Friday, February 17, 2017

Excerpt: Matter Of Fate by Heather Lyons


A MATTER OF FATE - EXCERPT 1



Chapter: 1



I am a chronic daydreamer.

Not so much because school bores me—in fact, a number of my classes are pretty interesting. No, I tend to daydream about escape routes. Places to run to when the inevitable, predetermined outcomes of my rigid life leave me no other choice. If it’s possible, even in the tiniest way, just how would I break away from what Fate and family has set before me?

Florence is currently my favorite spot to imagine disappearing in. It’s a city of impossible beauty and history, one I’ve longed to explore. Maybe I’d become an artist there— not that I’m artistic by any means, but maybe I’d be inspired to be something new. Different. There’s also the possibility of New England. My parents took me there once when I was little, the only time I’ve ever been outside of California. My father went for work, and while he was busy, my mother drove me to a number of little towns running up and down the coastline. One particular small city in New Hampshire is rooted in my memory, where flowers practically raced in bursts of color straight to the ocean’s edge. It was incredibly charming, the perfect sort of place to go and be someone—anyone, really—who isn’t me.

Are you kidding? snorts a little voice in the back of my mind. C’mon, why pick these places, when there is a much better place for you, and you know it?

Inwardly, I groan at the thought. My conscience has always been far too opinionated.

I move on, wondering what sheer anonymity would be like—to simply be a girl in a nondescript place, serving pancakes and mugs of coffee to weary travelers on long journeys. The land would be flat and golden as far as the eye could see, and driving through it, with the windows down, I’d be able to smell sweet grass in warm air.

And there’s the far north, where the Northern Lights illuminate the sky. I’d be speechless upon seeing them for the first time, standing in snow while gazing upon ribbons of color streaking across the stars. I wouldn’t have to be anyone there, either. I’d be just another person, in another small town, making my own choices.

I don’t bother looking up when the classroom door creaks open, because I’m still imagining those Northern Lights, still wondering how liberating it’d be to feel so small and insignificant for once. For as long as I want.

A voice breaks through, though. One impossible to ignore. “Excuse me,” it says, “I’m new to the class.”

My entire body freezes, all except my heart, which goes berserk. Because I know this voice, and this can’t be real.

He’s not real.

The ground under me shifts. It’s like an earthquake—not the rolling kind, but the jarring sort that comes out of nowhere, hits you hard, and then disappears just as quickly. The kind that leaves you stunned and wondering if it happened at all, it moved so fast. All I can do is reach out and grip the edges of my desk and pray I don’t fall out of my seat.

Because it’s not an earthquake. It’s a shift, and I’m the only one in the room who can feel it. A quick glance once the ground settles confirms this. Everyone is working, talking quietly to one another, or watching the front of the room. There are no signs from anyone that anything had just happened.

But something did.

And he’s standing in front of the classroom next to Mr. Snook.

I blink a few times as I stare at him, trying to determine if I’m actually awake. Every time I open my eyes, though, he’s still here. Oh my gods. He’s here.

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