Easing the door closed, I climb out of the attic and head to the bathroom to clean my dust-covered hands. Water rushes from the spout and splashes against the sides as the basin fills. A reflection of me staresback at me from the mirror, my dirty hand clutching my aching chest. Today everything feels so raw, open, andfresh, like it only just happened. She should still be here.
Rubbing my hands clean, I delve into my pocket for the jewelry. Bringing it to my collar, I pin the brooch into my blouse. The hard edges prick my skin. My thumb brushes over the smooth, round sides of the pendant and when I pull it over my head, the chain catches on my hair. After I twist it through the tangle so it finally falls cool against my skin, it nestles in the hollow of my throat. I pick it up between my fingers and with reverent slow strokes, rub my thumb over the shiny yellow center—the pendant Mom never took off.
A shiver shoots up my spine and out through my limbs like an electric current, zapping every cell, everyfiber, every part of my being. Walking on graves, that’s what Mom would have said. Maybe it’s an omen abouther.
I plant my palms on either side of the full basin and peer into the still water, taking a moment to collect my thoughts. The water reflects only the cream ceiling. That can’t be right. I do a double take.
My chest tightens. I hold my hand up, but I can’t see it—not my arm, not my chewed fingernails, not my leather watch on my wrist. Where am I? Mouth gaping, I look into the mirror again, but I see nothing.
Not even my face.
I dip my finger into the warm, reflection-free water. Circles ripple in ever growing rings, but there’s no image. My gaze flits to the mirror, but I see only the open door. I have no reflection.
My stomach flutters like a thousand butterflies are trying to escape it. I slap my palm onto my chest, and I can still feel me. I must be here. When I slide the pendant over my head, my reflection blinks onto the mirror. Huh? Pulling it back on, my hand brushes the cool metal. The ripple goes through me again. I look into themirror, and once more my reflection’s gone.
I grab my hairbrush from the drawer and wave it around in the air, but its image isn’t cast in the mirroreither. It has to be magic, but that’s only in fairytales. Will’s not going to believe this, not in a million years. I pull the pendant over my head and my reflection returns. No way. It can’t be, but it is. I’m almost certain it’smaking me invisible, but how?
I put it on—invisible. Take it off—visible.
It doesn’t make any sense. How can something like this—like those video games Will plays—even exist? It must be a magical artifact or some kind of prank. My shoulders shake with a chuckle while I stare atmyself in the mirror. This is unreal. I bet he’s gone right back to working on his car. He’ll love this. Ha! Now let’s see who found the weirdest treasure. I slide it back on and wipe my damp hands on my jeans. Watch outWill, I’m going to sneak up and scare the life right out of you.Excerpt 2
A sharp rap, someone knocking on the front door, echoes up the stairs. I duck into my room, unpin the brooch, and place both forget-me-nots in the jewelry box on my dresser. The rap sounds again. “Coming.” I bound down the stairs, through the living room, and yank the door open.
A man in blue overalls carrying a toolbox holds a yellow box-like thing snug in his palm. “My name isThomas. I’m from the East Coast Natural Gas Company. There’s been a gas leak reported in this area, so I need to check the levels in your home. It won’t take a minute.”
A green flame and fancy words, the logo for East Coast Natural Gas, are embroidered on his loose, navyoveralls. He’s legit, so I unlock the screen and pull it open, letting him inside.
The man’s gaze meets mine as he walks past me, into the living room. He scratches his head of close-cropped dark hair, and moves his hand to his chin, rubbing it along the shadow of facial hair lining his jaw.
I scrape my palm across my forehead, suddenly recalling my recent vanishing act. He spoke first. I mustbe visible again. Phew. I didn’t forget to take it off.
“Ignore the mess,” I say.
He holds the yellow gas meter out in front of him, his eyes never leaving the small flashing green light. He walks in straight lines across the living room. Crossing my arms over my chest, I tap my foot. Hurry up. I’ve got a neat trick to show off.
He nears the base of the stairs and the green light flicks to red. His pace quickens, and he strides up the steps two at a time. I rush up behind him. “What is it?”
The gas meter beeps when he reaches the top of the staircase. Coming upstairs seems kind of strange. I mean, surely gas leaks would have to be a kitchen thing. The beeping sets my teeth on edge, and I just want it to stop. Maybe there’s something wrong, but here in the upstairs hall?
