Linda Oatman High
Contemporary YA Romance/Bullying, 54k
Lake Millay has goals, hopes, and dreams...until she moves to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and becomes ensnared in a vortex of violence.
Bullying and stalking become Lake’s life, and ultimately the destroyer of her dreams.
A cautionary tale based on the true story of Laurie Show, murdered by three teens in 1991.
“This gazing globe’s really old, like from the 1800s. People believed that a witch couldn’t sneak up on you when you were looking into the dome.” The voice comes from nowhere and from everywhere, and an electric bolt of fear buzzes through my body. My heart thunders, filling my chest and ears. I’m dizzy, numb with shock, not able to move.
Then a face appears––a face––blurring and blending into my own in the rounded silver of the globe. I scream, filling my body and my heart and my ears, and I leap and fall backwards, banging hard into flesh and bone: a person.
I scream again and fall on my knees in the mud.
“Man. You’re jumpy. Sorry if I scared you.”
It’s a girl, just a scrawny anorexic-looking girl, about my age, fair-haired and pale, with fake-looking cobalt-colored eyes. She’s one of those girls with an upturned little nose and perfect teeth. Flawless complexion. Makeup. Teeny-weeny, clean white shorts. Tanned cheerleaderish legs.
I gasp, trying to catch my breath.
“You scared the crap out of me.”
“Man, you scare easy.” Knuckles on hips, she cocks her head to the side, pale hair falling over those bright blue eyes.
I press my hand to my heart. Puke climbs up my throat, and then slides back down again.
“What are you so jumpy about? There’s nothing to be scared of around here. Not like it’s an epicenter for crime.”
There are definitely shades of cheerleader in this girl, yet none of that high-pitched perkiness. Clouds of sadness seem to be leaking from her eyes and her smile and her voice, despite the faultless exterior. A tiny diamond-like chip glints on her nose.
“We don’t even lock our doors around here,” she says.
I heave myself to a standing position. My heart’s still racing in a marathon of terror.
“What did you think I was?” the girl asks and I shrug.
“A wacko. Weirdo. Murderer. You never know.”
She barks out a laugh.
“All of the above,” she says. “You better run.”
I try to smile.
“Here,” she says, reaching down to pluck a flower. “Peace offering.” She holds a red-nailed hand toward me––her thumb and finger, daintily holding the stem of the red flower.
I take it. Our fingers graze.
“Servants also used these gazing globes to be sneaky and watch their bosses,” the girl says. “Pretty far-out, huh?”
I’m still shaking, but I nod.
“Cool shirt. I can tell that you’re not from around here.”
I look down, suddenly super-aware I’m about fifty pounds bigger than this chick. This makes me irritable, and I shove the red flower into the pocket of my shorts.
“What are you doing here, anyway?” I ask. “Don’t they have laws about trespassing around here?”
“Just checking out the new neighbors,” she says with a shrug of bony shoulders. Her voice is like cornhusk: raspy and rough.
“Where’d you come from?”
“Over there.” She points with her sharp little chin. “Through the field and to the left. When the corn’s down in the winter, you can actually see our place.”
“I’m Brit Dannon,” she says. “Brit with one T, not two. You’re the new preacher’s kid, I presume? Got any pot?”
“What?” I almost laugh.
“Got any weed?”
“No, I . . . don’t smoke.”
“Man. You really aren’t from around here. What’s your name, anyway?”
“Lake Millay.” There’s a final feeble clank of thunder, like beaters in an empty metal bowl, and then the sun comes out, shining. Brit Dannon seems to shimmer: shiny hair and makeup and nails and that perfect-girl sparkly shirt, with sequins spelling out the word Princess.
“Welcome to Badger Gap, Lake Millay,” she says. “The Center of the Universe! The most happenin’ location on the planet! The place that’s going to freaking change your life!”
About the Author:
Linda Oatman High is an author/journalist/playwright who lives in Lancaster County, PA. She’s published more than 20 books for children and teens, and her books have won many awards and honors, including VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) “Perfect Ten” awards. Linda also writes for adults, and her short story NICKEL MINES HARDWARE, based upon the Amish school shootings of 2006, was honored in England in 2012 with the Sunday Times EFG Short Story award shortlist. Linda holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she presents at schools from K-college both nationally and internationally.
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