This is a Young Adult story tackling issues of self-harm and suicide. It is intended for teen readers or older. If you want to read from the beginning, click over to chapter 1.
Kassandra snatched the cards away, but Marco didn’t react. Not even a snide remark. He simply stood there, staring into space.
“All right people.” Mrs. Beehive clapped her hands. “Back to your desks.”
Diana grabbed his hand, tugging him away. He shuffled along.
Kassandra shoved the deck into her purse, but left the blank card out. The title at the bottom read: four of cups.
Mrs. Beehive asked for examples of tone and mood from the story. Kassandra pretended to take notes but her gaze was fixed on Marco. Diana did the same. He seemed to be the only one of the three even remotely interested in what Mrs. Beehive had to say, staring at the board as if it offered salvation.
Diana whispered something in his ear. He shrugged, prompting a scowl from her. “Marco,” she said loud enough to reach Kassandra. No response. His eyelids hung at half-mast.
Mrs. Beehive’s face scrunched up, eyeing Diana. The girl flashed another “I’m innocent” smile, though this time it looked forced.
It was the cards. They did something to him. Kassandra glanced around the room. Lindsay scrutinized her, perfectly formed eyebrows bunching together.
Once Mrs. Beehive turned back to the board, Diana spun on Marco. “Are you even listening to me?” He blinked, but still stared forward.
By this time, most of the class had tuned into the Diana and Marco show.
“Talk to me!” She shoved and he slid off the chair, slumping to the floor. Chuckles rippled through the room. One boy whipped out a camera phone.
Even Mrs. Beehive couldn’t ignore this. “Marco Hernandez. Please take your seat.” He scrambled back to the desk.
Diana stood and leaned into Marco’s face, her whole body quivering. “What is wrong with you!” Her voice crescendoed, leaving whisper mode and venturing into class disrupting volume.
Mrs. Beehive frowned, hands on hips. “Diana Davis, please escort yourself to the office.”
Diana gripped Marco by the hair, twisted his head, and planted a big sloppy kiss. When she pulled away, he tilted to face the whiteboard. Diana swiveled and glared at Kassandra. The class turned to look. “He was fine before messing around with you and those cards. You did something to him.”
“The office, Miss Davis!” Mrs. Beehive said. “Before I call security.”
Diana marched into the hall.
The moment she vanished, the chatter began. Camera Phone Guy typed away, sending the picture across the mobile teen network.
Kassandra slunk lower in her seat, avoiding Lindsay’s gaze. Marco was the one who grabbed the cards. Maybe the deck was just being defensive.
“Pretty cool,” someone said.
She glanced over and saw The Browless One looking her way through a mop of tangled hair. At least one person supported her.
When class ended, Kassandra headed toward the door. Students scooted away from her, creating a path. Marco remained fixed at the desk, the same dopey look on his face.
Kassandra needed to figure these cards out. Right now. She located the library and rushed inside. Rows of shoulder-high shelves loaded with books crammed the space. The room was deserted except for the librarian stamping books. Kassandra spied a bank of computers against the far wall and made a bee line. She nearly jumped at seeing Book Girl hiding between two shelves, the same book propped on her knees.
The girl glanced up and put a finger to her lips.
Kassandra paused mid-step and turned toward the librarian, still working through one of the stacks of books. When she looked back, Book Girl was reading again. How the heck did she make Honors English anyway if she skipped classes?
Kassandra picked the nearest computer terminal and clicked open the Internet, searching for “Two of coins Tarot Card”—the one that spurred Lindsay’s wardrobe malfunction. The computer spewed up pages of links. The first one gave a list of meanings: Embarrassment, obstacles, obstruction, emotion, confusion, difficulty, hindrance, unrest.
The first word, embarrassment, caught her attention. Nothing could be worse than appearing naked in high school. The site also listed a picture of the card. It showed a juggler holding two oversized coins in his hands. Nothing like the one in Kassandra’s deck.
She ran a search for the four of cups. Marco’s card.: Ennui, Displeasure, Discontent, Dissatisfaction, Boredom.
Well, Marco certainly looked out of it, which was a type of boredom. Although his was the industrial-size variety. Again the picture on the website didn’t match the picture she’d seen on the card. What if these Tarot cards were some special deck nobody knew about?
The bell rang. Time to hustle.
Before closing out the web browser, Kassandra scanned the site one last time. Not all the cards were bad news. Many of them talked about success or money. She could sure use a little good luck.
She noted the seven of coins because the website said it represented money and riches. Locating the card, she slapped it on the counter. The illustration showed five guys gambling at a green table. Seven ginormous coins hovered around them.
The librarian dumped a stack of books onto a cart. Kassandra glanced at the clock. Two minutes late to her next class. She shut her eyes and concentrated. Money. New jeans. A nice writing journal. A peek showed the five guys still whooping it up at the green table.
Perfect. So the cards did their freaky mojo at the worst possible time, but when Kassandra really need something…zip.
She stuffed the deck back in the purse and raced through the deserted halls. Rounding a corner, Lindsay Barker strolled down the hall, flanked by two other girls. Kassandra must’ve looked like an injured gazelle because Lindsay smirked, pinning her with a gaze that said, “I’m ready to rip open your throat.”