GENRE: YA Suspense
Cole Zabek looked like he was destined to die young and become a
vengeful spirit. Or maybe he looked like a romantic hero who should have been
brooding on a windswept moor instead of standing in the doorway of a high
school cafeteria. Either way, I couldn’t stop staring.
Beside me, Cole’s sister Julia pressed her hands flat against the table. She
spoke to me, but her eyes were riveted on her older brother.
“Remember, Callie, do not ask him anything about….”
“Anything. I promise.” Even without Julia’s warnings, I wouldn’t have asked
questions. I couldn’t think of any that weren’t fatally awkward.
Julia caught Cole’s attention, and, at the tiniest gesture of her fingers, he
moved across the room toward us.
“He’s only been home for a week, and he’s still…fragile.”
“I know, Jules. I know.”
In the six months I’d known Julia, she’d talked constantly about her
brother. He was smart. He was sensitive. He had a poet’s soul. When I asked why
he didn’t go to our school, she squeezed her jaw tight, and her chin shook.
I had apologized for prying, but she took a shaky breath. “Don’t
apologize, Callie. I’m telling you, it’s just….”
“Private,” she finished.
“You don’t have to….”
“I said I want to. I want you to know who I am, and Cole—he’s like a part
of me.” She set down the napkin and pressed her palms together like she was
praying. “He’s been in the hospital."