Cracked

Laney Silvers is deemed crazy. After a run in with an armed thief, her telekinesis secret is out. Her parents -instead of being thankful they're alive- send her to Marigold Mental Institution for Troubled Teens. Laney, being the rebel of her school, is welcoming the facility with open arms.
But the dark secrets at Marigold Institution may be too much for Laney. Even she doesn't have that much courage. See, something's been awakened but no one will say anything. The name 'Madeleine Farrow' makes the staff cringe. All the mirrors are cracked and windows are all boarded up.
Why are there charred pictures of a child with her face scratched out? What is really going on, right under Laney and her friends' noses?
Laney find herself caught up in a history far crazier than just telekinesis. She must now fight for her life because it may be the only thing she has left.

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7. Chapter 06

Chapter 6

            A few people walked up to where the projector was set up. They looked smug about something and one even had a button for slideshows. “Hi, it’s Gwen, but you probably already know that. You may have seen that yesterday Laney Silvers pulled that idiotic prank,” Gwendolyn announced innocently.

            She fingered the hem of her form-fitting top. It made her look like she was sad, but I could see right through her. Underneath her cream skin and flattering makeup held a thirst for revenge.

            I scoffed loudly, drawing a bit of attention. Before I could say anything in my defense, Travis butted in. “So, we have something to show you guys! This is dedicated to you, Laney. Hope you enjoy it,” he sneered wickedly.

            The room dimmed and I could see the lights from the screen reflected off the eyes of the students. They looked like mindless robots who fed off the vibes of the Populars.

            The first slide was a picture of me, but I was a child... and I was crying. My rosy cheeks were tearstained and my hair was cut to make me look like an imitation of Dora. Of course, I was much paler than her and even as I was crying, I was prettier.

            A lot of students started snickering, instantly making the connection. I was no ‘Cry Baby’ but this seemed to disprove the fact.  

“See this? Say hello to Laney Silvers. What a loser! And she’s crying because she has no friends,” Gwen explained smugly.

“I see her fashion sense hasn’t improved,” someone shouted. The voice was loud and male. It gained some laughs but I had a much different reaction.

            I looked at the group at the front, trying to neutralize the look of shock on my face. How could someone with such a nice smile be so evil? I wasn’t embarrassed, but her points were valid.

            I was crying because I had no friends. It looked like I was in second grade but I didn’t know anyone got a picture of it. I had tried to get rid of that image of myself.

            Of course Travis and Laney were there, but I didn’t know them. They didn’t talk to me and I was scared of them. I was only a second grader while they were fourth graders.

            Camille gave me a look that screamed worry. She thought I couldn’t handle it; I could. I definitely could. I was going to prove her wrong if it embarrassed me and made me have to switch schools.

            It didn’t stop there, though. Through the harmonious laughter of students, Travis managed to take over. He had stifled laughter too and could barely keep going, but he kept going after Gwen left off.

            There was bile rising in my throat. I could taste the vomit that threatened to come up. I may have been confident but there were insecurities that lied in every human being; I was no exception. I felt like running out crying, but I would not let them win. They would not make me cry and I’d rather die than feel sad over something they did.

            “You think this is bad? How about the fact no one loves her? Her parents are always gone and she has no one but her pathetic friend to be there. Just leave this place, Laney. No one would care!”

            The sound of his last word hung in the air. I thought about his point with a deep breath and clear mind.

There was no more laughing; not anymore.

People grew quiet, anticipating my reaction. Truth was, I was thoroughly embarrassed and slightly hurt. It wasn’t right for someone to judge me like this. What I did was a prank; this was torture.

A hand brushed my shoulder in comfort. “Do it,” Camille whispered fiercely. Somehow, I knew what she meant, even though she didn’t explain. Her voice held so much anger for me, whereas I just felt so pathetic.

She wanted me to get revenge. I could’ve seriously injured Travis with telekinesis. I could’ve also potentially killed him, but it wasn’t worth it. After Carlos, I would never do anything with my powers that involved the harm of someone else; even if that someone happened to be a major enemy of mine.

This wasn’t funny anymore. They were directly making fun of me and my parents. Where the heck were the teachers? Why wasn’t anything happening?

I could feel the tingle of energy in my fingertips. It’s yours to use, a sharp voice whispered in my mind. There was power at my disposal and it was probably a very noble decision to harness it and use it safely.

Some called it idiotic.

