Pia Wade’s life is a book with torn-out pages, she sees things no one else can, and she has weird dreams. It all started four years ago when she mysteriously vanished in the night. One problem though, she has no memory of the incident whatsoever, yet claims she was kidnapped.
But as Pia embarks on a trip back to where her nightmare began, she wishes all her troubles would—Poof!—disappear. If only her parents would grant a little more breathing room because after all, whatever happened that night, she certainly did not kidnap herself. What Pia doesn’t know is that a new door of craziness will open up and lure her to investigate a strange world--our world--only she seems to live in. That is until a certain young man by the name of Cameron Jacks enters her life.
Will Pia uncover the mystery of four-long years?
The clock is ticking!
No Turning Back
In theory, there’s only one day that comes and goes in precise intervals, that’s unaware of itself and its unique charm. We rise accordingly and go about our daily routine, and near time for it to make its exit, we settle down in the same position as we started. And when the day rolls around again, we repeat. Almost mechanically. As if we were spellbound by the cycle of day and not know it. As if, when change comes along and snaps its fingers, the spell’s broken. And it’s a rude awakening…sometimes.
This day especially was like that. And it didn’t matter that it had been four years and three months, two weeks and a day in the making, and should go down in history as Pia’s day of dread, though I had the guts to face it somehow, one precarious step after another, as I embarked on a trip moments away from takeoff. No. What mattered was the unpredictable path I was on and how it would end about a week from now.
With my backpack hanging off my shoulder and a mild breeze playing in my hair, I led the way to the plane. I couldn’t believe that I was actually going through with this. But not only that, I had a weird feeling I just couldn’t shake. But when you find yourself returning to a dark part of your past—to a place you thought you would never see again because your last experience there resembled episodes of the Twilight Zone, this place much like home to you too—then how should you feel?
I drew in a deep breath, and then stole a few moments to make a wish. A mere request, because I believed with all my heart that anything was possible—and because I had the experience to back it up. So I closed my eyes and wished this moment away forever; wished away the nightmare and all memory of it forever times two. Then…one, two…I counted to five for good measure. And then I heard it! Something magical. A whisper. And right then I knew. Knew that my “wish come true” would have been exactly that had the little voice only said, “Your wish is my command.”
But it disappointed me instead. Is that what you really want…never know what happened during the most critical hours of your life?
Of course granting my wish would have served me just fine, I thought with pooched lips. But I knew all too well. Knew that deep down I would give just about anything to know what really happened that night at the Florida beach house, where I mysteriously vanished in my sleep. And if it took going back to find out, ultimately proving my theory of what happened, then so be it. After four long years of not knowing anything, it would mean the world to me. Not to mention that it would probably be the greatest solved mystery of all times.
I arrived at the plane looking back at my parents coming up behind me. I settled the backpack on the ground, attempting to stretch precious moments I had left, by any means possible, before boarding the plane. I looked up as one flew over me, closed my eyes, and let my mind wander up to the universe. Suddenly I was amazed that we were all right here, right where we were supposed to be…at a point of no return. Or was I just plain crazy about all this? Some people, however, wouldn’t have a problem thinking so.
Suddenly, I felt a nudge on my back. In an instant I turned, thinking someone had snuck up on me but…no one was there. I frowned. That was creepy. I lifted my backpack and contemplated that some more. I could’ve sworn…it couldn’t have been the wind hitting me like that in just that spot.
“Pia, is everything okay?” Dad asked as he and Mom approached.
“Yeah, sure,” I replied, still in wonder. Maybe it was the hands of the universe…had to be, urging me to get moving. So I boarded the plane convinced that that was it.
Mom and Dad filed in behind me. And in moments, the twin-engine plane roared to life.
“All set?” Dad’s vibrant tenor reigned over the humming engines. Wearing dark shades and a ready-to-go smile, he looked back at me, as did Mom, her hazel eyes gleaming. Through them I pretended to read her mind. Pia, if you’re not ready, it’s not too late to cancel this trip.
I imagined her reading mine. But Mom, it’s spring break, and we’re all set to go. And what about the pilot’s convention? The house? Dad could sell it for real next time. It’ll be okay, you’ll see.
