Home > The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1)(17)

The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1)(17)
Author: L.J. Smith

Anna smiled, and Kaitlyn felt more peaceful, less agitated. "It wouldn't have anything to do with Rob, would it?"

"Oh, my God," Kaitlyn said, stiffening. "Is it that obvious? Do you think he knows?"

"No . . . but I'm a girl, remember? I notice things boys don't notice."

"Yes, well, that's the problem, isn't it?" Kaitlyn murmured, sitting back. She felt crushed suddenly. "I've got this feeling he isn't ever going to notice."

"I heard what Joyce said about him."

Kaitlyn was very glad-she wouldn't have to repeat the story, like gossip. "Then you know it's practically hopeless," she said.

"It's not hopeless. You just have to get him to notice you, that's all. He likes you; he just doesn't realize you're a girl."

"You think he likes me?"

"Of course he does. And you're beautiful-any normal guy wouldn't have any trouble seeing you're female. With Rob, you're just going to have to do something extra."

"Like take off my shirt?"

"I was thinking of something less extreme."

"I've thought of things," Kaitlyn said. "All afternoon I've been thinking of ways . . . well, like trying to get him into romantic situations. But I don't know if it's right. Isn't that like tricking him?"

Anna smiled-a very wise smile, Kait thought. "See that mask?" she said, nodding to the one on the wall. "That's Skauk, the Raven. He was my great-grandfather's guardian spirit-and when the missionaries came along and gave my family the name 'White,' he was the one who stuck 'Raven' on, so we would always know who we were. Friends of Raven the Trickster."

Kaitlyn stared at the mask, with its long, blunt beak, in fascination.

"Raven was always doing things for his own good- but they turned out to be for everybody's good in the end. Like the time when he stole the sun."

Kaitlyn grinned, sensing a story. "When he what?"

"He stole the sun," Anna said gravely, only her eyes smiling. "Gray Eagle had the sun, but he hated people so much that he kept it hidden in his house, and everybody else lived in darkness. Raven wanted the sun for his own, but he knew Gray Eagle would never let him inside. So he turned himself into a snow white bird and tricked Gray Eagle's daughter into letting him in."

"Teh," Kaitlyn said. Anna's eyes smiled.

"As soon as she did, Raven grabbed the sun and flew away-but Gray Eagle flew after him. Raven got so scared that he dropped the sun ... and it landed in the sky, where it lit up the world for everybody."

"That's nice," Kaitlyn said, pleased.

"There're lots of stories about Raven. But the point is, sometimes a little trickery isn't so bad." Anna flashed Kait a dark-eyed glance. "And especially where boys are concerned, I think."

Kaitlyn stood up, feeling excitement churn inside her. "Then I'll do it! If I can think of something good."

"You can start with cleaning up a little," Anna said, laughing. "Right now he'll only notice you for the dirt on your nose."

Kaitlyn not only washed but changed her clothes and pulled her hair back with a gold barrette-but she didn't see that it made any difference in Rob's attitude at dinner. Dinner was novel mostly because Gabriel put in an appearance.

"He eats," Kaitlyn whispered to Anna under cover of passing the brown rice. "I was beginning to wonder."

After dinner, Gabriel vanished again. Lewis and Rob went into the common room, which they now called the study, although Kaitlyn didn't think there was much chance of anyone studying in it. Not with U2 on the CD player competing with a horror movie on the TV. It didn't seem to bother Anna, who curled up in the alcove with a book, but Kaitlyn wanted to get away.

She needed to be by herself because of Rob-and because school was tomorrow, her new school, her new chance. Her feelings were all mixed up, flying around in confusion and bumping into each other and ricocheting off even faster.

But most important, she needed to draw.

Not the ESP kind of drawing. Just regular drawing, which always helped smooth out her thoughts. She hadn't really drawn for two days.

That reminded her of something. The drawing she'd done in the lab-she'd just left it there, behind the folding screen. She should go pick it up sometime; she certainly didn't want anyone else to see it.

"I'll be back in a little while," she said to the others in the study, and then she stopped to be grateful a moment because everybody said good-bye as she left. That had always been one of her dreams, to say to a roomful of people, "I'm going" and have them all say good-bye.

The drawing wasn't in the lab. As she let herself out the back door, she hoped someone had thrown it away.

She took only her sketchbook and a couple of sticks of charcoal-it was too dark outside to really see colors. But there was enough moonlight to see trees, and the air was deliciously fresh and cold.

This is more like winter, she thought. Everything was silver and shadows. In back of the house a narrow dirt road sloped down to a stand of redwood trees. Kaitlyn followed it.

At the foot of the hill was a little, almost dry streambed, with a low concrete bridge crossing it. The road looked as if it were never used. Kaitlyn stood in the middle of the redwoods, breathing in the night and the tree smell.

What a wonderful place. The trees cut off the lights of the house, and not even U2 could penetrate this far. She felt quite alone.

She sat on a concrete curb with her sketch pad on her knees.

Although the moonlight was beautiful, the coolest kind of light imaginable, there wasn't really enough of it to draw properly. Oh, well, Kaitlyn thought, Joyce wants me to learn how to draw blind. With loose, fluid motions, she sketched in the shapes of some redwoods across the streambed. It was interesting to get only the shape and no detail.

What a peaceful place. She added a bush.

She was feeling much better already. She added a dark, sinuous line for the stream.

A night like this made you believe in magic. She started to add a few rocks-and then she heard a sound.

A thump. Like, Kaitlyn thought, freezing, someone falling out of a tree.

Or jumping.

Strange, how she knew right away it was human. Not an animal sound, and certainly nothing natural.

Someone was out here with her.

   
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