Here’s more of the novel I have worked on for the past four years. It features 15-year-old Vree Erikson who wakes up in the hospital after lightning struck her and her neighbor Owen Avery. It is Monday and four days before Halloween when Vree awakens.
Enjoy. And again, please don’t shy from leaving comments.
Vree floated, buoyant in the dark.
She struggled to move, to rise out of the dark around her.
An unknown but pleasant voice spoke her name.
“Can you hear me, Verawenda?” a woman asked.
Vree plummeted deeper into darkness for a moment, then rode an invisible wave that lifted her to a small, lighted square white room. She was on her back, on a bed, and covered to her chest by a white blanket. A bank of computerized machines flanked the head of her bed. Clear liquid in a rectangular plastic bag hung above her head on a metal pole. A plastic tube ran from the bag to the top of her right hand, its metal needle held in place by three pieces of clear, plastic tape.
Her voice croaked from the worst sore throat ever as she asked where she was.
“You’re in the hospital.” The woman with the pleasant voice leaned over from the left and smiled down from an oval face surrounded by coils of red hair. Kind, mocha eyes gazed at Vree. “How are you feeling?” She wore a white starchy blouse and a gold nametag with ABIGAIL GENTRY, RN stenciled on it.
Vree tried to swallow away the fire in her throat, but her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.
“Thir-thty.” She licked her swollen, sandpapery tongue across parched lips.
The head of her bed rose until she sat upright. A white plastic cup came from the left and hovered in front of her face for a moment before she took it from Abigail’s offering hand. The water was warm but tasted good and soothed her throat, clearing it so she could ask the nurse why she was in the hospital.
“You were struck by lightning,” Abigail said matter-of-factly as she looked up at one of the monitors. She swept a curly lock of hair from her brow. “You were unconscious and unresponsive when the emergency medical team arrived at your home. We treated you for dehydration and ran some scans, but it looks like you’re doing fine now.”
Vree handed Abigail her empty cup and groaned, recalling Owen on his back and dead. The white flash must have been the lightning striking him. Tears rolled down her cheeks and a sob broke free from her throat.
“Where are my parents?” she asked, sniffling at her tears.
“Your mom stepped out for some coffee. She’s been with you this whole time. She’ll be happy to see that you’re awake.” Abigail tucked the blanket tighter around Vree’s narrow hips before she said, “I need to ask you some questions, so I need to know if you’re feeling dizzy, feeling nauseous, or having any pain.”
Vree shook her head. Several other questions followed, including if she knew who the president of the country was. She answered each one, but then asked, “Why did you look surprised when I said that today is Sunday?”
“You rest,” Abigail said. She took the pillow from behind Vree’s head and replaced it with a fresh one from a closet in the room. “Dr. Fuller will talk to you later. Meanwhile, I’ll be back later to check on you. The call buttons are on both bed railings if you need anything.”
Vree sank into the fresh pillow. As soon as she closed her eyes, darkness grabbed her and pulled her down into a swirling chaos that stopped when she opened her eyes.
A cool breeze fell on her as though someone had turned on a ceiling fan. A white crow sat perched on the foot of her bed.
Was it the same crow from earlier?
It had to be. After all, how many white crows existed in Ridgewood?
The crow cawed and spoke to her.
“You are not hallucinating, Verawenda Erikson,” it said with a deep, masculine voice.
Vree reached out to press the call button then stopped when the crow spoke again.
“You see and hear me because your magic has awakened inside you, brought to life by the lightning that struck you.”
“This can’t be real,” Vree said.
The crow seemed to stand straighter, taller. “I am Lucian.” It arched its back and flapped its wings as an obese woman entered the doorway and stopped. Her blue hospital gown was tight against her rolls of flesh.
“Why is this girl in my bed?” she bellowed.
“You need to leave, spirit,” Lucian said, turning to face her. “Your time here has expired.”
“It’s my bed. She needs to get out of it. NOW.”
Icy wind whipped across Vree. She pressed the call button.
“Go,” Lucian said. “Leave this plane of existence.”
“But this is my room.”
“Stop it,” Vree said. “Both of you get out of here and leave me alone.”
An older, plump, white-haired nurse entered and passed through the woman as she hurried to Vree’s side. She said, “It’s always so cold in this room. Can I get you another blanket, sweetheart?”
“No. I just want them out of my room.” Vree brought her trembling hands to the sides of her face and pressed them against her cheeks, despite their coldness.
“You want who out of your room?” the nurse asked.
The angry woman vanished like vapor. So did Lucian.
“I want my mom,” Vree said. Her throat had tightened and her voice was barely audible. She peered up at the nurse’s concerned face and said, “I want to go home.”
To be continued