What happens when you find yourself without any memories? Do you trust the people around you? Memories are a tricky thing. My mom had some brain damage and couldn't remember immediate things. So she'd call over and over and tell me things that happened recently because she didn't think I knew. My grandfather who had Alzheimer's would see things that weren't there, including me when he'd go to the dentist or store.
Summer is facing something more dangerous than not knowing who someone is... She could lose her life!
It’s an abrupt, uncomfortable incarnation for Summer, the ghostly girl with chameleon eyes. Exotic hues roil in her gaze as she seeks to recall what awful sin in her past has doomed her to roam the earth. And to discover what—or who—will bring her to eternal rest.
Kota, brunt of bad jokes because he’s different, feels an instant connection to Summer. She recoils at the mere sight of him. Yet they are drawn together in a dance of mutual need, choreographed by the ages.
As Summer grows more attached to both her young foster brother and to Kota’s friend, Preston, she struggles against complacency. Until discovering that if she doesn’t expiate the guilt on her soul by her seventeenth birthday, she will roam forever.
For her, it’s hate at first sight. For him, it’s instant attraction. When the pieces of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, will love be enough to save them both? Or will evil decide their future?
“You are tired more often this time.” Azul’s blue essence is a welcome bit of my poorly remembered past, because he’s been with me since the beginning of this journey. I know this, though I don’t know when or how my wandering came to be. I notice his usual form is less distinct, as if he’s fading away.
“Tired of not knowing how to truly rest. Will you tell me now?” I’m drifting in open space, letting the nothingness of his realm soothe the rigors of a phony life on earth.
“Time is not your friend.” Azul darkens to navy, as if a filter has been pulled across his normal cerulean-based essence. “Detritus grows restless. He will soon awaken.”
“What does that mean?” A frisson of unease causes my vapor to crinkle.
“You must think. A past not remembered is doomed to be repeated. Every clock here eventually winds down, one soul at a time. And there are stumbling blocks in your path.”
I become aware of mournful moaning I’ve never heard before. Specters dart past, quickly, like fireflies. They seem to have no purpose, no destination, no autonomy, as if captives in a glass jar. “What are they?”
“They are your future. Aimless, unrequited, tortured.”
“No. Please. Tell me what to do.” The moaning grows more fierce as the specters beat against the gate. It’s open but they can’t seem to get out. Panic nibbles at my brain, pushing aside all rational thought. I reach for the answer. It slides away.
“You have outpaced your allotment. I stretched this final phase because you have tried so hard.” Azul’s essence quivers. “But your body is now aging in real time. When you reach seventeen human years, you will belong to Detritus.” He gestures to the specters. “As do they.”
About the Author:
Laurel has been writing since the age of six, when Crawls the Caterpillar inched across her lined notebook paper propelled by a fat yellow pencil. She has published magazine and newspaper articles as well as blog posts with All The Way YA, SEAPC.org, and on her website. Her portfolio includes multiple children’s stories in a variety of genres. She has two Young Adult novels—both paranormal romances—with Inkspell Publishing.
In addition to writing, her passion is for travel to exotic locations around the globe. The people she meets, the places she visits, and the quirky way she looks at life all inspire her work. She loves complex characters and intricate plots that mesh into multifaceted books, melding romance, mystery, adventure, and history.
Laurel was a chosen participant at Better Books, a craft-based workshop near San Francisco. She is active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and has been a presenter at their Fall SCBWI Conference In Pittsburgh.
When she’s not deep into a writing project, Laurel is a medical missions’ nurse, traveling for Southeast Asia Prayer Center, Hope in Haiti, Caring Hearts, and Convoy of Hope. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, with her husband and their fur baby, Mabel. All of that, plus she’s the world’s biggest fan of chocolate milkshakes and hugs.
Facebook: Laurel Houck