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  from The Academy by TABATHA SHIPLEY

Chapter 1-December 27

Chapter One-December 27


Tucked in a valuable private alcove of the crowded hallway, I swipe my hand in a circle along the beige painted bricks and watch the image spawn in the wake of my hand. My tiny blond sister, eating a bowl of oatmeal with one hand while she thumbs something on her phone screen with the other. The blue bowl and the wooden table are both instantly familiar to me, but only by sight. I can’t imagine the feel of the table. I’ve been here, at the Academy, since I was four years old. Mom rushes into the room. She is dressed for work, in heels and a skirt. Her hands are working at her right ear, fastening an earring. She leans down, kissing Emily on the forehead and swiping the phone from her hands in one practiced motion. “Finish up, we have ten minutes.”

That’s my cue. I swipe the image away and unlock my cell phone. I click on the favorite button with the picture of her dirty blonde hair swept up in a bun and the call starts. It rings only twice before Mom answers, breathless. “Angela, honey, how are you?”

“I’m great, Mom. I don’t have a lot of time before class, but I wanted to say good morning.”

“We are just having breakfast, getting ready to head out. How’s school?”

I look around the hallway, watch kids rush to get where they’re going. Third period will start any second now. I don’t really have time to chat. Of course, that’s why I call right now. With the time difference, Mom is getting ready to head out when I’m getting into third period. We’re both busy right now, which means not a lot of time for questions. You see, most of what my Mom knows about the school I’m standing in is a total lie. I hate lying to her. “Same as always, nothing to worry about,” I answer.

“Grades are good?”

“Of course. All passing.” We don’t really have grades this ye...

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