Falling is now avaliable! You can get it from Amazon here
After the death of her parents in a car accident when Reid was eleven years old she gained the ability to jump into peoples bodies. Not a single person knows her secret, not her only friend Sara and especially not Keller. The problem is, every time she looks into his eyes, she starts to fall into him.
That was the worst movie I could have gone to by myself, but that’s what happens when your only family is your aunt who lives five hours away and your only close friend is a junior and isn’t allowed out unescorted even on a Friday night.
I could make other friends, that wouldn’t have helped tonight, I snuck out the window and it would just be another person I would have to keep my secret from. It’s hard enough keeping it from just one person.
Especially when this happens.
My body slips forward without thinking about it. At least this one looks nice, they don’t always. Nice suit, nice shoes. Hair done, but not too done. I pause slightly as he slows down to cross the street, but my mind races ahead checking all the possible points I can fall into him. Once this happens I can’t stop it, the impulse moves my legs for me.
I snake around a group of people who left the movies at the same time I did.
My body reacts at the same moment his does. He stops on the side of an alley and answers his phone. Out of habit I quickly look around to check if anyone is watching. My hand flies out compulsively, like I want to ask him a question, and in less than a quarter of a second I am absorbed by his body.
“I’m fine.” He slurs into the phone. “I on the corner of …” he closes one eye looking up for a street sign. “Eighth Street. In an alley thing.” He puts a hand out and leans against the wall. He snaps the phone shut, shoving it into his pocket and leans over.
My face screws up. My head’s telling me that I shouldn’t look because it’s gross, but my eyes won’t look away, like when you’re driving past a car accident, you know you should look away, but you just can’t. The gory images pull you in, practically calling your name. ‘Reid, look. How will you be able to sleep later without first filling your head with grossness?’
He doubles over, heaving again.
“Aw, that’s just gross.” I move my head away so I don’t have to look at it.
The man lifts his head in response, looking for the person talking to him. His heavy looking head swings slightly one way, and then lists back the other. He looks sea sick and he empties his stomach one more time before groping at the wall, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, his eyes half closed.
I’m so disappointed. He looked so nice; it all hides the puking machine tucked neatly inside.
“Where’s is he?” A woman’s voice slurs from somewhere outside the alley.
“In here.” I shout back.
“Huh?” He staggers another step.
“You can’t see me, I’m inside you.” I explain. There’s no way he’s going to remember this is the morning.
“Where?” He slurs and stumbles a step further toward the exit.
“Yeah, keep going. You feel fine.” I say, trying to copy the sound of his voice.
“I do.” He announces, standing bolt upright, then promptly turns around and heaves all his manliness away.
“You’re fine” I say quickly. “She’s leaving.” I can hear the footsteps that were near the alley walking away.
We both lean forward as he heaves again, I pull my face to the side. The longer he keeps going, the more the smell is leeching into a taste in my mouth.
My face screws up after the wind whips up the smell, I wipe at my tongue with my sleeve, trying to get the taste scrubbed out. At least I can still use my body when I’m in someone.
“Come on.” I shout at him. Once I’m inside a person, they only seem to hear me well when I speak real loud.
The guy staggers to lean on the alley wall again. “Take more steps.” I command him.
He stumbles to a stop, holding the wall for support, he looks around. Then he takes another few steps, before falling out of the alley.
That’s good enough for me, I dive forward, tumbling out of him, hitting the ground just before he does.
“You all right?” I ask rolling to the side to stop him falling on top of me.
“Sorry han. Didn’t see you.” He slurs at me.
“All good, don’t worry about it. I look both ways to see the woman that he come looking for him.
“Can you call your girlfriend or something?”
“I dunno, but you are pretty. You gonna come back with me?” He reaches for my face, his hand swinging like a dopey bear.
“Unlikely.” I was going to get his phone out of his pocket, instead I lift my hand, “Taxi.” I shout into the night.
One stops at the kerb. I pull and kind of roll-shove him into the back seat.
I look at the driver. “Sorry. I don’t know him. But he needs to get to wherever home is.”
He sighs a pained sound. “And who’s going to pay me lady?”
“I don’t even know him, he knocked me down, and passed out on the pavement, what was I supposed to do leave him there?”
“Yeah.” The driver looks at me like I’m an idiot.
