what if the words in a book could take you to another place - literally?
Chapter Twenty-Four ~ Tasmin
Drill - no. Nails - no. Glue gun - no. Spanner - no. Screwdriver - yep.
Tasmin sorted through all the tools on the shelf. She placed the screwdriver in her satchel and continued searching on another shelf. Pocket knife - no. Bottle opener - uh, no. Chainsaw - nope. Hammer - eh, why not?
She looked through her bag once she was done. Screwdriver, hammer, measuring tape, a large knife-y thing, and a pencil.
She walked out of her dad’s shed and back into the house. Her dad was out and Michael was at a play date - her only concern was Tori, and she was her biggest threat at the moment.
Tasmin walked up the stairs and into her bedroom. It was Sunday afternoon, and she had decided to take some action with the Tori situation. She couldn’t let her get ahold of the book about Toby and the Light Horse.
She walked over to her bedside table and placed her satchel full of tools beside her. She pushed the table over to her left, away from her bed, until she could see the floorboards underneath where it had been. And then she got to work.
She unscrewed the nails in a floorboard and pried open the board, until there was a gap in the floor. There was a reasonably large hole now, and Tasmin grinned, proud of her work. She placed the book in the hole, and then placed the board over the top. It almost looked as if nothing had ever been removed.
She pushed the table back over her work, and then put the satchel with all the tools inside underneath her bed.
Tasmin had an unusual spring in her step on Monday morning.
After slinging her bag over her shoulder, she raced down the stairs. Her dad was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper and eating his toast.
“Morning, Dad!”
“Good morning, Taz.” He mumbled, engrossed in an article.
Tasmin sat down opposite him and poured herself some cereal. As she began to hurriedly eat it, her dad looked up.
“Oh, I just remembered,” he said, putting a finger in the air. “Tori asked me to ask you whether you were done with that book she wanted to read.” He went back to his article.
Ha! Tasmin almost said. Not likely.
“Oh no,” Tasmin smacked the palm of her hand onto her forehead. “Dang it! I had to return that book to the library - it was almost overdue.”
Her dad looked up again. “It was a library book?”
“Yeah.” She nodded, trying to sound convincing.
“That’s a shame. Tori really wanted to read it.”
“Yeah. I’m sorry about that.”
There was a silence. Nothing but the crunch of cereal in her mouth.
“I gotta go, Dad,” Tasmin stood up and put her bowl in the sink. “I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Later, alligator. Have a great day at school!”
She smiled as she walked out of the door.
It was going to be a good day.
Thalia, Natalie and Ethan were waiting for Tasmin at the school gate.
“Hey, guys,” she said.
They all greeted her back, and then walked to the locker corridor while sharing fascinating stories of their weekends. At one point, Tasmin looked up at Ethan and winked at him. He returned it with a peck on the cheek.
Class went by like a blur. At both breaks, they all sat together and talked about...well, anything. Classes, teachers, the everlasting boredom of school, movies that were coming out in theatres that month, upcoming parties that they, unsurprisingly, weren’t invited to, gossip, rumours...secrets.
After lunch, Natalie and Tasmin had maths together. They grabbed their books and rushed to the classroom. On the way, Natalie wouldn’t stop talking about a movie she had seen on the weekend.
“I mean, all in all, it was a great movie, but it was one of the worst book adaptations I have ever seen in my life.” Nat said passionately. “I mean, is it really that hard to dye the actor of the main protagonist’s hair brown? Throughout the book, it mentions “she flipped her long, brown hair over her shoulder” and “he wove his hands through her beautiful, brown hair” and “she looked at her brown hair in the mirror” but they still couldn’t get the memo that her hair is brown not blonde. Ugh! It’s like - ‘Sure. We’ll pay gazillions of dollars to have top-notch CGI and an amazing cast but no way could we pay to dye the actor’s hair brown. Nooo.’ Do you know what I mean?” I just nodded. “It’s just so irritating - ”
And all of a sudden, everything changed.
It only lasted for a few seconds, but it was like they were in a different place. No, it was like they were in the same place, but everything was just...different. People were still walking around the corridor, but different people were in different positions, and the hallway was somehow quieter. There was less laughing, less loud talking, and more whispers. Tasmin saw someone stare at her as they walked past.
But the biggest change was this - Natalie wasn’t there.
She wasn’t standing in front of Tasmin, rambling on about the poor book adaptation, or rambling on about anything. No, she wasn’t there at all.
