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Gasp 17

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  “I guess,” I say. “But like I said, I wasn’t—”

  “Well, maybe somebody just did such a great job of saving you that you didn’t even know you were saved,” Bridget says.

  Trey sits up. He starts to speak, and then he stops, hand poised in the air as if he was about to make a point. And then he looks at me. “Wait,” he says softly, closing his eyes, his face concentrating. “Wait a second.” His eyes pop open. “When did you get mugged?”

  Sawyer sits up in concern. “You got mugged?”

  But I can’t answer Sawyer because I’m thinking hard. “Christmas Eve, wasn’t it, Trey? Or the night before that? But it was no big deal. Nothing really happened. The guy ran off when another guy came out of nowhere to help me.” I look around the sea of faces, all wearing the same look. “Oh,” I say.

  I sit up as the details of that night flood my brain. The rush of footsteps in the dark. The guy shoving my pizza delivery bag at my face and grabbing me from behind, then pushing my face into a snowy bush. “He had a knife,” I say. A shiver runs up my spine as I remember the click in my ear.

  Everybody’s silent for a second. And then Bridget says, “So there you go. You didn’t start it. Next question?”

  “So the guy . . .” I say, passing my hand over my eyes, trying to concentrate. It’s like I can’t quite put all the details together.

  “The guy who saved you had a vision. He was waiting for you,” Rowan says.

  “Right,” Trey says. “He saved you, and passed on the vision to you.”

  “And you passed it to me, and that guy probably got it from someone else, too,” Sawyer says. “The point is, you didn’t start it. You,” he says, touching my shoulder, “are not responsible for this.”

  It’s like somebody pulled a hundred-pound weight off my back. “I didn’t start it,” I whisper.

  Rowan smiles. “You didn’t start it.”

  “And,” Trey says, “neither did Dad. You aren’t hereditarily insane. Yet, anyway.”

  It’s almost too much for me to take in.

  I look at Bridget. “What the hell, Bridge,” I say.

  She shrugs, looking smug. “Logic,” she says.

  I think of all the risks we took. The crash. The school shooting. Nearly drowning. The graduation stampede. We all could have died so many times. And it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my responsibility. I can hardly comprehend it. All I know is that I feel true relief for the first time in over six months.

  • • •

  Later, when Trey and Ben take a walk in the school playground in the moonlight and Rowan goes inside to chat with Charlie, Sawyer and I drive Bridget Brinkerhoff back to her hotel. She’s done getting treatments in Chicago for a while, and will travel back home to Michigan with her parents tomorrow—via land, of course. Maybe we’ll see her again. Maybe we won’t. That’s how we leave it.

  But when Sawyer and I drive back without her, it feels like a really long chapter of my life is over. There’s just one thing missing. One thing I have to do before I can really close the door on this.

  “Can we stop at that complex across from the Traverse Apartments for a minute?” I ask.

  Sawyer glances sidelong at me. “You wanna have sexy time there?”

  I laugh. “No.” A wave of nerves washes over me. “I just want to go back to the scene of the crime. The incident.”

  “Where you got mugged?”

  “Yeah.”

  He turns off to head in that direction, and soon he’s pulling into the parking lot.

  “There,” I say, pointing to a parking spot.

  He parks and we get out of the car. I walk to the sidewalk where I was standing when I heard the rush of footsteps. Walk up to the bush that had been full of snow. It’s beautiful and green now, with a few extra-long spears sticking out of it.

  “Where did the rescue guy come from?” Sawyer asks.

  I tug on one of the spears. “I don’t know. My face was full of snow. I didn’t see. Somewhere over there.” I look up and point. “I was so scared.”

  Sawyer pulls me close in a side hug and holds me.

  “Do you want to knock on doors?” he asks, only partly teasing.

  “Thinking about it,” I say. “But what are the chances he actually lives here? The vision god isn’t that thoughtful to make these tragedies convenient, you know?”

  We stand for a few more minutes, Sawyer letting me take my time to process. And now I can’t believe I never put the two incidents together. Like Bridget says, it’s logic. I shake my head, deep in thought.

  A door to one of the buildings opens.

