Chapter 1

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My name is Lisa Brooks and I’m a twisted psycho. I wasn’t always a total nutcase. Before the accident, I thought I was doing pretty okay.

My family moved to Shadyside in February. It took a little while to adjust to a new house, a new town, and a new high school. That’s normal, right?

I had some hard times. I was lonely at first. I missed my friends back in Shaker Heights. Shadyside High was big and confusing, and most everyone I met had been going there forever and already had a group of friends.

I’d walk down the long halls to class, and everyone was laughing and talking, and sometimes I felt as if I didn’t exist. I’m a little shy, and it’s not easy for me to go up to someone I don’t know and just start talking. So I felt kind of invisible my first few weeks there.

But by April, I was beginning to feel at home. I was making friends. Saralynn O’Brien and I were hanging out a lot. We seemed to have the same sense of humor and the same bad attitude about guys and school. We both thought high school was basically a crock— something you had to get through so your real life could start. And we both thought guys were an inferior species, inferior but necessary.

Yes. Necessary. I even had a boyfriend by April. Nate Goodman. I met him when I walked out of the cafeteria, bumped him from behind at the top of the stairs, and sent him tumbling headfirst to the bottom. I had my eyes on my phone and didn’t even see him. 

Luckily, Nate is a pretty slick acrobat. He managed to somersault most of the way. He had a few cuts that were bleeding a little, but he didn’t break his neck.

Of course I went tearing down the stairs to make sure he was okay. He sat there shaking his head. I think he was dazed a little. I huddled over him. “Are you okay?”

“I was better a few seconds ago,” he said.

I apologized at least a hundred times and helped pull him to his feet. I felt terrible. At least a dozen kids stopped to stare at us.

He wiped blood off his forehead with the back of his hand.

“Did you break anything?” I asked.

“Yes. The land- speed record for stair falling,” he replied.

“I’m glad you have a sense of humor,” I said.

“Me, too.”

Nate is a good-looking dude. He’s tall and lanky. He has straight black hair that he’s always brushing back from his forehead, round dark brown eyes, and an easy smile that makes a dimple appear on his right cheek.

“You’re Lisa, right?” He studied me. “Saralynn told me about you. She didn’t warn me you were dangerous.”

I gave him a look. “Yes, I’m very dangerous.” I guess that was my idea of flirting. I had pulled him to his feet. Now I realized I was still holding onto his arm. “How do you know Saralynn?”

He wiped more blood off his forehead with the sleeve of his black T- shirt. “We grew up near each other. On the same block.”

“You’re a senior, right?” I said. My phone beeped in my jeans pocket. A text. I ignored it.

He squinted at me. “How do you know that?”

I shrugged. “Saralynn might have mentioned it to me.”

Saralynn and I are juniors. I hate that word, but it’s awkward to say you’re in eleventh grade. “You need to see the nurse,” I said. “That cut on your forehead is kinda bad.”

He nodded. “I didn’t plan to give blood today.” He said it like an old- time movie vampire.

I laughed. “You make a good vampire. Saralynn told me you’re into scary movies and horror.”

“Yeah, I collect posters and comics and masks and stuff ,” he said. “You seem to know a lot about me.”

I shrugged again. I could feel my face growing hot. It was true. Saralynn and I did talk about him a lot. Ever since we watched him read a long Edgar Allan Poe poem at the senior talent show. I thought he was hot. Strange but hot.

I mean, Edgar Allan Poe? Seriously?

The bell rang. We were going to be late for fifth period. Ihad a strong feeling about him. Like some kind of laser force field pulling me toward him. A hundred years ago, I think they called it love at first sight. Cornball music would be playing with lots of violins.

What I mean to say is that I liked the way he looked at me, and I liked talking to him. I even thought he looked cool with a line of blood leaking across his forehead.

“Nice bumping into you,” I said.

He nodded. “Funny. Remind me to laugh.”

Nate and I have been hanging out ever since. Sometimes it’s just the two of us. Sometimes it was like the night of April 12, when we went to the hamburger hangout, Lefty’s, with Saralynn and Nate’s friend Isaac Brenner.

Yes, I remember the exact date. April 12. The night of the accident. The night of so much horror. The night I turned into an insane lunatic.

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