Monday, May 23, 2016
1st 5 Pages May Revision - Konyak Rev 2
Name: Sharyn Konyak
Genre: YA Contemporary
Title: These Pieces of Me
The day before her 16th birthday, Olivia Callahan is the victim of a tragic accident. When she wakes, she has no recollection of it or the last two years of her life. Her only connection is a haunting recurring dream she can’t make sense of. What happened that is so terrible her mind has chosen to lock it away rather than allow her to know the truth?
These Pieces of Me is an evocative tale of a teenage girl’s struggle to reassemble her life from a jar of memories she doesn’t recognize. Her journey forces her to face the truth about herself and those she holds dear.
The novel, told through Olivia’s eyes, propels the reader through Olivia’s confusion as she comes to recognize that the truth is the one thing blocking her recovery. She must face the reality that the control she craves in her life is just the thing she needs to surrender in order to become whole again. Every day brings her closer to another memory and a more complete version of herself.
The bottom of a lush ravine envelops me, dense and suffocating like a wave crashing over me and pinning me to the ocean bottom. For a moment of intense panic, I have no idea which way is up. I thrash at the air hoping to find something to grab on to. A heaviness in my chest weighs me down, trapped and helpless. I am suspended, a puppet on a string tethered to some invisible anchor, arms pinwheeling free, unable to rid myself of the harness.
Trees obscure my vision, a heavy velvet curtain appearing black instead of green. Is it day or night? My eyes struggle to focus, catching only flashes of light, fleeting and inconsistent. I wait for them to deliver me but there’s never enough. Fear rises in me, threatening to collapse onto me.
The smell of earth has settled in my nostrils, damp and musty mingling with a chill that has, likewise, taken a hold of my bones. My body aches. I feel nothing and everything. A sharp twinge of pain at my temple and a phantom ache in my knee resonate in my consciousness.
I have the strange sensation I am not alone, though I pray I am. I turn my head to locate someone, anyone. It’s no use. There is nothing, only more blackness.
I hear a voice calling across the distance. It’s origin unclear. For a moment, I think it may be my own though I doubt I can make a sound. My lips are dry, my throat thick, my tongue leathery and parched. I swallow hard, trying to rid myself of the acrid metallic taste.
The voice must belong to another. Someone in control. For although it searches, it does so with purpose, with authority. Olivia, it calls. In a moment of clarity, I realize it’s my name I hear. An urgency pushes me toward it. I struggle to utter a sound, to will this mute tongue to issue more than a grunt. A word.
As I call out, questions paralyze my mind. Where am I? How long have I been here? Why am I here at all? Time seems to stand still yet spin out of control.
Have they heard me?
Will they find me?
An intense panic shakes me to the core, however, it’s one I’ve felt before. I feel someone reach out and grab my hand, attempting to pull me back from the edge just before I careen over into the blackness. But the anchor is temporary, I feel myself slipping away.
And then, it all goes black and it’s over.
Until the next time.
Opening my eyes now, I realize that experience, the one I’ve been living over and over again, with no resolution, is only a dream.
I can’t remember the first time I had the dream, or how often. I know it like my heartbeat, grounded in every fiber of my being, the one thing familiar in all of this.
I am Olivia Callahan. That I know for certain. But, here. This place. This is not the tortured dream.
My mind comes into focus shortly after my eyes, surveying the scene around me trying desperately to make sense of the images. Heart-shaped “Sweet 16” balloons fill the room, swollen globes of purple and white bobbing, adrift on a silent sea, their strings dancing just above the floor. Did I have a birthday? I can’t recall. How could I have missed it? It’s only August, after all. I’ve got a full month to go. Wait. 16? But I’m 13. I have to be. School just started. Freshman orientation. Locker set up with Joss and Maura. That weird chat with Kirsty.
My mind struggles to make a connection. This is my bedroom, familiar yet different to me now. Everywhere vases are bursting with big yellow sunflowers, my favorite and the reason I painted my room this sunny, never-turned-off color.
“Geez, Liv,” my best friend, Maura, had joked after our first attempt at painting had left us both covered in the stuff. “It looks like a highlighter exploded all over your walls."
Though everyone’s reaction was the same slightly uncomfortable ‘WOW?!’ I couldn’t have cared less. I remember thinking no matter what happened, I could never have a bad day waking up in this room.
Get well soon cards line the ledge of the sill around the windowseat. Someone has taken the time to line them up by size, just like I would. Their encouraging words and cheerful pictures create their own little cheering section. I love that windowseat. It’s my favorite place to curl up with a book or just stare out onto the backyard and daydream. There have been days I never wanted to leave it.
I turn my focus inward, secure in the idea that I am neither tethered nor suspended, but rather stable and secure, comfortably perched on a soft mattress enveloped in blankets.
The chill has left me. I feel better; if this fogginess can be called feeling better. I’ve felt it before but not quite this way. This hazy half-consciousness when Dad wakes me up super early to tell me some crazy thing he just read on the Internet. He thinks I’m awake, mumbles on about this or that and, satisfied he’s just imparted some knowledge I just couldn’t survive without, finally gives up and goes back to his computer.
This time is different though. No dad.
As the fogginess continues to lift, there’s a tightness at my temple. My hand reaches up feeling scratchy nylon strings. The same ones that poke you when you’ve forgotten to careful snip the tag off of your new shirt. Vaguely familiar, they remind me of the five stitches I got in my shin once in 3rd grade.
The rest of me seems the same. The neatly manicured nails, the long mahogany hair, plaited into a braid.
The clock on my nightstand reads. That’s strange. I should be in school right now. But I’m here, in bed, wearing cuffed sweatpants and a hoodie with a giant neon green X on it? I never dress to impress anyone but me. That’s what Poppie says he loves best about me. ‘You don’t give a fig what they think. Do you, Magpie? That’s what makes you a Callahan’ he always says.
A stifled snore from beside me gets my attention. Kaydon? What is he doing here? Shouldn’t he be at practice? Instead, he’s plopped in my chair; his head hanging off the back of one arm, legs draped over the other, arms spilling onto the floor as if someone just tossed him there and didn’t bother to rearrange him before he passed out. Mom says he’s been ‘growing like a beanstalk’ but he must have grown like five inches overnight.
“Kaydon?” It comes out as a whisper. I try again. ”Kaydon?” louder this time. Still no response.
Looking at him there, all messy and snoring, fills me with a calmness. For the first time, I actually feel safe. Kaydon is here with me. Maybe he has been all along. Maybe he is my silent partner. I can’t help but think how perfect he is. Kaydon P. Callahan. I used to kid him the P stood for perfect even though we knew it stood for Patrick, after dad.