop sulking and follow me.” Celeste tugged on my arm. “You’re going to spend the rest of the night on the balcony.”

“Why? So you can force me to watch you guys burn Donna’s things?”

“Why do you care so much for someone who never cared for you? You’re a foolish girl.”

I glanced at Celeste. Her eyes softened me. As bossy as she was, she’s the only reason I’m alive. Maybe that’s why everyone listened to her instead. Maybe I’d done nothing. It was the glorified groupie they wanted—not me. I was just a pathetic non-genius from Florida. That’s where I really belonged—back home with my mother and father.

“Where would you rather I take you?” Celeste asked. “I don’t really know what to do with you.”

“Leave me alone. I can take care of myself.”

“Can you?”

“I was fine before I met you.”

“Why don’t I give you a job,” Celeste said. “Maybe it will keep you busy.”

I twirled around. “You want to give me a job?” My mouth dropped open. “How dare you! I’m supposed to be giving you the jobs. I’m supposed to be organizing everyone so that they’ll be happiest in their new living arrangements. You just took over like—”

She shook her head, keeping her eyes on the front doors. “So, you think you can do a better job than someone who has known most of these people for hundreds of years?”

“I wanted to hold a meeting with everyone. Don’t you think learning who each person is and what they’ve done is important? You can’t know every single person here now, can you?”

“You’ve got Rat for that, I won’t have you put my family on trial to satisfy your curiosity.”

I couldn’t speak. My fingers sparked.

“Do as you wish.” Celeste dismissed me, following Reginald outside to enjoy the bonfire.

“What’s wrong?” Reginald asked, wrapping his arms around her. She narrowed her eyes at me.

“She’s going to be another tyrant like Anna.”

I followed the hall, heading back to my old room. I stopped abruptly.  Pete and Marie froze. He held a basket overflowing with Donna’s bedding. I turned away.

“Sorry Lisa,” Marie whispered.

I ran out the front door and raced for the small wooded area beside C I N. I fell to my knees in the dirt.

What was wrong with me? I should hate Donna.

I looked up, glancing at the place where Inteus stood, telling me all about the horrible things he did to Francisco. Horrific images invaded my mind. Just a few days ago, Francisco nearly crumbled into a mound of rumble. I’d watched him almost turn to stone. I listened to a tale I’d have preferred to never hear. A tale that told me that I wasn’t dealing with normal people. What would a country do if they realized the one man who could live for all eternity was also the vilest man they’d ever encountered?

Inteus created monsters out of his children. He tried to turn them against each other. Why was he so cruel? He just wanted to use them. Here, they thought they had a father who loved them but instead, he was a mad man. If he could turn on his own children, how many others at C I N would turn on me?

My heart pounded. Something needed to be done.

Celeste stood in my way.

I heard dead leaves crunch behind me.

“What are you doing out here?”

“Michael?”

“No, I’m not Michael. I don’t think we’ve met yet.”

I turned around, setting my gaze on deep set eyes. The stranger was tall and broad. He seemed hardened at first but the longer I stared at him the more he softened.

“I’m Lisa.”

“I know who you are.”

“Who are you?”

The guy smiled. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

I grinned, unable to control myself. “How old are you really?”

“Twenty.”

“No, really.”

“I’m only twenty, for real.”

“So, we’re the same exact age. Is anyone else here like us?”

He nodded. “Ravenna Frost.”

“Who’s that?”

“My cousin.”

“Is she here?”

He nodded. “Yep, but she’s younger than us.”

“How young, is young?”

“Try fourteen.”

I gasped. “Fourteen?!”

“Yep, crazy, huh?”

“Who changed you guys?”

He smiled wide. “The name’s Jake.”

My lips trembled. It wasn’t easy being serious with this ‘Jake’ guy. “What’s in your pocket?”

Jake pulled out a hacky sack. “Ever played?”

“Once or twice.”

“Liar!” Jake kicked the bean sack my way. He laughed and we passed it back and forth like pros. It was as if I’d never stopped playing. Every day before school started—back in Florida—we’d all get together in a circle and kick the sack around.  It felt good to do it again, almost therapeutic.

Sometimes, all I wanted to be was a normal person again. Sure, life sucked back then but, compared to this it was paradise.

I missed the hacky sack. It skidded across my heel and landed in the dirt.

“Stop daydreaming and kick it back.” Jack groaned, clapping his hands. “Let’s go, let’s go!”

I bent over, kicking it his way. “You’re a bit too aggressive for this game.”

“Ha!” He laughed, balancing the bag on his knee. The sack went from one knee to the other. “You’d be surprised. I’m a saint compared to some.”

“You’re a mess,” I grinned. He tossed it back and suddenly, all I wanted to do was defeat him. The sack went back and forth between us as if we were in a ping pong tournament. We did this till the sky darkened.

The only light I could see came from Ally’s bonfire. It was good. The tears I’d shed all day finally dried up. My heart still burned but, somehow, I’d cried all that I could.

“There can only be one beginning!” Jake teased.

I laughed, letting one stray tear escape. “Or else a collapse will happen…” I pounded my feet into the earth, smashing dead leaves.

“You’ve blown it,” Jake decided. “It was funny till you got all jaded.” He shook his head. “You win, honey. I gotta get back before someone notices I’m missing.”

“Go?” That was the last thing I wanted him to do. “What were you doing out here anyway?”

“Hiding,” he answered. “Why else would anyone come out here?” Jake caught the hacky sack in his palm. “I’m sorry you’re so miserable but, I need to check in.”

“Check in? What are you, five?”

Jake frowned. “You’re not the only one on lock down around here.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t lie to me, it’ll never work, Lisa.” He rolled his eyes, kicking the sack so hard it arched and I had to catch it with my hands. “You’re being watched like a hawk.”

“How do you deal with them?” I asked, kicking the sack towards him. “What do you do when all they want to do is use you up?”

“You mean, like, when people pretend to be nice not realizing I can tell that they’re giving me false flattery?”

“Yes exactly! What do you do about it?” I stood, kicking the hacky sack back his way. He caught it on his shoe, bouncing it. “When someone is using you, how do you handle it?”

“Sometimes,” he said, kicking the bag over my head. I turned around, hunting in a bush. “Sometimes I just give them their way.”

“Why?” I grabbed the toy and balanced it on my calf. “I’d just avoid them. That seems to work somewhat.”

Jake didn’t catch the sack this time. He let it fall beside him. “Then I’d always be alone.”

He bowed. “Lisa.”

“Jake, what are you trying to say?”

Jake turned, flashing a giant smile. “Good night, Lisa.”

He stepped out of the woods leaving me with nothing but the crocheted toy. At that very moment, I did feel alone.

Alone and broken…

© Copyright 2012-2016 Christina Leigh Pritchard. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

____________________

Under Copyright Law: No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise (except for brief quotation in printed or digital review) without prior written permission of the copyright owner.

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3 comments on “CIN 3

  1. Pingback: C I N 3 Excerpt! | Teeny Lil' Blog

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