Reading level: Ages 11-16
Paperback: 111 pages
Publisher: Infinity Publishing (2001)
ISBN: 0-7414-0708-6 ©2001
Category/Subject: JUVENILE FICTION / Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic
Sydnie Knight never knew how much her life would change when her mother sent her to Seattle to stay with her aunt. Upon her first meeting with a strange young man named Ron Andres, she has a foreboding feeling about him. After a series of dreamlike visions, bizarre behavior, and a near-fatal drowning accident, Sydnie is sent to “talk things out” with psychologist Dr. Neal Vaughan. From the doctor, Sydnie learns frightening realizations that only get more fantastic as time goes on. Who can she trust when she finds out her mother is missing and everyone seems to think she’s gone crazy? Including herself.
They started across to the next street. A few moments later Ron stopped in front of a big house overgrown with weeds. No one seemed to have lived there for years. The green paint was chipped everywhere, and the porch could barely be seen through overgrown vines. Sydnie thought she saw something black scurry across the weeded yard.
“Ron, why did you stop here?” Sydnie asked, squeezing his arm a bit. “What’s here?”
“Let’s go in, Sydnie,” Ron said, his eyes never leaving the house’s dark frame.
“Why do you want to go in there? It’s . . . let’s go Ron.” Sydnie tried to pull him away from the barely visible path leading to the porch. The sky was turning purple, and it would be dark soon. She had to be home.
“Come on Sydnie,” he said turning to look into her brown eyes, as if into her soul. “It won’t take long.”
“But . . . Ron. . . .” Sydnie’s voice trailed off.
She couldn’t think. She felt like she was floating. Slowly, she let Ron lead her down the ragged, weedy path to the house. They made it to the door. Its white paint was chipped with cracks, and it hung on one hinge. Ron touched the doorknob, and the door opened to a beautifully lit hallway. As they stepped into the house the light brightened.
“Ron, where are we?” Sydnie asked tentatively.
Ron only smiled at her as he led her down the dazzling hallway. Sydnie then found herself in a large, brightly lit room. There were many people talking and laughing and dancing. A strange, soft music permeated the room. It was felt more than heard. To Sydnie, it felt like the vibration made from someone humming a lullaby.
The air was warm inside the vast place where candles, blue and green, surrounded the walls on every mantel and wall hangings and on every table. Several large chandeliers hung low from the ceiling, each one made with silver bowls to catch the melting blue wax caused by the large candles they supported. Even though it was warm, the light radiating from the candles was a cold blue flame.
As they neared the center of the great room, Sydnie began to feel warmer and reached to pull off her jacket. Then, for the first time, she noticed that she wore long, brilliantly blue gloves. She also no longer wore khaki pants, but a blue dress that brushed at her ankles as she walked. Looking around, Sydnie found that the people around her were similarly dressed in extravagant blue, turquoise, purple, and black dresses and suits and tuxedoes. Many of the people seemed to blend into the sea-colored walls. Again and again, they disappeared and reappeared with the only things distinguishable being their brown faces.
Sydnie looked back to Ron, only to find that now a woman was leading her by the hand. The woman’s back was to her, but Sydnie noticed something familiar about the way she moved. She wore a blue dress similar to the color Sydnie wore. Her long curly black hair moved against the high neck of the dress. She was slightly taller than Sydnie and seemed to know where they were going, making their movement through the crowd graceful and smooth. Several people spoke to the woman, but, when she answered, Sydnie couldn’t catch what she said. Finally, Sydnie reached up with her free hand and touched the woman’s shoulder. She glanced back at Sydnie.
“Enjoying yourself, Sydnie?” Antoinette smiled.
Sydnie stopped, causing her mother to stop and face her.
“Mama.” Sydnie stared in disbelief at her mother, concentrating on her face, but Antoinette’s image seemed to move in and out of focus.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” Antoinette laughed and grabbed Sydnie’s other hand, walking backward through the moving crowd.
“Where are we?” Sydnie demanded. She again felt as if she was about to float away as faces moved around her quickly. Mother and daughter moved toward the center of the room, but the distance seemed a long way to Sydnie.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” Antoinette asked again. Sydnie tried to focus on her, but her mother’s face appeared far away, although Sydnie could still feel her leading her by the hands through the people.
“We can be together. I promise,” Antoinette cooed. “Just go to Ronaldis.”
Antoinette suddenly released Sydnie’s hands and was swallowed into the crowd.
“Mama!” Sydnie cried, her eyes darting to every face. She recognized none.
“I’ll take you to her,” Sydnie heard whispered into her ear.
She spun around quickly to see Ron holding his hand out to her. He was dressed in a long-waisted black coat that buttoned to his chin and black pants. In the pocket of his coat was a blue lily. His face looked as if it were glowing blue in the room’s light.
“Where is she?” Sydnie questioned, tense. She looked around again.
“First, dance with me.” Ron pulled Sydnie into his embrace, cupping her palm around one hand and pressing her back with the other.
“I need to find her.” Sydnie looked up at Ron-into his eyes. The swirling depths were there. Soon all thoughts of her mother fled, and she followed his lead around the room. Her eyes became heavy as she and Ron twirled around the floor. Soon her eyes closed, and Sydnie felt herself floating to the hum of a lullaby.