by Artist Arthur
Book 2 in the Mystyx Series
Sasha Carrington has grown up feeling like an outsider, and her parents are too concerned with scaling the Lincoln, Connecticut, social ladder to even notice her. They’d be really horrified to know about the supernatural abilities Sasha and her friends Krystal and Jake possess. But as part of the Mystyx, Sasha has found her place.
Now her parents have suddenly taken an interest in everything she does, and their timing couldn’t be worse. Sasha’s father wants her to become BFFs with snooty Alyssa Turner, who hates Krystal for stealing her boyfriend. Then there’s Antoine Watson, the boy Sasha has liked forever, the boy her parents would never approve of. But with the dark side getting more dangerous by the day, and the Mystyx’s own powers growing in unexpected ways, Sasha is facing choices that could affect her friends, her love life—and even her destiny….
Book 2 in the Mystyx Series
I don’t want to like him. I really don’t.
But I keep thinking about him—dreaming about him. It’s like I’m obsessed with him. And I want to know everything about him, which isn’t much, because I try not to talk to him more than I have to. That’s been working out pretty well since we helped find his brother Ricky’s killer. Of course it helped Ricky’s spirit find peace and cross over after his death.
Me and my friends, Krystal and Jake—well, I should say my fellow Mystyx—we did that. That night was such a rush. When I remember it now, I get goose bumps. And sometimes I get scared all over again. There was something evil and dark living inside Mr. Lyle, the biology teacher, something that Jake, Krystal and I believe might still be here in Lincoln.
Lincoln, Connecticut, which is where we live, is probably one of the most boring towns there is. Nothing even remotely exciting happens here. The fact that Mr. Lyle was running an underage porn ring was the most shocking thing around here in a long time.
Now the only thing that’s on people’s minds is the weather. It snowed twenty-seven inches the first week of May. Then, as if Mother Nature wanted to apologize, seven days after the first snowfall, it got so hot the temperature went up to ninety-eight degrees with sixty percent humidity. (I know this because Krystal’s boyfriend, Franklin—his father is the local weatherman. Franklin gives her weather updates all the time, and she tells me and Jake.)
Today the snow is just about gone. The sun’s still shining, and it’s really warm outside. But there are lots of puddles because of the melting snow.
But that’s getting off track. I was thinking about the boy I don’t like, or rather trying not to think about him, because I don’t like him.
I breathe out heavily, making the hair in my face flutter. It doesn’t change reality though. And the reality is that I do like Antoine Watson, even though I know I shouldn’t.
It’s not just the class differences that, for the record, are a big deal here in Lincoln. There’re other reasons why me and Antoine don’t make such a good couple.
He’s into music and clothes and hangs with a hip-hop crowd. While I like—more like love—clothes and I’m not into cliques. That’s why I avoid Alyssa Turner and her minions like the plague. Alyssa’s fifteen, just like me. She lives in a huge house on the lake, just like all the other well-to-do families, known as the Richies in Lincoln. She has the best of everything and makes sure nobody ever forgets it. There’s nothing more important in Alyssa’s world than Alyssa. Get my drift?
I don’t like anybody telling me who to hang with or why. Antoine doesn’t seem like that. But the day I went to talk to him, two of the boys—who he later told me were named, of all things, Fats and Trigga—were rude and insulting, just because my parents have money. I didn’t care enough to find out their real names because the ones Antoine used were so ridiculous I couldn’t comprehend anything else. I just wanted them all to get a life. That’s what Antoine calls being stuck-up. He’s told me that a time or two. Funny how that always seems to roll off his tongue right after I turn him down for a date or refuse to give him my phone number.
See, I think Antoine’s a little confused himself. At the dance—before I had to rush off with the other Mystyx—he talked differently. We actually had a decent conversation, and he danced okay until he started grinding up against me like we were in a rap video. I didn’t like that at all and was relieved when Krystal pulled me away.
That said, there’s no reason I should still be thinking about him. But here I am on a Friday night, lying across my bed thinking about where Antoine could be. Who he’s with? What he’s doing?
It’s so weird.
