Genre: Young Adult
Title: Crossing the Twin Maze
The afternoon was quiet and warm. The crash of the ocean waves lulled me to think it was still early, but the sun now hung low on the horizon and long shadows clung to the trees. A man whispered in my ear, "Janna."
I bolted up and threw my hand in the direction I heard the voice, but no one was there. A distant squirrel jarred away with a twist of rust. The distant sound of waves galloping along the beach where the wind ruffled the sand into dunes felt like home. Except for the voice.
“Oh no, not again!” I moaned. “Who are you and why are you in my head? Leave me alone.”
I had forgotten for a moment that I was psychic and I was supposed to talk to ghosts. Well, actually, they were talking to me. The problem was I wanted no part of it. I wanted a ghost free vacation, but ghosts had been particularly annoying lately.
My usual close-your-eyes-and-they-will-
The sudden bustling noise of cars joined in from the direction of the parking lot behind me.
I can’t believe cars are streaming into the camp. That’s impossible.
The place’s out of reach for Cape Cod’s tourists.
I searched the summer camp, horrified. People swerved in all directions, and calling Moira’s name, my sister’s name.
“Janna! This is what will happen. Beware.”
I wished I had my iPod to drown out the voice, but the player had vanished from my cabin last week. I’d ranted about it for days.
Who’s taken it? My wannabe friend the voice, maybe.
These ghosts would do anything to get my attention. One more reason to hate that male voice. I had saved for two years for that player. I shrugged a shoulder, not letting myself dwell on it. What was done was done.
Since I couldn’t drown them out, I rigged up a tent with my blanket and, flashlight in hand, leafed through my book. The pages sounded crisp in the night. I read the same sentence over and over again until I finally lost the thread of the novel.
I wish these people away.
I contemplated screaming, but no, I didn’t want the girls from the camp to think I was mad. The brouhaha of the voices filled up the space around me. I looked in the direction of the cabins that separated the beach from the road. Some of the windows in the cabins were lit up where the girls had switched on their individual lamps. The bunch of high-schoolers who had registered for summer camp this year were probably either talking, playing games or sleeping. There was no curfew; just a set of common sense rules. So, it was an ordinary evening at camp, or so.
A few girls from camp banged the door of their cabins on their way out and crossed the parking lot without taking any notice of the coming cars.
The voice stroke me again, loud like a thunderbolt, “Janna, go to bed before it’s too late.”
I can’t believe a ghost is dictating my bedtime.
I pulled my cell out of my jeans’ pocket and texted my best friend:
REEN, WHERE ARE YOU? IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!
When I was done, I peered toward the parking lot. No one was there. The apparition was gone. Reen was not in sight. A shudder racked my body. The night was closing in.
“Is there anyone here?” I murmured.
“I am here.”
The intimate voice filled me, like it was coming from some imaginary earphones. It felt so close. The voice sighed almost as if he had given up on me. Icy sensations rippled along my body, tensing my muscles. My head buzzed.
“Quit stalking me!” I cried.
Closing my eyes, I ran toward the cabins with my eyes half-closed and my hands over my ears. A few minutes later, Reen caught up with me.
“Janna! Are you all right?”
A moist breath blew onto my neck. I wiped it off with my hand. I turned around and held my breath for a second, listening intently.
“Look at me, Janna,” Reen said, forcing my hands away from my ears.
“Did you see anyone around?”
She watched me, concerned. “You know I can’t see them. Darn it! I should never have left you alone.”
“It’s okay, Reen, he bounced, ” I said, bracing myself. “He never does anything to me. He just yacks.”
I pulled away from her and glanced in the direction of the parking lot.
It was as if the night had drawn a curtain around the camp and swept away the vision.
“It’s that voice again?”
“Yeah… I mean, no… Reen, I think something’s going to happen.”
“I think this time I saw the future. Well, he showed me a vision.”
“How was it like?”
“I saw people. Now that I’m thinking about it clearly, I think I saw one of the girls’ parents. Couldn’t be ghosts. I’m sure. Damn, Reen! I wish I couldn’t see all these things.” I looked away, screwing a piece of drifting wood into the sand with my foot.
“What were they doing?” said Reen, holding me by the shoulders to force my attention.
“It looked like something important was happening. Omigod! I think someone was shouting Moira’s name.”
“We need to get help this time, Janna.”
“From whom? Who’s gonna believe me?” I said, kicking the wood and spraying sand along the dirt path.
She squeezed my hands. “Your aunt, of course. She’s psychic, right?”
“Why not talk to Moira, warn her or something? My aunt? Are you kidding, Reen?” I said, striding back to retrieve my book and my blanket.
“Yeah. Maybe she’s psychic, but every time I mention it she dodges my questions.”
I darted in the direction of the campfire. The night was chilly. Reen hurried behind. “Well, maybe it’s time for a new mindset. You’ve never had a vision before.”
“I hate it, Reen. You know… being a psychic an all that. I wish I could pass it on to Moira. She’d think it’s so much fun. Why me? Why not my sister?” I said, shaking my blanket to get rid of the sand and sitting next to the fire.
“You’re all emo, you know that? It’s a gift, Janna. Nobody is asking you to share it. But think of the ways you can use it to help people.”
Something hit me. “Oh, God.”
“Yeah, I’m sure God has something to do with it.”
I ignored her reply, dropped on the ground and hugged my knees. “I’m a psychic, Reen, and I hate it. And now the gift has gone all berserk on me.”
Reen kneeled down next to me and grabbed me by the shoulders, forcing me to look at her. “Yes, you’re right. People like Moira would kill for this gift. It’s not your problem, it’s hers.”
“Yeah, except that there’s the small matter of a voice stalking me.” My stomach transformed into ice. “I’m so scared.”
“I know… I don’t like ghosts one little bit more than you do. But this voice? It’s like he’s only trying to be your pal or something.”
“Or something. Right. You say that ‘cause it’s not stuck in your head.”