Hi! Here is a teaser for Standing:
A wild eyed man crept quickly and fearfully past buildings that looked like fresh ruins. His white hair was everywhere, and his metallic shirt was stained with dirt. The lower half of his body was hidden in shadows as he darted through the night.
“Please, please. Don’t let me be too late,” he muttered to himself.
He had a face that looked like it had once been extremely self-assured and prideful. But now he was terrified, his perfect world had come crashing down in a matter of hours. His powerful presence was now full of fear. He glided past charred wreckage, gasping as he tightly clenched something in his hand. He ducked into a patch of dense coral and seaweed. He glanced around in terror then opened his hand. It held a crumbled piece of paper that gleamed strangely and a pen. He held the paper against a flat rock and scribbled messily, Humanity and Dellinia destroyed, 2213. He signed it.
The man felt himself trembling. Sorrow overwhelmed him as he waited. Then behind him, a blue glow started to get bigger.
He turned around, and as he tossed the paper into the spinning oval of blue light he whispered, “Help us. Warn me.”
A teenage girl sat in the shade of a dancing palm tree on a white sand beach. She was reading an adventure book. The smile on her heart-shaped face was wistful as she leaned back and closed her eyes, taking in the ocean breeze. Imagination took flight as she dreamed about flying through the night sky and undertaking incredible missions.
The girl had always felt that she was meant to do something special, to be an adventurer maybe, or someone who changed the world. The seventeen-year-old felt wings sprouting in her soul as each new day and month and year brought her closer to reaching her full potential.
Opening her eyes again a few minutes later, she scanned the waters for her little sister, Avery, whom she was watching. The six-year-old girl was wading and splashing happily about in the calm foam near the shore. The girl smiled as she watched and felt the child’s excitement. I’m glad mom asked me to take Avery to the beach today. She thought about her mom, dad, and three younger brothers, Dylan, Joe, and Norm. A laugh bubbled up inside. The other day, Dylan had inserted toothpaste into her shampoo. It had been really annoying at the time, but now it was actually kind of funny. The California girl’s eyes slowly closed, and the book that she had been reading slipped through her fingers. The heat, shade, and slight wind of the beach gently lulled her to sleep.
She was looking at a computer screen with all of the problems of the world on it. She had ideas about how to fix the issues. Zap! World hunger was no more. Problem solved. The blue screen started swirling as she quickly tapped each and every problem, and they all went away. People were happy now. They were at peace, and now air pollution would never be a problem again. She smiled. This was what she was meant to do. Yes…
Suddenly her grey eyes popped open. Something had just hit her. She looked around and saw that a palm frond had blown down and fallen on her leg. The wind was gaining strength every moment.
We should probably go before it becomes a full blown storm, the girl thought as she slowly got up and started packing the sunscreen and towels.
“Avery! Time to go!” she called.
A surge of alarm coursed through her. The young woman looked up and down the beach for signs of her sister. The little girl was nowhere to be seen. Oh no! No! Where is Avery?
Panic made her features go pale as she took off running. The grit and warmth of the sand was not pleasant as she raced to the edge of the turquoise ocean. I don’t see her! Where is she? She rushed past people and around rocks, her light brown side-braid trailing behind her. Finally she reached the shore. She frantically scanned the area as she panted.
Suddenly, she saw a flash of orange hair sink beneath the rolling waves about thirty feet offshore. Instinct took over. As she plunged into the freezing salt water, a volley of memories flooded to the surface of her mind.
She was six.“Come on darling, don’t you want to swim?” asked her mother, stepping into the ocean. The little girl shook her head quickly. She felt like she should stay away from the salt water.
“Are you sure?” asked the mother once again.
“Yes,” the girl replied. She was confused, her feelings about the ocean didn’t make sense.
She was fourteen. The girl watched her brothers rough-housing in the ocean, but she kept her distance. She was very good at swimming, but couldn’t bring herself to enter the sea for some reason. She felt ashamed. There was no explanation as to why she shouldn’t get in. Her friend Lila was laughing with her twelve-year-old brother Dylan as she whispered something in his ear. They both suddenly ran toward her. Lila grabbed her arms and Dylan grabbed her legs.
“What…” she began, then she realized what they were doing as they started to run with her. They were going to throw her in.
She began to twist, “Stop!” she said.
They only laughed harder.
“Stop!” she shouted at them.
Their smiles faded as they set her down and stared at her.
“What’s the problem?” Lila asked. Her brows were drawn together and she looked hurt. The girl looked down. She almost never shouted and she didn’t have a good reason as to why she just had.
For seventeen years I’ve totally avoided touching salt water, now I am diving into it of my own will! A knot of intense fear and foreboding formed in her stomach. Since she was a small child, she had had a feeling that if she touched the ocean, something would happen that would change her life forever. She knew that it seemed silly, but she had kept her distance. The sea also seemed to beckon though. It was enticing in a strange sort of way.
As she submerged and started swimming with swift, clear strokes, something that felt like an electric charge plunged through her. It started in her right hand and continued throughout the rest of her body.
What’s happening? she thought with panic.
It started pulling at her muscles painfully. All of a sudden the water was swirling…or maybe she was. A darkness descended and she fought it, she fought to keep her head above water, she fought…but finally, she couldn’t anymore. As her eyesight faded from blue to black she felt herself gulp water, then she dived into unconsciousness.
She heard a song. There were no words, just a soft harmonious symphony. She’d never heard the melody before, but somehow recognized it. The girl opened her eyes slowly, everything was a blurry blue. She groaned and raised her blonde, almost unseeable eyebrows as she squinted. The light pierced her sleepy eyes in an unpleasant way.
She opened her eyes fully and realized that she was laying down in a bed.
A swishing noise came from the other side of the room, then a woman in a sleek metallic jacket stood over her, “You need to rest for the next three hours, go back to sleep, then all will be explained.”
A weariness that she hadn’t noticed until that moment seeped over her like an icy stream, and sleep pulled her into its recesses once again.