Read Uncanny Day Online

Authors: Cory Clubb

Tags: #fantasy, #YA, #Superhero

Uncanny Day

BOOK: Uncanny Day
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PRAISE FOR CORY CLUBB

“Uncanny Day is a jaw-dropping YA thriller. Cory Clubb has masterfully crafted an intriguing story that will have you turning on lights, jumping at every sound, and reading well into the wee hours. Its ingenious premise is matched only by fascinating characters and suck-you-into-the-story writing. You won't be able to put it down.”

- Robert Liparulo, author of the
Dreamhouse Kings
, 

The 13th Tribe
and 
The Judgment Stone

“Cory Clubb has tapped into the lurking fear just outside our collective consciousness. Uncanny Day is a refreshingly original tale about the secrets we keep, the dark lies we tell, and the consequences for peering too deep into our own personal abyss. A fun and frightening read.”

- Greg Mitchell, author of
The Coming Evil Trilogy

“Uncanny Day walks the line between a teen novel, a thriller, and a sci-fi adventure. Supernatural. Teen. Detective. What's not to like? Seriously, if Batman, the X-men, Spider-man, and Inception had cool, illegitimate offspring, you'd have Uncanny Day. YA fans, get ready...This book may just blow your mind.”

- Estevan Vega, author of
Arson
and
Ashes

“Uncanny Day
is Cory Clubb's debut YA novel, but you wouldn't know it. Clubb paces his story well, understands his YA audience, and keeps the story moving and the twists coming.

It's a good mixture of light-hearted fun and intense page-turning moments that touches on some great themes and leaves the reader wanting more.”

- Josh Olds,
LifeisStory.com

“Cory Clubb has shown that he can create tension, supernatural stress, and a brilliant plot that will stand alongside the best. Keep your eyes on him, folks – he may just be the next big thing.”

- Fiction Addict

“This is a brilliant book for an evening or weekend getaway that removes you, for just a little while, from your own daily stressors. When it's over, you'll be glad you stepped back into your own world, and it may even give you a new perspective on your own troubles.”

- Lori Twichell,
Radiant Lit

To my boys

Chapter One

SECRETS: EVERYBODY'S GOT THEM. Most are spread by word of mouth, but those are the easy ones, the surface kind. It's the ones that are hidden, the ones you never write down, the ones you never talk about, the ones you take to your grave. That's where I come in.

My name is Nolan Day, and I've led what you might call an unusual teenage life. For example, I was alone in a Laundromat on a Thursday. I'm not sure how I remember it was a Thursday, but I digress. It was a dirty Laundromat with messy, unclean floors, yellow stains on the ceiling tiles, and broken glass scattered about. The washing machine closest to me was rusted and missing its lid. The contents inside swished and spewed soap suds up at me. The oily liquid splashed my arm and I backed away, wiping it clean on the front of my shirt. In fact, all the appliances were running in some fashion. Washers churned on the spin cycle; clanking dryers tumbled clothes on the wrinkle-free selection. Laundry chaos. I took a deep breath. Not much had changed since last time I'd been in here.

I carefully stepped over the new wet spot where I'd just stood and walked the line of hard-working washers to my right. My hands were clasped behind my back as if I were a drill sergeant performing a troop inspection. I was looking for an inconsistency, something out of place. A secret.

I hadn't been searching long when the ringing started. A white telephone hung on the wall to my left, its long, curled cord reaching all the way to the ground. The receiver rang so frantically that it almost bounced right out of its cradle.

I moved to the phone and picked it up, leaning against a bulletin board full of flyers. When I pressed the receiver against my ear, I heard a high-pitched, giddy female voice on the other end. It was Laura Hartman. She squealed on about decorations for some party using the word “like” a lot, but I ignored the rest. Instead, as some silly joke, I pretended I was the owner of the Laundromat, plugging my other ear with my finger and shouting back into the receiver.

“Hello! What? No, I'm sorry, we're all full here!” I took another look around and realized that was actually true. Although, it didn't matter; Laura couldn't hear me anyway. She changed topics to a criticism of some other girl's outfit. Still in character, I yelled over her.

“What's that? No, we don't do wool; the stuff's too friggin' itchy!”

I slung the phone back into its cradle, satisfied with the pretend conversation, and that's when I saw it. On the wall of mini round vertigos that were spinning dryers, one was completely frozen.

Gotcha!

I was about halfway across the room when the phone started to ring again. Transforming back into the character of the Laundromat owner, I pretended I was going to turn around and answer it again, but instead journeyed toward the lone dryer. I chuckled along the way—probably another wool lover. My sneakers squeaked beneath me as more soapy water spilled on the floor, providing me with a slick path. Once to the motionless dryer, I realized it was just high enough to be taller than my five-foot, nine inches.

Crap.

I extended my arm up and fiddled the dryer's handle. The door swung open. I should have known. Last time I was here, it was a stone-silent washing machine that held what I was looking for. These subtle differences are almost always the key to someone's hiding place.

