Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 1. Part 2

 

The principal gave a nervous laugh. Sierra blinked in rapid succession and then hurried from the podium, furtively glancing at the students and parents surrounding her. No one seemed to have noticed. She shook her head. Of course not, objects didn’t just up and fly through the air. She must’ve imagined it. Nerves.

Then she noticed the frown on Gran’s face and something else. Gran’s whole body was outlined in a green hue. Okay, now she really had lost it. Sierra sat down in her seat and kept her gaze trained on the podium, not daring to sneak another peek at Gran.

Fortunately, Tammy didn’t speak or try otherwise to engage Sierra until the end of the ceremony, giving her plenty of opportunity to convince herself that the stress of the day was responsible for the mirages. Take deep breaths. Try to relax. How did Gran’s technique work again? Ah, yes. My breath travels from the top of my head to my toes. Oxygen to the brain, neck muscles soft and pliable, unknotted belly, calmness in my feet.

“Are we still on for six?”

“Hmm?” Sierra turned to Tammy to discover the graduation ceremony was over and everyone was clearing out. “Sorry, yes, of course. Do you want me to bring something?”

“As if you could sneak anything past your Gran.” Tammy chuckled. “Don’t worry. I’ve stashed away a cherry vodka bottle. Plenty for the two of us until we get to Rick’s party. Your job is to secure a curfew past midnight.”

Sierra sighed. “I can’t make any promises. It depends—”

“On your dad and Gran. Yeah, I know.”

“I’m glad to hear you understand,” Gran said in a calm yet firm voice, joining them.

Tammy jerked. Recovering quickly, she said, “Of course, Mrs. Reeves.”

Sierra pushed her lips together, suppressing a smile. As much as Tammy enjoyed giving advice to others on how to stand up to authority, she didn’t adhere to it herself.

“We must go.” Gran placed her hand on Sierra’s arm. The green glow was still there.

“What do you mean? There are drinks and paninis outside.” Sierra pointed toward the hall.

“I’m sorry. We can’t stay.”

“Umm, I’ll catch you later,” Tammy said. She pointed to her cell and mouthed, “Text me.”

“What’s going on?” Sierra asked.

“I’ll tell you once we’re on our way.” The urgency in Gran’s voice and in her face temporarily drowned Sierra’s further protests.

She pushed past her classmates, praying no one noticed her leaving early. She swallowed hard when her gaze fell on Ben and a raven-haired girl. Two months had passed. She should be fine. But she wasn’t. Ben had been the one to break it off after two years, saying it would be too hard for them to make it work—what with him going to college in Boston, while she remained in Vermont. Now it looked as if distance hadn’t been his only motive.

“Go to the passenger side. I’m driving,” Gran instructed.

Deciding to pick her battles, Sierra acquiesced. She buckled up, her pulse accelerating. “What’s going on? You’re freaking me out!”

Gran’s veiny hands, bedecked with chunky antique rings quivered. “You’ve already noticed the changes, haven’t you? I’ll explain everything in a bit—”


 

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