Chapter 12:

Adventures in Sleep Deprivation

The Love Triangle Between Me, The Class President, & The Spirit Possessing Me

Not to brag, but I can usually get all my homework done by dinner, or a little after. That’s not the case today, since I wasn’t able to pay attention in any of my classes, or focus enough during study hall to get caught up.

Dinner ends up being microwave popcorn and a few handfuls of trail mix that I mindlessly shove in my mouth as I reread my pre-calc and physics chapters to fill in the gaps in my notes and finish practice problems.

Sophie sits enraptured by the taped anime I put on the TV for her. It’d be more fun to watch with her and chat, since these are episodes I wanted to catch up on, but I’m already anxious enough about having a literal ghost stuck haunting me. I don’t need the added stress of falling behind at the school I put so much effort into transferring to.

At least the homework for my English and history classes is light today. I skim the chapter in my history chapter I’m supposed to read, and look up some Cleft Notes for the assigned English reading to save time.

Don’t judge me! Everyone uses Cleft Notes!

“Sophie, did you have to read Edgar Allen Poe when you were in school?”

Sophie looks away from the screen for a moment. “Oh, yes! At least he wasn’t as dull as some of those old geezers. Is that what you’re reading over there?”

“The Tell-Tale Heart, yeah. But just the annotations.” Maybe I’ll go back to the story and read it for real later, but there’s no time tonight.

“Isn’t that the one where the man hears a heartbeat all hours of the day until he goes batty?” Sophie slowly rotates in the air until she’s hanging upside down, still watching TV. I used to watch TV like that when I was little, hanging off the couch. I guess Sophie doesn’t have to deal with blood going to her head, at least.

“Yeah,” I say, highlighting a few lines of Cleft Notes. “He’s so worried about people finding out his secret that he cracks and confesses on his own.” To be honest, it’s a little too close to my own situation for my peace of mind.

“I like the one with the bird better,” Sophie says, bringing the subject to a close.

I, on the other hand, keep thinking about it, at least as far as it relates to the situation we’re in. The world at large isn’t going to react real well to finding out about Sophie. And if we get sloppy, that’s what’s going to happen.

Noting the late hour, I put my school stuff back in my bag so it’s ready to go in the morning. I keep turning the problem over in my mind while I shower, put antiseptic goop on my scrapes, change into my PJs, and brush my teeth. I don’t expect to get to sleep any time soon.

“So,” I say to Sophie as I settle into bed. “We need to figure some things out. That stuff with Sabrina today really has me nervous.” Part of me still thinks Sophie was stretching the truth, but that could just be my personal bias because Sabrina is amazing. She’s also sharp, and if anyone at school is going to catch us out, it would probably be her.

Sophie barely glances away from the screen. What a couch potato. I guess it’s hard not to go a little nuts for entertainment after decades of having nothing to watch but bugs crawling across the floor and cars driving by outside. “Yeah, Clark?”

Not confident she’s really paying attention, I put my arms behind my head and stare up at the ceiling. “We should probably lay out some ground rules to follow, to make it less likely we get caught while we’re at school.”


“First of all,” I say, “even if people can’t see you, they’ll still feel cold if they walk through you, and you can move small stuff around that someone might see. So you should stay in my body during the day.”

Sophie nods. “Okay. At least we can chat.”

I’d rather not have her distracting me all day, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. “Secondly, you’ll have to stop using your powers to make me stronger and faster, and stuff. It’s way too risky.”

“Ugh,” Sophie groans, wrinkling her nose. “Not even running to school? That was so much fun...”

“It was, but it’s not worth it if someone sees us. And definitely no more scaring people! We’re lucky Blaine and his friends are idiots, but that could have really backfired.”


“We’re trying not to draw attention. I’m good at that, so just trust me, okay? In fact,” I go on. “Since you can sleep while you’re in me for whatever reason, maybe you should just sleep through school.”