Since the dryer was so high up, I had to search the contents blindly with my hand. The air inside was warm, and I could smell something. What was it? Ah, yes—fresh dryer lint.

My hand grazed something. Grasping the object, I pulled it out of the dryer. It was a piece of rolled-up poster board. I pinched one end with my fingers and let it uncoil in front of me. I recognized it instantly; I'd seen them all over school. It was an announcement for the upcoming school dance, but this one had three giant, bold words written on it.

GREG WILKINS LIES

A smirk slid to my lips.
Bingo
.

I was finished. I'd gotten the information I'd come for, so I exited the dirty Laundromat and returned to my own head.

As I settled back into myself, my eyes began to refocus and I was greeted by the face of Laura herself.

“Um…excuse
you
, freak.” She was dressed in her maroon-and-white cheerleader uniform. (Go Ravens! Sorry if I don't belt out the River West High School song.) Laura gave me a half “Are you kidding me?” look, her right hand on her hip. “Watch where you're going!”

“Oh, sorry.” I moved and let her pass to meet up with two of her nameless girlfriends of the week. Laura continued down the main hallway. I smiled to myself. She had no idea that I'd just read her mind.

Chapter Two

READING SOMEONE'S MIND IS different than some may believe. Believe me, Hollywood has it all wrong. The exchange between me and Laura took maybe two seconds. It's a good thing, too, because every time I use my power, I feel like my body is like an idling car just ready for a mind thief to jump in and drive it away. Well, that is, if something like that actually existed.

Most people were fooled by Laura's sparkling white teeth, blonde locks, and teasing giggle. Even though she was probably flirting her way through her classes (she might as well already hold a degree in hot trends or at least own the trademarks to some), the fact remained that Laura was undeniably very popular.

“Hey, Laura,” I called to her, “who are you going with to the dance?” A look of shock melted her face as the three of them laughed together.

“Not with you.” Her bottom lip cartoonishly pouted at me. “And sweetie, a tip. You might want to get that disgusting nosebleed under control before you start asking the rest of the leftovers around school.”

I touched a finger to my nose. It came back smeared in red.

In the guys' bathroom, I ran cold water and washed the blood off my finger, and then splashed some of the water on my face. A
nosebleed
? I drew in a few deep breaths and looked at my reflection. I looked haggard. Did it have something to do with my lack of sleep? Dark circles under my eyes reminded me that I was a full-fledged insomniac, but it was not how you'd think. And yet now I had this new problem.

My attention quickly shifted to a more pressing matter. Trent Philips sauntered into the bathroom. In with him came an air of tension. This was a bad start to the day. Trent was built like an end-of-season cornstalk, shabby and thin. He was not much bigger than me in size, but the word “scrappy” came to mind.

I dried my hands with a paper towel and moved toward the door. My mind pretended he didn't even exist. Trent reached across my path and planted his hand on the side of the wall. This wasn't good.

“What up, loser?” He pushed himself into my personal space. Trent seemed to be chewing on something—gum, or maybe just his own tongue. He just chomped away at it. “How's Daddy doin'?” He made a mock worried-looking face at me. “I'm surprised you haven't joined him in your own little white padded room yet!” Trent crackled with laughter.

“Forget you,” I said back. Trent excelled in torturing. He made it his mission to key in on a person's personal struggles. It was common knowledge around school that I lived with foster parents, Rick and Tracy Mitchell. But the answer to Trent's question was that I hadn't seen my dad in over a year.

“Okay, then, new topic. How's your snitch business these days?” Trent said through a toothy smirk.

“It's an information business, and I don't work for sewage like you,” I said.

Trent shook his head slowly, his smirk still present. “I'm not one of those pathetic idiots looking to hire you to learn somebody's stupid secret.” He let his statement hang for a moment. He had my attention. “See, instead I've got bit of secret
information
for you.”

My body started to tighten; I was ready to defend myself. Trent was a worm, slimy at best, the type of guy who was out to hurt people for his own entertainment. I may use my gift to infiltrate people's minds, but I didn't do it to destroy them. Their thoughts belong to them; I just read them and then pass along the facts. Trent was a wild card.

He lowered his hand from the wall, dropping his guard. This was my chance to get past him and end our little encounter.

“No, thanks.” I moved to make my escape, but Trent was faster and caught me in my chest, a fistful of my shirt in his hand. Out of instinct, I grasped his forearm with both my hands. He pushed me backward, my feet lost their place, and I went crashing on my butt to the tiled floor.

“You'd better listen to me. It's for your own good, Nolan,” Trent said through gritted teeth, his smirk gone. My heart raced now. Trent pointed a finger down at me. Instantly, memories of Dad flooded into my head. I shook them off and used the rage that had bubbled up inside.

“Go to hell,” I said.

Trent's face looked even more firm now. “Listen,” he said, letting out a short breath. He was obviously very serious. “You'd better keep a close eye on the punk you call a foster brother.”

I squinted in confusion. “Dean?”

“You can't trust him. Get—” Trent's words were cut off as a pair of arms grabbed him from behind, restraining him easily.

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