This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Murad stared at her shadowed green eyes in the reflection of the mirrored case on the back of her rarely-used cell phone, frowning as they faded back to a rich brown. She was getting tired of practicing, but she had to get it perfect before she showed Salem.
Actually, compared to a couple of weeks ago, this trick was a lot less tiring than it should have been. It had been nearly impossible to practice at home, now she could practice anywhere, not easily but without feeling like she was pushing against a giant weight. So she had had plenty of time to get it perfect. Because Salem liked all of her tricks, even the lame ones.
While she was at it, she gave her hair a cursory glance. There was nothing to be done for it. It didn’t matter that she braided it into pigtails every morning. An hour later, half of it hung in her face. She grabbed the two barely braided ends and crossed them over her upper lip creating a white blonde mustache; she flexed her lips holding it in place.
“Muri, is this the new trick of the month?”
Murad dropped her hair and stood up straightening the hem of her shirt to cover her surprise and looked around nonchalantly, she wasn’t going to mention that this trick had only taken her two weeks to perfect. Salem pulled at one of her braids affectionately and held out a paper bag with her name written on it.
“Did you forget something?”
She grabbed the bag from him, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then she unfolded the top shoved her hand in and pulled out a plastic container.
“Yes, spaghetti, my favorite!”
Salem took the container from her and yanked off the lid, “It is spaghetti.”
“I told you!” she said snatching it back.
“But I packed the lunches myself this morning and I made two tuna sandwiches,” he complained holding up his mayonnaise smeared bag.
Murad shrugged, she never thought much of these types of happy coincidences.
Salem just looked at her in disbelief; she was always doing things like that, making the impossible possible, and then shrugging it off. How could her specialness so easily escape the notice of everyone around them when it was so clear to him?
She started pulling out a fork, which he was sure he hadn’t packed either, and looked up at him squinting as the sun hit her doe eyes. He shook his head; he couldn’t forget about what she had promised to show him today, “So what…”
“Hey, Sally,” called the new arm candy wrapping her arms firmly around Salem’s elbow. He hated the nickname the girls at school had given him. Every week a new one would attach herself to him ignoring his complete indifference and hostility, happy just to be near him. They were getting more forceful and desperate lately. Murad thought she remembered this girl’s name, was it Claire?
He didn’t even bother to pull his arm away anymore, it did no good. It was like he had some sort of extreme charisma that increased with his every action. He sat on the bench at the outdoor lunch table, the girl followed like she was attached to his body with an invisible string. Murad pulled a face and sat also, burying her face in her spaghetti.
Salem reached for his lunch. “Let me Sally,” said Claire unwrapping his sandwich and holding it out to him, a desperate smile on her face.
He took the sandwich and took a bite, “I told you girls to stop calling me Sally. The name’s Salem.”
Murad looked at the stars in the girl’s eyes and could hear her thoughts all too clearly; He’s cute even when he talks with his mouth full. She refused to acknowledge the glare he directed her way through his white blond bangs.
Murad popped the top back on her spaghetti and put it and the fork back into her brown bag.
“Where are you going?” Salem asked putting his sandwich down and ignoring his current attachment. He put his hand on Murad’s bag before she could pick it up, “You promised to show me your new trick.”
“What does she do, magic or something?”
Murad glanced at the new girl and then into the eyes that matched her own. “Maybe later, I have some stuff to finish up before class starts,” she explained reaching for her bag. Salem grabbed her hand this time and looked closely at her face, noticing the dark circles beneath her eyes.
“You didn’t sleep again last night did you?”
She tried to pull her hand away but he was holding it tightly now, Murad noticed the slight glint in Claire’s eyes and waited for her chance, “I need to go now, we’ll talk later, ok?”
Salem ignored the other girl’s presence easily, “You’re going to tell me now. Was it the dreams again?”
His complete lack of acknowledgment and his total focus on Murad was more than this particular girl could take, Claire pulled insistently at Salem’s other hand.
“Let go,” he said turning to shake her off. Murad took her chance while he was distracted, making her move and ignoring his heated call. She made it into the cafeteria where she threaded through people until she passed the window stationed across from her recently vacated table. She briefly wondered why he wasn’t right on her tail when she spotted him and Claire still at the table, Salem half standing.