“That doesn’t sound good,” I mutter.
“It means there is indeed…”
He twists, angling himself toward my open bedroom door, and his gaze locks on my dresser. The back of my neck prickles, a sure sign something about this just isn’t right. I step past him and pull the door closed, but he pushes me aside and slams it open. Panic shoots through me, but I’m fast enough to dart around him.Turning my shoulder and reaching for the box.
He lunges toward me, grabs me from behind, and his arm pins my neck to him with a shoulder crushing grip. He pushes me against the dresser, and the box falls open, its contents spilling across the top. Heartpounding, my throat burns with a scream. I’ve got to get him out of here. He must know about my pendant, the brooch. Dammit. I wriggle to escape his vice-like grip, but it’s no use—he’s too strong.
My hand darts toward the pendant. I snatch it, but he grabs my wrist. Adrenaline tries to pound my heartright out of its home in my chest. If only I can get the jewelry on, I might be able to make its magic work and hide.
“Tech breech confirmed,” he speaks into his collar in a matter-of-fact tone; then he turns his gaze to me. “Give me the pendant.”
There’s a tiny ripping sound, like Velcro torn open.
A young guy in a black leather jacket flickers into my bedroom. A sharp gasp leaves me. I can’t escapeone attacker, let alone two.
Where the heck are these men coming from? I’m not going down without a fight, so I kick at mycaptor’s shins. The leather jacket guy wrenches the man’s grip from my shoulders and punches him square in the chin, knocking his head to the side. Shaking his head, the gas man stumbles backward.
The jacket guy raises his knee and drives a foot into the other man’s stomach. The straight, hard kick makes a loud thud and forces the dude to double over and curl in on himself. The leather jacket guy crouchesand drives his fist straight up into the man’s chin. It knocks him flat on his back like a felled tree.
My chest rises and falls with my quickened breath. My heart thuds like a booming drum.
The mysterious rescuer turns toward me, holding my gaze with intense, steady jade eyes. He grabs myassailant by the arm, and they both flicker out of my room.
My mind spins.
Legs, arms, body—I can’t move, but it doesn’t matter. Moving is the least of my worries.
Who were they, and what just happened? The meter seemed to lead him straight to Mom’s pendant. Gas man, my ass.
I clutch my head in an attempt to stop my mind spinning, but my hand slides off my sweaty foreheadand falls against my tightened stomach. They might come back. The guy in the jacket…
What was that? The brooch, the pendant…my disappearing reflection. They wanted it. Damn.
Sweat trickles down my forehead and into my eyes. I wipe it away with a trembling hand. Questionshurtle through my mind, all jumbling together as they race faster and faster in my mind. Seconds, minutes, hours I don’t know, but a single thought emerges through the haze of my mind.
Praise for the Book
"Forget Me Not is a tension-fueled, adventurous and brilliantly written novel that shows the dangers and powers of a controlling environment . If you are a fan of George Orwell’s classic “1984″ you will LOVE this book." ~ Heidi, Amazon "I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel by Aussie author Stacey Nash. The tension, the twists and turns throughout, the web of intrigue – all had me glued to the pages." ~ Brenda Telford, Goodreads
"Find a comfy spot to read Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash, I devoured this story in one sitting. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up the novel, however, I did enjoy the story. Technology, betrayal, and battle all shared equal parts in this debut novel." ~ Amazon customer
“I love the new world Stacey has created here which is right up with any other speculative fiction I have read. If you love a good conspiracy theory story, you will love this.” ~ Emmaly, Mundie Moms blog.Remember Me An exciting new adventure from Stacey Nash, set in the world of The Collective. When all is lost, she must remember... Anamae Gilbert managed to thwart The Collective and rescue her father, even though his mind is now a shell. Determined to stop Councilor Manvyke hurting her family again, she's training to become an active resistance member and falling hard for resistance fighter Jax Belfry. But things never sail along smoothly - Manvyke wants retribution and Anamae's name is high on his list. After a blow to the head, she awakes in an unfamiliar location unable to remember the last few weeks. She can't believe the fascinating new technology she's seeing. She's the new kid at school, and although weapons training comes with ease, something feels off. Why does the other new kid's smile make her heart ache? And why does her gut tell her to run?
Author Stacey Nash Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. She loves to read and write books that have a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance, and KISSING! Hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the beauty and culture of the local area.
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