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The word “psychic” doesn’t really describe me. I think I prefer “seer” or “watcher” or maybe even “messenger.” That’s what I do. The dead speak to me. I watch and listen. And occasionally, I’ll give a message.
I first discovered my gift five years ago when my best friend’s mom died. In the middle of the night, Mrs. Avery came to me. I sat up in bed and saw her staring out the window. She was wearing her conservative clothing as always. But when she looked at me, her eyes reflected my own face and our surroundings. It was like she had mirrors in her eye sockets. Mrs. Avery walked over to me, smiled kindly, and patted my hand.
“Tell her I’m okay and I love her,” she said.
“Who?” I asked.
“Cathy. Tell Cathy.”
Then she walked out the door. Since I was half asleep and only ten, I didn’t think to follow her. The experience was dismissed as a vivid dream. I was confused. At least, until I found out about the death from a sobbing Cathy the next day. After I relayed the message, Cathy deemed me spiteful and mean. Why would I play such a cruel prank on her after this? No matter what was said, doubt would always creep back in. Cathy was the first friend I lost due to my strange ability.
I walk on the driveway fighting the wintry wind. Police sirens pass by our house. I swear, if I got a dollar every time some stupid high school kid crashed into a light pole, I’d have fifty bucks. I chuckle at my humor. It’s not like anything ever happens. There’s usually just little dent in Daddy’s car. Then, a log trips me and I curse my clumsiness. I quickly wince as I see old Mr. Morris jog past.
“Sorry!” I yell.
He just runs past- not looking up at me. “Stupid Morris,” I mumble under my breath. I shake my head and keep walking. God, I hate walking to the bus stop for Marcie. I never understood why mom made me walk down the long driveway to go get my little sister. Wouldn’t thirteen be an okay age for her to go to the house by herself?
I spot her by the mailbox, sitting under the grove of trees that hide our property from view. Her recently highlighted blond hair flies in the breeze. She shivers in her bulky coat. Marcie taps her foot impatiently and adjusts the strap of her backpack. A strand of flyaway hair covers her Aviator sunglasses that she routinely insists on wearing.
“Took you long enough, didn’t it?” she snaps.
“Is someone a little pissy, sissy?” I tease.
A slight smile plays at her lips.
“I guess,” she sighs and turns to me. “It’s just that the bus crashed down the road. It’s so bad, Tess. I got scared and I ran away.”
“It’s okay. Were the police there?”
“Yeah, they were.”
“Well, they’ll take care of it. Just be glad you’re not hurt, Marcie. I love you, okay?”
“Of course you do,” she smiles and then shakes her head. “God, Tessa, put your hair back. You look gothic like that.”
I roll my eyes and put my thick brown hair in a ponytail. I wish I could be as style savvy as my sister. I just wear the first things I grab out of the closet. Marcie is the one who will send me back up to change.
I spot Marcie looking down the road and shivering.
“Come on, Marcie. It’ll be all right.” I say, snapping out of my reverie.
I begin walking up the gravel path, not looking to see if my sister will follow. But she does. Marcie always does. A gust of wind rushes towards me and pushes my ponytail forward to whip my face. My hair stings my face and I curse at the wind. Marcie snickers and then runs ahead of me to get into the house.
“I’m going to my room!” she yells behind her, sprinting into the open garage.
I grin a little bit. She was probably going to fix her hair. You could never look too good with Marcie. I rather keep my brown locks wavy and put on the bare minimum of makeup.
I walk the remaining distance to the house. I enter through the garage door and into my home. I hear my mom crying on the couch and curse. Of course, Marcie just walks past. She’s so thoughtless sometimes.
“Oh, jeez, mom, don’t cry.” I rush over to her. “It’s just another soap opera. It’s not real.” I pat her back to comfort her. I remember last time her favorite character went into a coma. Mom was teary for a week. My mother looks up at me with a mixture of pity and sadness.
“Come sit down.” She says.
“Mom, it’s nothing.”
“Tessa, honey,” she cuts me off, “there was an accident.”
I begin to panic. “What?”
“It was those stupid trees, dear. Marcie’s bus driver couldn’t see oncoming traffic and he turned,” she sobs harder. “He crashed into another car. Do you remember Mr. Morris from down the street? He didn’t make it.”
“Oh my God,” I gasp and begin to hyperventilate. It makes sense. I never saw his eyes. I can’t breathe. “Well, thank God Marcie’s okay.”
“That’s what I wanted to tell you.”
“But she’s up…”
My mom’s words suddenly dawn on me. I run upstairs to our shared bathroom and throw open the door. Marcie is looking away from me, combing her hair with her fingers.
“Look at me, Marcie.” I say.
My sister grunts in exasperation. She turns to me.
“Take off your glasses, Marcie.”
“I swear- we’ve been through this before, Tess. I know we’re inside, but I love these sunglasses.”
“Just for a second.”
She puts her hands on her hips and pulls off her sunglasses. Obviously irritated, she slams them onto to the vanity. I stare at her.
“What?” she screeches.
“What about my freaking eyes?”
All I see is my own reflection, staring back at myself through my sister’s eyes.