Pia Wade isn’t out of her mind. That’s certain after the huge breakthrough proving the island wasn’t all in her head. Then right before her eyes the island met its demise, disappeared beneath the sea, and hasn’t been seen since. Pia should be relieved. After all, the horrible dreams and visions she was having has passed away too. For once life is normal. Yet she’s in limbo with so many unanswered questions.
What happened the night she went missing? And this Ferret person, who is he?
In Perseaus, Ferret returns with a message: You must remember, because time is running out. About the night she went missing? About this place Massouvia she learns about? Above all, Pia finds herself again on the brink of a wild breakthrough at the tail end of fate, and she fears not her life but Cameron’s…. As the clock winds down, the question is will she remember, and if not, then what.
On a canvas marked with a love-triangle, CC dilates and contracts the spirit of hearts as she delicately paints a picture of an unforeseen world existential to the cycle of life—guaranteed to spark wonder.
About the Author
For C.C., the joy of reading came later in life. When it did, it was as if she'd been placed under a spell with the desire to read. It wasn't until her imagination started going wild when she realized her desire to read had evolved into something else. At first, she didn't know what to do with the images; she just wanted them to go away so that she could get some sleep. But it didn't take long to realize that it was time to pick up a pen.
She resides in Arizona with family and friends.
Visit her at www.ccwyattbooks.com
Read an Excerpt
I was as happy as one could be the moment I got the news. I mean ecstatic-to-the-top-of-my-lungs happy, jumping-up-and-down and kissing-the-paper-it-came-on happy. There was no faking how happy I was. In my hand was a dream-come-true.
And the word spread like ants fleeing for dear life, about the unusual girl whom most people adored. That's if she was staying on the road of the straight and narrow. Their road! Which meant that the world was a safer place because of it.
The news this time: she had a full scholarship to attend an Ivy League School of her choice. And Harvard was her choice. “Harvard” and “scholarship” in the same sentence, things were really looking up for me. I was doing so well staying on that road until something happened. Not with the scholarship or Harvard, but rather, with me.
One morning I woke up with a whim on how I wanted to begin the next chapter of my life. Of course it was a biggie. You see, what I did you wouldn’t do if you wanted to avoid pissing people off. (Even if it wasn’t their business.) Especially if you were me, a renowned oddball everyone’s keeping an eye on.
But yeah, this oddball did just that, and like what any sane person would do, I dug my head in the sand like an ostrich to endure the backlash that sounded like this:
“You want to do what…? We’re going to save your soul if it’s the last thing we do.”
“What do you hope to accomplish? Just let it be….”
“Girl, please! Why would you want to go down that road again?”
“The Lord’s telling me right now to knock some sense into your head….” (This person had hit me upside the head for real.)
However, for those who were plain leery of me, my change of plans hadn’t surprised them one bit. You could say they knew things were bound to change. Because to them I was ruined no matter what and could never be the same. That if I didn’t go looking for trouble, in a matter of time it would come looking for me.
But I found sacred ground among those who were sentimental and blamed my nonsense on love. You know, that crazy kind of love, once hooked, you can’t help yourself.
As for the rest, I was just plain crazy. After what I had been through, they believed traces of that out-of-this-world kind of craziness had to be in my blood.
Could be they’re right.
The lock clicked as I turned the key. It was mine now. All mine. Nothing else mattered. Not what people thought and the things they’d done trying to stop me. And not what I’d done to let nothing stand in my way. Whether I was making the biggest mistake of my life didn’t matter, because it was my life, and my mistake to make. Because I was right about this, I was sure of it. As sure as I had ever been about anything.
The door whined as it eased open. My fearlessness was still intact. At this point it would be self-defeating to let fear take charge. It would land me in a rather sticky situation considering what I had done to get here: broke my parents’ hearts. Never would I have imagined I had it in me to do it the way I had…. A little while ago, I waved goodbye to those broken hearts.
