Addie Mersh is a singer. Well, sort of. Her recording manager won't even let her record a single song, and when Addie tries to find out why, a horrible car accident stops her.
Now Addie's vocal cords are beyond repair. She can barely speak, let alone sing. Her dreams no longer have a chance to become reality.
But then she is offered a magical shell, which gives her a voice again. Confidence restored, Addie auditions for the X Factor, where she wows the judges with her stunning voice.
But is there more to Addie's new voice than a beautiful sound? There is something deadly and sinister about it, and Addie is about to find out why she was ever given the shell at all...
For the X Factor competition!


6. Chapter 6

"Addie! Addie, are you all right? What happened?" Sanny was in hysterics when I walked out of the hallway, Krysha following me-- invisibly, of course.

"I don't know," I "confessed". "I think someone grabbed me, and pulled me away, but when they heard you screaming for me they let go. I just had a little shock, that's all."

"Okay," says Sanny, although I can see she doubts me a little. "But... why would someone grab you?"

I laugh, and punch her shoulder playfully. "Pedos, Sanny! I'm kidding. Well, maybe it was a pedo. I don't know."

"Oh," says Sanny, but she laughs, too. "Here's your uncle. We split up, trying to find you. Here she is, Uncle George!"

My uncle runs towards us and embraces me happily. "For goodness sake, Adeline, where were you?"

"A pedo kidnapped me," I said with a straight face, then burst out at my uncle's horrified face. "I'm kidding, Uncle! No, what really happened was, someone grabbed me, I don't know why, but when I screamed, he (or she) let go. I was so shocked that I ran into that hallway over there"--I pointed--"and just sat down for a little while. I'm sorry I've worried you so much.

"It's okay," said my uncle, and I saw he had tears in his eyes. "Just so long as you're all right. We have much happier things to think about now. You got in! Your dream..."

"I know!" I say, wriggling out of my uncle's grasp, grabbing Sanny's hands and twirling with her. "Woohoo, Sanny! I got through..." Then I become solemn as I realize: I didn't really get through. It was Steve's gift. Maybe if I had used my own voice, I wouldn't be twirling around now...

"Addie? What's wrong?" Sanny asks, concerned.

I give a start and realize I have been staring off into space. "Sorry, Sanny," I say hastily. "I'm just... a little overwhelmed."

"You must be," says Sanny, hooking her arm through mine as we begin to exit. "You know, I just thought about it. When you become famous--not if, Addie, when-- you'll have a ton of admirers! Not just girls, either. Guys, too." She winks at me and lowers her voice. "Like the stage hand's son. His dad asked me to give you his number. Apparently, he wants to meet you."


Sanny nods. There is a mischievous glint in her eye. "I saw a picture of him. You're one lucky girl, Adeline Merschwimmer. Here." She presses a piece of paper into my hand. On it, a number is scrawled in black marker.

I frown. "Isn't it supposed to be the girl who asks the guy to call her?"

Sanny chuckles. "You want me to take this back?" Her hand is poised over the paper.

"No!" I say quickly. Sanny giggles.

I smile as we finally exit the building. I spread my arms and close my eyes, feeling the cool breeze tug at my hair. 

This is what it's like to be a goddess, I think. Immortal. Eternal. Invincible. Infinite.

It's like I could do anything...


Sitting on my bed, in my room, I stare at the number written on the paper. It was hard to get away from the party downstairs, especially since it's for me. But I have to find out what this boy is like.

Maybe he's just one of those geeky guy fans. But I have a strange feeling about him, like he's tied to my fate.

I take a deep breath, then dial the number on my mobile. I bite my lip as it rings.

"Hello?" A guy's voice speaks on the other end. I can tell he's about my age.

It's him! "Er... hi."

"Who's this?" This boy is definitely not geeky.

"My name is Adeline Mersch. I... your dad gave me his number."


I sigh. "I'm the girl who auditioned for the X Factor...?"

"Oh! You! You actually--" He stops abruptly. "Sorry, I was getting a little weird there."

I laugh. "Yeah, you were. You know, I'm just a normal girl, right?"

"M-hm." I can hear the smile in his voice. "But you were brave enough to audition, and I know for a fact how hard that is. And you were amazing!"

I giggle. "Thanks. But I don't know about the bravery thing. I mean, you were brave enough to give a random girl your number, so I guess we're pretty even."

He laughs. "No, we're not even close. I may have given you my number, but you were brave enough to call. I mean, I could have been a paedophile for all you knew."

"You're a guy who calls random girls he sees on TV. How are you not a paedophile?" I laugh, then realize he isn't laughing with me. "Sorry. I didn't mean to offend you."

"No. No, it's not that," he says quickly. "It's just... hearing your voice on here. It's incredible. I never thought you'd actually call," he adds quietly.

I swallow. Suddenly, I can hear my heart beating, and I have to wipe my sweaty hands on the bedsheets. "Of course I'd call," I say, slightly shakily. "You're my first fan. Tell you what. I'd love to meet you properly. A short walk, maybe?"

"Is this a date?"

"M-maybe. Of course, it won't be an official one until I know more about you." I'm flirting. He's flirting. We're flirting. Oh, grapes.

"Well, it's been great talking to you, Adeline." He yawns. "I gotta go. I'm really tired."

"Okay. But call me Addie," I say.

"Addie. Thank you."

"Thank you, too."

"For what?"

"I don't know." I laugh. "Maybe... for a lovely conversation?"

"Yeah." I hear him yawn through his smile.

"I'd better let you go to bed." I hear footsteps on the stairs outside. Oh, no. It must be someone who's noticed I'm not at the party. "See you tomorrow? 2 Woods Lane, 3:00?"

"I'll be there," he says.

"Okay. Seeya."




"I don't know your name." The bedroom door creaks open.

"It's Thomas. Thomas Green."

"Bye, Thomas."

"Goodbye, Addie," he says. The line disconnects at the same time someone steps into my bedroom.

"Who was that?" Sanny asks, shutting the door.

I smile uncontrollably. "Thomas Green," I say.


"The guy whose number you gave me."

"Really? You called him?" Sanny's eyes light up and she perches herself on my bed, swinging her legs. "Details, details!"

I giggle. "I'm having a walk with him. Tomorrow, at 3."

"A date?!"

"Um... kinda."

"I'm so happy for you, Addie," says Sanny contentedly, wrapping her arms around my shoulders. "Your dreams are finally coming true."

I smile at my star-covered ceiling as Sanny, still hugging me, rests her head on my shoulder and closes her eyes.

"I guess they are."

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