Mom was the reason Dad hadn’t sold the house already. She was right, though: The house had deep, sentimental value, had been part of the family for far too long to get rid of. Dad had lost sight of that and probably would’ve regretted selling it. And how could either of us blame the house? It hadn’t whisked me away in the middle of the night, stolen sixteen hours of my memory, and set my mind to see creepy things. It hadn’t…changed my life forever.
We just needed to go back…to heal and…and because destiny was calling and because…just because.
I gazed out the window. Was I really out of my mind? Suddenly my fingers were tap-dancing on my lap. I stared at them for a moment then curled them into a tight fist. If I was a real nutcase, I supposed I would soon find out.
The plane taxied into position for takeoff. Upon clearance, it became a straight line of roaring thunder up the runway. Up, up the plane climbed over Houston. My eyes shut tight, hands gripping the armrests as anxiety grew like fever through my body.
No turning back.
We were on our way.
No turning back.
About the Author
C.C. Wyatt is new to the young adult arena. Her debut novel, Ferret, has the right kind of ingredients that young readers and adults alike will hunger for more. She is a consultant, have a degree in business, but her role as a writer resonates who she is.
As to writing, she is meticulous when it comes to stringing words together which are specifically prescribed to entertain in a very unique way. Performing magic on paper is what she calls it. And oftentimes she finds a goldmine in movies, music, and of course books to help in performing such magic.
Unlike most authors, her joy of reading came later in life. When it did, it was as if she'd been placed under a spell to devour all kinds of books. And then the images started coming. But it wasn't until the images started to go wild that she finally realized that her desire to read had evolved into something else. At first she didn't know what to do with the fussy images; she just wanted them to go away so that she could get some sleep. But it didn't take long to realize it was time to pick up a pen.
Jeanette Hubbard's humorous style of suspense writing has been compared to Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich. In this quirky follow-up novel, a chance encounter in a remote forest campground plunges plucky retiree Claudie O'Brien into a vortex of crime, kidnapping, and a marijuana hijacking. A pleasant dinner with Nathan, the gentleman at the next campsite, is disrupted by the arrival of a very loud and a very angry young man. The next morning both Nathan and the man are gone, but Claudie suspects something is not right. No one believes her when she tells them that Nathan might be in danger. It's up to Claudie to connect the dots and find out why Nathan disappeared in the middle of the night.
On a crisp winter mid-afternoon, Claudie O'Brien finds herself parked in her BMW with some old pills, a bottle of champagne, and no reason to keep on living. When an accident occurs in Claudie's attempt to take her own life, she finds herself rescued by Peter, a local vice-principal turned tow truck driver. In Secrets, Lies and Champagne Highs, written by first-time novelist Jeanette Hubbard, readers follow Claudie's journey to Sisters, Oregon,having moved into the remodeled garage of Peter, his two sweet kids, and his not-so-sweet second wife, Chrystal. Claudie quickly realizes that she's entangled herself in more than she anticipated. On top a botched suicide,there's the meth lab across the street, a non-existent murder plot turned reality, a phony spiritual guru, and more affairs between local citizens than she can keep straight.
After reading this humorous take on small town life in Central Oregon, those sleepy little towns will never look the same.
Nathan regained consciousness somewhere just before Hammer turned off I5 in Yreka. They had used duct tape on his mouth, hands, and feet, and then wrapped it around his chest and the chair for good measure. He wasn’t going anywhere soon. The blood had crusted on the side of his head where Hammer had clocked him. The pain was deep and centered behind his left eye. He had gotten lax. After all those years in Lebanon, and other more dicey places, he had left his RV unsecured. A child could have found the Glock 39. He wiggled his jaw a bit, the three days growth of beard had prevented the duct tape from adhering securely to his skin, and he worked to loosen it. He didn’t want it to drop noticeably so he did just enough so he could talk or shout if needed. The majority of the space inside the RV was taken up with stacks of plastic-wrapped marijuana bricks. There wasn’t any way he could get to his second, emergency revolver that was hidden under the sink. Pity. Hammer parked the RV in a small park and reached over to the passenger seat where he had a small cooler and pulled out a cold beer. He drank it down in three long pulls and then sat fidgeting for about fifteen minutes before he started calling. First his brother Sprocket, and then someone else called Dwight. Hammer was nervous and agitated. The trick was how to use that to his advantage.
