Name: Jessica Elliott
Genre: YA urban fantasy
The colors, faint and misty, swirled around him. As he stepped into each one, a burst of emotion burst through him. Falling into a sheen of red, anger bubbled up inside him. Why had she run off like that? How could he have been so stupid? Why had he let her? He ran, unsure who she was and why he was so furious with her.
A mist of blue drifted near him, covered him, and then he filled with despair instantaneously. No one would help him. He should give up because they would find her before he did. Who is she? He wondered.
Then the dark black wave - a black haze tornado-like with its spinning drew near. He knew he had to avoid it, but it drew him. He slowed his steps, but the black pulled at him despite his weariness and despite his fear of it.
And then an explosion, bluish and eerie, split the night, momentarily blinding him. And then the screaming. And the burning, everything burning. But the black tornado was still there, spinning and pulsating and drawing his footsteps. He couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do now, but the spinning and whirring and whispering voices called to him...
Chapter One – Jack
My eyes fly open. I’ve been dreaming. Just a Dream. Now, with the light spilling in through the window, I can’t remember much except for that it was disturbing and terrifying all at once. When I have a Dream, I can’t make myself wake up no matter how much I want to, no matter how horrible the things I see. I lay still against my pillow, the magic thrumming in me, keeping cadence with the pulse in my head, the rhythm dulling as I calm down. My breathing slows, steadies.
In the fog of my relief, I hear the high pitched electronic blare of the alarm clock next to my bed. How long has it been going off? I turn my head toward the direction of the sound, eyes bleary. Each new screech is a spike in my temple. I finally open my eyes and take in the clock and, yep, I’m late again.
I hit snooze with a dead-weighted hand and a sigh. My instinct is to burrow farther down into my pillow and try to go back to sleep, but a rush of panic hits me. Being late to school once here and there can be overlooked, but three times in a row is a pattern that might snap my mom and step-dad out of their workaholic comas to turn their combined energies into rectifying the problem that is me. That thought, more than any school policy, makes me groan and roll out of bed letting gravity do most of the work.
I walk to the closet where I see the usual folded piles of perfectly ironed slacks and crisply starched white shirts that our latest housekeeper has left for me. I grab a pair of the slacks and pull them on hurriedly and then start buttoning the stifling collar of the white shirt that is required wear at Whitford. My hands shake and tense, wanting to release the power, as the hangover of the magic continues to form behind my eyes.
I don’t feel like I can breathe right, and a nameless anxiety grows in my brain. It’s not anyone’s reaction to me being late that’s getting to me. It’s not even the Dream. I’m used to those, dreams that come true – both good and bad. It started when I was eleven years old, and even though I sometimes want to, I can’t talk about these dreams because they involve magic. It massively sucks, but it’s normal for me. Even dreaming about some weird evil thing chasing me or the feeling that someone is going to die if I don’t do something is barely a blip on my radar anymore. But those swirling colors are not normal. Seeing them in the Dream gives me the feeling that something horrible is going to happen, that any of the portents that have run through my head in the past are nothing compared to whatever omen is bubbling up in my brain now.
This is the third time I’ve dreamt about this. Usually if I dream the same Dream only twice in a row, I’m certain that later on I’ll see it fulfilled in some half-imagined déjà-vu like experience, even if it’s only on a barely-connected symbolic level. Dreaming about getting hit by a taxi because I was turning up my iPod in the middle of a busy street could have to do with being unprepared for something or stand for danger of a threat that might not actually be as bad as being flattened by a car. Either way, there’s always a moment when, I’m not sure how, I just know that a real life situation is the fulfillment of one of my dreams. It’ll all click together just like that. I don’t know that I’ve ever dreamed the exact same thing more than twice before, and the not knowing what this third time means bothers me. A lot.
Worst of all, I have never seen colors like that roiling around in any of my Dreams. It was like the clouds of color were connected to certain emotions. The way I actually felt them as I fell into them was so out of my realm of experience that just thinking of it right now as I scrabble through my school stuff makes me feel almost queasy. It’s hard enough to hide my magic with even just the regular Dreams to deal with.
I try to silence my fears with logic. Maybe this is just a part of my Sight that will develop as I mature or something like that. But still. It’s hard to employ logic at a time like this. I think about my dad and wish I could ask him about it. But that’s not happening any time soon.
As I grudgingly loop the full Windsor into my stupid, monotone tie, I hear footsteps crossing the hallway outside of my room and jump a little. Long before this time of morning, I’m usually alone in the condo with the place to myself to get ready for school. I recognize Brantley’s measured gait, and I sigh a labored why me sigh even as panic stabs into my chest. Great. This is definitely going to make my morning so much better.
“Jack? What are you still doing here?” he asks indignantly as he peers around the corner of my open door.
I’m caught, so I’m not sure that it will make a difference to him whether my reply is respectful or not. The magic in me churns, the feeling heightening as my adrenaline prepares to flare. “I’m preparing for a dinner party,” I trill in a fake English accent. “I don’t recall putting you on the guest list. Why are you here?”
I look at him, and the expression underneath his short salt and pepper hair is definitely not amused. “You can stop with the attitude,” he says, his voice even but holding the promise of some future retaliation. “Haven’t you been on the tardy list for two days in a row now?”