The Evolution of Mara Dyer

Author: P Hana

Page 80

   

“Both of them got up at about four,” Barney said.

I nodded. “Phoebe came with me.”

“Don’t say my name,” she murmured quietly. I rolled my eyes.

“That’s all?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever sleepwalked before?” Brooke asked me.

I didn’t answer her, of course, because the answer was yes.

58

AFTER A STRICT INSTRUCTION TO speak to Dr. Kells at my next appointment with her, Brooke left us to change before meeting up in the common room for an impromptu group session.

I rounded on Phoebe once we were left alone. “Why are you lying to them?”

She smiled at me. I wanted to hit her so badly.

I almost did.

I closed my eyes and breathed deeply instead, trying to shake her off. When I left the room, Noah was hanging back near one of the studios that flanked the hallway.

“What happened?” he asked, his voice low and wary.

“I overslept,” I said. I wanted to kick myself. “Phoebe woke me up in the middle of the night. She says I—I told her about Rachel and Claire. About everything.”

Noah didn’t comment. He just asked, “Who is that girl?”

I followed his eyes until they landed on Stella, who had folded herself into a chair in the common room. She cracked her knuckles and then rubbed absently at the faded left knee of her jeans.

“Stella,” I said. “She’s nice. A little moody sometimes, maybe. Why?”

“I saw her,” Noah said.

“Saw her—”

“Someone hurt her.” His gaze dropped to my hands. “Grabbed her wrist. Nearly broke it.”

My throat felt dry. “Why her?”

Noah rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know.”

“That’s how many?” I asked him.

“Five, now.”

“Me, Joseph, the two you don’t know, and now—”

Stella.

“Come on in, everyone!” Brooke called.

Noah and I shared one more look before settling into the room. I sat down next to Jamie, who was oddly quiet.

Brooke nodded to Wayne and they drew nearer to the periphery of the circle. “Okay, everyone,” she said to us. “We all know there was a little event this morning. Not a big deal, but we decided that it would be a good day to do some trust exercises.”

Loud groaning. Stella muttered a few of the only words I seemed to remember in Spanish, which were delightfully inappropriate.

“It doesn’t matter how many we do,” Phoebe called out. “You can’t trust Mara.”

Jamie began to chuckle silently. I stepped on his foot.

“Phoebe, I think we got a sense of your feelings about this earlier, so unless you have anything specific you’d like to share, I’d like to move along.”

Phoebe zeroed in on me as she spoke to Brooke. “I do have something specific I’d like to share.”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

“You all think Mara’s this innocent girl who’s just had really bad luck. She isn’t. She wants to hurt me. She wants to hurt all of us.”

Jamie lost it completely. His laughter would have been contagious. But despite Phoebe’s melodramatic presentation, what she said was disturbing. Not because it was true.

Because it was calculated. She was insane, but shrewd. Phoebe was saying these things on purpose for a purpose, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

“Phoebe, why do you think Mara wants to hurt you?”

“Because she says so in her sleep.”

Shit.

Brooke looked at me, and then looked back at Phoebe. “When was this, Phoebe?”

“Last night.”

Okay, it was possible. She was gross and annoying and limited, but smart in that evil, demon-child way. But while I might have muttered something about killing her, maybe, I didn’t actually want her dead. Not like the others. I didn’t envision it. Not consciously.

Unconsciously?

Could I have dreamed about her death? What would happen if I wanted it while I slept?

Would she die?

“I can’t room with her, Brooke,” Phoebe said softly. Her chin began to tremble.

Here we go.

“I’m scared,” she added, for good measure.

“That’s why we’re going to do these trust exercises, Phoebe.”

“They won’t help!”

“They won’t if you don’t give them a chance,” Brooke admonished. “All right, everyone, I want you to stand up—Wayne, can you read the list of partners for this?”

Wayne read off the pairs. I was paired with Phoebe, to no one’s surprise. Jamie was with Noah. A girl I recognized from Horizons Miami was with Megan, and Adam was paired with a permanent. The pairings seemed like they were all roommate-roommate. Maybe to stave off a patient revolution?

“Okay, guys. The first thing we’re going to do is called a trust fall. We’re going to start in alphabetical order—that means if your name begins with a letter that comes earlier in the alphabet than your partner, you get to “fall” first, and your partner will catch you.”

Everyone started moving into their pairs. I noticed then that they’d moved floor cushions and yoga mats into the common room. Insurance, perhaps?

“When I count to three, the first person from each pair is going to fall.”

That would be me. I glanced at Phoebe behind me. She was smirking. This wasn’t going to go well. “You’d better catch me, Phoebe,” I whispered.

She ignored me.

“One,” Brooke began.

“I’m serious,” I said, as I backed toward her.

“Two.”

Phoebe had her arms out, and still hadn’t answered me.

“Three.”

I fell. On my ass.

“Motherf—!”

“She said she was going to slit my wrists!” she wailed to Brooke. “She whispered it when you weren’t listening!”

Brooke glanced at me and sighed. “This isn’t productive for your rooming relationship.”

Phoebe began to cry. Big, fat crocodile tears. “I can’t stay with her. I just can’t.”

I stood and glanced at Jamie, who shot me a sympathetic look. Noah was studying Phoebe. He knew something was up with her too.

Brooke was frustrated herself. And then she said something I didn’t expect to hear.

“Would anyone be willing to switch rooms and be Mara’s new roommate?”

Crickets.

I raised my hand.

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