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LITTLE PSYCHIC

    Following the death of Virginia Andrews, the Andrews family worked with a carefully selected writer to organize and complete Virginia Andrews stories and to create additional ones, inspired by her storytelling genius. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © September 2001 by the Vanda General Partnership All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 ISBN 0-7434-4868-5

Most thought it was just a family fable. She died so softly. the tiny.SimonSays. in fact I would say things and ask things that astounded my family.com Mommy told me that even when I was a little girl only three. see ghostlike images following people. Mommy said because of my eyes it was easy for all of them to believe the stories. Daddy said when she closed her eyes. Bye-bye. I can vividly remember him holding me in his arms and Great-grandmother Sophie struggling in her weakened state to reach up to touch me. sweetheart? Just tired. by the depth of my dark orbs. often crossed herself when in my presence and especially whenever I looked intently at her.V. ANDREWS and VIRGINIA ANDREWS are registered trademarks of the Vanda General Partnership. see shapes in trees and clouds and mountains that no one else sees. I shook my head. Great-grandmother smiled and let her hand drop away. Marshall. Tell her to not say these silly things . my daddy said. My paternal great-grandmother. things no one else seems to hear. You ve got to tell her. The child has a wild imagination. I told Mommy that I heard the trees talking to each other once and she shook her head and moaned. who was still alive then. so quietly in that moment. I said. Needs to sleep. I said. POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster. When she was dying. I insisted. spiraling ebony marbles that look out on the world and see shadows where there seem to be none. Not sick. Sophie. Inc. the sort of story relatives tell each other on holidays when everyone has gathered and been fed. and see brightness in the dullest of days. When I look at myself in the mirror. I hear things. she asked my father to bring me to her bedside. She scolded my father for encouraging me or smiling and laughing at things I did and said. I nearly spun completely around in his arms as if I was watching her spirit leave the room.C. no one was sure she had. too. She had been born in Europe and believed in something called the Evil Eye. I am just as amazed by the size of them. Great-grandmother Sophie is very sick. Visit us on the World Wide Web: www. She ll make a fool of herself and fools of all of us when she goes to school. he asked me. I have the biggest eyes of anyone in the family. Not sick? Why isn t she sick.

Auntie Merrill gazed at me with eyes that revealed her kaleidoscope of emotions. He smoked unfiltered cigarettes. My uncles and aunts who had children close to my age were never comfortable leaving them to play with me. but just as I saw in Auntie Merrill s face that night. unusually pretty. and he was so short and stubby that I couldn t help thinking of him as a giant animated thumb. It was always that way. a little concern added to the mix of reactions. so they approved of my behavior. Be careful of what you say in front of Tiffany. Impress upon her how important it is not to do and say things that will embarrass us. When I was much younger. Mommy continued. she sent me to a psychiatrist when I was ten. my daddy used to say we could have a houseguest and not even know it. Everyone thought I was cute when I was little. Mommy commanded. Merrill. these images would frighten me as much as my glare would frighten Holden. was over for dinner. I heard her say. I had a reputation in my family that made me the subject of whispers. She s looking at me again. He would cry out and point at me. old and wrinkled. Sometimes I saw their faces pale and sickly. Because I never stopped saying and doing things that troubled Mommy. screaming. Once. when Daddy and Auntie Merrill were alone. Even in bed! Daddy s face turned the color of a ripe apple. but I couldn t help what I saw. His name was Doctor Bloomingdale. He had a big head with a burst of dark brown hair that looked like it had all sprouted one night and spread like weeds over his temples and his forehead. That s what you get for marrying the boss s daughter. I really wasn t staring at him or at anyone. sometimes I saw their faces and their bodies injured and bleeding. my daddy s sister. with so many rooms. and that naturally evolved into their saying that I was very pretty. Later. I was always polite and respectful. One of my cousins. Marshall. she often gave him orders. I sensed that what I was seeing wasn t there at the moment and none of it was ever any threat to me. chastising him in front of everyone. would actually freeze in terror if I looked at him too directly or too long. my mother would sternly admonish.to strangers and never to any teacher. She ll treat you like one of her employees forever. looking at them and listening. Mommy got very angry at Daddy. By the age of nine. At ten I was only about four inches shorter than he was. She was impressed with her own heritage and the family s social importance. but as I grew older and saw more and more of it. Holden Wallingford. We lived in a grand house in Savannah. and the tips of his thick little fingers were . when my auntie Merrill. Georgia. Mommy was always worried about the family s reputation and honor. there was always the ingredient of a little fear. a rare jewel. Even though Daddy was so much taller and bigger than Mommy. She brings up things she heard when she was only four or five. Her ears store words like squirrels store acorns. He was not a very neat man. Mommy! Don t stare. I stopped being afraid. He saw me just inside the doorway.

