by Debbie Kump
One wintry night, a horrible accident changes seventeen-year-old CollinWalsh's life forever, granting him the inexplicable power to witness future events before they occur. Yet his premonitions dredge up terrifying memories and ostracize him from his friends, family, and teammates, making his return to school and sports more challenging than he ever anticipated.
Collin doesn’t know who he can trust with the dreadful truth about the accident and how it has transformed his life. Between the pain, guilt, and recurring nightmares of the crash, Collin can't help but wonder if his newfound power is a gracious blessing…or a vengeful curse.
BUY THE BOOK
Collin Walsh brushed his sweaty hair from his eyes and slung his heavy bag filled with hockey gear and skates over one shoulder as he left the rink.
His best friend, Avery Ashbury, caught him a few strides out the door. “So, are you going to Morgan’s party tonight?” Avery asked.
“Maybe,” he replied in a noncommittal tone. Actually, he hadn’t heard about Morgan’s party until now, making him wonder if she’d intentionally neglected to invite him.
“It’ll be fun,” Avery added. “Coffey will be there.” He nodded to the boy ahead of them who tossed his set of goalie pads in the back of his Chevy Tahoe.
Jeremy Coffey, a senior on the Varsity team, had talent. He started as goalie and had drawn attention from several college scouts. Collin had played on Jeremy’s team for several years, but this season seemed different. Lately, Coffey had grown critical of his teammates’ performances and his temper often flared out on the ice. It was only a matter of time before Collin ended up on the receiving end of his anger. Somehow, the name Jeremy Coffey no longer equated with fun.
“Why? Do you need a ride or something?” Collin guessed. Avery usually did.
“You know me too well,” he replied, his face breaking into a wide grin. “C’mon, you should go. You’ve gotta live for the moment, right?”
Collin agreed, never suspecting those very words would haunt him for the rest of his days. “Pick you up at eight?”
“See you then.” Avery waved and climbed into his mom’s waiting minivan.
After Collin showered and got a bite to eat, he borrowed his dad’s Ford Focus and headed to Avery’s house. A light snow was falling, dusting the dark roads in a thin layer of white.
Collin drove past acres of Minnesotan farmland and down winding country roads to reach Morgan’s house, a few miles out of town. Once inside, Avery walked straight to Dani Abbott and threw his arm over one shoulder, greeting her with a soft smile.
Collin rolled his eyes, wondering why he’d agreed to come. He should have known Avery would plan on spending the entire evening with Dani, leaving him to fend for himself. Collin, for lack of anything better to do, grabbed a bag of cheesy popcorn and walked into the adjacent room. Sinking onto the couch, he popped a handful into his mouth to let the artificial cheese replace the sour taste. It didn’t matter that he had liked Dani since freshman year. He was too timid to do anything about it, so Avery ended up asking her out instead.
Halfway through the bag, Hayden Roth squeezed herself onto the couch between Collin and the armrest, disrupting his thoughts. “Hey, Collin,” she said in an unusually upbeat way.
“Hi,” he responded, giving her a sideways glance at her unexpected closeness. With Hayden growing up right across the street from him, they’d been friends forever, but nothing more. Plus, everyone knew she and Jeremy Coffey had been practically inseparable these past few months.
“How’s Jeremy?” Collin said.
Hayden shrugged, tucking a strand of her long blonde hair behind her ear. “It’s over.” A frown marred her pixie face. She launched into an animated story, renewed energy lighting her bright blue eyes. “Hey, remember when we were little and you came to the department store with my dad and me to buy a birthday present for my sister?”
Collin’s face clouded. “Please tell me you’ve already forgotten that.” He surveyed the room, hoping no one else could hear her.
“You had to try on the dresses because you and Lacey were the same size.”
Rising blood warmed his face and his ears.
“I think the periwinkle blue one really accentuated your eyes,” she added.
“Thanks for the trip down memory lane.” Collin moaned, burying his face in his hands.
“Anytime,” Hayden said, giggling lightheartedly. “You know I’ve got lots more where that came from.
“I was afraid you’d say that.”
