My Soul to Lose Page 13

Growing more relieved by the second, I shifted onto one hip, leaning with my elbow on the arm of the chair. “Um…I’m pretty sure my chemistry teacher hates me, but she hates everyone, so I don’t think it’s personal.”

More scribbling. “Have you ever heard voices that others could not hear?”

“Nope.” That was an easy one.

Dr. Nelson scratched his bald spot with short, neat fingernails. “Have your family or friends ever suggested that your statements were unusual?”

“You mean, do I say things that don’t make sense?” I asked, and he nodded, nowhere near as amused as I was by his questions. “Only in French class.”

“Have you ever seen things other people couldn’t see?”

My heart dropped into my stomach, and my smile melted like a Popsicle in August.


I crossed my arms over my chest and tried to ignore the dread swirling through me, like the memory of that dark fog. “Okay, look, if I answer this honestly, I’m going to sound crazy. But the very fact that I know that means I’m not really crazy, right?”

Dr. Nelson’s wiry gray eyebrows both rose. “Crazy isn’t a diagnosis, nor is it a term we use around here.”

“But you know what I mean, right?”

Instead of answering, he crossed his legs at the knee and leaned back in his chair. “Let’s talk about your panic attacks. What triggered the one you had in the mall?”

I closed my eyes. He can’t help you if you lie. But there was no guarantee he could help me if I told the truth, either.

Here goes nothin’…

“I saw a kid in a wheelchair, and I got this horrible feeling that…that he was going to die.”

Dr. Nelson frowned, his pencil poised over my file. “Why did you think he was going to die?”

I shrugged and stared miserably at my hands in my lap. “I don’t know. It’s just this really strong feeling. Like sometimes you can tell when someone’s looking at you? Or standing over your shoulder?”

He was quiet for several seconds, but for the scratching of pen against paper. Then he looked up. “So what did you see that no one else saw?”

Ah, yes. The original question. “Shadows.”

“You saw shadows? How do you know no one else could see them?”

“Because if anyone else had seen what I saw, I wouldn’t have been the center of attention.” Even with my brain-scrambling screech. “I saw shadows wrapping around the kid in the wheelchair, but not touching anyone else.” I started to tell him the rest of it. About the fog, and the things twisting and writhing inside it.

But then Dr. Nelson’s frown dissolved into a look of patient patronization—an indulgent expression I’d seen plenty of in my two days at Lakeside. He thought I was crazy.

“Kaylee, you’re describing delusions andhallucinations. Now, if you’re really not on any drugs—and your blood work will confirm that—there are several other possible causes for the symptoms you’re experiencing—”

“Like what?” I demanded. My pulse pounded thickly in my throat, and my teeth ground together so hard my jaws ached.

“Well, it’s premature to start guessing, but after—”

“Tell me. Please. If you’re going to tell me I’m crazy, at least tell me what kind of crazy I am.”

Dr. Nelson sighed and flipped my file closed. “Your symptoms could be secondary to depression, or even severe anxiety…”

But there was something he wasn’t saying. I could see it in his eyes, and my stomach started pitching. “What else?”

“It could be some form of schizophrenia, but that’s really jumping the gun. We need to run more tests and—”

But I didn’t hear anything after that. He’d brought my life to a grinding halt with that one word, and hurtled my entire future into a bleak storm of uncertainty. Of impossibility. If I was crazy, how could I possibly be anything else? Ever.

“When can I go home?” That dark, sick feeling in my stomach was churning out of control, and all I wanted in that moment was to curl up in my own bed and go to sleep. For a very long time.

“Once we get a definite diagnosis and get your meds balanced…”

“How long?”

“Two weeks, at least.”

I stood and was almost bowled over by the hopelessness crashing over me. Would I have any friends left, if this got out? Would I be that crazy girl at school now? The one everyone whispered about? Would I even go back to school?

If I was really crazy, did it even matter?

My next four days at Lakeside made the phrase bored to death seem like a distinct possibility. If not for the note from Emma that Uncle Brendon brought, I might have given up entirely. But hearing from her, knowing that she hadn’t forgotten about me—or told anyone else where I was—brought relevance back to my life outside Lakeside. Made things matter again.

Em was still planning to humiliate Toby that weekend, and crossing her fingers that I’d be back at school in time to see it happen. And in case I wasn’t, she’d made plans to broadcast his downfall on YouTube, just for me.

That became my new goal. Doing and saying whatever it took to get out. To get back to school, and back to my life.

Nurse Nancy started each morning with the same two questions and faithfully recorded my responses on a clipboard. I saw Dr. Nelson for a few minutes every day, but he seemed more concerned with the side effects of the medication he’d prescribed than with whether or not it was actually working. In my opinion, the fact that I hadn’t had any more screaming fits was total coincidence, and not the result of any of the pills they made me take.

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