Read An Excerpt

by Lisa McMann

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult

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She stares at his empty desk all morning, butterflies in her stomach. Afraid to sit there. Compelled to try. She tries to laugh off her fear. It was just a ridiculous coincidence. If she says it out loud, it’s laughable. Nobody would believe that a desk has anything to do with the disappearances. It’s absurd.

Still, the thought whirrs through her brain. She should sit there to prove it isn’t the desk.

Next to her, Jacián is pointedly not looking at her, though this morning on the way in to school he managed a gruff “Thank you” for not pressing charges. But Kendall takes no notice of him. She rests her head on her desk as usual, knowing Ms. Hinkler won’t call on her.

The teacher hasn’t asked Kendall a direct question since he disappeared.

When everyone leaves to eat lunch outside on this cool fall day, Kendall stays inside. Slowly she stands, heart pounding. She steps over to his desk and then she slides into it. She closes her eyes and holds her breath. And then she moves her arms around the desktop to embrace it. Are you here?

She rests her head on the desk and lets out her breath, then tries to relax and think about him. Think about all their good times. Lets the memories flood her brain.

It’s harmless. She is still in the room, sitting at his desk. Still here, not disappeared. After a while Kendall sits up and runs her fingers over the desktop. She reads each line of graffiti as she often does, but it feels different from this angle. She gets lost in the words as they swirl around in her mind, and she tries to make them sound right, like a poem would sound. A jumble of words, written over the course of fifty years by dozens of authors.

She lands on the plea. Probably some bored student watching the clock tick away slowly, waiting for something awesome that won’t come until the end of the day.


Save me.

She traces the letters and wonders again why she hadn’t seen them before.

And then she hears a whisper. Please. Save me. Like wind in leaves, so faint that Kendall is sure she made a mistake.

Her body tingles, and she feels the back of her neck prickle. She jerks her hand away and looks around the room. “Who’s there?”