chapter one:

precipitation

I think I understand now why my sister had so quickly decided to move

away from Greensdove after her graduation. I can't believe it has taken me so long to figure out why she never wanted to finish her two years at the community college. Was I really that naïve at twelve? I thought not, but apparently I was.

The rain never ceases here. I can honestly say that not once in my seven years here in Greensdove has it not precipitated at least once a day. Whether it's a rainstorm, snowstorm, a mere drizzle, there's always something falling from the sky. And yet it's never affected me before. Every morning I woke up, knowing it would rain, but I never recognized that. Kind of like breathing, you don't have to think about it, you just know. Never once would I say to myself, "It won't rain today." I've always known about Greensdove's unfortunate weather. But why now am I just putting the pieces together?

Perhaps it's because ever since my sister's departure, I haven't smiled a bit. Not a grin, nor a smirk. And of course no smile means no laughing. I've done neither since her leave. And so maybe the constant sadness that follows me now is why I've suddenly taken notice of the gloomy weather. Maybe because I'm always in such a rotten mood I have to take note of the awful weather, and blame my mood on that.

But why do I care so much? Why am I contemplating this predicament now? I really have no reason to do so. Sitting here in my room hits me with such a massive amount of boredom that I think about the stupidest things now. I can't handle it. My whole life has been predictable. Well, except my sister leaving. That I could not have foreseen. She was here one day and then the next, she was gone.

It's not surprising to me hearing the knock on my door.

"Elivia?"

My mother. I don't believe she could handle a mere five minutes without having to know my precise location, what I'm doing, and my body temperature. Far too protective and attached.

"Elivia, are you in here?"

I mean, I understand where she might be coming from. She was a wreck when Thelma left. Honestly, I did feel sorry for a bit, but only at first. Then after the first five hours of sobbing it just became annoying and I found myself pitying her.

"Elivia! Honey, unlock the door!"

Reluctantly, I get up from my reading location and shuffle to the door, unlock it, and walk away to my bed again.

"It's unlocked," I say without looking towards the door.

It immediately opens and I hear my mother step inside.

"Elivia, please don't lock your door anymore. I've told you that before."

She waits for my response. I give her none.

"Elivia, how are you feeling?"

"Happy as a clam" I say without taking my eyes off the page. To be honest, I'm really not even listening. I've developed this ability called 'selective hearing' where I'm able to pick out the main words of sentences and answer without even really understanding what I'm being spoken to about. In this case, I catch feeling and know that my mother is once again badgering me about this theorized depression she thinks I'm suffering from.

"Why don't you come downstairs? We're all watching football."

By "we're all" she means herself and Dad.

"I'm reading right now."

"I know, but you've been reading all day. Come on, the Dolphins are on" she adds with a hint of hope.

No luck.

"I liked the Dolphins in preschool. Because they were dolphins. And I liked orange. Now I'm in high school. I hate the ocean and its inhabitants. And I hate football anyways."

My eyes are still glued to the page. Without looking, I know my mother is contemplating whether or not to just leave.

"Elivia, your father has been gone all week for work. Why can't we just spend some time together as a family?"

She always worries about family time. That we're not spending enough time together or something. Personally, I think she's just worried that one of us is just going to get up and leave someday, like Thelma.

For the first time this whole conversation, I look up from my book, but still my back is to her and I'm only glaring at the wall.

"I'll be down in five minutes."

"Thank you."

She's satisfied and walks out, leaving the door open. I consider the offer and purse my lips. I should probably go downstairs. It would be the right thing to do. But when did I ever consider the right thing?

I close my book and set it on my bed. I make my way through the door and down the stairs and see my family sitting in the living room, transfixed by the game on the television.

My mom smiles, proud of her work with getting me downstairs. She pats at an open seat next to her and I drag my feet over and flop down.

"Glad you decided to show up" my father grimly says, without taking his eyes off the television.

I roll my eyes. My dad tries everything that'll make me open my big, fat mouth and get me in trouble. Which is just about anything.

I bite down on my tongue.

"What were you reading Liv?" my mom asks, quickly changing the conversation. She has the ability to foresee danger.

"My AP History textbook."

"Oh." My mom's brow furrows and she stares confused at the TV.

Truth be told, my mother was not the sharpest tool in the shed. Or the brightest bulb in the bunch. Or however other way they say it.

We all stared at the TV in silence for the next ten minutes. Watching play after play, the Dolphins getting shellacked. Finally, I got up.

"Well, I think I'm just going to go back to my textbook. Considering nothing is happening here anyways" and I started to head out of the room.

Nobody objected. Not even my mother. God, life was getting really boring around here. It seemed that my life was on a skipping tape: wake up, school, homework, dinner, bed. Wake up, school, homework, dinner, bed. And repeat for infinity.

I needed change. Something, anything. And really, at this point I meant anything. If people could die of boredom I would be dust and bones in a casket by now.

I trudged up the stairs, noticing the scratches and dents in the walls and on the hardwood floors. The door to my room stood ajar and when I entered, I shut it behind me.

It seemed like my family was literally drifting apart. Like, my parents didn't even seem solid anymore, just ghosts; wispy and translucent. I felt like every time I kissed them goodnight or touched them, they weren't really there. Being an "only" child now had its benefits. Not so much laundry to do. There was always ice cream in the freezer. I didn't have to deal with my sister's sleepover friends. But for the most part, I hated it. I was always so alone. I envied my friends, with their older and younger siblings.

Thelma held us all together. She was like that stinky, cement glue. Really solid. Minus the stinky part. She didn't really smell. With the exception of that one day she stepped in dog crap. She smelled pretty bad then. For about three hours. Finally, I couldn't take the stench any more and asked her if she needed to change her pants. Then we found the poop on the bottom of her shoe.