Sophie shrugs. She looks a little put out, but at least she’s not arguing too much. “Your school’s as boring as mine was, anyway. I was great at sleeping through class.”

I bet.

“And we’re gonna have to come up with an escape plan for anything that might happen.” Easier said than done for tonight, but maybe Sophie can come up with some ideas while I’m sleeping. She’s definitely got an imagination.

Tomorrow morning is going to hurt, but my mind won’t stop churning until I’ve dug out my notebook from my bag, torn out a sheet, and written our new rules on it.

“Here.” I set the paper in front of Sophie. “I want you to look at these tonight and memorize them.”

Sophie gives me a look I can only describe as bemused. “Is there going to be a quiz, professor?”

“Sophie, it’s important. You kind of get carried away sometimes, so I need you to take this seriously. Got it?”

She nods and waves me off. “Sure, Clark, if it makes you feel better, I will. Now go to bed and stop blocking my view.” She shoos me away from the TV. “Unlike me, you’re not see-through in the slightest!”

Brushing my teeth in the morning, I sigh at the sight of dark circles under my eyes. Looking good, Clark!

The real bummer is that I didn’t even stay up late doing anything fun, like watching anime or reading comics. I was just worrying.

“You look awful, Clark,” Sophie says, helpfully, while she watches me fix my hair.

“Thanks, Sophie.”

She clicks her tongue. “You know what I mean! Don’t go making yourself sick, alright? I can’t exactly call the doctor for you if you keel over.”

“It’s fine, Sophie, I’m just a little tired.” Exhausted is more like it, but there’s nothing to be done about it. I can catch up on rest over the weekend. For now, we just have to power through and be cautious as possible. “Once we get to school, go ahead and sleep so I can study.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she says, nudging at a box of cereal on the kitchen counter as I walk by to remind me to eat before we leave. “I got it.”

The walk to school is uneventful today, and nowhere near as fun as running across the rooftops at super speed. I scold myself for taking such a big risk yesterday. For what? To avoid being tardy? What a dumb thing to worry about above people finding out about Sophie. We can’t afford to be irresponsible like that.

… Still, it was a lot of fun.

This morning, again, Sabrina is one of the last students to get to class. She walks to her desk at the back of the room without a word. I understand Blaine and his friends pretending I don’t exist after the shock Sophie and I gave them yesterday. I can’t place it, but I can’t shake the feeling I’ve done something to annoy Sabrina to make her give me the cold shoulder this morning.

Why is she always so late? Or is she just having a rough week? I know I am.

The morning drags by. I don’t mind the lack of excitement today, but it’s not making it any easier to stay awake and focused. Neither is Sophie snoring in my head. Must be nice…

At lunch, I have hopes that food will wake me up. Unfortunately, by the time I’m done with my tater tots and Mysterious School Cafeteria Meat Oval (I think it’s supposed to be Salisbury steak? What is a Salisbury steak, anyway?) My full stomach makes me even sleepier. It’s fine, though. The day is already half over, and everything’s going smoothly. Just a few more classes to get through.

I sit down for my physics class, pencil at the ready. Just a few more hours. I got this!

Sophie yelps as something jolts her from her dreams like a sharp punch to the gut. Confused, she looks around, taking in the startled faces of the kids sitting around her. Oh, they’re just Clark’s classmates. That’s right, they’re at school.

It takes a moment for her to realize she’s in control of Clark’s body, staring slack-jawed back at his classmates. Why is she at the helm? In any case, she should probably say something, so Clark doesn’t seem rude.

“Sorry, chums” she says, straightening Clark’s collar. “I… thought I saw a mouse run by.” People were frightened of mice, yes?

With a smattering of rolled eyes, everyone goes back to minding their own business. The teacher at the front of the room shoots Sophie a stern look over his glasses, but goes back to lecturing.

“Clark,” Sophie hisses silently. “What are you doing?”

Clark doesn’t answer, but Sophie can hear a familiar snore in the back of her head. Super duper.