The Edge of Forever

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Authors: Melissa E. Hurst
smart-ass.”
    “Would you rather I be a dumb-ass?”
    Mom lets out a stream of very un-Morgan-like words. I smile, but Professor March’s expression wipes the smile away. He’s standing in the doorway, arms crossed, scowling at me.
    “What?” I ask, not happy with the way he’s acting.
    “That’s your mother, Bridger. Show her a little respect.”
    “Are you serious?”
    “I am.”
    “Who are you talking to?” Mom asks.
    “Professor March is here with me,” I say, feeling a split second of satisfaction when her lips curl in disgust.
    “Telfair? What does he want?”
    “He actually cares about how I’m doing, and he said I can stay with him.”
    Mom shakes her head. “Oh no, you’re coming here.”
    Anger courses through my body, but I keep my voice calm. “I want to stay with him, Mom. Just for a few days so I can think things through.”
    “I said no.”
    “Don’t you care about what I want for once? Dad was right, you’re selfish.” The words are out before I can stop them. Maybe I shouldn’t have said them, but I’m glad I did.
    Mom recoils like I slapped her as Professor March barks, “Bridger, that’s enough.”
    “She never thinks about what’s good for me. It’s always what’s good for her or Shan,” I protest. I don’t get it. Why is he defending her? I thought he was on my side.
    “I know,” Professor March says. “But you’ve been suspended from the Academy for a month, and you’re going to be investigated. I suggest you do whatever she says. You don’t need any more blemishes on your record, and Morgan could do that if you defy her wishes.”
    I want to scream at how unfair it is. Why should she be allowed to control my life when she doesn’t care about me? But a very small part of me knows Professor March is right.
    “Bridger, I’m giving you exactly one hour to get here, or I’ll report you as a runaway,” Mom says.
    “Why are you doing this?” I ask.
    “Because contrary to what you think, you’re my son and I do love you.” Her voice is softer, more like the one I remember from my childhood, back when our family was still intact.
    It’s an act. She hasn’t shown any affection for me since the divorce. Not since I supported Dad when he decided to leave.
    “Bridger, don’t do anything stupid,” Professor March warns.
    “Fine,” I snap. “I’ll go.”

8
    ALORA
    APRIL 9, 2013
    A fter Sela deposits me at the house, I plunk my books and bag of donuts on the porch and sit in one of the white rocking chairs. I rub my arm where I felt the touch back at The Gingerbread House as if I can make the memory disappear. I don’t know why I keep thinking about it like someone actually did touch me. Nobody was there except for Mrs. Randolph, and she was too far away from me when it happened.
    What if I’m losing my mind? First I skip school and can’t remember what I did or how I got home; now I’m imagining invisible people grabbing me. Next stop, the loony bin.
    I wish I could tell Aunt Grace what’s going on, but she’d freak out and drag me to the emergency room. Besides, I think I have an idea of what could be happening. The dream I’ve had with my father and the two women are ones I’ve dealt with on and off for years, ever since I came to live in Willow Creek. Usually I just have them once or twice a month.
    But I’ve had that dream every night for the past two weeks. Could this be a side effect of my memories trying to resurface?
    I can’t remember why I came to live with Aunt Grace when I was six years old. She just said that my dad left me with her and wouldn’t tell her what was going on. I don’t believe that for one minute. It seems weird for him to have left me without telling her why, but for some reason Aunt Grace doesn’t want to talk to me about it.
    “I’m home,” I yell once I’m inside.
    “Back here,” Aunt Grace replies.
    In the kitchen, I find Aunt Grace peeling potatoes by the sink.
    “What’s for supper?” I ask as I place

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