Do they whisper or talk in a normal volume? Mostly whisper. What s that supposed . Doctor Bloomingdale s eyes widened with expectation. would you? he asked. Actually. However. I said. that was what caused Mommy to rush me to him. I didn t lie on a couch. and looking at him so directly and intensely that he would gaze down at his notepad quite often. Do they come at any time or only special times of the day or night? Anytime. The child needs psychiatric help! she cried. She told Daddy he came with high references from friends of theirs who had sent their children to see him for one reason or another. What is my wife doing today? I don t know. and nod. this time she was determined and she made an appointment for me with Doctor Bloomingdale. He scrunched his lips. while he was listening to me or talking to me. scribble something. He was very interested in the voices I heard. I sat with firm posture in a big. put down some notes. I stared at him for a long moment and then I turned my head as if to listen to someone standing beside me. he would flick his fingers at the tiny white flakes and send them drifting over his desk. I nodded and then turned back to him. nodded. They needed discipline. hard wooden chair. Do they sound like the voice of one person or many? Many. Mommy ignored him and did what she wanted. What? He sat forward fell forward. Also as usual. barely moving when I spoke to him. I can only tell you that you re not going to be happy with what your wife has done today. I told her about the voices one day. folded his hands over his stomach and looked at me. Daddy said they were all just spoiled and didn t need analysis. I said. I replied. You wouldn t be hearing them now. and she turned a shade of blueberry. As usual. to mean? I don t know. I said. Sometimes.always stained yellow. I should say. over the shoulders and the breast of his suit jacket. sat back. So I was sent to Doctor Bloomingdale who was eager to learn about my voices. Daddy glanced at her with almost no emotion and then looked back at his paper. His hair rained dandruff down the collar.

He phoned my mother that night and she came to the den where Daddy and I were playing a game of chess. She invested a large amount of their money in her girl-friend s Daddy asked quickly. but there was something impish in me and I did enjoy the effect I was having on him. Was that told to you by one of your voices just now? I nodded. I thought a moment. Tiffany? Daddy turned to me. What did you say about his wife. He said she was beyond him. He wants to send her to some special clinic. He raised his bushy eyebrows.He was pensive. What now? Daddy asked. I said. and that made Mommy angrier. He looked at Mommy. just as Mommy came hurrying into the We both looked up at her with some surprise because she looked very disturbed. Really? Daddy said with a soft smile. room. You know you re making your parents very unhappy with this behavior. It wasn t. her eyes like full-blown sunflowers. Who told you that? I didn t reply. He looked pleased. I was always very good at board games. her cheeks crimson. especially the sort where you had to react to your opponent s moves. but also looked angry. don t you? What am I doing? You don t see yourself as doing anything unusual? I shook my head. Daddy said. it s not unusual. If what we do is what we re meant to do. That was brilliant. I said. Daddy. I just told him he would be unhappy about something she was doing today. That was Doctor Bloomingdale. . What was she doing? I don t know.

but let me give you some good advice. Now. Mommy shook her head and left us. Jocelyn. pressing her hand to her breast as if she had to hold in her heart. You know what I m going to do next. He s a quack if the only thing he can do is send her to someone else instead of telling you there s absolutely nothing mentally wrong with your child. Daddy. Don t say it. don t you? he asked without looking up at me. Marshall? Do you? Mommy ordered. It s your He smiled and deliberately changed his mind. When he looked up at me. Tiffany. problem from here on in. Do you she demanded.. Jocelyn. we both laughed. she declared. It was the longest speech about me that I ever heard Daddy make. don t get yourself all worked up. now. Did you hear his secretary talking about that. Well. No. She just has a wonderful imagination. she cried. Leave her alone. I accept. I admitted. Even Mommy was impressed enough to reduce the swelling in her shoulders and take a deep breath. understand. practically All right. She s an excellent student. Keep your secrets to yourself. He smiled at me. Make her stop talking about these damn voices. Don t. I don t know if you have some special power or you re just an extraordinary little girl. perhaps. Yes. why did you say such a thing to him? screaming.restaurant. People are uncomfortable around someone who might know more about them than they know about themselves. Enough is enough. Tiffany and I will have a little talk. all right. There s nothing any clinic can do but harm her. I m not going to think about it anymore. She doesn t do anything to bring shame on us like the children of so many of your friends are doing to their parents. Can you understand and appreciate that? . she wailed. She s gifted and a blessing. Daddy said. and he was very angry at her for doing so without his approval. It wasn t much of a move. or another one of his patients? Mommy asked me. Maybe she should go to a clinic. I didn t want you to send her to that doctor in the first place. I heard. Marshall. Daddy gazed down at the chessboard. She ll make some good use of it someday. Absolutely not. Perhaps someday she ll write books. Mommy.. Calm down.