“ - that they could do this to such a fantastic book!” The hallway had changed back to its original setup, and Natalie was in front of her again, rambling on. “I mean - it was a bestseller. There are fangirls probably in tears all around the world...Tasmin? Are you okay?”
Tasmin felt panic rising up in her chest. What had just happened? What was that? Was she going insane?
“I...I’m fine,” she stammered.
“No, you’re not,” Natalie had a concerned look on her face. She put her hand on Tasmin’s shoulder. “You’ve gone so pale, and you’re shaking like crazy, Taz.”
“I promise - I’m okay.”
“I’m going to take you to sick bay,” Natalie said firmly. Tasmin shook her head. She couldn’t say anything, or she was worried she would throw up. “Please can I take you to sick bay? Please, Taz. Come on, would it really be that bad missing math? Let’s go.”
She took her arm and pulled her in the direction of the Student Services Office. After they arrived, the woman at the front desk took Tasmin straight to a bed in the sick bay and dismissed Natalie, thanking her for bringing her to the office.
“What seems to be the problem, sweetheart?” The woman had a kind smile and creases at the corner of her eyes. Tasmin wanted to cry, tell her everything, and about how she thought she was going insane but how she couldn’t be because it all seemed so real. About how she wanted her mum more than anything in the world right now, but she couldn’t because her mum was gone. About how hard it was for Tasmin to be with Natalie because she knew that if she wasn’t a freak, Natalie would still be in a coma.
“I just feel a little lightheaded,” was all she said.
“You’re very pale,” the woman noted. She felt Tasmin’s pulse at her wrist. “And your pulse is racing, sweetie.”
Tasmin felt her body twitch slightly - she was shaking, but from fear or nervousness or anxiety or panic, she didn’t know.
“Hmm,” the woman sat back from Tasmin. “You’re shaking. Did you have a exam next period, or anything you have a reason to be worried about?”
“N - no,” Tasmin shook her head.
“Have you ever experienced a panic attack before, sweetheart?”
She shook her head and swallowed. “Do...do you have a - a bag? Or something?”
The woman seemed to understand. She fetched a plastic bag from the cupboard and handed it to Tasmin, who nodded in thanks. She felt her whole body retch forwards into the bag.
“It seems to me as if you may have had a panic attack,” the woman looked empathetic. “But you say that you didn’t have anything to be...panicked about?”
“I...I kind of get very anxious from time to time,” Tasmin explained. It wasn’t really a lie. “My mum...she died about a year ago. I guess you could say I get a little...panicked sometimes.”
“Oh, sweetie,” the woman patted her on the back. “I know how it is. I really do.” That’s what they all said. “Could I please have your name and year group so that I can call your parents?”
“Tasmin Reynolds. Ninth grade,” Tasmin told her. The woman nodded, and went over to a bench on the far side of the room. She began leafing through a large book that sat on the countertop. After she seemingly found Tasmin’s name, she took the phone that hung off the wall, dialled in a number, and put it to her ear.
“Hello, Mr. Reynolds. This is Richelle White, from your daughter’s school’s office,” the woman spoke into the phone. “...yes, unfortunately Tasmin was rushed to sick bay this afternoon...it seems to me like she suffered from a minor panic attack, but of course there is no way I can be sure...no, I know - Tasmin let me know that she hadn’t experienced one before...she’s safe and sound, Mr. Reynolds...it’s no problem, no problem at all. It’s really the least I can do...symptoms? Ah, lightheadedness, shaking of the body, vomiting, racing pulse...yes...yes, I know...great...okay, thank you. Bye, have a good one.” She hung up the phone. “What a lovely father you have, Tasmin. Now, he told me to let you know that he’ll be calling Tori right away. She’ll be coming to pick you up and take you home, and then he’ll get back from work A.S.A.P.” She walked over and smiled. “But for now, just lie back down and get some rest. She’ll be here very soon.”
“A panic attack?” Tori asked as she looked at Tasmin sideways from the driver’s seat. “Honey, that’s serious.”
“I know,” Tasmin felt uncomfortable being in the same car as Tori. “I don’t even know what provoked it. I mean, there’s nothing I have to be worried about.”
Tori nodded. “Sure, honey. But you know, if there is something that’s bothering you, you can always let me know...or your dad know. We’re both very happy to talk about...anything.”
“Thanks,” Tasmin said. There it was again. Why did Tori have a suspicion that something was bothering her? She definitely knew something was up.
Tasmin and her Dad went to the doctor’s later that day. The doctor said that he couldn’t be sure, but it definitely sounded somewhat like a panic attack. He prescribed Tasmin some medication in case it got really bad again, and they left.
As Tasmin lay in bed that night, a single thought kept crossing her mind.
What had that “vision” thing been?

Keep Reading

Chapter 25

Chapter Twenty-Five ~ Leylina

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