Home > Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls #5)(10)

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls #5)(10)
Author: Ally Carter

“No, it’s not,” I said, turning to the window, but the bright sky was dimmer. Dusk had come and I hadn’t even known it.

“This time of year the days start getting much shorter, Cammie. I imagine—like the trees—that’s something that would sneak up on you. And you slept for a long time.”

“Oh,” I said, standing. “Right.”

“It will get better, Cammie,” Dr. Steve said, stopping me in the door. “You’ll get some rest and some space, and eventually it will get better.”

Chapter Eleven

I don’t know if it was all that talking, or the studying, or maybe the crash course that Courtney Bauer agreed to put me through in the P&E barn, but that night, going to sleep totally wasn’t a problem. I mean, I’m fairly sure I managed to put on pajamas and brush my teeth, but I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow before I was one hundred percent out of it.

And dreaming.

There are a lot of kinds of dreams. Liz and her books about the brain have told me that much is true. There are “it’s finals week and I just remembered a class I haven’t been to all semester” dreams. Then there are “my friends and I are the stars of a popular sitcom” dreams. And, of course, there are the perfect day, perfect moment, perfect life dreams that come sometimes and make a person hit the snooze button for hours, trying to go back to sleep and make the perfect moments last.

This wasn’t like that.

At first, it felt like the school must have been on fire, because the smell of smoke was so thick and real. I was too hot, smothered. Everything was crashing down around me, pushing in from all sides, and yet my arms couldn’t move. I struggled against the bonds, heard talking and laughter, and fought harder.

I had to escape—outrun whatever it was that was chasing me—before the fire of the tombs caught up to me, before the smoke became too strong.

And then the fire was over. I was suddenly cold, and my feet were bare. My blood felt warm as it ran over my skin, but I kept running anyway.

I had to keep running.

There was something rough against my hands, and yet I kept clawing, fighting, trying to find my way out.

“I should have known you’d be here.”

The words were new. They didn’t belong there. And because of them I had to stop. To think.

“The least you can do is look at me when I’m talking to you.”

And that was when I knew the dream was over. I turned to see Bex twenty feet away, arms crossed, staring daggers.

“Where am I?” I asked, but Bex just rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, you’re lost. You know every inch of this mansion, Cam. If you expect me to believe that you of all people are lost—”

“This is the basement,” I said, looking up and down the darkened hallway. I knew there was a narrow staircase behind Bex, leading to the foyer above. To my left I saw the old Gallagher family tapestry. Behind it lay my favorite secret passage, and beyond that, the world.

“What am I doing here, Bex?” I asked, suddenly afraid. “What time is it? How did I get here?!”

But Bex didn’t answer. She just looked down at my bare feet and said, “If you’re running away again, you might want to remember your shoes.”

She was starting to walk away when I yelled, “I’m not leaving!”

And then she spun back to me. The cold indifference was gone, replaced by a terrible rage as she shouted, “Then what are you doing wandering the halls in the middle of the night? What are you doing down here? Why…You know what? Never mind.”

“I don’t know. I was asleep and—”

“Sleepwalking?” Bex asked, then gave a short laugh. “Likely bloody story.”

“I wouldn’t lie to you, Bex,” I heard myself shouting. “I have never lied to you.”

For a second, her expression changed. My friend was there, and she believed me. She missed me. She was as terrified as I was. But whatever she was going to say next was drowned out by the sound of pounding feet.

“Cammie!” Abby appeared at the end of the hallway. “Rachel, I have her,” my aunt yelled, but she didn’t stop moving until she held me.

“Don’t do that,” Abby said, grabbing my shoulders and shaking me. It was the first time anyone had dared to touch me since I’d tried to kill Dr. Steve. “Cammie, don’t leave your suite in the middle of the night again. Do. Not. Do. That.”

And then my mother was there, pushing past Bex, pulling me from my aunt’s arms and into her own. “Cammie, sweetheart, look at me. Are you okay?”

“Of course she’s okay,” Bex said.

“Bex,” Abby warned.

“She’s fine! She’s just a…” Bex started, but she stopped when she saw my mother’s eyes.

“Cam”—Mom gripped my arms so tightly it almost hurt—“what are you doing here?”

At the end of the hall, Professor Buckingham and Madame Dabney were rushing closer, both of them in housecoats, their hair in curlers. It might have been funny. I might have wondered if the two of them had been in the middle of a sleepover, complete with mani-pedis and facials, if Liz and Macey hadn’t arrived by then too. I saw Liz shaking, trembling in a way that probably had nothing to do with the drafty hall.

“I came here,” I said, and I instantly knew it was true. “I came here last spring.” I felt myself pointing to the tapestry and the passageway that lay behind it. “That was where I left.”