This girl had a lot of guts; she was holding Salem’s face to her lips trying to distract him with a hasty kiss. It would distract him alright, thought Murad laughing to herself.
Her laugh was caught up short when a part of her most recent dream popped into her head; flames licked at her frozen parents as they stood in the doorway of their home holding hands but not running from the fire. The fear and pain on their faces was torture to see.
Screaming at them to run did no good; it was as if they were trapped in the doorway. In her dream she tried to reach for their hands to pull them out despite the heat, when a heavy hand landed on her shoulder hauling her backwards. She looked up only to see a pair of evil eyes and a smiling face. The stranger pointed to her house and her parents again. Reluctantly she turned her gaze back to the scene.
Her mother was screaming now but it there was no sound, her face unrecognizable. And her father’s face blistering in the heat looked on helplessly as he tried to tell her something while protecting her mother. The fire, her parents, all was silent except the stranger’s laughter.
She shuddered hugging her bag to her chest as she curled her legs up in her desk chair. She didn’t have to worry about the teacher calling on her; she had learned her lesson long ago.
Even on her best days Murad was a little distracted, it’s not that she didn’t know the stuff; it was her memory of events. They never happened the way others saw them, there was never just one thing going on. She would see things, strange events, people or creatures that didn’t exist, or simply be entranced as the words on the pages of books came to life, rearranging themselves according to their liking.
Her brother blamed it on her wonderful imagination, but it was mainly just an inconvenience, it was hard for her to focus enough to learn in school or to even read by herself. The only time she was able to really focus was when she was with her brother Salem or her father. He had even taken to reading his assignments out loud so that she could benefit as well.
As twins, Murad and Salem were in the same grade but not allowed to attend classes at the same time. She wished she had gotten a few more of the brains out of the deal; Salem seemed to have lucked out and gotten them all along with a winning personality. And she was left with little quirks; little tricks that made her even more of a social leper than she already was and slowly driving her crazy into the bargain.
Her parents loved them both equally and Salem always said she was the special one, but she knew better.
A heavy hand landed on her shoulder and she whipped around falling off her seat in the process. She looked around wildly but there was no one there behind her. She could hear the other kids laughing at her and tried to ignore them dusting off her clothes and picking up her bag.
When she finally glanced up she saw exactly what she feared, a room full of smiling faces and a teacher desperately trying to contain her laughter, “Ms. Fetter, are you alright? Would you like to go to the nurse’s office?”
Murad’s heart was beating so insistently that she didn’t bother to respond; she simply slung on her bag and left the classroom thankful when the door finally clicked shut drowning out the last of the giggles. She rubbed her shoulder and couldn’t help glancing behind her.
Ignoring the teacher’s suggestion of seeing the nurse, Murad hurried outside and called home. “Hello? This is the Fetter residence.”
“Murad, hon are you ok?” her mother asked worriedly.
“I’m feeling a little sick today, can you come get me?”
“You stay right where you are, honey,” she said quickly followed by a click.
Murad hung up the phone smiling a little, her mother was probably speeding to get over to her right now. If there was one thing her home didn’t lack, it was love. As long as she could stay in the car her mother would brave the outside world to get to her and Salem. If she could have, with the right certifications, and Salem wasn’t too smart to be taught, Mrs. Fetter would have kept them at home twenty-four-seven insisting on homeschool.
Christopher Chew: Been a while since reading was this fun. The plot was easy to follow and built at a gradual but good pace. The dynamics between each character were interesting and kept things fresh and exciting, very much so that you would forgive it for not going deeper into the back stories of each character. ...
themyronus: Vanessa has made 'amazing' the norme. I didn't want to read this as I am waiting for the finished and polished book to come out. But then I decided to read one chapter for kicks...well hours later I finished what was posted. Fortunately, my memory is not to good and I hope I will read the book wi...
Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...
annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...
spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...
CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...
Mayank Nrr: well i have enjoyed the bookWhats good is the story its twists its characters and suspense its mix of thriller and horror hoping for a sequel Whats not Is the part where raven to protect cade started to avoid him this is normal in every story heroine trying to save the hero but the track ended so...
Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...
SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...
Dru83: This is perhaps my favorite part of the Olafson story just because it is here that were are introduced to his "gang". The characters are so diverse and complicated that each of them could just about spawn their own story. Eric's buddies are just so captivating and the plot just rolls along. Again...