We have a special Author Takeover this week! In lieu of a guest post, we are sharing an exclusive excerpt from Amy Bearce’s brand-new upper middle grade contemporary paranormal, Detours, which is book 2 of the Secret Psychics series. The book just released this week, and you can read it in Kindle Unlimited or order the paperback from any bookstore. (You can also request it at your local library!)
My report card might never be as impressive as my hair, but I knew one thing for sure: best friends were family. You helped them out, no matter what. So when Avery said she had to sneak over to Archer Middle School to trigger a psychic vision, I called the other four members of our group and off we went. It wasn’t as strange as it sounded, considering we were all secret psychics, too.
Archer Middle, our biggest football rival, sat on the far edge of town. It was the only other middle school in our district, built a few years after ours, not that I’m saying it matters that Divine Middle was first. (Which it was.) Sunday night in our little town of Divine meant the sidewalks rolled up at six PM. And tonight, everyone was tucked inside watching the Cowboys kick some serious Bronco booty, so there’d be no one around way out here at nine.
The six of us rode our bikes over. I led the way next to Ethan and Avery, with Deshawn, Mia, and Josh following right behind. Avery looked pretty hilarious riding a bike wearing pink flowered high tops and a green crushed velvet dress, but that was Avery for you. No potential psychic drama would get in the way of style.
We all stood across the street in the empty parking lot and stared at the school, which apparently hadn’t been updated since it was built. Even the bike rack was rusted.
“Okay,” I said, “so here we are. Archer Middle School. Aside from clearly needing a new coat of paint, do you see anything else about it, Avery?”
Avery frowned, her red hair almost blood-like under the buzzing street lights. “Just a few flickers. Hints of yellow. Could be anything.”
Though she was precognitive, Avery didn’t see everything about the future, thank goodness, and what she saw was often muddied and hard to understand. She’d been getting a vague sense that something bad might happen at Archer, but nothing specific. Just enough to irritate her, like the tickle of a loose thread against bare skin. Even though she hated getting visions, she’d figured that maybe in person, she would have a better understanding of whatever the future was trying to whisper.
Human brains are funny things. Sometimes, you’ve just got to work the cards you’ve been dealt. Luckily, the six of us had some seriously awesome aces up our sleeves in the form of secret psychic abilities.
Aside from Avery’s precognition, the rest of us had unique skills, too. As an empath, I sensed strong emotions in others. Ethan could move things with his mind while Deshawn had the super awesome ability of hearing things from far away, a psychic eavesdropper so to speak. And the newest members of our crew, Mia and Josh, were both forces to be reckoned with. She influenced the weather, and he could not only sense psychic gifts in others but shut them down. Together, we were a dream team for the secret psychic scene, such as it was.
“Okay, sooo, there’s nothing’s wrong here.” Mia shifted from one foot to the other. “Can we go now?” Her cheeks were flushed, their golden-brown tone deepening to russet. “I don’t want to get caught out here. It looks suspicious.”
Poor thing still struggled with anxiety, and given what she’d been through learning to control her powers, who could blame her? But we were all for one and one for all these days, and she was here for Avery.
Deshawn tapped one ear, then smoothed his hand along the side of his head, his hair kept super short in a tight fade. “I’ve been listening in, girl. The janitors don’t even come in on the weekend. Nobody’s in there or anywhere nearby.” Deshawn could hear sounds from a block away when he was tuned in, so if he said it was clear, it was clear.
Josh offered his hand to Mia, looking like a prince waiting to escort a princess. I had to give it to him: ol’ ballet-boy had moves. When Mia took his hand, she smiled, and the air around us grew calm again. They made a great pair, those two.
I turned back to Avery. “Focus, sweetie. Is it triggering anything for you?” I batted at a lock of hair that blew in my face—the wind was still at it, even without Mia’s influence. “Sheesh. Should’ve brought a hair band.”
Ethan leaned on his bike and winked. “Wild hair suits you, Parkour.” Easy for him to say. He always looked good, even with his black hair messier than usual from the ride over. It could’ve been annoying, but as my boyfriend—Ethan Kwan was my boyfriend!—he got a pass.
He pointed at me. “And if it helps Avery sleep better, it’s worth the trouble.”
“Of course!” I protested. “I’m just saying—”
“Trouble.” Avery went rigid. She lifted her gaze toward the school.
“Avery?” I whispered.
Her blue eyes went wide like two doll buttons, the pupils a tiny black dot in the center. She spoke, but not to me. “Blood. Burning. Bodies.” She staggered.
“Oh crap,” I said, snagging her around the shoulders. I tried to gently lower her to the strip of grass next to the sidewalk. “A little help here?”
Ethan and Deshawn dropped their bikes by the curb and ran over, their shoes slapping against the tar-lined road in front of the school.
Avery shuddered from whatever she was seeing in her precog mind’s eye. I rubbed my hands along her arms, smoothing away the goosebumps rising on her skin.
A short stabbing pain radiated from my hands to my heart, sliced with cold fear, laced with horror. “Ow!” I gasped and snatched my hands away like I’d been burned.
“We’ll take over here, Mood Ring,” Deshawn said, kneeling down beside Avery and putting his hands under her head.
Waterfall and steel wall, I chanted to myself, trying to strengthen the psychic shield that protected me from feeling other people’s emotions. I’d been doing a lot better at keeping everyone’s strong feelings out when uninvited, and the rest of our secret team of psychics almost never bled emotions onto me. Wow, this vision must be really bad.
Josh lifted both hands toward Avery, palms open. His eyes drifted shut. “Her gift is so bright right now. Whatever she’s seeing, it’s running on a powerful psychic surge.” Josh’s power to track psychics like a radar was pretty handy at times like these. Beyond seeing when gifts were in use, his ability to turn them off could be even more useful, given Mia’s uncertain control.
“I thought a trip out here was supposed to help her.” Mia glanced around. “Do we need to call an ambulance?” The wind whipped up old, loose papers and leaves from the road. A hot gust blew hair across my face.
I’d forgotten Mia hadn’t ever seen Avery during one of her visions. It was a little freaky for the uninitiated. No wonder the wind was picking up. Mia’s gift might be controlling the weather, but she was still working on the control part. Sometimes the weather was more like a mirror for her mood. “She’ll be okay in a minute. Relax, Mia,” I said, as soothingly as I could.
Avery’s arms and legs twitched. Chills ran down my back despite the heat. I crawled back over to her, ready to take the emotional stabs if I needed to. I picked up her slack arm, clasped her hand to mine. I imagined a strong wall between us, but even so, a drizzle of fear and the stench of sulphur filled my nose—oh yeah, it was bad. Made me reeaally glad I wasn’t precognitive. I loved all our awesome gifts, but honestly, I’d just as soon skip any sneak peeks of potential futures captioned with “BLOOD. BURNING. BODIES.”
Of course, it wasn’t like any of us chose what we could do. They were simply a part of us. No one but our families knew about our bonus abilities, and we needed to keep it that way. Last fall, a vision of us locked up as lab rats led us to befriending Mia. We’d worked to prevent that vision from ever happening. Instead of exposing our powers, Mia accepted her own, and became part of our circle, bringing Josh with her.
We’d changed that awful future. We would change this one, too.
Avery gasped and shook her head, tears dribbling from the sides of her eyes.
Okay, I was 99% sure we’d change this future.
Thunder rumbled nearby.
About the Author
Amy writes magical escapes for young readers and the young at heart, with a focus on tweens and young teens. She is also a former reading teacher and school librarian. As a military kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters in San Antonio, Texas. Learn more about Amy at her website.