Authors: Shelley R. Pickens
Tags: #murder, #memories, #alone, #dreams, #dark, #evil, #visions, #psychic, #boyfriend, #coma
Fire and Ice
A Young Adult Imprint of Melange
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Unhinged, Copyright 2015 Shelley R.
Names, characters, and incidents
depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher. No part of
this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in the United States of
Cover Design by Caroline
To my pumpkin and monkey: Never be
afraid of the tornadoes you encounter in life. It’s the only way
you can learn how to fly.
by Shelley R. Pickens
Being normal isn't always a good
thing, especially if it ends up killing you.
Aimee, the sixteen year old girl who can see
your every memory with just one touch, is fresh out of the torture
room after risking everything to capture a killer. Despite her
instinct to avoid contact with others, she tries her best to find a
new normal at school—perhaps even a boyfriend. But for those who
are cursed, happiness and normality aren’t easy to obtain. A
bizarre illness spreads like wildfire through the school and causes
those around Aimee to lose their sanity before falling into a coma.
Slowly, all the people she loves succumb to this strange
Alone and terrified, she must use her curse
to find a way to save her family and friends. As she delves deeper
and deeper into their memories, she realizes David, a delusional
person from her childhood, is the bigger threat that could destroy
her. Despite the danger that surrounds her, she struggles to solve
the puzzle before it’s too late to help those she cares for the
But as David moves closer to eliminating her,
one puzzle still remains. Will she be able to save herself?
“I remained too much inside my head and ended
up losing my mind.”
- Edgar Allan Poe
~ The End is Only the Beginning ~
He drew me here, to this house in the middle
of nowhere, to die by his hand. I’ve never liked guns, but they
sure do seem to like me. In fact, I’m staring down the barrel of
one right now. The clarity of mind you have, knowing that death is
coming for you any second, is astonishing. There are so many things
I would have done differently, yet so many memories I wouldn’t
trade for the world. Funny hearing myself say that. For me,
memories have never been something to cherish. They were always
something to fear. I have absorbed so many memories in the short
sixteen years of my life that it is hard for me to figure out which
ones are real and which ones are borrowed. Needless to say, few of
them are good.
Knowing what I know of the people in this
world, I should welcome death.
But I don’t.
I have a reason to live now—Logan.
He is the reason I haven’t gone insane; the
reason that I came here tonight to willingly give up my life. This
insane asshole pointing his gun at me says that it’s my fate to die
by his hand. That’s the funny thing about fate; people think it’s
written in stone. They believe the age-old adage that you must
‘accept’ your fate; but that just isn’t true. It’s simply a way for
people to accept the things they can’t change. If something good
happens, then “fate lends you a hand.” If something awful occurs,
then “fate is cruel.”
Yet either way, the fates I believe in aren’t
left to chance. I believe you make your own fate; that life is
fluid, ever changing and what you make of it is completely up to
So tonight, if I have to die to save the ones
I love, then that is what
choose—no one else. But who says
I have to go down easy? If I go down, so does he. Tonight, I will
look fate straight in the eye and tell her to go to hell.
~ Evil Rising ~
David grabs his head with his hands, the pain
so intense that he sees silver flashes before his eyes. He falls
onto his bed and allows only one groan to escape before shoving his
shirt into his mouth. He settles in for the inevitable gut
wrenching pain he’s about to experience. The plan he formed a few
short months ago, when the bomb he planted to kill Aimee backfired,
is now in full action. But, the price he is paying for his
brilliance is steeper than he ever anticipated. The feeling of
knives piercing his brain continues as he tries to focus. Though
the pain feels like someone is jamming a pickaxe in and out of his
brain, David gets through it by remembering what’s at stake:
Aimee’s death and his ascension. This unanticipated side effect
will be worth it if he’s successful. The end will totally justify
To bare the pain, David imagines Aimee’s face
before him, covered in blood, frozen in a state of agonizing
torment. Her hand will be reaching out for help and David will
simply smile at her, for none will come.
After what seems like an eternity, the pain
slowly ebbs. David removes the shirt he had stuffed into his mouth
and inhales deeply, grateful to be able to breathe again. He gets
up and makes his way to the small kitchen. He can afford better
than the poor excuse for an apartment he's currently renting, but
everything he does is meticulous and serves a higher purpose.
