Chapter 56

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It's around nine o'clock in the evening when the others come and, by that time, the rain is beating down at a steady rhythm. I've retreated to inside, cowering at the back of the tent among all the blankets and my sleeping bag.

"Amelia!" someone shouts. Then, an elongated: "Ameeliaaa!"

I duck out of the tent and through the blur of the rain I see them. Then, I duck in to get my shoes on and put on a thicker coat before venturing outside.

I hurry to the fence. Angie's face is pressed up against it.

"How's everything going?" she asks. "How are you coping?"

I open my mouth to reply, wanting to snap at them for taking so long. But then I stop myself right at the last second. It's not her fault she got the Power. She didn't want to leave me here. She's just as sorry as I am.

"Boring," I say, "and lonely." Because it's true.

"Oh." Her face falls and then it brightens again, as though a happy thought has just crossed her mind. "You know what Sarah said? We're going to have a campfire here tomorrow night!"

"That's great." The words get stuck in my throat.

"Don't talk about it in front of her, idiot," comes another voice from beside her. I look to see Zach there. He nods to me. "She's obviously sad about being all by herself here."

Yeah. I want to say. I know all about loneliness, thank you very much.

Angie stares at me with wide eyes. "Please say at least you'll come!"

"She can't," says Zach. "According to Sarah, she's 'not welcome here.'" He uses two of his fingers to make speech marks. "Which I think is ridiculous."

"Well, can't you at least try to sneak in?" my best friend pleads. "I mean, it would be so boring being the only girl there."

"Maisie's a girl," I chip in.

Her face turns guilty.

"Don't worry, she's never been very noticeable," I tell her. "Sorry, Angie, but I'm stuck here on this side of the fence."

For the second time in the last five minutes, Angie's face falls a thousand feet.

They both slink off and I stand there, waiting for the next person to come to me. I feel like something in a museum to be looked at and gawped at and pointed at. That's what it feels like.

My parents come and go, checking in on me, asking me if I have enough layers and looking at me with those wide doe eyes that only parents can make. I feel grateful for them, for being there for me.

"Where's Maisie?" I ask.

"Stayed in the tent because she was cold," Mum replies.

"It must be being surrounded by so many people with the Power," adds Dad.

They say they need to be heading back. I want to plead for them to stay but I know that's not possible. Sarah will probably come here and the next thing she'll be saying is that I can't be mixing with them.

Josh is the last one to pay me a visit.

His eyes seem darker in this light. It's almost dark and the rain seems to glue to his lashes.

"How are you?"

My breath seems tight in my chest. "Um, good."

He nods and then turns as though to leave. Something that's been in my head leaps to mind. It's about the people in the truck I saw just a few hours ago. Because Josh seems the one who knows most about this place, he may be able to shed some light on it.

I tell him about what I saw and while I'm saying the whole thing, his eyebrows furrow in confusion as if the things I'm saying don't make any sense.

"I'll ask Sarah about it when I get a chance," he promises and then turns to leave when the others beckon him along.

For a second, like last night, I want his lips on my forehead again.

I tell myself it's not something I should be thinking about as I turn back to go to bed in my head.

But, of course, with my very strange brain, I can't seem to get the feel of lips from my head.

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