Manifest

When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom’s hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.

But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He’s cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she’d ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal’s ghost-whispering talents soon lead other “freaks” to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren’t the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky’s death, will she lose him for good?

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.” I’m talking to myself so people driving by probably think I’m a lunatic.

My feet are moving so fast I barely feel them beneath me. Cool air slaps at my face like it’s trying to remind me I’m outside. It’s almost spring according to the calendar but still feels like the dead of winter in Lincoln. Probably because we’re so close to the water.

Whatever, it’s cold and I think it’s beginning to rain. But I don’t care. I just want to get home, inside the house, to the safety of my room. It won’t follow me there.

I can’t believe it followed me here. I ignored it well enough in New York, you would think it would have the good sense to stay in the city where there was life and action. Why follow me here to the edge of the earth where everybody acted like they were sleep walking most of the time?

Cutting through the bushes at the end of the driveway my book bag rocks back and forth threatening to fall as I move. If it does my biology book will fall out, the hasty notes I took this morning on the project that’s due at the end of the month will undoubtedly hit the ground and possibly blow away. That might not be such a bad thing.

But I hunch my shoulders, pushing the bag back into place. My feet crunch on weeds in the flowerbed that Janet will probably replant in a few weeks. And I keep running.

My cheeks puff in and out because I’m sucking in huge gulps of air to keep my heart pumping. I’m not a runner. I actually hate exercise of any kind. It shows. I take the front steps two at a time because I want to hurry up.

Help me.

Damn! There it goes again.

One hand flattens over my ear while I dig in my front pant pocket for the house key. With shaking fingers I finally get the door unlocked, slam it behind me and take the stairs in the front hall like a drugged Olympic sprinter.

My room is at the far end of the hall, but I swear it feels like its twenty miles away as I dash towards the door. Once inside I again slam the door closed, drop my book bag and sink to the floor struggling to breathe.
Safe. That’s all I can think is that I’m finally safe.

Help me.

His voice sounds throughout the room, louder than it was before when I was on the school bus or when I was running into the house.

It’s been so long. I thought this creepy crap was over. I haven’t heard voices since I was twelve years old, if I really heard them then.

Who am I kidding? I heard them before and now they’re back. But I cover my ears because I so badly want it to stop.

I’m rocking on the floor now, pulling my knees to my chest and wrapping my arms around them, holding myself tightly. My eyes are closed. I wish I could find a way to close my ears too.

I did it before. I shut out the voices for a long, long time. But now they’re back. Why?

“I can’t hear you. I can’t see you. You are not real.”

But I can hear him, that’s the freakin’ problem.

Help me, Krystal.

“I can’t hear you. I can’t see you. You are not…”

Did he say my name?

Please. He begged.

The sound of his voice for some reason isn’t scaring me just now. My arms aren’t so tight around my legs and I stop rocking. My heart still feels like it’s going to jump right out of my chest and land on the floor, but for some reason I don’t really feel scared.

My eyes open, not that I meant to do it, it just happened, I guess. I look towards the window seat where all the stupid stuffed animals Janet thought would cheer me up stand like a pastel-colored army.
I don’t know what I’m looking for. Whatever it is I hope I don’t find it.

But there he is.

A black boy, kind of tall and skinny. He’s wearing jeans, the baggy kind like all the other guys in school and a white t-shirt three sizes too big, hanging to his knees like a nightgown. His boots look new, Timberland with the laces only half way up, the huge tongue sticking out from under the extra material of his jeans. He’s wearing a watch on one wrist and a bracelet—I think its silver—on the other. His hair is kind of curly on top, cut low on the sides with some lines or a design or something.

On the one hand, I guess he’s kind of cute.

On the other, he’s kind of transparent.