I entered the kitchen, slid my purse off my shoulder and placed it on the glass-top table, along with the keys. The old house creaked, and in a wince my head tilted up at the ceiling. Standing perfectly still, I listened to the voices…the voices whispering in my head. They were right: No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Not him-him, the one I loved and could count on and trust my heart in the palm of his hands—but the other one. The one I knew nothing about; yet feared I could risk my heart and soul for a chance to learn all I could about.
Who else but Ferret?
That day I’d seen him at the bookstore felt promising—that finally, I thought all my questions would be answered. But time passed. Days dragged into weeks, weeks, into months. Now, about a year later, that moment at the bookstore felt like a lifetime ago. A lifetime of wondering had it only been a figment of my imagination—that I really hadn’t seen him at all. The snapshot of him fixed in my mind was all I had, and I had my share of it driving me out of my mind thinking I had seen him. Even had me talking to myself: That’s him over there…watching me…. There he is…should I say something?
Had been so certain I saw him I could have sworn on a stack of bibles.
But could I really…swear on a bible?
I exhaled. The question was what good was it to have an image in your head if you couldn’t trust your eyes to confirm that it’s the same image standing before you.
Freedom is letting go. For whatever reason the notion brought chills to my arms. I melted away the chills running my hands up and down my arms, thinking how things had changed. I was free now. It had been all I ever wanted, all I could ever think of. Free of the creepy visions, the dreams, and all the craziness that came with it. Free so I could again live a normal life, and now that I was, it was as if “normal” wasn’t normal to me anymore.
The house creaked again. The house, growing older by the minute, I said to myself. Then a woman, about a hundred years old, in a creaking rocking chair barely moving, came to mind. I couldn’t let fear creep in and get the best of me. I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t.
I peered out the window as birds landed on a tree branch, asking myself why:
Why did I break hearts to be here?
Why did it feel impossible to stay away?
Was it because the only place I could feel normal was here, at the beach house?
“You’re so good at keeping things to yourself. Too good. No one should be that good. I’m your best friend, Pia. How can you keep your best friend in the dark about something as important as this? What if I was in a dire situation and needed to take a page out of your book to…to save myself? Don’t you see? That would make you a lifesaver. And how could you not want to save me, Stephanie, your forever loving friend?”
“Steph! You oughta quit!”—I touched the brake, shifted the gear to Drive—“Just give it a rest already,” I said then pulled away from the house in my new Volkswagen Beetle.
“Aah, c’mon, just get it out of your system. Tell me, you know you want to. So come on, tell me how you pulled it off….” Stephanie still at it.
“Stop pressing her, Steph. She’ll tell you when she’s ready,” Kim chimed in from the backseat then went back to touching up her makeup.
“Yes, thank you! Stop trying to beat it out of me,” I said.
When Stephanie first learned I was staying here, alone manning the house, while my parents were hundreds of miles away, she could not believe it. Could not believe my parents had agreed to this kinky arrangement—unless, well this's what she was dying to know. Dying to know why in god’s name they would let me flush an Ivy League school down the toilet.
Yeah, she wasn’t buying that my parents thought the beach house was the perfect place for me to start out on my own. And that being at the beach house was no different from taking up house anywhere else. Oh no, they wouldn’t dare—unless… Again, that’s what Stephanie was dying to know.
And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell her because I did, really…and I would, soon enough, just not now.
To be honest I was ashamed and wasn’t sure how to explain without sounding like the worst person ever. How could you tell anyone that you’re a blackmailer—and worse than that, your parents were your victims? I was feeling the brunt of it now. Like when you commit a heinous crime and not realize it until later when it smacked you in the face. Then you want to undo things, make things right, but if you did, you would’ve done it all for nothing and... It really didn’t matter; Mom and Dad couldn’t understand why I would rather be here than there…. They had to know but…but were afraid to admit it.
Blackmail turned out to be tricky though. Yeah, my parents could go on living as nobodies as they called it. And yeah, I’d gotten what I wanted: to be here, not there, and my parents’ support.
