Authors: Audrey Hart
Tags: #Fantasy, #Romance, #Young Adult
Audrey Har t
BACKLIT: Fiction Forward
Copyright © 2011 Backlit Fiction, LLC
Backlit and the colophon are registered trademarks of Backlit Fiction, LLC.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you‘re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of the author‘s experience and opinion. The names, characters, places, incidents and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used factiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2011 Backlit Fiction, LLC
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. For more information regarding permission, contact Backlit Fiction, LLC, Attention: Permissions Department, [email protected] or via www.BacklitFiction.com.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Cover Designed by: Arsonal Design, LLC
Published by: Backlit Fiction, LLC
Everybody talks about falling in love like it‘s the greatest thing in the world. All the songs, all the movies, all the books—they tell you over and over that when it happens to you, it‘ll be the best day of your life.
You‘ll never stop smiling.
You‘ll be so happy.
Who knows? Maybe they‘re right. I‘m sure I would be a lot happier about falling in love if, when it finally happened to me, I wasn‘t
Cold air rushes over me as I hurtle through the sky. The mysterious black fog surrounding me is so dense that I can‘t see anything. For a second, I think I can feel water crystals on my skin as I plummet through clouds, but it might just be my imagination.
If only it
my imagination. If only everything that‘s happened to me, all the strange and wonderful and scary encounters, were nothing but a dream…
But if it were all a dream, then
would be a dream too. And I wouldn‘t trade my time with him for anything. Even though it‘s left me tangled up in this mysterious darkness, crashing toward the earth.
I can feel the air getting warmer. Any second now it‘ll be over. I try one last time to save myself, summoning a power I‘ve only recently possessed.
But I‘m falling too fast, and I‘m disoriented by the inky fog.
It‘s no use. This is it.
And then I‘m flying.
Part 1 – The Giant iPhone That Changed My Life
I have only one scar and it‘s on my neck. It‘s from the summer after fourth grade, when I was at day camp. We were doing a trust exercise where all the kids are blindfolded and holding hands and walking through the woods. You‘re not allowed to break the chain, or the counselors tell your family you are, like, incapable of trust.
We had been walking through the bushes for just a couple of minutes when I felt something pinch my neck. I screamed. I tried to break free but the boy and girl who were holding my hands didn‘t let go. The pinch turned into a burning sensation. I begged the counselors to help me, but they said that I was just panicking and that I had to trust them.
My neck continued to throb but I kept quiet for the rest of the trust walk. When we were done, I tore off my blindfold and fled to the bathroom.
I looked in the mirror and saw something in my neck. A stinger. It was hard to pull it out but I managed. That day, I learned that I didn‘t trust kids
adults. I only trusted myself.
I never did return to that camp, but that was because my aunt and uncle had a different plan for me. They‘re archeologists and they decided that I was old enough to spend my summers with them on digs. Tomorrow is the last day of school at Greeley Academy, and then I will fly to Crete, an island in Greece, to join Uncle Alex and Aunt Sophia for my seventh annual dig. I love spending my summers on location. We will be isolated from civilization, knee-deep in dust and sand and, hopefully, bones.
But for some reason, I don‘t have the excited Christmas Eve feeling I usually get. It dawns on me that when it comes right down to it, I don‘t want to go to Greece this year. Which is weird, because I‘m half Greek; my name is
, which means ―life‖ in Greek. Though to be honest, I‘ve never really been all that interested in Greek culture. When I read about ancient Greece, it seems like a giant high school, like Greeley Academy, without indoor plumbing and squash courts. It was the first civilization to play games, and I hate games! Okay, ―hate‖ is a strong word, and I might be burnt out from another rah-rah year at Greeley, where football rules.
But sports seem so juvenile to me. In one of my research books there was a quote from an ancient Egyptian priest: ―Solon, Solon, you Greeks are all children.‖ I hear you, priest.
When you think Greece, you also think Greek mythology. Yawn.
Myths don‘t do it for me. I don‘t enjoy the popcorn superhero movies, and if you ask me, those Greek myths are just as preposterous. The way the ancient Greeks worshipped gods reminds me of the girls in my dorm who talk about
and other silly CW shows as if they actually
the actors—who are all, like, twenty-five years old and not even our age to begin with. And I think this is what it must have been like to live in ancient Greece: people believing in superhumans and talking about them as if they‘re a part of real life. I mean, come
to them what those gossip blogs are to kids now?
I know, I know. Greek people don‘t believe in those myths anymore, and I‘m probably just jittery about reuniting with my family and being in a new place. So I shouldn‘t be freaking out. I don‘t want to be freaking out.
