Twelve years prior to the story, Chloe was being babysat by a girl named Emily. Emily went into the basement to get a can of pop, but couldn’t seem to find any. The babysitter asks for Chloe’s help. Chloe says that she is not allowed in the basement. She tells Chloe to come down and help her or else she will drag her down. Chloe goes down into the cellar and is scared by Mrs. Hobb, who welcomes her back.
Chloe is woken up from her dream about the little girl in the basement by the housekeeper, Annette. She gets ready for school, remembering when her mother used to run down the stairs with her when she was little. Her mother died some time ago. She gets in the cab and talks with the driver about movies. She thinks she sees someone jump in front of the car, but no one is there.
At school, Chloe calls her Aunt Lauren to ask if she ever lived in a house with a basement (only when she was really little). She goes to lunch with her friends and ends up leaving early to attend a film club meeting she had planned on skipping. She finds out that she is the only freshman to have a shot at possibly directing a short film. She sneaks out of the meeting early and realizes that she forgot her lunch bag. She goes back for it and her overactive imagination goes really wild in the dark theater. She thinks she hears children crying and sees a dark figure. She grabs her bag and runs out.
A guy named Nate asks Chloe is she plans on going to the dance the next night. She says she is, and he says he will see her there. Another student runs into her and she drops her things. She bends down to pick them up and feels wetness. She goes to the bathroom and finds that she has gotten her first period. She breaks into the sanitary napkin dispenser and cleans up. She then decides to skip class and dye some red streaks in her hair. She hears someone crying in the bathroom, but can’t seem to find them. When she leaves, there is a janitor that starts yelling at her. She tries to run away from him, but ends up running into him. She sees that he is deformed from burns. He says that he wants to talk to her, but she keeps running. She gets to a window and a couple of teachers stop her. She fights one of them, trying to escape the melted janitor. The other teachers can’t see the custodian. They give her a shot.
Aunt Lauren explains that since Chloe fought against one of the teachers, she has to spend two weeks in a group home for troubled kids. She goes through a whole bunch of tests from a mess of doctors, but no one seems to be able to tell her what is wrong with her. She doesn’t know if she’s going crazy. Aunt Lauren explains that they moved out of a house because Chloe was afraid of her imaginary friends in the basement. Chloe arrives at Lyle House, but is heavily sedated and everything is a blur. Her dad brings her a stuffed koala she hasn’t used in years, but she sleeps with it anyway. Chloe cries about how humiliated she is from the entire situation, wondering how she could ever face anyone from school ever again.
Chloe wakes up and meets her roommate, Liz, who talks a lot. She shows Chloe around and points out the other female residence, Tori (bipolar?) and Rae (issues with fire). She explains that the boys are separated.
While peeling carrots in the kitchen, Chloe is distracted by Simon (who seems nice). The boy introduces himself and his foster brother, Derek (who seems antisocial and rude). During lunch, Tori makes fun of Chloe and then Liz. The boys seem to be at least slightly interested that Chloe is seeing dead people. When she tries to go take a nap, a nurse stops her. She instead goes to the basement to help Rae with laundry. Rae explains that she has a harmless love for fire and that is why she is there. Chloe hides the other girl’s matchbox when a nurse comes down to send Rae back to class.
Chloe hears a voice while in the basement. It tells her to open the locked door so that it can talk to her. She goes to the door, but it is locked. Derek finds her and asks her about it, but she just shrugs it off. Later, Chloe talks to her therapist, Dr. Gill, who tells her they think that she is schizophrenic. Chloe mentions how the other kids already know and she says that she will deal with Tori discretely so that she won’t know Chloe told her. While Chloe is trying to deal with her illness, Simon invites her outside to kick around a ball with him and Derek. When classes start up again, Chloe goes to peel potatoes and Liz throws a pencil at the tutor. The tutor starts making a scene about quiting.
All of the kids work hard to make Liz feel better. Chloe goes with Rae to help with the laundry and they get to talking. Chloe tells her new friend about why she is there. Rae tells Chloe about her annoyance with how they label the kids. She also tells her about how Simon and Derek do not like to spend time with the “crazy” kids. They seem to think they are better than the rest of them and will ditch out of group activities as quickly as they can.
Liz wakes Chloe in the middle of he night to ask her to try a séance. Liz thinks that she has a poltergeist following her and that it does things to protect her when she gets mad. She has tried telling it to stop, but it won’t listen. So she wants Chloe to tell it. Chloe doesn’t agree until things start flying around the room. Before they can get started, the nurses come in and sedate Liz, apologizing to Chloe for the inconvenience. Tori thinks Chloe did something to Liz, but Chloe explains that she is not the one that told Liz that she saw dead people. Tori is shocked.
