The secret club was really Lynn’s idea. We would all have secret names that we used only when we were alone together, we would practice our superpowers, and we would write spells—both love spells and curses—and try them out on boys we knew. We all lived in the North Fields subdivision, and three of us were 12 and had known each other forever: me, Suzanne, and Lisa. The new girl, Lynn, turned 13 three weeks ago, one week before she moved here from Los Angeles.
We sat on the floor amid candles—there must have been a dozen of them. “Have you each chosen your secret name?” Lynn asked, grinning. Suzanne and I nodded, and Lisa, the redhead and youngest of us, shrugged.
“I will be…Cassandra,” Lynn told us.
“I will be Angelina,” I said. I’d always thought Angelina a beautiful name.
“I will be….” Suzanne said. “I can’t decide. Melissa or Francesca.”
“Oh, Francesca,” Cassandra-Lynn answered. “Much grander.” I nodded in agreement, and we all looked to Lisa for her answer.
“I’ll just keep Lisa.”
“No, no!” Cassandra-Lynn said. “Lisa is ordinary. This club is for our special selves.”
“Lisa isn’t ordinary,” Lisa snapped back.
“Oh please. I’ve met so many Lisas. It’s totally ordinary.”
Lisa looked like she would cry. Her lips trembled, her eyes shone. I put a hand on her shoulder. “How about Lisette?” I asked. “It’s like a fancy version of Lisa.”
Lisa sniffed and nodded. “Lisette.”
Cassandra-Lynn clapped her hands, and the candle flames around the room seemed to jump. “Cassandra, Angelina, Francesca, and Lisette! Beautiful!” She looked so happy I gave a little clap too, and she smiled at me.
“Next, our superpowers.”
Lisa-Lisette giggled. “We don’t have superpowers.”
“Really?” Cassandra said, head cocked to one side. “I do.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Lisa said. “What can you do?”
Cassandra leaned forward, toward Lisa, so their faces were only a foot apart. “I can tell the future.”
“You,” she said, leaning in. “You will lose an eye in a car crash and have a glass eye the rest of your life.” She pulled back and looked at Suzanne, but she and Lisa were already scrambling to their feet and grabbing their things. Cassandra didn’t speak, just watched them go. Suzanne gestured, pleading for me to join them, but I just shrugged like this was all no big deal.
If Cassandra could tell the future, she could tell me my superpower.
Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and taught creative writing at Bath Spa University since 2004. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Weather in Normal (UK: Seren; US: Station Hill, 2018), and a chapbook of flash fictions, Hometown (V. Press, 2016). Come say hello at @Carrie_Etter