I’m Reece. A month ago I died along with my two best friends in a car crash. Obviously, my death didn’t last long. Since then, I hear voices and the nightmares – don’t even get me started. I just wanted to be normal. That meant leaving my lux L.A. life for the gothic, and icy, Saxton Academy in the mountains of Vermont. Away from the tabloids, I had a plan to get my life together. But that just isn’t possible. Thanks to hotties Eli McKinnon and Carden McDowell I discovered my life is a lie. They want to help me reach my potential. I just want to be a regular girl. But darkness is coming, and if I want to stay alive, I may not have a choice.
Here’s a little Hex for you…..
Dying hurts like hell. I don’t care what people say about fluffy angels and lights at the end of the tunnel. For me it was nothing but gut-wrenching pain as I tried to breathe through the blood bubbling in my throat. It was as if strong hands had reached in and grabbed my lungs, squeezing the last breath out of me. I welcomed the darkness when it finally came.
So no one was more surprised than me when I woke up in a hospital six days after the car crash that killed my two best friends. My right arm, wrapped in plaster from elbow to wrist, was the only indication that anything had happened to me at all. Unless I counted the wispy, black shadows clouding my brain.
My internal injuries had miraculously healed, and the doctors didn’t have an explanation. Divinity? Magic? No one knew, and I didn’t care. Nothing mattered without my friends.
“You should be happy to be alive. I can’t believe how quickly you mended,” the nurses said over and over.
No one could see the black haze that was my soul.
Why was I the only one saved?
I saw the question in the faces of my friends’ parents as they dutifully stopped by to check on me. Still grieving for their daughters, they tried their best to be supportive and caring. But the truth was in their eyes, the paralyzing sadness.
Even my parents acted strangely, as if they had been prepared for the worst and didn’t know how to deal with the fact that I was still alive when their friends had lost so much. Mom would brush my bangs from my face like she did when I was little and whisper, “We love you so much, Reece.” But how could she love a freak like me?
Marnie and Sara were gone. Every time I thought about them my stomach churned, my face heated, and tears burned in my eyes. Right before the wreck we’d been down at the beach saying goodbye to summer. It was one of those awesome parties where everyone had a slight buzz, and we’d laughed so much my stomach hurt.
I’d had a beer, so Marnie drove my car. She didn’t do alcohol or anything else that might jeopordize her chances at Stanford. Sara and I weren’t exactly bad girls, but we did like to have fun. Together, we always kept each other in check, like the three branchs of government, or rock, paper and scissors.
We were giggling over Carly Young’s back to school boob job when it happened. The panther jumped into the middle of the road, sleek and black and out of nowhere. Screams blanketed the car, and then an odd stillness as it spun out of control. “We’re going to die. We’re going to die,” was a looping litany in my brain as the forest loomed ahead.
We smashed into the trees with such force that I was ripped from the seatbelt. I soared through the air in a surreal cloud of security before slamming into ground and a world of agony.
My last memories of that night were of excruciating pain and the glowing eyes of the big black cat as it slinked forward, sniffed me, and then walked away.
I tried to tell the doctors, the police, and my parents about the wild animal, but no one believed me. There were no panthers in the Pacific Palisades.
That was the first time I died. The second time…well, that story takes a little longer to tell.