Liz is taken away and Chloe is given sleeping pills. Later that night, Chloe finds Liz back in their room, and Liz tells her about the dream she had where there were doctors around her, operating on her. Chloe offers to do the séance, and Liz agrees. However, they both get freaked out when Chloe’s hand goes through Liz’s.
Chloe tries to deal with Liz being gone. Simon offers to listen to her talk about it, but she’s trying not to think about it. Her school sent some work for her to do, but she has trouble concentrating. Peter, the youngest in the house, is taken home by his parents.
While writing an email (that she decides not to send) to her friend, Chloe decides to look up the janitor she saw at her school. Derek walks in and asks if that is the guy she saw. She denies it, and he types in necromancer, telling her to read up on that to learn something useful. There are a variety of definitions, all having to do with the dead.
Derek sends a note to Chloe (saying it is from Simon) to meet him in the laundry room. She goes and pretends like Derek and Simon want her to play an RPG with them. Derek tries to tell her that he is serious about necromancy, but she refuses to listen. When she tries to leave, Derek grabs her and throws her. Chloe runs back up to her room and sees the marks on her arm from where he grabbed her. She approaches Rae about looking at Simon and Derek’s files.
Rae explains her experiences with the other tenants of Lyle House. Simon and Tori have always snubbed her, but she’s okay with it because everyone else has been nice. She thinks that Chloe and Simon like each other. Chloe explains that she’s scared of Derek and that is why she wants to check him out.
Chloe and Rae sneak into Dr. Gill’s office and make copies of Derek’s file (Simon doesn’t have one). As they are going back to their room, they hear someone coming and go to the kitchen to pretend like they are just getting a snack. Derek comes in and takes some food as well. They go their separate ways. Chloe reads that Derek was adopted by Simon’s dad at five, but has no known history before that. He is there for his violent episodes.
Aunt Lauren comes to take Chloe out for breakfast. Wondering how her niece is getting along, she asks about the other kids. When Chloe stammers, Aunt Lauren guesses that there is a problem with Derek. Chloe tries to downplay the whole ordeal, but her aunt won’t hear it. She goes to complain. Tori is back to her normal self and accuses Rae of burning her. Simon tells her to get a life.
Derek is taken in for a special conference before lunch. Afterwards, while Chloe is taking out the trash, Simon confronts her. She shows him the marks that Derek left on her arm and tells him that she didn’t mean to tell anyone what had happened. Simon apologizes for his brother. Derek comes along and tries to get Simon to leave Chloe alone. He keeps hinting at something, and Chloe says that she doesn’t want to know.
Simon arranges a secret meeting with Chloe through Nintendo DS communication. They both head outside while Derek is in the shower. Simon tries to explain that Derek isn’t messing with Chloe by saying that she is a necromancer. He shows her how he can levitate a basketball. While she is checking for strings or any other tricks, Simon grabs Chloe’s hand. Tori comes out and catches them like that together. Later that night, Chloe is waken up by a ghost that wants her to go up into the attic.
Chloe goes up into the attic, leaving the lights off so that she won’t get caught. The ghost from the basement tells her that he is being blocked somehow and that she needs to open the door in the basement. He disappears and Liz is there, talking about the séance. Mrs Talbot comes in and says that Chloe is not as cured as she thought she was. Back in her room, Rae gets angry that Chloe lied to her about actually seeing ghosts.
The next morning, the doctors talk to Chloe about her backward progress. She is now being monitored with urine tests to make sure that she is taking her medication. Derek approaches her and tells her to meet him and Simon in their room (using the excuse of a math tutor) for the explanation.
Chloe apologies to Rae for not telling her the truth and explains that it was because she didn’t believe it herself at first. While in the basement, they decide to open the door. When they are unable to, Chloe goes up for the key. Derek gives it to her, and she head back to the basement. They find a small closet with a dirt crawl space in it. Rae goes back upstairs for a flashlight and they search the space. They only find some old tax files.
In their room, Simon explains the different races of supernaturals to Chloe (Necromancers, Sorcerers, witches, half-demons, shamans, and other rare types). He goes on to tell Chloe that Derek has a sort of superman gene: super strength and senses. Derek explains that the need to get Chloe off of the medication. He also says that he overheard the doctors talking about Lyle House not being right for Chloe.
Chloe asks when she will be able to talk to Liz, but the nurses tell her not yet. She wonders if Liz is a shaman and she is seeing her because she astral projects. Derek gives Chloe a jar to store her urine in. Since she has already taken the meds, she can dole it out over a few days and they won’t know that she stopped taking the pills.
