Author: Nicole Zoltack
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
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
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
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
She looked nothing like Regina, the woman she called
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
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
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
She turned down another alley and bumped into
“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
She glanced up and down the street. No one was around. She
closed her eyes. Please, dear Lord, help me find my way back
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.
surroundings were still unfamiliar, and Crystal again prayed for
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
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,
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.”
you,” Crystal mumbled as her mom shut the door behind her.
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.
puffing, Crystal climbed onto the bus and slid into her customary seat beside
Her best friend took one look at her and raised a perfectly
arched eyebrow until it disappeared behind her blonde sideswept bangs.