But back to the cement part. Thelma was probably the most mature and reasonable person in the house. Even compared to my mom and dad who sounded like seventh grade cheerleaders with their whining and yelling. Thelma always met a happy medium for the family and cooled everyone down when we were nearly at our boiling point. I really loved my sister. Loved, like, more than my mom or dad.

I made my way over to the computer desk and turned on the monitor. It took ages, but eventually the screen was on and displayed my buddy list. No new instant messages. Wow, Elivia. Social life?

I scrolled down the window, looking for anyone online that I could have over tonight. I hadn't had a sleepover in two weeks so I'm pretty sure my parents must let me have someone over tonight.

Just my luck, nobody was online. Of course. Nearly everyone's away messages posted something along the lines of: "I love (fill in nickname here) like life." Or, "out tonight with the girls." But if everyone was gone, why was I still home. In my pajamas for that matter! It was 2:30 for Christ sake!

A wave of depression rushed over me and I turned to look out my window. Not a good idea. It was raining which of course did not help my mood in the least bid. God, I hated Greensdove. I was going to go to a college far away. Somewhere dry. A desert. Heck, I would take the Sahara over this drabby town.

The rain was continuing to drizzle, the droplets bouncing off the metal gutter and making one of those noises that are so freaking annoying. Like the drip-drop of water in a sink…in a completely silent room.

I heard quiet footsteps approach my door. My mom, trying to be stealthy and quiet. She paused at the door for a moment, listening for what, I don't know.

"Yes?" I asked a hint of annoyance in my tone.

She opened my door and walked in, looking nervous.

"Yes?" I asked again.

"Livy, can you just come downstairs please?"

"I was downstairs Mom. There was absolutely zero family interaction however so I figured nobody would care if I went back upstairs."

My mother considered this.

"Livy, I need to talk to you about something."

I didn't glance up from my textbook but I'm slightly interested to hear what my mother has to say. She is not the one to bring up those uncomfortable parent-child conversations concerning sex and drugs.

She came over slowly, her hands clasped in front of her, and sat on the edge of my bed. I looked at her curiously out of the corner of my eye.

"Well…," she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "we need to talk…about Thelma."

My eyes widened and I instantly leaned towards my mom, horror washed across my face.

"Is she OK?!" I demanded.

My mother's nervous look was replaced with a surprised face. "Why, of course! She's fine. No, Liv she's completely fine. What we need to discuss is…Well, Thelma…"

"Mom! Just say it!"

"Thelma is special" she blurted out.

I was dumbstruck. What? My sister is mentally challenged? I shook my head.

"I—I don't get it."

"Your sister is…Oh god, how do I say this? She has…abilities?" She said the last word like she was trying to see if it fit right.

I was still shaking my head. So now my sister was a special retard. Awesome.

"Thelma can do…things that…other people can't—do."

I cocked my head towards her. "Like…?"

"Like predict what is going to happen?"

"So can I, Mom. You're going to a mental institution. Soon."

"No honey, I'm not kidding. Thelma has the ability to foresee what is coming. She can also…um, burn things. With her mind. And levitate."

My jaw was dropped, eyes widened.

"Stuff like that" my mother finished, like all the crazy things she had just said were concerning today's weather.

"I know, I know. It's hard to believe. And you're probably thinking that I'm crazy…"

"That's exactly it actually. What are you talking about?!" I demanded, quite concerned at this point.

My mom hurried over to the phone on my desk and dialed a number. She put the phone to her ear, her hand on her hip and foot tapping, and her eyes widened when somebody picked up.

"Thelma? Hey it's Mom. Hi sweetie, how are you? That's good. Hey listen, I…I had to tell Elivia…about, the thing?" She paused. "I know. But she's having some problems understanding. Would you mind talking to her?" She waited for an answer again. "What?! Why?! Okay, yeah. Well we'll talk when you get here, why don't you stop by? She needs to see it…Mhmm…Alright, see you in a bit. Bye."

My mom hung up the phone and left my room, leaving me dumbstruck on my bed.

What was going on?!

I jumped off my bed and hurried out of my room, down the stairs and into the living room. My mom and dad were both standing up looking at each other, but I could not comprehend the emotion on their faces. They both turned and silently stared at me.

"Could somebody please just tell me what's going on?"

"I told you Elivia! Your sister has powers!" my mom grimaced. My father wrinkled his nose, like the time he had caught a whiff of that poop on Thelma's shoe.

I stuttered, shocked by my mothers words. "…No! Mom, stop! Okay? You're being weird. Dad, what's wrong with her?!"

My dad didn't say anything, but rather studied my face for a moment. My eyes widened.

"I need to get out of here" I said abruptly, heading into the foyer.

"What? No!" I heard my mother hurrying behind me. "Elivia you're being silly!"

"I'm being silly? Really Mom? Think about what you just said" I replied, grabbing my coat off the coat rack.

"Elivia you need to stay here. Please, just until Thelma gets here. And then when you see what you have to see…you can decide if you want to leave."

I stopped and studied my mother. Her bottom lip was trembling but there were no tears in her eyes. I hung my coat back up and marched into the living room, throwing myself onto the couch. I reached for the remote in front of me on the coffee table and flicked on the television. The Dolphins game was still on. They were losing 6-34.

I stared at the blaring television screen, watching the game but not really comprehending what was going on. I was more focused on the whole dilemma that had just happened. I still didn't understand the meaning behind my mother's crazy words. Thelma can do things that other people can't do, she had said. What did all of this mean? Was my mother heading to the psych ward earlier than I had expected?

My thoughts ended there. There was a knock on the door.