Chapter Seventeen

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I rush through my geography exam, my scribbled answers somewhere between nonsensical and outright gibberish

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I rush through my geography exam, my scribbled answers somewhere between nonsensical and outright gibberish. If I pass my exam, it will be an even bigger miracle than bringing back the dead. I've always hated geography, anyway. The best bit had always been sitting next to Henry even if I hadn't realised it till now. Yes, his moods could be hard work, but when I think about all those hours, all I really remember is him. The way he'd smirked out of the corner of his mouth when he thought I wasn't looking. His smart, dry sense of humour. It's strange how the world can shift but ultimately stay the same. How you can see it through a different lens. How Henry hasn't changed, but how I see him has.

After I'd seen dad, a plan had formed. Grown solid and substantial as I'd walked home, strangely safe, knowing that there wasn't anything on the street scarier than me. I'd messaged my plan to Henry, Sophie and Kira, and though they had doubts - I didn't. These powers had taken over Dad's life and ultimately tore my family apart. I had no intention of letting them do that to me or anyone else I cared about.

I grab my bag and stand. A dozen eyes land on me from across the sports hall, but I don't care. Each student is sitting at an individual desk, in perfectly neat rows filling the whole hall. I see Henry look up from his exam paper and shoot him a small smile. With my bag on my shoulders, I head for the exit — the smell of perspiration and pencil-lead deeper than the usual scent of rubber and wood oil.

"Miss Gilbert, would you like to explain to me where you're going?"

I twist to find Mr Jones there. He'd dragged himself from his desk sitting with the invigilator at the top of the room. I hadn't expected to see him today, but then that seemed to be the way. One moment they were fine, the next the darkness took over. Just like it had with Jensen.

Mr Jones's skin is even pastier than usual, sweat dotting his forehead. His eyes are bloodshot and watery. Today, his reddish hair seems to glow against the pale hue of his skin. His body is twisted, his movement jagged and sharp. There's no warmth in his gaze, but then there never was, anyway. All eyes turn to us. Henry's body tenses.

"I've finished, sir."

"I doubt that. Even a remarkable student wouldn't have finished a two-hour exam in thirty minutes. And you were certainly never that," he hisses. His voice is pained. He's not usually so blunt. Biting and patronising, yes, but never so blunt. But still, I don't have time to ponder it and I don't care to. I really do hate geography.

I turn around, continuing to head towards the door.

"Don't you dare turn your back on me! Get back to your seat now."

A few hushed whispers, and the odd cough. Henry is so tense he looks like he might launch off his seat at any moment. His hands are clenched on the desk before him, the pencil in his fist looks precariously close to snapping in half.

"No." I turn back and his face contorts, his eyes flash red and I feel it. That power, but it's not like before. I don't feel queasy or overcome by it. It belongs to me. "I have to go. I've completed the paper. Just let me leave, OK?"

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