Dream Dark Page 3

But standing in front of the bathroom mirror now, Link knew something was different. He just couldn't nail down exactly what. His spiky blond hair was stil spiked, his lopsided grin stil lopsided, his blue eyes stil blue. But they looked darker somehow. Maybe his mom had switched lightbulbs again, to save energy, or the whales, or whatever her friends at the Daughters of the American Revolution decided they were going to save this week. Usual y his soul.

The longer Link stared in the mirror looking for al the things that were wrong with him, the more he noticed the things that were different. Maybe even right. It seemed impossible, but from what he could see in the mirror, the baby face the girls teased him about was almost gone, replaced by the kind of jaw that could take a serious punch. He felt like his skin had been stretched over someone else's face—a guy who was older, better looking, and bigger.

Because he was definitely bigger.

He tried to stand up straight, but he'd been slouching for so long that his body almost couldn't remember how. He'd grown at least an inch in about two hours. Was that even possible? Link wasn't sure, but he knew that when he tried to fal asleep last night, he had felt his bones cracking and groaning, like they were literal y stretching under his skin. And his skin tingled, his nerve endings more sensitive than when he'd skinned his knees break-dancing on the blacktop. Then there was his arm—

the pain that seemed to disappear overnight.

Link was looking good today, roadkil , puke, and

Link was looking good today, roadkil , puke, and al . The extra height was worth a little bone stretching, or whatever was happening. Especial y since he wasn't just getting tal er. He felt like he was getting stronger, too. He glanced at the door, then flexed his biceps in the mirror. Yeah, he had some hard-core guns.

“Don't make me fire these puppies,” he said to his image in the mirror.

It was sort of like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

He felt like himself. He stil rocked out to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. He stil couldn't stop thinking about Ridley and becoming a famous drummer. But the body he was in didn't feel like his body. It felt borrowed—or stolen. Crazy as that sounded.

Link splashed some water on his face with one hand. He was going to give Power Ballads another shot. He grabbed his iPod and flopped down onto his bed. When his back hit the mattress, he heard the sharp crack of wood splintering underneath him

—and half his bed crashed to the floor. His heart sped up, but he cranked Mötley Crüe's “Home Sweet Home,” listening to the words he'd heard a hundred times before, hoping they would drown out his mom's voice hol ering from downstairs.

The pee was warm and yel ow and, wel , it was pee.

A few hours later, Link was staring into the specimen container as if it could explain everything. He was pretty sure it couldn't, but at least he hoped it would get his mom off his back. She was convinced his sudden physical changes were the result of steroids.

Link shook his head. “Kinda like Mountain Dew in the mornin', after you let it sit by your bed al night long.”

Since he didn't know what to make of his new physique any more than the rest of the stuff that was happening to him, Link gave up and screwed the lid on the container. He wrote his name on the sticker right where the nurse, Wanda Beezer, told him to. He stil hadn't seen Doc Asher, but Link knew why he was there. His mom had made that clear, and it had nothing to do with the sling on his arm.

There was no way in H-E-double-hockey sticks you could ditch out on his mom's cooking and puke two minutes later without ending up in the doctor's office. Not unless you had a doctor's note excusing you from eating in the first place.

If only she hadn't served the white gravy. Anything but that. Maybe he could've choked down pancakes.

He shuddered at the thought, and the smel . Maybe not.

What was wrong with him?

He'd been trying to convince his mom he was fine, but he hadn't been able to convince himself.

Maybe she was right. Not about the drugs, but maybe about the Devil. He didn't know what was going on in his head—or his body—but none of it was normal. Not that the things going on in Link's head were al that normal to begin with.

Stil , this was abnormal y abnormal.

“Are you takin' drugs, Wesley?” his mom had demanded after she charged into his room right before lunch. “Gettin' yourself al hopped up on the marijuana?” The way she said it, you'd think she was proposing to someone. Marriage-you-wanna?

Link didn't wanna. He didn't want anything.

“No, ma'am. You want to go through my drawers again?” That would make twice in one day, but it was worth it to get her off his back. “No dirty magazines.

No Harry Potter movies. I promise.” She hadn't thought his response was funny. He was just hoping she wouldn't find his Iron Maiden CDs. That would be worse than marijuana.

She had her hands on her hips, which was never a good sign. “Al I know is you're not eatin', but you're bigger than Bobby Watkins. So if it's not the marijuana, you must be takin' steroids like those footbal players they're always talkin' about on TV.”

Link had let his head fal against the wal in defeat.

“Mom, I'm not an NFL footbal player, and I'm not takin' steroids.”

Her eyes had narrowed. “We'l see.”

Now she was about to.

Someone was pounding on the restroom door.

“Wesley Lincoln, are you al right in there? Do you need help?”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies