GENRE: YA Speculative
I’m at dinner when they come for me. I can hear my heartbeat in my ears, and feel the adrenaline rushing in my feet, my hands. I’m sitting at a table by the windows in the dining hall of the Cartwright Institute for Young Women, eating bad dorm food while my friends discuss the chemistry test we took today, which Mira swears she failed even though I stayed up half the night to prepare her for it. And I know that they’ve come for me.
There’s an uncomfortable squirming in my gut that has nothing to do with Cartwright’s signature meatloaf mush and its proximity to my mouth. There’s a whispering in my ears, memories of voices and people who I have tried desperately hard to forget.
Mira taps me on the shoulder and I jump, sending my knees into the bottom of the long rectangular table. Chocolate milk splashes out of my glass and splatters all across my blouse, leaving the pristine white cotton pocked with brown freckles. The other girls around us laugh and Mira sheepishly offers me a napkin. “Sorry,” she says. I take it with burning cheeks.
“No worries.” I dab at the stains and try to swallow down the rising panic in my throat, making me want to cry or scream or choke. “What is it, Mira?”
“I was wondering what you got for the first question,” she says, her thin, dark eyebrows scrunching low over her wide brown eyes in concern.