The Awakening of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, #2)

Written By: Paige McKenzie

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, #2)

Paige McKenzie





Someone Else Is Watching

I sensed it the instant she passed her test.

The feeling began in my center: a small, tight twist, as though someone had taken hold of my guts and pulled tight. Unbidden, an image of what she might look like today blossomed behind my eyes: sixteen years old. Her father’s eyes. Her mother’s . . . I don’t know. All I can remember now are her eyes.

I don’t want to remember anything more. I don’t want to think about whom she might look like, sound like, act like. I’ve been setting aside such curiosities for years now. They have no place in my life. They’ll only interfere with what must be done. And it must be done. It should have been done sixteen years ago, but he took her before I could. I’ve had years now to gather my strength.

Sixteen years to plan it.

Sixteen years to envision it.

Sixteen years to steel myself for the task that’s fallen at my feet.

I’m ready to eliminate her. I just have to find her first.





CHAPTER ONE

Haunted





Sixth-period biology isn’t where most people expect to see a ghost, but I’m not like most people. After making a note about the genetic similarities of rhesus monkeys to humans, I look up to see an old lady standing in the corner of our classroom who clearly doesn’t belong there. She’s short and at least ninety years old. Or maybe, I should say, she was at least ninety. She’s wearing a pink terrycloth robe with embroidered flowers along the neckline. Her eyes are intense, small and sunken into her skull. She doesn’t blink as she stares at me, and it sends shivers along my spine. Quickly I glance around the room to reassure myself I’m the only one who sees this. No one is reacting like we have a sudden, oddly dressed guest lecturer, so I know she’s a ghost. I’m the only one who can see her, and she needs my help.

I’m new to this luiseach thing, so I try not to be too hard on myself when my first instinct is to ask for a hall pass and run out of the room. Instead, I casually reach toward the woman, trying not to draw too much attention to myself. I need her to come closer if I’m going to help her move on.

Mr. Packer moves his lecture from monkey to pig genetics, and I know I should be taking another note, but I can’t. I extend my arm a little further and focus on the woman. It works, and she begins to move toward me. She passes through three of my classmates, and they have no idea, although I do notice one of them shudders and looks around for the source of the cool breeze. He wouldn’t believe me if I told him.

As the woman gets within a few feet of me, I stretch my arm out even farther, hoping I can touch her and help her move on without anyone noticing. The woman’s jaw begins to chatter with excitement as she nears. Her mouth opens just enough to let out a sickening dark liquid that pours down her robe. Suddenly I know how she died: she was lying alone in her bed, too weak to sit up, when she began coughing. She coughed until she choked. Her name was Elizabeth, and it wasn’t the most peaceful death in the world, but at least it wasn’t the most violent either. Now I need to help her move on.

Her eyes remain locked with mine, and I wonder whether she sees me or is looking straight through me. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and suddenly I want to scream. I just want to make it all go away, for her and for me. I stand, and my chair lets out a groan as it slides against the floor. I reach out and touch her shoulder, closing my eyes as a sense of peace washes over me. Just as quickly as she appeared, Elizabeth dissolves into a bright ball of light. Within seconds the last particles of light fade into the air.

“Can I help you, Sunshine?” Mr. Packer asks, as if there wasn’t just an oozing ghost in his classroom. I open my eyes and suddenly realize how ridiculous I looked standing in the middle of the room, my arm stretched out in front of me, my eyes closed.

“Um. No. I’m fine,” I answer, quickly sitting down as half the class laughs out loud. Before Mr. Packer can resume his lecture—and before my face can reach peak redness—the bell rings. I grab my things and rush out of the classroom. Why do luiseach have to come into their powers at sixteen? It’s hard enough being sixteen without having to deal with all of this at the same time. I run out into the parking lot and sigh with relief when I see Nolan’s lanky body leaning against the car, waiting for me.

“How are you feeling?” he asks, unaware of what just happened in bio.

It’s the first day back after winter break, and around us our classmates chatter about their Christmas presents and tropical vacations, about the trees they trimmed and the candles they lit, about the movies they saw and how late they slept. Their voices fill the air around us, and, still thinking about the woman I just helped move on, I can’t decide whether or not I’m glad I’m so different from them.

“Nervous,” I finally answer Nolan, brushing my long, curly brown hair away from my face with my fingers and securing it with an elastic band. I don’t want anything obstructing the view for what I’m about to do.

“Don’t be nervous,” Nolan says as we walk across the parking lot. “You’re a natural. You’ve done it once already, right?”

“Yeah, but that was just a practice run. And I wasn’t alone then.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” he offers.

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