Supernaturally Chapter One

Loading...

Out of the Blue

Oh, bleep. I was going to die.

I was going to die a horrible, gruesome, painful death.

My hand twitched at my side, reaching for the pink Taser I knew wasn't there. Why had I ever wanted this? What was I thinking? Working at the International Paranormal Containment Agency might have been close to indentured servitude, and sure, I had some nasty run-ins with vampires and hags and creeptastic faeries, but that was nothing compared to the danger I faced now.

Girls' gym.

We were playing soccer-without shin guards. The girl I was supposed to cover (a creature so hulking I swear she was a troll) charged toward me, steam practically flowing from her nostrils. I braced for impact.

And then I marveled at the clear blue autumn sky. Not a cloud in sight. But why was I looking at the sky? Maybe it was connected to my sudden inability to breathe. Come on, lungs. Come on. They had to start working at some point, right? Bright spots danced before my eyes and I could just see my obituary: Tragedy Strikes During Soccer. How mortifying.

At last, blessed air filtered through. A familiar face, framed by long, dark hair, leaned over me. My one normal friend, Carlee. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"Green!" a tenor barked out. I was pretty sure that Miss Lynn had a deeper voice than my boyfriend. "Get off your butt and get back in the game!"

Ah, Green. It seemed like such a cute last name when Lend made it up to fake my legal documents. However, the more Miss Lynn shouted it, the less I liked it. "GREEN!" Carlee held out a hand and helped me up.

"That's okay. I suck at soccer, too." She smiled and ran off. She totally did not suck at soccer.

It wasn't fair. Here I was, standing like an idiot on a muddy field, while Lend was away at college. What a waste of time. And who knew how much longer I had left, anyway? What if I was expending the precious remnants of my soul on soccer?

Maybe I could get a doctor's note. I could see it now: "To whom it may concern: Evie has a rare condition in which she doesn't have enough of her own soul to live a normal life. Therefore, she should be immediately and permanently excused from all physical exertion involving sweating and getting knocked down in the dirt."

Ridiculous. But then again, it might be worth a shot. Lend's dad had some connections at the hospital. . . .

I ducked as the ball whizzed past my head. One of my teammates, a vicious redhead, swore as she ran by. "Header, Green! Header!"

Carlee stopped. "Just fake cramps." She winked a mascara-heavy eyelid.

I put my hands on my lower stomach and shuffled over to Miss Lynn, who stood at the painted white line on the crunchy grass, surveying the game like a general at war.

She rolled her eyes. "What is it now?"

Hoping my pale face would come in handy for once, I whimpered. "Cramps. Bad."

She didn't buy it and we both knew it, but instead of calling my crap she rolled her eyes and jerked her thumb toward the sidelines. "Next time you play goalie though."

Thanks a lot, Carlee. Brilliant idea. I put some distance between us and slumped to the ground, picking at the sparse, browning grass.

This wasn't how high school was supposed to be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm super grateful to be here. I always wanted to be normal, go to a normal school, do normal things. But it's all so, so . . .

Normal.

Since school started a month ago, there hasn't been a single catfight. No wild parties where the cops got called, either. And as far as masquerade balls and moonlit rendezvous and passionate kisses in the hallways, well, all I can say is Easton Heights, my former favorite TV show, has taken a serious hit in my estimation.

I still think lockers are awesome, though.

I kept a hand on my stomach for appearances. Lying on the ground was a much nicer position when voluntarily assumed. I watched a tiny wisp of a cloud stream across the sky.

I frowned. It was a weird cloud. All by its lonesome in the otherwise blank sky, and there was something else about it . . . something different. Was that a flash of lightning?

"I said, are you going to attend your next class?"

Startled, I sat up and grimaced at Miss Lynn. "Yes, absolutely, thanks." I hurried inside. Things really were boring if I was looking for excitement in clouds.

I spent my next class calculating the exact number of minutes left until the weekend, when I could see Lend. The answer was far too many, but figuring it out was more interesting than, say, paying attention to my English teacher's lecture on gender roles in Dracula-and don't even get me started on that book. An accurate researcher Bram Stoker was not.

My head was drifting toward an inevitable collision course with the desk when the door banged open and an office aide came in with a note. "Evelyn Green?" I waved a hand and she nodded. "Checkout slip."

I perked up. I'd never been pulled from school before. Maybe Arianna wanted to hang out. She was weird and moody enough to pull something like this.

Then again, not so much. She wouldn't come out during a day this bright, what with the whole being-a-vampire thing. My stomach dropped. What if something was wrong? What if Lend had an accident on campus, got knocked unconscious, and turned invisible? What if the government took him and he was being entombed in some IPCA facility?

Trying my hardest not to run, I followed the aide, a short woman with shockingly unnatural blond hair. "Do you know who's here to get me?"

"Your aunt, I think."

Well, that cleared things right up. Or at least it would, if I had an aunt. I ran through the list of women, all paranormals, who could pass for a relative. It wasn't a long list, and I couldn't think why a single one of them would be here. I burst into the office. A woman with sensible (read: ugly) shoes and black hair pulled into a severe bun was standing with her back toward me. It couldn't be.

Raquel turned around and smiled.

My heart jumped into my throat. On the one hand, it was Raquel, and she was the closest thing I'd ever had to a mom. On the other hand, it was Raquel, and she was one of the head honchos of IPCA, the organization that thought I was dead. The organization I really, really didn't want to find me. And the organization I thought Raquel was protecting me from.

"There you are." She shouldered her purse and gestured toward the double doors leading outside. "Let's go."

I followed her, thoroughly confused. Outside in the brilliant daylight at my normal high school, it felt wrong to be with the woman who represented everything I had left behind. I kept wanting to lean in and hug her-which was weird, since we'd never really had a hugging relationship. Of course, I also wanted to book it in the opposite direction. She was IPCA.

"What are you doing here?" I asked.

"Judging by your surprise, I'm going to assume that David has not been passing on my messages."

"Lend's dad? What messages?"

She sighed. My interpretation skills were rusty, but it sounded like an I'm tired and this is going to take too long to explain sigh.

A shadow passed over the sun and I looked up to see my wisp of cloud. There was definitely something underneath it, but not lightning. Something shimmering. Something paranormal. Something with a glamour that only I could see through.

"What is-" I was interrupted by my own scream as the cloud dove out of the sky, wrapped itself around me, and flew back into the blue.
Next