I gave him a hard look.
Stepping away from the plate, I took a few more practice swings. I almost missed Elliot coming up behind me. He reached his arms around me and positioned his hands on the bat, flush with mine.
“Let me show you,” he said in my ear. “Like this. Feel that?Relax. Now pivot your hips- it’s all in the hips.”
I could feel my face heat up with the eyes of the entire class on us. “I think I’ve got it, thanks.”
“Get a room!” Marcie called to us. The infield laughed.
“If you’d throw her a decent pitch,” Elliot called back, “she’d hit the ball.”
“My pitch is on.”
“Her swing is on.” Elliot dropped his voice, speaking to me alone. “You lose neye contact the minute she lets go of the ball. Her pitches aren’t clean, so you’re going to have to work to get them.”
“We’re holding up the game here, people!” Miss Sully called out.
Just then, something in the parking lot beyond the dugout drew my attention. I thought I`d heard my name called. I turned, but even as I did, I knew my name hadn’t been said out loud. It had been spoken quietly to my mind.
Patch wore a faded blue baseball cap and had his fingers hooked in the chain-like fence, leaning against it. No coat, despite the weather. Just head-to-toe black. His eyes were opaque and inaccessible as he watched me, but I suspected there was a lot going on behind them.
Another string of words crept into my mind.
Batting lessons? Nice. . . touch.
I drew a steadying breathe and told myself I imagined the words. Because the alternative was considering that Patch had power to channel thoughts into my mind. Which couldn’t be. It just couldn’t. Unless I was delusional. That scared m,e more than the idea that he had breached normal communication methods and could, at will, speak to me without ever opening his mouth.
“Grey! Head in the game!”
I blinked, jerking to life just in time tp see the ball rolling through the air toward me. I started to swing, then heard another trickle of words.
Not. . . yet.
I held back, waiting for the ball to come to me. As it descended, I stepped toward the front of the plate. I swung with everything I had.
A huge crack sounded, and the bat vibrated in my hands. The ball drove to Marcie, who fell flat on her backside. Squeezing between shortstop and second base, the ball bounced in the outfield grass.
“Run!” my team shouted from the dugout. “Run, Nora!”
-Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.