“Man. You.” I wave my hand in front of the guys’ face. “Do you have any money?”
“Why do you want my money pretty girl?” He touches my hair. Argh, I know where that hand has been. I duck away quickly from his groping.
“To pay the driver, idiot. You’re puking on the street. Give the driver some money.” I tell him.
“Okay, pretty girl.” He salutes me then flakes out across the back seat snoring. I’ll take that.
“Money’s in his pocket I think.” I say to the driver.
“I hope he doesn’t spew everywhere. I won’t be able to finish my shift.” The driver complains while I shut the door and wave like I care what he said.
“Mm, that would be sad.” I mouth, pretending concern for him while I watch drive away, just in case he decides to come back with the man. I want a head start so I can hide.
“’Scuse me, love.” A guy bumps past me. “Have you self a happy night.”
He points at me, winking and walking backward from the rest of his group. Must be time to go home. The crazy people are starting to come out. I look down at my watch. Oh man. One already. That guy spewed for half an hour. I need to find a bus home.
The library is a block down that way, and I think there is a stop on the next corner that will take me back to school. I walk briskly up the street while I make my plan, looking directly at no one. I can see the stop, but there is a big group of people collected around the sign. I pull up a little way off from them, pushing my fingers into my pockets and playing with the buttons on my phone. I look at my feet, trying not to move and draw any attention to myself. I can feel people looking at me, but I hold my eyes down.
A minute passes in silence. The bus should be here real soon, it comes every fifteen minutes, until one thirty.
“Stop looking at my boyfriend …” A girl’s voice loudly calls at me from somewhere. I swing my eyes up in surprise, because unless she is dating the pavement, I’m not looking anywhere near her boyfriend.
“You stop lookin’ at him,” she says again.
I squint through the group. There’s a girl stumbling in my direction, pushing people out of her way, dragging him along behind.
“My boyfriend’s real hot, so you stop. You’re tryin’ to steal him from me, and I’m not going to let you, ‘coz he’s mine.” She grips his arm to illustrate that she owns him. Then stops like she can’t remember what she was about to say.
I look away trying really hard to stop myself from smiling.
“You. You stop givin’ me that,” she continues.
I really have to stop coming out at night. There’s just the crazy-people out. And I’m a crazy-people magnet.
Oh crap. I take a quick step back as she swings her fat fist at my head.
“I wasn’t lookin’ at your boyfriend.” I say quickly, dodging my head to the side.
She stops swinging because she is out of breath. Come on, that’s just pathetic. She exerted herself for all of three seconds. One swing of her arm above her waist, and she’s panting. She’s two more swings away from a heart attack.
“What, he not hot enough for you pretty girl?” She pants.
No, he’s filthy like you. Clearly if he was hot, he wouldn’t be with you moron.
“No, he’s plenty hot enough,” I say. “I just wasn’t looking.”
The bus pulls up and the group surges around it. I push myself to the front and force my way on before she can remember who she was talking to.
We move quickly through the dark, empty streets, the bus pulling into the stop outside the school. Nice. He could have stopped at the one before it, which is why I pressed the buzzer for that stop, not this one. What kind of an idiot gets off the bus directly in front of the school they are trying to sneak back into.
I walk slowly to the front of the bus trying to get a new plan together. I was going to come through the side, the trees are really thick there, so no one should have noticed me.
I get off the bus, the driver gives me a disapproving look. Yeah I know.
I jump off the last step of the bus and keep running, through the gate and into the school grounds. Now, if I was some kind of super hero, I would fly my way up, silently remove the window, and duck through, while using my strangely strong hearing and night vision to make sure no one was around. Replace the glass, just as silently, and slink my way back to my room, completely unheard.
But. I’m not. So I have to sneak back in the old-fashioned way.
The wind whips through the trees, stirring up the leaves, which disguises my sounds. Shame it’s super-creepy.
I pull the little nail that I keep on the outside frame of the window. It stops it from shutting the whole way, and even though the latch is down on the inside, it isn’t locked. The wind howls through the trees, flicking my hair into my eyes, blinding me for a second. I resist the urge to turn around. The quicker I get inside the faster it will stop creeping me out.
