The Calling Page 56

“Bad?” I whispered.

“Oh yeah.” He opened one eye. “Don’t tell Daniel. You know how he gets. But they’re a lot worse.” He licked his lips and looked over my shoulder, making sure Daniel wasn’t there. “It’s like a flash of light splitting my skull. Then more flashes. This time—”

His face screwed up in pain and he curled up, panting. “Seeing stuff. Crazy stuff.”

“Like what?”

“Can’t tell. Just—” Another jolt of pain. “Stuff. Images. Don’t make sense.”

He took a few deep breaths, then let go of my hand and pushed up on his elbows. Another look toward the door.

“He can’t hear you. What do you see?”

“You know how when you dream, stuff from your day comes back, only it’s all mixed up? That’s what it’s like. I see things and sometimes I recognize them, but they’re…” He searched for the words. “In the wrong place. Out of context. That’s it. Out of context.”

“Like what?”

He hesitated, then shook his head. “Nothing imp—”

“Like what, Corey?”

“Rafe.” He said the name quickly, as if getting it out before he could decide not to. “I saw Rafe and I saw you. Only it’s … not any place I’ve seen you two together.”

“Someplace you don’t recognize.”

“No, it’s your place.” He waved at the window. “You, me, Rafe, Daniel, and your dog out behind your house. It’s like seeing a memory that never happened. Which is why I think it’s my brain spitting out garbage. But if I tell Daniel…”

“He’ll worry it’s a neurological problem.”

“Neuro…? Right. Brain. You could just say brain, you know.”

“Neurological covers more than just the brain. It—”

He held up his hand. “If there’s one bonus to this disaster, it’s not having to go to school for a while. Don’t spoil that for me. Please.”

I smiled. He opened his mouth, then winced again. When he opened his eyes, he looked over my shoulder and let out a sigh of relief.

“Finally. Drugs.” He put out his hand. “Give ’em.”

“They aren’t there,” Daniel said. “We searched the medicine cabinet, the drawers, everywhere. There’s … a lot of stuff missing. I think your mom is planning to be gone a while.”

“Probably didn’t want to leave pills lying around,” Sam said. “No need to give anyone a reason to break in.”

“Let’s hope they didn’t take the alcohol, too,” I said as I stood.

Corey shook his head. “I think I’m okay—”Another wave of agony doubled him over, retching.

“I’ll grab a beer from—” Daniel began.

“No, I’m okay. Really. Just get dressed before you scare the girls.” He waved at Daniel, bare-chested after taking off his soiled shirt. “Help yourself to my closet.”

“You wear a medium. I don’t.”

“That’s just because I like my shirts fitting better.”

“Tighter,” I said.

“And, again, I don’t,” Daniel said. “I’ll wash this one.”

Corey made a face at him and waved him off. Once Daniel was gone, he collapsed, panting, as if he’d been holding back.

“If a drink will fix this—” I began.


“You’re refusing a drink?” Sam said. “From what I hear, that’s a first.”

He flipped her off. Not good-humoredly either. She grumbled and hobbled from the room.

“There are more pills downstairs,” Corey said. “I … have a stash.”

When I lifted my brows, he said, “Yeah, the headaches have been getting worse for a while. I didn’t want my mom to know. That’s how I found out booze helps. Only I’d rather not, so I’ve been hiding pills, saying they’re gone so I can get more.”

“That was—”

“Dumb, I know. I should have told someone, which is why I’m telling you now.”

“If they aren’t there, can I grab you a beer?”

“I…” He glanced at the door, again looking for Daniel. “Last resort, okay? Yeah, I know, I drink at parties. But that’s different. Drinking to feel better is…” He looked up at me. “We’ve both seen what that does with Daniel’s dad. Maybe it’s a different kind of ‘drinking to feel better,’ but I don’t want to go there unless I have to.”

“Okay, let me look for the pills.”

I found the medication. When I came back upstairs Daniel was waiting. I motioned that I’d give the pills and water to Corey and come back. When I returned, he waved me into Corey’s mom’s bedroom.

“We need to talk about Corey,” I said as I walked in and closed the door. “I’m really worried about these headaches.”

“I know. So am I. But there’s something I need to tell you first. I was looking in here in case she had backup pills. The drawers are empty. Same as the closet. Same as the bathroom. They didn’t just leave for a few days—”

“Hey!” Corey yelled.

We hurried in to find him standing at his dresser. “Where’s my stuff?”

“Your clothes?” I said.

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