Tori’s mother (who is on the Board for Lyle House) comes for a visit. Chloe sneaks off to here the conversation between mother and daughter. Tori’s mother is embarrassed that her daughter is there and disappointed that she isn’t better already. Later, Tori apologizes and offers to show Chloe where there is a jewelry box hidden in the crawl space. While down there in the dark, Tori beats up Chloe for stealing her life. Chloe wakes up bound and gagged. She hears a ghost and concentrates. It tells her to stop, but she can’t. A corpse that she reanimated comes after her. Derek arrives and tells her that she has to set the souls free. She concentrates and is eventually able to release them. They are caught coming out of the crawlspace and the nurses think that they were fooling around. Not even Aunt Lauren will listen to Chloe. The two are warned that if anything else happens between them, one of them will be transferred.
Chloe refuses to talk to Derek about what happened. When Simon comes around, they start talking, but end up on the topic of zombie movies. Derek comes in and berates Simon for being lazy, mentioning how Chloe is in trouble and there dad might be as well. Simon and Chloe leave him. They go outside and Simon explains that Derek has a plan to get Simon out of Lyle house to go find their dad. He tells her that Derek can’t go because he’s worried about what might happen if he did. Chloe decides that she is going to runaway with Simon so they can all get the help the actually need.
Chloe confronts Derek about setting her up to be transferred so that Simon would want to help her and leave to go find their dad. He admits it, but denies sending Tori after her. He tries to make it seem like he is trying to help her, but she tells him that she knows it isn’t true.
Later that night, Chloe wakes Derek up, asking for his help. Derek seems like he is getting sick. She wants to know how to talk to a specific ghost. He tells her that she would need a personal effect or the body. They go to the crawlspace to talk to the ghosts who are buried there. They meet the first ghost that Chloe ran into down there. He was a necromancer and followed Chloe from the hospital she was in. The house is blocked from ghost from ghosts, so he has trouble communicating. He tells them that the sorcerer who built the house experimented on supernaturals. Chloe summons a witch who was one of Lyle’s experiments. She tells her that their situations are unrelated and to stop summoning her. Derek and Chloe go outside the house to check out escape routes. They decide either the business or industrial districts would be best to hide in.
The next morning, Rae wakes Chloe up to tell her what is really wrong with her. When she gets mad, she burns things with her hands. She wants to go with Simon and Chloe on their escape. Chloe gets Simon alone to talk with him. He tells Chloe that Derek had crippled a guy saving him from that same guy with a switchblade in his hand. Chloe tells Simon about Rae. Simon says that he really just wanted it to be him and Chloe, and then Derek comes out. Chloe tells him about Rae. They all decide they should go.
Chloe starts packing for their departure later that night. She get Liz’s sweatshirt from Tori and says goodbye to the mean girl that thinks they are all plotting against her. They get ready to go, trying not to be suspicious. When Simon says that Derek isn’t feeling well, Chloe takes him some water and pain killers. She’s worried that Derek won’t be well enough to help them and hoping that Rae really is a half-demon.
When Chloe and Rae meet up with Simon, he tells them that his brother is missing. Chloe sends them ahead and promises to find Derek. Simon tries to argue, but she insists that Simon get free because his father is their only hope. Chloe finds Derek behind the shed, shifting into a wolf. He asks Chloe not to go yet, and she complies. He doesn’t turn completely. Dr. Gill comes out and Chloe tries to cover for everyone by saying that she was making out with Derek again. She already knows that they are escaping, but wants to know the secrets that Lyle unlocked with his experiments. She traps Chloe, who is freed by Derek, and they run to meet Simon and Rae.
There are several people out looking for them. They make it to a warehouse, but are followed in. The head doctor, Davidoff, promises that if Derek turns himself in, he won’t be in trouble. Derek refuses when the threats start. He finds them a way out. They hide under a tarp until everyone is inside and then go find Simon and Rae. It isn’t long before they are tracked down again and have to split up to find an exit out of another warehouse. Chloe sees a ghost’s suicide and shrieks. Derek and Simon find her just as Rae lets out a loud whistle, alerting everyone of where she is. Derek and Simon send them off to an abandoned warehouse off in the distance where they will all meet up later.
Chloe and Rae speculate whether or not the boys will come for them. Chloe really needs a doctor to stitch up her arm, so they decide to go to her Aunt Lauren. They get the tranquilizer dart that Derek had yanked out of his arm and go to her house. They tell her most of the truth (not that they actually have superpowers) and she gets all fired up. However, upon arriving at the hospital, Aunt Lauren reveals that she knows about all of the supernaturals.
Chloe wakes up in a secure room. Realizing that she still has Liz’s hoodie on, she uses everything she has to contact her. Liz doesn’t realize that she’s dead.