I pull the window up in one steady motion, making sure I don’t stop at any point. The window makes a nails-down-the-chalkboard screech if you stop and then open it further. I spring off the ground, pulling myself through the window, rolling to the side so my feet don’t touch the ground. I wait a full ten seconds, counting each one off silently, listening for anyone else moving or breathing, waiting to catch me.
Rolling over silently, coming up to my knees, then my feet. My hands firmly on the top of the window, I look around, closing my eyes to make it easier to hear someone. I pull the window down, holding the lock out with my thumb, so it doesn’t click into place, then slide it in silently.
Looking straight ahead I sink to the floor and take off my shoes. Holding one in each hand, I walk through the middle of the cafeteria, stopping for a second at the doorway. I step out, check each way, and then turn left and move quickly down the main hallway.
Mrs Snouse. Damn. Shouldn’t she be asleep or something? Damn it, damn it, damn it. She is sitting outside my door. She knows I’m gone and is waiting for me to get back.
I tuck myself into a recess in the wall and peer around. She is asleep. I duck down, feel around for something on the floor, and throw it down the hall from me, flattening myself further into the wall holding my breath.
Mrs Snouse’s chair scrapes as she hauls herself to her feet. She strides past without one look toward me, and I leap forward, into her body. I hate doing this to my teachers, especially Mrs. Snouse. It’s just plain weird.
She stops in the doorway of the cafeteria and looks around without going inside. Squinting, her eyes rove around the room, without ever moving her feet, she waits a few more seconds before walking across the room and checking behind the ring of tables as the back of the room, then dramatically she flicks a switch flooding the room with light.
Disappointed she shuts of the lights, closes the door and lumbers back down the hallway to her post.
She begins to sit back down, then as quietly as I can. “Go into Reid’s room,” I say. She keeps sitting.
“Walk into Reid’s room,” I say a little louder.
I don’t want to get too loud or she’ll recognise my voice. Not that she’ll be able to prove anything, but if I keep myself out of this it might actually work.
It better, I don’t want to sleep in here. My whole body shudders just thinking the words.
She grips the armrests of the chair, grunting slightly at the effort, and gets to her feet. With both hands on the door handle, she twists it without making a sound, pulls her head around the door and peeks into the room. I left my pillows to make it look like someone was in my bed, and it works. She backs.
“I thought she wasn’t there.” She mumbles to herself. “I’m sure Megan said she couldn’t find her.” Megan, my eyes narrow.
“Look in Reid’s bed,” I say quietly making it sound like it was a thought that just popped into her head.
She stops, then rocks forward, like she is about to go inside my room, but stops and takes a step back. “Look at her pillow.” I say as gently as I can.
She leans down, unsure now if it’s really me in there or not. Just as she gets close to the pillow, I launch myself out of her and onto my bed, clasping my hand over my mouth, kicking at my blankets, to make it look like I was in them. I gently throw my shoes, so they tumble to the ground like they were on the bed too. Sara mumbles something in her sleep, rolling over.
“Oh, Mrs Snouse. You gave me such a fright.” I rub my eyes, making them redder. “Mrs Snouse.” I squint at my alarm clock, then back at her. “Can I help you?”
My forehead is creases, looking confused, forcing my voice to be harsh and raspy. She freezes in fright as I stumble to my feet.
“Is there something wrong? What’s happened?” I add when she says nothing. Her eyes are wide like I’ve caught her.
She defrosts suddenly. “Nothing, no, um, nothing Reid. Sorry to wake you. I thought Sara had, um, slipped out and was just checking on her.”
“Oh.” I say. “Sara wouldn’t do that.” Rubbing at my eyes again.
She retreats out of my room as fast as she can without looking like she is running. “No of course she wouldn’t. Sorry to wake you.” Then she stops and eyes me up. “Is there a reason you are still wearing street clothes?” She looks at me suspiciously.
I look down at myself yawning loudly, stretching my arms out. “I must have fallen asleep before I had a shower. I was reading in bed.” I point to the book on the bedside table, very conveniently sitting open. I was reading before I went out and couldn’t be bothered putting it back in my desk.
“Change your clothes,” she orders. “You’ll have to wait until the morning to shower.”
“I’ll get on to it.” I say yawning loudly.
“Please keep it down Reid, people are sleeping.” She slips out of the room before I can say anything back. I change quickly and fall into bed quietly laughing at myself.