Monday, June 18, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal
Title: Crystal’s Magic
Crystal pushed open the library door to see the drooping sun splash reds and oranges across the sky. Her school bag bouncing on her back, she walked the quiet streets of Claymore. She nodded to the few people she passed, but soon she was alone as twilight descended and a few stars began to twinkle in the sky
Her mother had to be worrying about her right now. If Crystal had a cell phone, she could call to let her mom know where she was but no, Crystal had to be the only junior, probably the only kid in her high school, to not own one.
She thought about going home but didn’t. For the past eleven years, Crystal had known a secret about her mom, a secret that was becoming more than she could bear. She’d even dreamt about it last night and hadn’t been able to fall back asleep again.
With a lump in her throat, she pulled a picture out of her pocket and stared at the happy scene: her grade school graduation, her gown too long and slightly wrinkled, her mom beaming proudly, grinning wider than Crystal was.
The lump moved down into her chest and grew to be the size of a rock. Crystal coughed as she pulled out another picture. A woman with long, chocolate brown hair and soft brown eyes stared at her with a broad smile on her face. The tall man beside her wore the same smile, his dark hair streaked with a little white on the side.
Her mom didn’t know Crystal had this picture.
A picture of her real mom and dad.
Crystal stared at the photo for so long she stopped walking. Even though she knew it was blank, she turned the picture over. Why couldn’t their names by written there? Heaving a sigh, she brought the picture to her lips and kissed it. She had found the picture by accident shortly after her dad—not her real one—had died when she had been almost five.
She could have been twins with the woman in the picture.
She looked nothing like Regina, the woman she called Mom.
Why she hadn’t confronted Regina all those years ago, Crystal wasn’t sure. It probably had something to do with the scariness of the funeral. And Regina had hardly left her bed for nearly a month after her husband passed away. And it wasn’t until Crystal had been eight and watched The Parent Trap for the first time before she understood the significance of the picture—that the woman had to be her real mom.
Crystal rubbed her dry eyes and shoved the graduation picture into her pocket. Before she could tuck away the picture of her parents, a sudden gust of wind blew the picture from her hand. She tore after it, chasing it down allies and across the empty streets. Finally she grabbed it and reverently returned it to her pocket.
She glanced up. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized she didn’t know where she was. Darkness colored the buildings, giving them an almost sinister feel. The icy tendrils of fear replaced the rock in her chest and squeezed her heart.
Her head held high, she turned around and marched the way she’d come. Claymore looked different this late at night. The trees seemed bigger, the pavement more uneven.
Where was the library? If she could just find it, she would know how to get home.
A figure appeared at the edge of the sidewalk. Claymore wasn’t a big town and she knew almost everybody, but she couldn’t see who it was.
A cloud shifted and blocked the moon. The void of light made her panic, and she ducked down an alley. Although it was even darker than the street, at least she was alone again. The stench of rotting garbage seared her nose. Holding her breath, she picked up her pace. If she could just find a recognizable landmark…
She turned down another alley and bumped into someone.
“Hey there, pretty lady.”
Crystal didn’t recognize the voice or its owner. He reeked, as if he hadn’t bathed in months. Her heart pounding, she backed up into a trash can. The lid clattered to the ground, the sound as loud as thunder. She jumped, whirled around, and ran in the opposite direction. None of the buildings looked familiar, and the cloud still blocked the moon.
She glanced up and down the street. No one was around. She closed her eyes. Please, dear Lord, help me find my way back home.
Crystal opened her eyes. She crossed the street then paused, uncertain where to go. The wind picked up and blew to the right. Not having a better idea, she walked with the wind until it died down.
The surroundings were still unfamiliar, and Crystal again prayed for help.
Just then, the cloud moved, and moonlight bathed the world below. At the end of the street, Crystal spied her church.
With a sigh of relief and a quick prayer of thanks, Crystal climbed up her porch stairs fifteen minutes later.
Her mother must have been standing by the window because she opened the door and immediately pounced on her. “There you are. I was worried sick!” Her mom enveloped her into a tight hug. “Don’t go scaring me like that. Where were you?”
Crystal hugged her mom back and breathed in her familiar lilac perfume. It was wonderful to be home, but she still felt aloof from her mom. “I was at the library working on a project and lost track of time. I still have more homework to do.” She bounded up the stairs to her room where she dropped her bag onto the floor.
Biting her lip, she took out the picture of her parents from her pocket. After giving it another kiss, she returned it to its hiding place underneath her mattress.
A knock sounded on the door, and her mom popped her head in. “Is everything all right, Crystal?”
She nodded. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“It’s not like you to not call. I know your homework is important to you, but you shouldn’t have been out so late. I bought you your computer last year so you wouldn’t have to go to the library so much.” Her mom sat beside her on the bed. “You know you can talk to me about anything. What’s bothering you?”
Crystal thought about showing her the picture they were sitting on. She even opened her mouth to mention it but couldn’t bring herself to. “I’m fine, Mom. I’m just tired. I have a lot of work to get done before school tomorrow.”
Her mom pursed her lips and shook her head. “I know something’s wrong but if you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t push you. Don’t stay up too late. I love you.”
“Love you,” Crystal mumbled as her mom shut the door behind her.
She collapsed onto her bed. Her conscious prickled at her. Although she had been at the library, she hadn’t completely finished her project. She still had to type up the bibliography and print out the report in the morning. Despite having a mountain of homework to do, she closed her eyes. She hadn’t lied about being tired. Within seconds, she was asleep.
Huffing and puffing, Crystal climbed onto the bus and slid into her customary seat beside Kelly Mae.
Her best friend took one look at her and raised a perfectly arched eyebrow until it disappeared behind her blonde sideswept bangs.
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