I hated mornings. Ever since I became a freshman at my new school, it had been really hard adjusting. The worst thing was that I had to wake up fifteen minutes earlier than I used to when I was in middle school. I stayed in bed until there were literally only five minutes left to get ready before missing the bus.
Five minutes was just enough time to tame my wild, dark curly hair. You see, now that I was fourteen, and practically a man, my mom started buying me hair gel. Also, I’d started to get some chest hair— well, three, to be exact.
Yesterday, while playing basketball in gym class, I freaked out when this kid on my team elbowed me square in the chest. I was so worried he had yanked one of my chest hairs out. Thankfully, my three boys are still hanging strong.
Being a freshman would be super cool, but I didn’t go to an ordi- nary high school. I was stuck going to a special school in rural Penn- sylvania, called the Eusapia Palladino Academy. This high school was devoted to helping kids develop their psychic abilities. I’m a medium, so I can talk to dead people.
The academy might sound neat at first, but it was overwhelming. Regular high school had to be better. The school was named after some Italian lady born in the eighteen hundreds who (obviously) was a psychic medium. The goal of the school is to give each and every one of its students the confidence and grace with their unique abilities that Eusapia had. She kinda paved the way for mediums to be seen in public.
However, tons of people still didn’t accept us. They thought we were witches who concocted spells. Don’t they understand that, if I could create spells, I’d look like a Greek God, with Superman flying powers? Instead, I just talked to ghosts. That’s my special power: talking.
I only learned about being a medium when I turned thirteen. Your abilities don’t officially develop until your thirteenth birthday. Then you get sent to the academy to learn how to control your abilities. The type of abilities you get depends on your family’s genetics.
Now, just like any high school, the student body of Eusapia Palla- dino Academy was divided into different cliques. The only difference was that ours were based on special abilities, not something stupid like nerds versus jocks.
First, you had your clairs. I liked to call them that because there are a bunch of different types of clairs. I mean, you got your clairaudi- ents, students who can get information by hearing paranormal activity. Next were the clairolfactants, students who can get spiritual informa- tion through smell. I liked to think of them as the hound dogs of the school, being able to sniff out stuff. I didn’t even want to think about what a day of walking in the men’s bathroom was like, with that power of smell.
Then you had your clairgustants; they knew stuff by taste. Clairsen- tients were those students who could read feelings; basically, they were our psychic high school’s version of emo kids.
And last, but not least, were the ever so popular clairvoyants. Those were the students you’d probably heard about the most. They saw things, like those creepy old fortunetellers in movies who have a crystal ball and see the future in it. They’re kind of like that. Kinda.
I can’t forget about the tellies, or telepathic students, as they were formally known. You had to be careful around these kids, ’cause they liked to read your mind when you weren’t aware of them and mess with you. However, if you could get one on your side, you could use them to your advantage. Like big exams...they didn’t have to study, they just read the mind of the genius in the room and got the answers. How do you think I passed Algebra II? But dang, it came at a price. Those tellies charged a lot of lunch money for their services.
The meds, or mediums, like me could channel spirits. Most of my classes were geared toward learning how to communicate with different spirits, so I was stuck with mostly meds in my classes. Some meds are really pretentious, because they think they can dig up dirt on you by talking to your great Uncle Milton or something.
But instead of being able to talk to dead people, I wished I could read people’s minds or move stuff by thinking about it. I’d love to be like the Hulk and just smash down walls with super strength, too. Or save a city by tangling up the bad guys with my web like Spiderman.
In reality, I just got to have my dead relatives tell me they’re watch- ing me, and how I need to behave.
“Zebulon Harris! I’m leaving. You better hurry or you’ll miss the bus!” my mom, Sylvia, yelled from downstairs.
Her voice has become so soft and gentle, as opposed to the strong opinionated voice she used to carry with her. This past year has knocked the stuffing out of our entire family, but especially my mom.
You see, my Grandma Leona—my mom’s mother, for all you really nosy people—died last year. It wasn’t a shock or anything; once she was diagnosed with lung cancer, it didn’t take long. My mom was so angry that my Grandma Leona refused chemo, but I don’t blame her. She always said Earth was just the first chapter, and death was the rest of the story.
Grandma’s a bit biased, of course, given she’s been hearing about how great the other side is from the ghosts she’s helped her whole life.
Yep, you guessed it. She’s a medium, too. Wonderful family trait.
My mom and I don’t have much in common. Not just disagreeing about the ghost thing, but physically, too. My mom is Caucasian with blonde hair and blue eyes, while my father is African American with brown hair and brown eyes. I’m perfectly a mix between them because I have my dad’s brown curly hair and my mom’s sparkly blue eyes.
“Coming! Love you!” I yelled, stumbling as I attempted to walk and pull up my jeans simultaneously.
“Love you more,” my mom replied as she slammed the front door. I could feel the vibrations, given our old house. The floors and walls were always vibrating, making sneaking around almost impossible.
I found a red shirt crumpled on the floor near my trashcan, beside my bed. I did the old sniff test. I breathed in the red fabric, and the sweet sensation of stale Doritos and peppermint candies filled my nos- trils with a sense of happiness and confusion.
I didn’t remember eating Doritos...not since last Wednesday. Happy that the shirt smelled like my ultimate favorite snack on the planet, I quickly whipped the shirt over my head and grabbed my bag as I ran down the stairs and out the front door.
You ever wake up so late for class you didn’t have time to eat break- fast? Well, I was so late I didn’t have time to pee. As I was walking to the bus stop, I saw the big yellow brick prison on wheels pull up next to me. The doors opened and I regretfully stepped on, wishing I didn’t have to be a medium and endure more of this nonsense.