The Volkswagen Bug I sat behind the wheel of, they’d delivered with a white bow on top. You need something to get around in, they’d said, but because of the monster inside of me, I felt undeserving.
Out of the corner of my eye, Stephanie was aw-so-slightly shaking her grumbling mind at me. Still wanted the gory details on how I pulled it off. “You chose to go to school here out of all places? You could be at Harvard for heaven sakes,” was how she put it a few days ago when she first heard about it. And I teased when I’d said, “There’s nothing more I would rather do than to go to school with my best friend and the love of my life.” But she expected me right away to laugh and say, “Just kidding!” Because why would anyone in their right mind turn down a deal of a lifetime? That was unfathomable in Stephanie’s book, unless, there was a good reason. And she desperately wanted me to open my book for a tell-all. To help her understand what seemed straight-out insane
. But it wasn’t easy saying I blackmailed my parents and used my diaries to do it.
Gazing through the rearview mirror, I now wondered what was up with Kim back there ransacking her purse.
I lowered the volume. “What is it? Did you forget something back at the house?”
“I can’t seem to find my gold chain. I thought I put it in my purse.” She stalled, put on a contorted face. She was backtracking. “But…come to think about it, I haven’t seen it the whole time I was here.” Right then she lifted her torso, dug into her pocket and ta-da, pulled out a gold chain. Holding it up, she exhaled a huge sigh of relief then said, “Been in my jeans the whole time.”
I smiled through the mirror, then turned the music back up as I drove on to the airport.
No way could we have gone back to fetch a chain anyway. Kim would have missed her flight for sure. Her flight to Houston was leaving at 12:15 and it was imperative that she be on time. Her parents would be furious otherwise. You could say they were all packed and ready to say “Goodbye, Houston” and “Hello, Seattle.” Kim’s dad finally had gotten the transfer he wanted. This was fantastic because Kim would soon start college at Seattle University. The family sticking together: Things were working out for them.
Anyway, we had our lucky charms to thank for the few days we’d spent together. Kim happened to have been on Dad’s flight when she had a layover. So naturally, she thought about me and called. Our talk then led to her calling her Mom—and what do you know, she’d wound up saying yes.
The clear blue sky disappeared in the rearview mirror as I entered the dark terminal. Vehicles lined the curb as soon-to-be-passengers unloaded baggage and grabbed last-minute hugs. I coasted through until I came to the drop-off point for Kim. I paralleled the car with the curb, threw the gear in park. I then hopped out and went around to the other side as Kim grabbed the travel bag she had in the back seat with her.
“Ooh, I’m going to miss you. I can’t say it enough, right?” I said giving her a big-departing hug, one of many over the past twenty-four hours.
“I’m going to miss you, too,” she said cooingly.
Coming out of the hug, I smoothed a hand over her honey blonde hair. A hair color she was experimenting with that looked good on her.
“It was really nice meeting you.” Stephanie approached with arms open for a quick hug. “You have to come back to visit; it’s been fun.”
“Yeah, it’s been fun; I hate I must leave so soon,” Kim replied. But we all knew it would be awhile before we saw one another again. Washington was clear across the country.
Stephanie pulled down the white tank top to cover her bare waist; she then waved and hopped back into the car. Kim waved back then put on pouty lips in a sourpuss face.
“What is it?” As if I didn’t know.
“I just…and I know you’re tired of hearing this, but I wish you would rethink what you’re doing. Everybody can’t be wrong. Shucks, you think I would be going to Seattle University had I got accepted to Harvard?” Kim said, then put on a smiley-frowny face.
“If only I could make it happen by using a lifeline, I would. It seems crazy, I know, with Harvard being my dream too.” Security beckoned me to hurry up, I nodded okay and he moved along.
Kim bit down on her lip, shaking her head. “But you should seriously think about this some more, Kiddo…” (‘Kiddo’, she had a habit of calling people that.) “…while you still have time to change your mind. But Cameron, I get it. You two are great together. But I’m afraid for you, you know.”