But it‘s too late. I‘m in full freak-out mode: biting my nails, rubbing the scar on my neck and watching the boys in the quad kick around a hacky sack. CeeCee, my roommate, hates when I get like this, especially when she‘s in the middle of telling a
―Zoe, did you even hear what I just said?‖
―I‘m listening. You were talking about what‘s-his-name‘s Facebook status.‖
My little trick works and CeeCee resumes babbling about what‘s-his-name‘s Facebook status and packing her bikinis—and Facebook updating about her bikinis—as she prepares to leave for Martha‘s Vineyard.
―So what should I do?‖ she asks.
―What? Sorry, I missed what you just said.‖
―Never mind, Zoe. You‘re already in Geek Land. I get it.‖
―Not Geek Land. Greece Land.‖
―At least you‘re finally going someplace cool.‖ I‘m surprised that she‘s willing to talk about my dig. We‘ve been roommates at Greeley since seventh grade, so we know each other pretty well. CeeCee is ―grossed out‖ by archeology. In the beginning, she thought it was like in the movies, where you dodge huge boulders while running down dirt paths and Shia LeBeouf scoops you into his arms and you save
the world from itself. The more I tell her about my summer jobs—the painstaking hours of dusting walls, the long days without anyone remotely resembling Shia LeBeouf, and the reality that the scariest beast you ever actually encounter is a
photographer on deadline—
the less she wants to know about any of it. I once mentioned to her that my aunt had discovered a pair of earrings at least a thousand years old, and her only question was regarding potential knock-offs at Forever 21. Sigh.
―You do know I mean Greece the place and not
the movie, right Cee?‖
She throws a bikini top at me. Gross.
―Well yeah. They go to Greece in
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
.‖ I give the blank stare, my trademark blank stare that I use to tell teenagers I am not like them. I don‘t know the latest chick flick or the rap song that all the boys in Harris Hall were singing at lunch. I‘m out of it.
Happily out of it. I prefer books.
―You know the movie, Zoe, with the girls and they go to Greece and the one is like you, except she has a love life.‖
―Aaaah. That one.‖
―Well, anyway. Greece looks fun. You totally have to send me pictures.‖
―Tombs aren‘t really photogenic.‖
She zips her suitcase shut. ―Why can‘t you ever just be excited about anything? You moan and groan about wanting to go in the dirt all year, and now you‘re going and you‘re like ‗eh.‘‖
―Because I‘m not like you. I don‘t get excited forty times a day and feel the need to announce my excitement online.‖
―You‘re such a dork.‖
―Thank you, Cee.‖
Since it‘s the last day of junior year, I decide to try to speak her language.
I‘m pretty fluent in teen-speak when I want to be.
―I‘m actually kind of wigged out about Greece.‖
―Wigged out? Um, okay, Mom. Who says ‗wigged out‘?‖ So much for fluency.
―Well,‖ I swallow. ―I have a funny feeling, like I won‘t like it there or something.‖
―Are you kidding? I listen to you go on about the most boring pyramid-building stuff and finally you‘re going to, like, the land of all those hot gods running around in togas.‖
―Um, those ‗hot gods‘ are fictional, CeeCee. As in they don‘t exist,‖ I say, shaking my head.
―Maybe I won‘t go. Maybe I‘ll just…maybe I‘ll go with you to Martha‘s Vineyard or something.‖
I try to picture a summer on the Vineyard. We‘d go to the beach every day. CeeCee would fall in love four times a week…
I look up and see that CeeCee has resumed playing with her phone.
She‘s probably texting one of her friends in a panic about her dorky roommate threatening to cramp her style in Prep Land.
―You‘re being all drama, Zoe. You‘re going to Greece and you know it.
It‘s your destiny and stuff.‖
The light shifts. Shadows fall on our adjoined mahogany desks. I liked living in this room and suddenly I feel warm with affection for our view, for our school, for all the parties I didn‘t go to, for all the nights I spent at this desk reading and writing instead. I get the chills. Nightfall is so dramatic this time of year. I don‘t like the word ―destiny.‖ It unnerves me somehow. I hear
―destiny‖ and I think ―doom.‖ CeeCee swipes the bikini top off my side of the desk and props herself up on the windowsill. Uh oh. She is going into serious mode.
―It‘s okay, Zoe. I know what this is really about. You‘re afraid to fly because of your parents. It‘s totally normal to feel that way.‖ I‘m too tired to tell her that she‘s wrong. I‘m not afraid to fly. It doesn‘t make any sense but I
have a phobia of airplanes. I just let people think that I do because it makes me seem normal. If your parents died in an airplane crash, wouldn‘t you be afraid to fly? I wish I wasn‘t so different from everyone. In some ways, life would be easier if I loved
and struggled with a fear of flying overseas. People would ―get‖ me.
Sometimes I worry that
don‘t even get me.