Which is another thing, I should be getting used to being weird. I’m half South American and half—what would you call it—North American? My mother is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and that’s where she had me. She married my dad who’s white and is originally from Houston, Texas, but moved to the east coast years ago.
We moved to Lincoln right after I was born and in this small town I’m probably the only Latina teenager. Krystal, who has been my friend for going on two months now, is part Native American and African-American. So I suppose we have something in common, even if it’s only being weird and being mixed.
Krystal and I share something else. The M shaped birthmark that sits just above my right hip and the one Krystal has on the back of her neck. Jake, he’s a Tracker—someone with less money who lives on the other side of the old railroad tracks—he has the same mark on his arm. We figured out that the M stands for Mystyx so that’s what we call ourselves. We each have a supernatural ability that we think has something to do with atmospheric events that happened around the time we were conceived. That’s why we listen to the weather reports Krystal gets from Franklin. Like I said, it’s weird.
To help make sense of it all, about an hour ago I sent an email to a woman who I think can help us figure out the nature of our powers. Or at least I hope she can.
Now I’m lying here waiting for my PC to beep with the sound of an incoming email, or rather, trying not to think of Antoine and the feelings I have for him.
I’m not asleep although my body feels kind of heavy like it’s sinking into the mattress. My eyes are closed because I was tired of looking at the ceiling, waiting and trying not to think too much.
It really doesn’t matter. The more I try not to think about him, the more his mocha complexion and smiling face appear in my mind. He is really cute, which right there is enough to make any girl like him. His dark hair is always close cropped and precisely cut like he has a barbershop in his house. His clothes, of course, are stylish, baggy jeans, oversize shirts—either button-downs or T-shirts—and black or brown boots. Most of the other guys in his crowd tend to wear too much jewelry, but Antoine only wears a chain with a cross hanging from it. His left ear is pierced and he always smells good. Antoine always wears cologne. I don’t know what it’s called, but I like it. I can smell it now, here in my bedroom. If I inhale deeply, the scent fills my nose, and when I exhale I want to see him even more.
I want to see him and talk to him, maybe try to figure out what this thing between us is. I figure it’s probably not going to go away, and I don’t know how else to deal with it.
I wonder if he likes me. I think he does because he keeps asking me out, and lately he always seems to be where I am.
I wonder what he’s doing tonight, if he’s home in his room thinking about me. I wonder…Am I floating on something?
Wait a minute, I’m dizzy. It’s cold in here. Did Casietta turn on the air-conditioning already?
My eyes are fluttering, trying to open. But when they finally do, I can’t really believe what I’m seeing.
It’s dark, really, really dark. Like pitch darkness—not like sometimes when you wake up in the middle of the night and can kind of see where things are so you don’t walk into walls when you’re trying to get to the bathroom. No, this is pitch blackness and it’s cold, and I’m moving, going someplace.
Then as quickly as it becomes dark, it turns loud, noisy and filled with music. I jump. I mean my body jerks forward like I’ve just been scared awake, and I look around trying to figure out why my bedroom has changed into what looks like a nightclub.
The first thing I do is pinch myself. Ow! Okay, that hurt.
Next I close my eyes, take a deep breath, then open them again.
I’m still here, still standing against the wall at a club. From the gold-and-black lettering on the wall across the room, behind and just above the DJ booth, I see that I’m in Trends. It’s a nightclub for the eighteen to twenty-five crowd that’s only open on Wednesday and Thursday nights. On Friday it’s free for all before midnight. I look down at my watch and notice that it’s a few minutes until then. I’m not eighteen, so I definitely don’t want to be caught in here.
My parents would flip if that happened. Not that they pay much attention to me. But I’m thinking that something like this might turn their heads and not in a good way.
It hasn’t escaped me that a few minutes ago I was lying on my bed, in my room, on the other side of town. No, I realize that something has just happened, something most likely related to my ability to move my body with my mind. One thing I know for certain is that our Mystyx powers will grow. It’s just that we don’t know in what way. Something tells me I’m getting a preview of mine right now.
But why here? Why now?
Two seconds later I have the answer.
“You sure are fine, Sasha, even if you’re out of your element here.”