It was also a decision I had promised to stick by. It would’ve been a stupid idea to blow all of the dedication I put into my choice for one single revenge plot.

Revenge is overrated anyway. I brushed off my inner desires.

People started whispering. Parts of their conversations could he heard through the laughs of others. “This seems so wrong,” one of the kinder-looking people said.

I felt some of the tension rise from my body like a helium balloon into the air. It was nice to see that not everyone was evil and if they were, it would’ve been too cliché. There were people starting to say that it was wrong, but they didn’t dare say it to the faces of the Populars.

One brave soul stood up, though. “You guys are just sick,” he said in a disgusted tone. His hair was long and scraggly which made him look like a skater. I had a certain respect for him already, even though I didn’t really know him. “How about I expose your dirty little secrets, huh?” He looked completely serious and even a bit smug.

I found myself grinning at his rebellion and nobility. How had I never seen him before?

A look of anger passed through Gwen’s face. Personally, I thought it made her look like a tomato, but that may have been a biased statement.

“Go ahead,” Travis accepted nonchalantly. “I dare you, Kevin. Everyone knows you’re just a loser anyway.”

There was some laughter, but it was forced. People looked carefully between Kevin and Travis. I could see the impressed look in the eyes of some of the students. It wasn’t everyday someone was rejecting the status quo.

I couldn’t say I didn’t like it, though.

He laughed sarcastically and shook his head mockingly. His semi-long red hair swung from side to side. “Okay, but you asked for it. Travis, are you getting kicked out, yet? After all, you mom chose her new boyfriend over you, right? And you want to make fun of Lana!” He smirked in a way that made him look arrogant.

I gritted my teeth at his correction in my name. I could tell it really was an honest mistake so I didn’t dare say anything rude about it.

One look at Travis proved Kevin’s words true. Travis looked horrified and slightly embarrassed that another person knew his little secret. I couldn’t help but feel slightly bad for him. That was a reason I didn’t laugh along with everyone else.

That also proved how good friends everyone was to Travis.

It didn’t matter who was getting hurt as long as the people got a laugh. “And Gwen? Didn’t you have to beg your Dad for money just to look rich in front of your groupies? How is Lana pathetic in comparison to you?”

The crowd ‘ooh-ed’ mockingly while Gwen walked out of the cafeteria. Her head was still held high and as much as it was wrong, I admired her confidence. Seriously? Where the heck are the teachers? I know they suck, but shouldn’t someone be stopping this now? Irritability fell through my senses as I desperately wished the entire thing would be called off.

Funny how it started as a way to humiliate me, but much more people ended up getting hurt?

I got off my seat and walked up to where everyone was. “Hey!” My voice was loud, but it was even louder when people decided to shut up and listen. “You guys are such great friends, right? You’re all supporting Travis and Gwen in the best way possible,” I said sarcastically. I didn’t like them, but they didn’t deserve what I got. “Just call this whole thing off! We’re all in trouble anyway, right?”

Travis looked at me in a curious way. There was some satisfaction in his gazing eyes that supported me, slightly. As did everyone else’s agreement.

Their guarded admiration urged me to keep going. “I mean, come on? Why are we making such a big deal out of this? Who cares? I’m so out of here and the best part is that I’m not a popular, so you don’t have to do what I say. Let’s just forget this ever happened,” I suggested openly. It wasn’t something I was looking for an answer to. If people agreed with me, they’d do it, but like I said, I wasn’t a popular.

No one had to listen to me.

As I said, Camille and I linked arms and walked out of the cafeteria. It almost seemed like nothing happened. I didn’t even bother to think about what was going on. It really didn’t matter to me.

“Wait up! Lana,” a masculine voice called from behind me.

I forced a smile and tried to act polite. “Actually, it’s Laney,” I corrected casually.

“Well, Laney, I just wanted to tell you that Travis is a jerk and that I think you’re awesome.” There was something in his pale green eyes that freaked me out. It was meant as a compliment but it just sounded far too creepy for my liking.

I shuffled my feet nervously and thanked him. There was no possibility that he liked me. I wasn’t so full of myself, like some of the girls I knew, but there was definitely a strange reason for him to talk to me.

I started pranking last year and most people knew about me at the middle of my freshman year. I had my fifteen minutes of fame, but it never did end. I just had to keep going with the pranks and I’d be forever known as that girl. It was a title that made me feel indifferent, but it was kind of cool to be known for something.