Hayden looped her hand through his arm. He blinked, surprised by her flirtatious action. “You know I’m just teasing.” Suddenly, her bright eyes left his face, flitting to the side. The smile on her face began to fade.
Collin followed her gaze and spotted Jeremy Coffey standing in the doorway. He blinked once, then shook his head, and turned away, marching straight out the door. Hayden slumped deflated, a frown spread across her face. She withdrew her hand from his arm and compressed her fingers in her lap.
Collin gaped. He scooted sideways, putting considerable distance between them.
Her eyes glazed over. “What?” she said innocently.
“You were using me to get back at Coffey?”
She shook her head, her blonde hair brushing her shoulders. “It’s not like that.”
“Whatever,” Collin grumbled, fuming from her ruse. “I can’t believe I actually thought you were starting to like me. You’d think after all these years I’d know you better, but you played me.”
“Forget it. I was stupid to fall for it.”
“Collin, please. I’m sorry.”
Unable to respond, he jumped off the couch and headed for the door. He tapped Avery’s shoulder as he passed, not caring if he interrupted his friend’s conversation with Dani. “I’m leaving,” he said brusquely.
“But it’s still early,” Avery protested.
“You can stay as long as you want. I’ve just had enough.”
Avery glanced from Collin to Dani and back. “Nah. I’m good. Besides, you look a little pissed off right now. I want to make sure you get home okay.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Collin snapped.
Avery gave him a friendly slug in the shoulder. “You know what I mean.” He turned to Dani. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay.”
Collin walked out the door. It was bad enough seeing the way Dani’s eyes held Avery’s. He didn’t need to witness the rest of their goodbye.
Outside, the storm increased its intensity. As Avery lagged behind, Collin used the sleeve of his hoodie to brush off a few inches of snow that had already accumulated on the windows. Deeming it satisfactory despite the clumps of snow sticking to the glass, he threw open the door and jammed the key in the ignition, giving it some gas to start the cold engine.
Avery opened the passenger’s door and joined him. “You okay?” He dusted the snowflakes from his sleeves and hat.
Collin shrugged. “I’ve been better.”
He shifted into drive and pulled away from the curb. He drove down the road in silence, the car filled only with the sound of the wipers’ repetitive swoosh, futilely trying to whisk away the shower of white. He felt the weight of Avery’s concerned gaze, but did not bother to elaborate.
“Hey, I’ve got four tickets to the Gophers’ game tomorrow night,” Avery said. “Want to join me and Dani?”
Collin appreciated the attempt to cheer him up with the offer of free hockey tickets, but it didn’t really help.
“You could bring Hayden,” Avery suggested.
Collin snickered, wondering how much Avery had seen of his interaction with Hayden. “Why don’t you ask Coffey instead?”
“Jeremy? What’s he got to do with this?”
“Forget it,” Collin grumbled and brooded in silence.
The nice thing about a friend like Avery was he didn’t have to tell him everything. He always seemed to know.
“You know, you and Hayden have been friends for so long. You should cut her a little slack.”
Collin sighed, letting Avery’s remark dim his anger slightly. “Yeah. Probably.”
Maybe Hayden was on the rebound. Maybe she only wanted to get back at Coffey. Or maybe, her feelings toward Collin had actually changed. He couldn’t say for sure because he never even gave her a chance to explain.
Collin expected Avery to respond, except his friend scrolled through his phone, distracted by the content on its illuminated screen. “Oh, man,” Avery exclaimed. “We should’ve stayed there just a little longer. Wait, there’s more. I’ll show you in just a sec.” He chortled under his breath and continued viewing the long array of photos.
Collin’s phone beeped twice from inside his pocket, alerting him to an incoming text. He fished out his device and glanced briefly at the screen.
It was Hayden. He peered back at the road and then quickly read her text:
I need to talk 2 U. LMK when.
Maybe Avery was right and he was too hard on Hayden. The least he could do was give her a chance to explain.
He quickly slid his finger across the screen and typed two words of his reply when a pair of headlights suddenly rounded the bend. Piercing the swirling snow, the lights headed straight for them.