He walked up to me just like he knew I was going to be here, like I was waiting for him, which is so totally not true. Or is it?
“What are you doing here, Antoine?”
He laughs, his lips spreading with the smile. He’s wearing exactly what I’d pictured him in, jeans, T-shirt and boots. The diamond stud—I don’t know if it’s real or not—in his ear sparkling with the flashing lights in the club.
“I was about to ask you the same thing.” He moved fast, pushing his body right up against mine like I’d asked him to dance.
But I didn’t ask him to dance, so I back up, but the wall stops my retreat. And Antoine, he just moves right along with me so that he’s still up in my face.
“You look pretty tonight,” he says, smiling as he looks me up and down.
It’s irritating the way his eyes rake over me. Then again it’s kind of flattering. I guess. I’m not wearing anything special so I don’t really know why he says I look pretty. It’s just jeans and a fitted T-shirt—similar to what he’s wearing except my shirt is yellow and his is white. Anyway, like I said, I’m not wearing anything special because I didn’t plan on being here.
“Thank you,” I finally say, remembering my manners. “Ah, how long have you been here?”
What I really want to know is how exactly I came to be here, and more to the point, how long will I be able to stay?
“Since around nine, like I told you I would be. I didn’t think you’d show,” he says.
“You know, I asked you at school the other day if we could go out tonight—if you wanted to hang at the club with me.
But as usual you shot me down cold. Now here you are.” He shrugs like he’s happy about the outcome.
Antoine’s like that. No matter how many times I turn him down, he just keeps asking me out. You could call him a glutton for punishment, but I have a feeling he’s something else entirely.
Still, I had forgotten all about him asking me out. I’m so used to turning him down. But it couldn’t be his simple request that brought me here. I have a sinking suspicion it’s much more.
“So you wanna dance, or you just wanna chill?”
My legs are starting to feel shaky. Images of my room flash before my eyes like a movie trailer. What’s going on? I’ve been asking myself that question for years, ever since the first time I disappeared from one side of a room and reappeared on the other.
I shake my head at Antoine. I don’t want to dance or chill. I want to figure out what’s going on with me. “Actually, I should probably get going.”
“You just got here,” he replies.
Something about the way he says it nags at me, maybe because I hear the tiniest hint of disappointment in his voice. “I guess we could dance just once,” I hear myself saying.
Unbelievable, I know. I have no clue how I got here from my bedroom. I’ve never traveled psychokinetically—that’s a complicated way of saying I use my mind to move things, like my body—this far before. Yet here I am. And here is Antoine, taking my hand and pulling me to the middle of the dance floor. I notice some of the other hip-hop crowd, but try to look in the opposite direction. The music is fast with a lot of bass, some track with T-Pain because I can hear the Auto-Tune lyrics. I’m a little nervous about dancing with Antoine, again because of the last time when he was trying to go all the way with me on the dance floor.
But this time is different. Antoine starts to dance, but he isn’t rubbing all up on me.
“C’mon, show me what you got, pretty girl.”
He’s moving in precise rhythm with the thumping bass. I can dance, a little. I mean, I don’t look like I’m hearing another song inside my head than the one that’s being played. I’m no video backup dancer, but I can hold my own. I know I should be thinking about how I got here right now, but instead I’m focusing on how nice Antoine looks moving to the beat.
So I begin to move and keep right on watching him. He moves closer to me only to back up again, like a choreographed dance move. I’m feeling the music and starting to feel Antoine, so the next time he dances up on me I shake my hips a little harder with my hands in the air and follow his lead. We must have looked good, like we’d practiced these moves before, because people actually back up, giving us a lot of space on the dance floor as they watch.
Normally I’m not one to make a spectacle of myself, but I feel different here with Antoine. Is it because I’m in a real club for the first time in my life? Or because I’m with Antoine? I don’t really want to know the answer, not right now.
By the time the song finally ends I’m winded and laughing. Antoine’s smiling and putting an arm around my waist, leading me back toward the side of the club we’d come from.
“Okay, okay, you got skills on the dance floor. I’ll give you that.”