Delude

Casey just wanted to have a normal life. She would only be so lucky. She despises school, especially after she meets Evan Fynn. In seconds, he's undone everything she's worked hard to maintain; he's taken everyone from her, filled their minds with lies to drive them away. She is desperate to find out why, even if the truth is more terrifying than she expected.

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28. Normal.

Someone stepped around me and left. I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t care. All I knew was that my best friend was dead and my mom was injured because of me. Part of me wanted to run. Run far away where no one could ever find me.

“That is never a good idea,” Noah said as he knelt down beside me. “Trust me.”

For a long time, he just stared at me, not touching at all. He sat cross-legged, smudges of dirt and blood on his face. He flicked strands of white hair out of his eyes, and then placed his hands on his knees.

“Where did he go?” I asked, my voice strained.

“He didn’t like that he hurt you,” Noah said, nodding. “He left to clear his head.”

“Is he coming back?”

Noah shrugged.

Night fell and the crickets were the only sound for what seemed like a long, long time.

“It was always you, wasn’t it?” I said, breaking the silence.

He gave me a slow, lazy smile. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“Is my mom okay?” I asked.

“She’s sleeping,” Noah said. He held his hand out. “Come on, it’s dark. We should go inside, it’s getting cold.”

“It’s going to stay that way until you fix my house,” I replied, glaring at him.

“Your lack of faith in me is hurtful, darling.” He grinned and shook his head. “You should rest. When you wake up, everything will be back to normal.

I frowned and left him to fix the mess that he had made.

___

The next time I woke up, it was dawn and the house was quiet. I was almost afraid to go downstairs and see what had happened while I slept. When the door to my door opened, I clicked on the bedside table lamp.

“Honey, it’s morning. Why are you turning on the light?”

“Mom?” I squinted against the bright lights. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she said, chuckling softly. She looked better than she had before. “Are you?” She sat at the edge of my bed, reached over and touched my forehead. “You aren’t sick, are you?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. I leapt up and ran into the bathroom, checking my reflection. Checking for anything out of the ordinary.

“What are you looking for?” my mom asked.

I froze, my hands in the process of drawing my hair away from my neck, trying to find some sort of mark.

“I don’t know,” I said after a few minutes.

It was true. I didn’t know what I expected to find. Just something that proved I had been there, wherever it was. But it was apparent that maybe the entire ordeal had been inside my head. Dizziness overtook my body and I gripped the sink.

“Casey?” My mom was standing in the doorway, a worried look on her face. “Are you’re sure you’re okay? You look a little pale.”

I nodded and shut my eyes.

“Just a little tired,” I said.

Her footsteps faded as she left the room. I waited for a scream to announce that she had seen the ruined downstairs. All that had come, however, was, “You’d better get to school. Is Jade picking you up?”

Jade.

My heart sank.

With tears in my eyes, I got ready for school. I wondered what it would be like since she was gone. I trudged downstairs and saw the kitchen, fridge, table, chairs and door just like it had always been.

You should rest. When you wake up, things will be back to normal.

His words rang in my ears, soft and warm, and I understood.

He had erased my mom’s mind. I was glad. I didn’t want her to remember any of that. She didn’t need those memories keeping her up at night.

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