Click here to read Chapter 1: Magic, here to read Chapter 2: Manifestation, here to read Chapter 3: Distraction, or here to read Chapter 4: Staring. Here you can read the fifth sample chapter of my debut novel, Manifestation, an urban fantasy adventure that explores the revival of magic and mystery in a world that is unprepared for the changes arcane powers will bring. Available in paperback and ebook.
Chapter 5: Therapy
Gabby sat in the psychiatrist’s office without saying a word. She’d come here straight after school, but her mind was still preoccupied with everything that had happened today. Dr. Caldwell glanced at her watch, then looked up at Gabby, waiting. Neither of them had spoken for nearly ten minutes, and Gabby knew Dr. Caldwell would wait for her to say something first. She did it every time.
During their first session, Dr. Caldwell had told her that everything they talked about was confidential, and that it was okay for her to express anything she needed to. Then she’d tried asking Gabby some basic things about school, home life, and her interests. When Gabby had refused to answer, Dr. Caldwell let her stew in silence for a bit while she simply observed her. She was doing the same thing now. Gabby kept her eyes off to the side and fidgeted in her seat. She didn’t want to be here.
Gabby decided she wasn’t going to talk first this time. Another five minutes passed before Dr. Caldwell finally broke the silence and asked, “So, Gabriella, what—?”
“Gabby,” she replied in an irritated tone.
“Gabby?” Dr. Caldwell repeated. She wrote something down in the notebook she held in her lap.
“My name’s Gabby,” she replied. “Only my mom calls me ‘Gabriella.’”
Dr. Caldwell nodded wrote another note. “Tell me about your nephew, Gabby?” she asked.
“Why do you want to know about him?” Gabby snapped.
Dr. Caldwell kept a professional expression on her face. “Because I want to get to know you,” she said, “and your family. Tell me about him?”
“There’s nothing to tell,” Gabby said. “He’s an annoying little brat who never stops crying.” Dr. Caldwell made another note, and Gabby huffed. She didn’t like the way the doctor wrote down everything she did or said.
“Tell me about school?” Dr. Caldwell asked. “Are you involved in any clubs? The school band?”
“My fucking mom made me quit drama club,” Gabby replied, glaring at the floor. “She’s such a bitch.” Dr. Caldwell made another note, and Gabby wondered if she’d written down the foul language she’d used. Gabby usually didn’t curse, but dealing with her mom made her so mad that sometimes it just slipped out.
“So, tell me about what happened at school today?”
Gabby shifted in the chair and stared at the floor. She wasn’t going to say anything else. She didn’t want to be there, so why should she bother?
“Gabby?” Dr. Caldwell asked. She leaned forward, letting out a long sigh. “You know Gabby, these sessions aren’t going to help you unless you start talking to me. And you’re not going to be allowed to stop coming just because you aren’t cooperating. Do you understand that?” Gabby shifted in her seat and looked off to the side. Dr. Caldwell watched her for a moment, then asked, “The boy who got hurt, did you know him?” Gabby shook her head no. “He just transferred into your school. From what I was told, he got into trouble with drugs at his old school. Did he give you any drugs?”
“I told you, I don’t do drugs,” Gabby snapped, her icy blue eyes glaring at her psychiatrist. She hadn’t told her yet why she’d really swallowed all the pills that day. She wondered if the doctor thought she was going to try to get her hands on more pills so she could try to kill herself again.
“All right,” the doctor said, raising a hand to try to soothe her. She looked back down at the notes she always had in her lap. Gabby’s eyes were drawn to the doctor’s shapely legs when she shifted to cross one over the other. Dr. Caldwell glanced up at Gabby, peering at her through her thin, stylish glasses. Gabby quickly looked away.
“So how do you feel about what happened?” she asked. Gabby shrugged and stared into the corner. “Do you know the other boy, Charlie?” Gabby nodded silently, biting her lip. She felt a burning in her eyes, but she didn’t want to cry. Not in front of the doctor. Dr. Caldwell kept a box of tissues on the small table right next to where they sat. The first day she’d come there, she’d told Gabby it was okay to cry. That no one else would know. But she didn’t want to cry. The pressure in her skull built up as she held back her tears. It felt like letting the tears flow would break open the dam and flood the world with her pain.
“Maybe it would help if you told me what you saw?” Dr. Caldwell asked. Gabby looked up at her. She didn’t feel comfortable there. The doctor was too neat and clean, with her blonde hair pulled back in a tight bun, and her neatly pressed skirt suit. She didn’t understand Gabby’s life. She couldn’t. She looked like a rich lady with her manicured nails and gold jewelry. Even the pen she wrote with was sleek and stylish, polished black with gold trim. What could she know of the life of a teenager in blue jeans and a hand-me-down pink blouse, whose only piece of jewelry was the woven beaded bracelet her friend Callia had given her, and whose parents probably wouldn’t be able to afford to send her to college?
What was the point in telling her what had happened? She wouldn’t understand.
Gabby looked up at the doctor, who was still sitting calmly in her chair. “Gabby?” Dr. Caldwell asked, her voice soft. “It’s okay, you know. You can talk to me about it.”
Gabby stared at the wall, uncertain what there was to say.
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