Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl's body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me.
Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can't get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he's not in juvie--that he's in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life--I can't turn my back on him again.
No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn't trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me.
I'm as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can't be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.
Even if I get lost, as well..
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March 31, 2011
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Excerpt from In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane
Charlotte, North Carolina
Two nights before Mom kidnapped me and screwed up my summer, she told me I was going with her. I didn't want to go back to Oklahoma, but she said I was too young to stay home alone. The real truth was that she didn't trust me. I'd given her plenty of reasons to feel that way. And I had the razor scars to prove it. After she told me, I screamed into her face until I shook all over.
"You never listen. When are you gonna stop blaming me for what happened?" I wanted to throw something. Anything! Instead I turned my back on her and headed for my room.
"You come back here, Brenna. We're not done." My mom yelled after me, but I knew she wouldn't follow.
Not this time.
My heart was pounding and my face felt swollen and hot. I had been out of control and couldn't stop my rage. And when I got in my mother's face, I had seen myself yelling like I was outside my body. From behind my eyes--in the heat of the moment--I usually don't remember much. But this time I was outside looking down. And I saw my mom's disappointment.
I knew she was afraid of me--and for me. And I still couldn't stop.
I'm a freak. I'm toxic. I don't know how to change and I'm not sure I want to. When I got to my room, I slammed my door so hard that a framed photo of my dead grandmother fell off a wall in the hallway. The glass shattered into a million pieces.
I didn't clean it up.
In my bathroom, I puked until I had nothing left but dry heaves. Whenever I felt like everything was out of control--that my life wasn't my own--that's when I usually hurled. I knew getting sick wasn't normal, but I didn't care. I refused to let Mom in on my little self-inflicted wound. I didn't want the attention.
When I went to bed that night, I wanted to be alone, but I felt my mom in the house. Hiding in the dark of my bedroom wasn't enough. And when the tears came, I couldn't stand being inside anymore. I slipped out my window in my boxers and tank top, like I usually do, and ran into the open field behind my house toward the old cemetery.
I didn't make it to the stone angels.
I ran, screaming, until my throat hurt. I knew no one would come and no one could hear me, but I wasn't sure anyone would care if I kept running. When I finally dropped to my knees, I collapsed onto my back and stared up into the stars. My chest was heaving and sweat poured off my body, making the cuts on my bare legs sting. Brambles and weeds had torn up my skin, but the pain wasn't enough. It was never enough.
My mom had given me no choice. In two days, we'd drive back to Shawano, a town in Oklahoma that I couldn't leave fast enough when I was fourteen.
Just thinking about going back--even after two years--made me sick. I couldn't catch my breath, no matter how hard I tried. I was dizzy and my chest hurt real bad. And when I thought I would die, I was surprised at how hard I fought to breathe. I had to think about something else, to stop from getting sick again.
That's when my thoughts turned to White Bird and I pictured his face the way I remembered him from before. Seeing him in my mind calmed me even though being involved with him back then had gotten me into trouble. People in Shawano already saw both of us as losers. And my turning him in to Sheriff Logan didn't change that.
In fact, it made things worse. The sheriff connected the dots and interrogated me as an accomplice. He just didn't understand how wrong he was.
Reporting the murder had torn me apart. I couldn't believe White Bird, a boy I trusted with everything that I was, could do such a thing. Seeing him that day made me question everything I believed ...