Here’s a sneak peek of part of the first chapter of my manuscript. Let me know what you think in the comments! Hope you like it.
Aisling pushed past the cobwebs and shadows plaguing her brain. A few blocks away, a car’s tires spun against the slick pavement. It reminded her of a record spinning on its platter. She thought of the record player she had taken with her from her parents’ house and was transported back to her childhood home. She recalled the intermittent time before her father left and her mother passed away. Little cracks of detail poured through her memory. She felt jerked through time and space as she remembered the pops and cracks of a record as it began to spin. Even fainter still, she recalled the bay windows with shafts of sunlight spilling through the glass. Aisling clutched these memories like a matchbook in the dead of winter. She had to ration them for when times were lean.
And more often than not, times were lean.
She blinked and snapped back to the dreary sidewalk and found the woman staring at her, puzzled. Aisling’s face flushed with embarrassment, and she returned her attention to the map. The woman pointed to the map’s key. At the top of the legend, the word Key was penned in calligraphy. Underneath the writing, a hand-drawn sketch of a skeleton key was drawn. The stranger’s eyes were cast down as though she were ashamed. Aisling squinted and studied the legend. She ceased to notice the rain had vanished, and the sky had changed from a murky gray to a clear blue. The woman’s silence began to infuriate her as she reacquainted herself with the list of symbols. Aisling clenched her teeth in agitation. “What is it?” Aisling jabbed a finger in the direction of the map’s key.
While waiting for any kind of response from the mysterious stranger, Aisling glanced around herself and noticed the sky had transformed into a stunning display of light blue wonder. The stranger’s eyes flicked back down at the map, which caused Aisling’s gaze to stray downward as well. She stormed away when the stranger refused to speak and shouted, “What is it? What is so damn important about the key?” Aisling’s green eyes flashed with anger as in the distance, thunder rumbled. She clenched her fists in rage when she felt an inexplicable heaviness inside of her clasped hand. The unexpected weight stopped her in her tracks. She uncurled her fingers, and inside of her palm, she discovered a rusty skeleton key. The key had an elaborate, knotted pattern on its bow, and Aisling’s eyebrows shot up as she stared at it in shock. Her fingertips trembled as she approached the stranger who once more gestured toward the key on the map.
And that was when Aisling noticed.
The key on the map was identical to the key that had materialized in her hand.
Another explosion of thunder caused Aisling to jump backwards, yet when she directed her gaze toward the skies, vanilla puffs sailed through a serene blue sky. She squeezed her eyes shut and when she opened them, she half-expected to see the clouds of earlier to billow through. Instead, the sky remained as it was just a moment before: a calming blue. The streets were as dry as a drought, and the copper sun shone like a brand new penny. New Amhurst had been transformed from a city on the verge of becoming the next Atlantis to one reborn, bathed in sunlight. It was as though the wild storms that had swept through the city never occurred, and when she looked toward the woman with the map, Aisling saw she was standing alone. The stranger had vanished.
It was almost more than she could bear.