Camille nudged me with a foot. She had a strange habit of nudging with feet because people rarely noticed it.

“Well, I just think you’re awesome and keep up the pranking?” It sounded like a question, even though it was probably meant to be praise. We both ran out of things to say and it was probably due to the fact I didn’t actually know him. I just knew he stood up for me and he was probably a junior or possibly even a senior.

“Oh yeah,” I agreed, chuckling. I knew for a fact being friendly lightened the mood. “I’ll give you a heads up next time, ‘kay? Um... I’ll see you around, I guess...” I ended up trailing off.

Camille felt like it was an appropriate time to interject because she grabbed my arm and dragged me outside. Okay, so I’m skipping class, I noted mentally. I had nothing against skipping class but I was dead if my parents reacted badly.

I could feel the odd sensation of dread start to creep in my body. The events of the cafeteria incident started catching up to me. I didn’t think anything of it before, but now, I started to think more and more about it.

Is it true? Do people really want me gone? Insecurities were creeping up on me like shadows in the dark night.

I stopped walking and let the brisk air whip at my face. Camille seemed to know exactly what was going on. Her oriental eyes held intelligence and intuition when it came to me. “Laney, you know you can’t listen to Travis, right? He’s just one of those people that will never change.”

I pursed my lips in thought. Camille was my friend; friends were required to say things like that. She could’ve just been lying for all I knew.

“Why did you want to me use the T?” It was a question that just popped into my mind.

‘The T’ was just our codeword for telekinesis. It wouldn’t be a good idea to use that word in public, especially if it was directed to me, so we had a code. Sure, whenever we used it, people gave us inquiring looks, but it was better than if people called me a freak for being telekinetic.

Or, they could’ve thought the idea was cool. But it was probably not the main thought.

Camille tensed up. Her hair got into her face and she made absolutely no move to brush it out. She looked a bit depressed, but mostly nervous. “Well, I just thought it would be a good idea,” she said, shrugging.

She was downplaying it; I knew it. There was something going on with her and it was only starting to show now. “You’re lying,” I accused quietly.

She sighed in defeat. Knowing there was no way to hide from me, she started speaking again. “Just don’t get involved, okay? I wanted you to finally defend yourself and... I wasn’t thinking straight,” she confessed. It sounded so genuine, so real.

Man, you are one good liar, I thought condescendingly.

I didn’t want to push her. Camille wasn’t a liar; that much was certain. It was practically written in stone. She would tell me if she wanted to, and if she didn’t, I’d just have to deal with it.

“Fine,” I answered softly. There was a slight tinge of hurt and it felt kind of strange knowing she was openly lying to me.

Our feet slapped against the pavement as we walked through our neighborhood. We were the only kids there because everyone else was at school. I didn’t even want to think about school and all the idiocy it brought along with it.

“You aren’t mad, are you?” She looked quite cautious for some reason.

My silver eyes bore right into dark ones. I only looked at her like that when I was one-hundred percent telling the truth. No, I’m sad, confused, and lonely; hurt, irritated, defeated and offended.  

“I’m fine,” I said, in a slightly strained voice.

I could feel my insides and all my muscles were tensed at her reactions.

She just nodded and smiled like there was nothing going on. Of course, for me, there was. I had been dealing with a lot of things and keeping it all bottled inside seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, it was bad.

The bottle was getting more cramped and pretty soon, the negativity would start to seep out. I just hoped I’d be able to empty the bottle before it became overfilled.

I gave her a quick hug before turning to walk off. We were at the intersection where we would have to go in two different directions. It was just where our houses were located. “Heck no. Laney, you’re coming to my house. Please?”

            I wasn’t going to protest. My parents were probably going to kill me if I came home and school wasn’t finished, but I happened to know that Camille’s parents were working all day on Fridays.

            It wasn’t T.G.I.F. in the Huang household. Far from it, actually.

            “Okay?” It sounded more like a question as Camille’s cold hands gripped my wrist in an effort to drag me over. I laughed at her poor attempts and just went along with it.

            I stumbled a little, causing dog-walkers and joggers to turn and look at me. The serene neighborhood I lived in usually bothered me because it was so bothered, but today, my thoughts were so loud that I was glad it was nearly silent.

            “Best friends forever,” Camille whispered to herself. She looked like she was in some kind of deep thought. I wasn’t going to argue anything with her, but she seemed... sad.

 

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