Keeping a low profile is essential to his plan. No one can know his
true identity until his ascension has been achieved. Then, and only
then, will the world know his name. And with that knowledge will
come the power and reverence he deserves. He will be both loved and
David takes a glass from the cupboard and
fills it with water at the small sink. He looks down and sees the
water from the glass spill over onto his hands. They are shaking
violently. Rage like he’s never known wells up inside him. None of
this would be necessary if that bitch had died as she should have.
If he had absorbed her power as he had planned, his brain wouldn’t
be deteriorating, unable to handle the onslaught of new and old
Like an echo from afar, he hears glass
shattering. Bewildered, he looks down and sees the water glass,
broken into pieces in the sink. The water now runs red with his
blood. He no longer feels pain. All he feels is rage. That is all
he needs to win this game, and win he will; for the prize is worth
more than any pain this world could throw at him.
Aimee has no idea he exists, no clue that
he’s coming for her. And better yet, she won’t realize the danger
she’s in until it is too late. By then, her fate will be sealed.
And all that she has will be
~ The New Normal ~
“Stop being such a chicken, Dejana, and just
take my hand,” I chide my best friend, as her perfectly manicured
hand hovers inches above mine. “It doesn’t hurt. And you were the
one that talked me into touching you, so just do it already,” I
say, impatient to get this little experiment over with already.
“Go easy on her, babe,” says Logan from the
seat next to me at the cafeteria table. “It isn’t like petting a
puppy. You’re going to absorb all of her memories. Not to mention,
every secret she ever had. No matter how good a friend you are,
that is unnerving. Give her a break.”
I look at my boyfriend. For the thousandth
time since we started dating two months ago, I ask myself how I
could be so lucky. Logan, the boy who brought me back from the
dead, is staring at me with those hazel eyes that always seem to
sparkle. I could drown in those eyes for days. Three months ago, he
and I were trapped in an underground hell and tortured by a killer
with an affinity for knives, bloodshed, and murdering young girls.
The killer stabbed me and I died.
I welcomed death then. A testament to the
horrid life I led, due to the memories I absorbed from some
not-so-nice people. It was Logan who brought me back to life. Logan
that helped me see that life was worth living. And for some
unfathomable reason, he chose
for a girlfriend. No one
said life had to make any sense. In fact, most days it confuses the
hell out of me.
Still absorbed within my memories, I tear my
eyes away from Logan and look around the newly renovated cafeteria
at our school. Since the old one was bombed five months ago, they
have since re-constructed this new cafeteria on the other end of
the school. The old site was converted to a memorial for the
thirty-seven victims who died there.
If you had told me three months ago that I
would be sitting here, in this new cafeteria, talking to a boy—a
boy without even the word
added—I would have laughed
and told you that you were out of your mind. Yet, here I sit, with
two of the most important people in my life, and I’m content. I
never thought that was possible for me, but here I am, living it.
And I honestly never want it to end. But cursed people don’t get
happy endings. Sadly, the cursed never live long enough to see
From the seat across from me, Dejana’s sharp
remark brings me out of my daydreams.
“Okay Aim, I’m ready now for sure,” she says
as her perfectly polished hand shakes fiercely.
I look up from our almost touching hands and
see the one thing I never want to see on my only friend’s face:
“You really don’t have to do this you know. I
know you're curious about how my curse works, but you don’t have to
experience it to understand it. I can tell you all about how I
absorb memories if you’d like. You can paint one of the happier
memories for me. It would help me separate the good from all the
bad that I witness,” I suggest.
Reprieved, Dejana looks up at me; her eyes no
longer clouded with fear. Yet her brown eyes staring back at me
mask something else entirely: disappointment? Or perhaps
Dejana opens her mouth to say something, but
a loud scream from the other end of the cafeteria interrupts her.
We both stand up a bit too quickly, knocking our chairs to floor.
We are all still on edge from the bombing. The slightest scream
sends us both into a panic. I turn to reach for Logan, but as it
turns out, there wasn’t a need. His hand is already reaching for
mine. I quickly move to put my glove back on, since I removed it
for Dejana’s little experiment, but Logan grabs my hand before I'm
After a lifetime of not being able to touch
anyone, it goes against everything I am to have any part of my skin
exposed. But for Logan, I would do anything. He told me once after
we kissed, that the jolt of electricity that accompanies my touch