“Impossible.” Buckingham pulled her robe tighter. “That corridor was closed last December. I oversaw the work myself.”

“There’s a branch no one knew about. You missed it,” I said, but my gaze never left my mother. “I remember coming here.…I came here and then…”

“What happened next, Cammie?” Liz asked, inching forward.

“I don’t know.”

“Yes you do,” Liz said. “You know. You just have to—”

“Liz,” Aunt Abby warned. “It’s okay. She doesn’t have to remember.”

“Yes I do!” I yelled, but my voice faded, frustration replaced by fear as I faced my mother. “I know you don’t want me to remember. I know you think I can’t take knowing what happened to me. But don’t you see? There’s nothing worse than not knowing.”

“Cammie,” my mom started. “You’re home now. It doesn’t matter,” she said, but I pulled away.

“It matters to me!” The hallway was too quiet for so many people. “You say I don’t want to remember—that it’s best not to know. Well, this”—I held up the raw, bloody fingers that, moments before, I’d been using to try to claw through the walls—“this is what not knowing is doing to me.” My hand began to shake, and I couldn’t stop myself. I yelled, “Why didn’t you find me?”

There are so many things the Gallagher Academy trains us to do, but the most important, I think, is to watch. To listen. And when my mother looked at my aunt, I saw the faintest hint of something pass between them, a thread I had to follow and pull, even if it meant unraveling everything I’d ever known.

“What?” I asked, but Abby was shaking her head.

“It’s nothing, Squirt.”

“What?” I demanded, turning to my mother. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“We did find you, Cammie.” Mom looked down at the ground. She seemed worried and afraid and ashamed. “We were just a little too late.”

Chapter Twelve

Okay, to tell you the truth, I totally didn’t know what was weirder—that someone knew something about my summer, or that, come Monday morning, I was crammed into a school van with my mother, my aunt, my new therapist, my roommates…and Zach.

I could hear him talking with Bex in the third row of the van, where the two of them sat next to Dr. Steve. I didn’t look at them or speak. I kept my eyes glued to the road ahead. The only thing that broke my trance was when my mother would turn from the front passenger seat and glance back at me, almost involuntarily, as if to make sure that I was still there.

“Now, Zachary, how is that study schedule I designed for you?” Dr. Steve asked about an hour into the journey.

“Good,” was Zach’s reply.

“And your new courses…anything there I should know about?” Dr. Steve went on.

“Everything’s fine,” Zach said, but he didn’t sound fine at all.

We drove through the countryside, along unfamiliar winding roads, and I didn’t let myself think about the classes I was missing (six) or the number of tests that were being added to the ones I already had to make up (two). I wasn’t at all concerned about the facts that my favorite jeans were now really big and my best friends were still pretty hostile. No, I didn’t let myself think about that.

Instead, I watched the road and the landmarks, looked at every gas station and café as if that would be the sight that would spring the trap that was my memory and put everything back the way it was supposed to be.

And yet we kept driving in circles. Hours passed and we kept backtracking and stopping for no reason—all the standard vehicular antisurveillance techniques—until, after what seemed like forever, the van finally slowed and turned onto a narrow lane that was all but invisible in the dense forest, a path hidden beneath a thick layer of falling leaves.

Mom shifted in her seat and looked at me. “You know where we are?” she asked, and I nodded.

“It’s coming back?” Liz said, her eyes bright. “See, I knew it would come back if we just had patience and faith, and now it’s—”

“It’s not back, Liz,” Macey told her just as the van pulled out of the forest and into a large clearing. It was almost noon, and the sun glistened off a lake—its water as smooth as glass under the clear blue sky. Only the sounds of the birds that filled the woods broke the stillness. It was as if that place, too, were sleeping, waiting for its owner to wake up.

“It’s Mr. Solomon’s cabin,” I said.

“Well, it’s certainly…” Dr. Steve struggled for words. “Rustic.”

Crawling out of the van, Liz held one hand up to shield her eyes from the sun, and I stepped out beside her. It felt good to stretch. Everything was cooler, fresher there. I waited for some memory to come rushing back and slap me across my senses—send the whole summer back in a blur—but nothing came.

All I felt was chilly air and warm sun and the sense that Summer Me was still hiding, lurking, like the shadows out there in those woods.

“I was here?” I said, turning to my mother and my aunt.

Dark sunglasses covered their eyes, and they didn’t look like my family—they looked like agents who needed answers if they were ever going to see the other side of this particular mission.

Abby pushed her glasses onto the top of her head and studied me. “When we discovered you were gone, we notified all the key people, but we couldn’t look for you like we normally would without alerting the Circle that you were missing. From an operational standpoint, that was the hardest part.”

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