I saw and felt many things in the years that followed. heart attacks and nervous breakdowns as much as we do. but most of us don t listen. Years later. and that night he was in a terrible car accident and killed. thank goodness. Grandmother. I expect. one of my teachers in college was talking about the difference between an all-knowing deity and man s free will. and your mother does too. everyone taking the same position he or she had been taking for years and years. The other thing was. Daddy sat back. I thought. doesn t mean He can or will stop it. I was crying for him hours and hours before he died. He said. He was always teasing me about women in the business world. huh? You want to be equal so now you can suffer hypertension. but that s the way I feel sometimes. Not just find yourself a rich young man. You know they are going to crash. It was not a pleasing power to have. I couldn t look in the mirror and see anything about my own future. I said. She had been elected president of some social organization and her picture had been in the papers that day. I m not a god. his power to choose for himself. I was glad of that. you see a train coming and then you look to your left and you see another train. My grandfather had retired and Daddy was now the CEO of the company and he was happier. but you can t stop it.I nodded. I m glad you ve outgrown all that nonsense. and they all began to chatter about politics and the media. Welcome to the new world. During a pause in their discussion. too. way off. smiling at me because of the way I was just listening. On your right. He was old fashioned. Those were terrible days when you drove your mother into the world of antidepressant drugs. My grandmother jumped all over him. I could do it only for others. princess. She just doesn t know how to show it. but I didn t. I never forgot it. Tiffany. Just because God knows what s going to happen. He wanted to know what I was planning to do with my expensive education. but I didn t reveal them. Good. Women like you want to run things men used to run. he said. speeding from the opposite direction. he said. I nearly blurted it aloud. I understood that seeing them didn t mean I could prevent them from happening. he said. I remember looking at a boy I liked and seeing his face all battered in. imagine you re on a high hill and you look down at a railroad track. . No more voices. but I had inherited some of my impishness from him. The truth is. my grandfather focused the spotlight of conversation on me and asked about college and how I was doing. I love you. Mommy was happier than I could remember. Mommy was right in a way.Then my grandmother looked at me and smiled. we were all having dinner. One night after I had come home from college on a holiday. we all hear the same voices. That advice Daddy gave me was the best advice anyone could have given me. I suppose.

Daddy. You re not saying that to hide something from me. How do you handle that. Wonderful. are you. They tiptoe into the dens of fortune-tellers and keep their eyes closed. Sure you do. It s like going over the top of a roller coaster. and hold their breaths. You were right.I don t hear any voices. Prognosis of ailments and sickness. Daddy and I went for a walk on the street outside our Savannah home. Winston Morris. I don t have the power as much as I did when I was younger. I said. We stopped walking and he turned to me. Go on. and when I do I accept and move on. he said. you would simply break apart. their hands pressed tightly together. he said. Daddy. He looked at me suspiciously. I don t look into as many windows. she declared as though it was a social You re always mumbling to yourself my grandfather said. I I can t tell you which you ll be tomorrow when you think about it. and I used to worry that your life would be full of so much bad news. disgrace. I don t know whether I should be happy or sad about it. Daddy. I said. Afterward. looking a bit afraid and holding his breath. said. these days. They say they do. Some of those things were sad. I said. remember? Yes. You keep your voices secret always? I try. You re serious about being a doctor? Yes. When you were a little girl. People really don t want to know about tomorrow. . I smiled to myself and finished eating. That s because of things you do. I ll tell you a secret. he said. and he laughed. you and I used to walk this street and you would look at various houses and say things about the people living in them. It was mild and not too humid. Tiffany? No. honey? he asked. It s a wonderful place for your talents. Don t blame me for it! she cried.

. a place where the whispering voices would be comfortable for a while. The picture of me outside in the hallway was almost the picture of a little girl I had once known and with whom I had lost all contact. moving from one nest of happiness to another. Waiting for me or waiting for another place to dwell. And then would move on like birds migrating. nudged by the wind. When we returned to the house. I didn t know if she would come back or not. My eyes were still big. I only knew she was out there somewhere. the sun and the moon.He put his arm around me and we walked on. I went upstairs to my room and gazed at myself in the mirror. waiting. and the mystery of life itself. waiting. but not as big as they used to be.

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