Thanks to the awesome Laure from Hatchette Children's Books, here is the 3rd excerpt of Slated by Teri Terry.
The last excerpt will be posted on the 3rd May so stay tuned!
I drift through trees, spin and sprawl down on grass and daisies on the ground, alone. I stare at clouds drifting across the sky, making half known shapes and faces. Names slip away if I grasp at them, so I let them wash past: just lie still and be me.
It is time. Like mist I bleed away until I am gone.
Trees and sky are replaced by the darkness of closed eyelids, tickling grass by solid bed.
Quiet. Why is it so quiet? My body knows it is later than 5 am but no buzzer has sounded, no breakfast trolleys clang up and down the hall.
I lie very still, hold my breath, and listen.
Gentle, even breathing. Close by. Did I black out last night, is there a Watcher in my room? If so, it sounds like they sleep rather than watch.
There are faint cheerful sounds in the other direction, a distant rise and fall, like music. Birds?
Something warm by my feet.
I’m not in my room at hospital. My eyes snap open as I remember.
Not a Watcher at all across the room: Amy, sound asleep and breathing deeply, like Sebastian at my feet.
She is a new sort of the same thing, maybe.
I slip quiet to the window, pull the curtain.
Red streaks cross the sky, pockets of pink in wisps of cloud, like corrugated twists of metal, light shining through on grass and wet leaves, in wild splashes of colour. Orange, gold, red and all in between.
My hospital window faced west. Sunsets I’ve seen, mostly blocked by buildings, true, but never a sunrise.
The birds have friends, and the faint song from earlier becomes more as they join in. I push the
window open wide, lean out and breathe. The air is fresh, no metallic or disinfectant smells. Damp greenness, of garden below and fields beyond that shimmer in the early light.
And somehow, I know. The city was never mine. I was – am – a country girl. Sure of it like breathing, certain this is a place that is more like home to me.
Not like home, it is home: yesterday, today, how many more future days I do not know.
But before I became who I am now, too. Dr Lysander says I fancy things in my subconscious, that
there is no way to know if they are true or not.
Applying sense to the unknown to order it, just the way I draw diagrams, maps. Faces.
Below, the glistening grass, fallen leaves in swirling patterns of so many rich colours, and most especially the fading flowers along the house, all beckon. All yearn to be captured, ordered, to become lines on paper. I pull the window in quietly and slip across the room. Amy lies silent and still, chest movements slight and even.
Two green eyes watch from the end of my bed.
‘Ssssh. Don’t wake Amy,’ I whisper, and run a hand across Sebastian’s fur. He stretches and yawns.
Where are my sketching things? Amy unpacked my bag yesterday afternoon. I was too fuzzy headed to get involved, all the new things and people taking too much attention.
I open one drawer, then another; carefully and quietly, until I find them: my folder of drawings, sketch pad and pencils.
I take them out and underneath spy chocolates, given to me as a parting gift by the tenth floor nurses that last morning. Just yesterday, I realise, surprised.
It seems longer ago than that; already part of my past.
My levels are 6.1. Not low at all. I don’t need a chocolate. But who needs an excuse? I open the lid.
‘Interesting choice for breakfast,’ Amy says, then
sits up and yawns. ‘Are you an early bird?’
I look at her blankly.
‘Do you always wake up early?’
I consider. ‘I think so,’ I say, finally. ‘Though that could be because at the hospital you have no choice.’
‘Oh, I remember that. Horrible morning buzzer. Breakfast by six.’ She shudders.
‘Want one?’ I hold out the box.
‘Oooh, tempting. Maybe later, when I’m more awake. What is that?’ She points at the folder in my
‘Can I see?’
I hesitate. I rarely show them to anyone, though Dr Lysander insisted on checking through them now and then.
‘You don’t have to show me if you don’t want to.’
I sit next to her and open the folder, pull out the sheets of paper. Amy exclaims at the one on top. A selfportrait. Me, but different: half as I am in the mirror,
the other half skin missing, eyeball hanging from an empty socket.
‘May I?’ she holds out a hand, and I pass the drawing to her.
But that wasn’t on top before. I start flipping through the sheets.
‘You’re so good, this is amazing.’
Not enough of them, not as thick a sheaf as it should be. Where are they?
‘Some of my drawings are missing.’
‘Are you sure?’
I nod. And look through them more slowly.
Those of me, my room, imagined people and
places, are present and accounted for. Many others are not.
‘I’m sure. Almost half of them are gone.’
‘What were they?’
‘All sorts of things. Nurses. My floor of the
hospital, maps of different areas, rooms. Dr Lysander.
‘Did you say, Dr Lysander?’ Amy’s eyes open wide.
I nod, still looking through the sheets, convinced if I look hard enough, they will all be there.
‘The Dr Lysander? Do you actually know her?’
I stop looking. They’re not here. Gone. Bzzzz. A warning from my wrist: 4.3 and falling.
Amy slips an arm across my shoulders. I’m shaking, but not from cold. Who would do this: take the only things I have that are mine.
‘You can make more drawings. Can’t you?’ 3.9 and falling.
‘Kyla! Look at me.’
Amy gives me a shake. ‘Look,’ she repeats.
I tear my eyes from my self-portrait, from the dead eye in the socket. To Amy. Worry and fear for me in her eyes, whoever I am.
‘Kyla, you can draw me. Do it, now.’
She pulls the sketch pad from the back, puts a pencil in my hand.