Nathan watched the single headlight of a truck go by on the road. He knew they were in northern California, an area referred to as the Emerald Triangle. Full of nasty boys. He could only wonder why thieves from Oregon would set up a drug deal in the middle of California’s prime marijuana growing fields. Well, it wasn’t hard to figure out. These weren’t the brightest guys he’d come across. Yet, he was the one tied up. Not time to feel too superior. The truck with one headlight drove by again. A little slower this time.
“You do know that you’re trying to do your deal in enemy territory?” Hammer jumped a foot off his seat, giving Nathan a small amount of satisfaction.
“What the fuck? How did you …?” “It’s the beard. Duct tape can’t adhere strongly to it. A good thing too. I have a slight cold. I would have had trouble breathing. I assume you’re not planning to kill me?”
“Don’t be too sure, old man.”
“The way I look at it, Hammer—you don’t mind if I call you Hammer?—if your buyer doesn’t get here in the next, say, thirty minutes or so, you’re going to have an up front and probably hazardous to your health kind of confrontation with some local guys. They find out you’re selling dope in their territory, they’re going to be real perturbed. They’re going to have a short and to the point discussion about the lack of respect that demonstrates to them.”
“What the fuck? I didn’t understand half of what you said, old man. Can’t you speak plain American?”
“My name’s Nathan. Sorry about the verbiage. I was a university professor. Big words were my stock and trade, so to speak. To be simple, you may have already attracted the attention of some other bad guys. They may be coming back. If they do, they will probably shoot at you. I don’t like the idea of being in the middle of your shit. Is that plain enough?”
“Don’t you worry about me, Professor, I ain’t exactly unequipped for run-ins with other dudes. This here is one nice pistol. Where’d you get this? You sure don’t look like someone who’d be packing a Glock. Even if it’s a little bitty one like this.” Hammer pulled the gun out from under his seat and waved it in Nathan’s direction. Nathan pretended to flinch; unless the idiot had been playing with it there was no bullet in the chamber, so the deadly weapon was currently just a piece of metal.
“Don’t worry yourself, Professor, I ain’t hit anything I didn’t want to since I was ten.”
“I have a question for you, Hammer. Why am I here? Why didn’t you just leave me at the campground? I’m just unnecessary baggage. You could kick me out now and there wouldn’t be any way I could muck up your plans.”
Hammer snorted. “My dumb brother thought you’d freeze or something. Don’t worry, Professor, I’m dumping you as soon as I can.”
Nathan watched him closely. Hammer’s eyes and forehead were scrunched in thought. Nathan assumed he was trying to figure out a way to get rid of the problem that was Nathan. A witness who could identify him. The thought that this idiot might decide on a lethal solution to his problem made Nathan highly uncomfortable. He’d have to help Hammer come up with a resolution that didn’t end up with Nathan rotting in a shallow grave in the forest. There had only been one other time that he’d gotten in a jam, it was when he was “consulting” for a certain unnamed government agency. He kept his captor talking, trying to make himself human to a man who viewed non-believers as sub-human. That time of course, Dani swooped down and saved the day. He needed to let her know that somehow he’d tangled with some nasty boys. And in the meantime, as the great Chinese general Sun Tzu would have advised, “Pretend inferiority and encourage arrogance.” The great thing about dumb people like Hammer, they never knew they were dumb. They always thought they were the smartest people around. Sort of like the Enron guys.
About the Author
Jeanette Hubbard was brought up in Iowa to be a very good girl. Then she moved to Portland, Oregon the city that prides itself on weird. She has utilized her degree in English from the University of Iowa in a variety of jobs, including driving a school bus, selling car insurance, and growing, (and sometimes killing), plants at her wholesale nursery west of Portland. She now lives with her Border collie Buddy, Mitten the monster cat, her roommate's two demented small dogs, a miniature horse and two chickens in a small house in SE Portland. Actually, the horse and chickens live in the backyard.