  Four twentysomething guys come out, talking a little too loudly for the time of night it is. Sawyer’s grip on my shoulder grows noticeably tighter as the group heads toward us, but they are talking about going on a beer run and not paying attention to us.

  “Hey,” Sawyer says in greeting as they walk past.

  They respond pleasantly. I relax a bit as they pile into a car nearby.

  As the fourth guy opens the back door and puts his foot inside, he looks at us and nods once. The safety lighting from the building shines on him, and I see a raised scar down one cheek. With the door still open, his hand on the inside handle, ready to pull it shut, he pauses and looks at me. Hard.

  Our eyes lock. I swallow and give a closed-lip smile.

  He hesitates, and when the other guys start hollering for him to hurry up, a look of clarity washes over him. He smiles at me and nods. And I’m probably projecting, but it’s almost like he’s really pleased to see me. Alive.

  My chest tightens.

  The guy’s fingers flit in an awkward wave as he sits down and closes the door.

  The driver pulls out of his parking space and speeds off.

  When they’re gone, I look at Sawyer and he looks at me.

  We shrug and grin together. “Do you think that was him?” Sawyer asks, incredulous.

  “I don’t know. I doubt it. Too much of a coincidence.” I hesitate. “But maybe I’ll just pretend it’s him, and that we have an understanding now.”

  And then Sawyer plants a kiss on my lips, and we get in the car and go home.

  Because it’s over. For real this time.

  • • •

  All I know is that for a while there, we were invincible. And every now and then, when I see a news story about an ordinary hero saving people from an almost certain tragedy, I glance at Sawyer, and he glances at me, and we know the vision curse continues on without us. I think about the heroes and wonder how it happened for them—how they came to be saved, so that they, too, could rescue someone. I wonder about their stories and the people who have come in and touched their lives, and then disappeared again . . . or stayed in them.

  But those are not my stories to tell.

  LISA MCMANN is the author of the New York Times bestselling Wake trilogy, Dead to You, Cryer’s Cross, and the middle-grade dystopian fantasy series The Unwanteds. She lives with her family in the Phoenix area. Read more about Lisa and find her blog through her website at LISAMCMANN.COM or, better yet, find her on Facebook (facebook.com/mcmannfan) or follow her on Twitter (twitter.com/lisa_mcmann).

  ALSO BY LISA MCMANN

  Simon Pulse • Simon & Schuster, New York

  Watch videos, get extras, and read exclusives at

  TEEN.SimonandSchuster.com

  authors.simonandschuster.com/Lisa-Mcmann

  ALSO BY LISA MCMANN

  THE WAKE TRILOGY

  Wake

  Fade

  Gone

  THE VISIONS SERIES

  Crash

  Bang

  Cryer’s Cross

  Dead to You

  FOR YOUNGER READERS

  The Unwanteds

  Island of Silence

  Island of Fire

  * * *

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  * * *

  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  SIMON PULSE

  An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  www.SimonandSchuster.com

  First Simon Pulse hardcover edition June 2014

  Text copyright © 2014 by Lisa McMann

  Cover photographs copyright © 2014 by Thinkstock

  Cover photo illustraion by Angela Goddard

  All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

  SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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  Jacket designed by Jessica Handelman

  Jacket photographs copyright © 2014 by Thinkstock

  Photo illustration by Angela Goddard

  Author photograph © 2012 by Vania Stoyanova, VLCPhoto

  Interior designed by Mike Rosamilia

  The text of this book was set in Janson Text.

  This book has been cataloged by the Library of Congress.

  ISBN 978-1-4424-6630-2

  ISBN 978-1-4424-6632-6 (eBook)

  Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Chapter Thirty-Six

  Chapter Thirty-Seven

  Chapter Thirty-Eight

  Chapter Thirty-Nine

  Chapter Forty

  Chapter Forty-One

  Chapter Forty-Two

  Chapter Forty-Three

  Chapter Forty-Four

  Chapter Forty-Five

  Chapter Forty-Six

  Chapter Forty-Seven

  Chapter Forty-Eight

  Chapter Forty-Nine

  Chapter Fifty

  Chapter Fifty-One

  Chapter Fifty-Two

  Chapter Fifty-Three

  Epilogue

  About Lisa McMann

 


 

  Lisa McMann, Gasp

 


 

 
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