“I do, but as I said before. ‘Don’t look at it like it’s the end of the road for me.’ I’m starting a new life here, not ending it—and I’m not afraid of anything. My mind plays tricks on me sometimes, because some things aren’t easy to forget. But it doesn’t mean that I’m stuck or living in the past.”
Kim exhaled exhaustingly. “All right, all right. Just promise me you won’t go off to some strange island playing detective. Keep your feet planted here in the real world.” She said, pointing a stiff finger toward the ground. “Just take care of yourself, okay? It’s not asking much at all” She hugged me quickly with one arm. “Okay, I better get going before that guard bites your head off.”
“Text me when you land!” I waved, hurrying around the car. I opened the door and hopped in, but I wasn’t going anywhere fast, in an instant I was jammed in. I looked around for Kim and she was nowhere in sight.
Moments passed, and I hadn’t moved an inch and was getting impatient.
“Look, get a load of this dude,” Stephanie uttered, and I ducked my head to get a full view of the person on her side.
“What the hell!” was my eye-popping diction of this odd-looking man and his out-of-season attire. “Hmm, he could be a rocker,” I suggested now.
Dark shades covered his eyes, and a red ball cap pulled over them. A wallet tucked in the pocket of his leather pants attached to a chain. It reminded me of a rocker. But leather pants? In the summer?
He lowered an overstuffed duffel bag to the ground. The constriction in his jaws, agitated, I thought, and I wondered why. Did he miss his flight, couldn’t get another one? Why else would he come out of the Departure terminal? Or was he fed up for having to wait long for a ride? He looked in direction of incoming traffic, suggesting he was looking for something. Glancing at his watch suggested he was concerned with time. But when he tapped on his watch a couple of times, I wondered was it working properly. Trying to figure him out was confusing.
“I can’t tell if he’s going or coming. I wonder if he knows.” Stephanie made a face, snickering. Then before we knew it, he was at the car tapping on the window.
“Excuse me…can I get you lovely ladies to give me a lift?” Our eyes bucked at each other. We couldn’t believe he had the nerves….
“Do we look like we pick up strangers?” Stephanie took the initiative of blowing him off.
“No, but I could really use one; I can give you gas money, anything.”
“I don’t know where you’re from, but this is the United States…of the America.”“Stephanie…?” I tried to stop her before she embarrassed the poor guy but holding back a burst of laughter choked me up.
He showed a bit of humor though; he chuckled, straightened his trunk, then backed away from the car. It was then the ring on his finger caught my attention. The olive-colored stone, it looked like some kind of emerald, but rare because of the raw, spiny texture.
I stared at it. I just couldn’t take my eyes off it. Strange, but it reminded me of something, though I wasn’t sure what.
Yet I kept looking at the stone, embedded in a wide, gold band…it was just…just something about it. Something…powerful, the thought crossed my mind. More power than I imagined this character dressed in leather pants would have. He began fingering around the ring as if his finger itching. “What kind of ring is that?” came close to rolling off my tongue, when I instead told myself it didn’t matter.
I had to get hold of myself. After all, the ring was on a total stranger whom I may never see again. Besides, I had refused him a ride, so why strike up a conversation about the ring? No matter the effect it had on me, thinking I had seen it before, trying to remember where—no, I should just let it be.
“You can try to get out now,” Stephanie asserted, snapping me back into the moment.
I pulled out as much of the front end I could. “Did you see that ring on his finger?” I asked. Stephanie turned quickly to look, so obviously, she hadn’t noticed. But now she couldn’t see with him holding the duffel bag.
My wondering continued, more about him now. By focusing mostly on the ring, maybe I missed the point. I didn’t know, but I tried pulling from my memory, like going through boxes of photos, because something was there.
Maybe we just blew off a celebrity, I thought. Come to think about it, he had somewhat of a star quality to his voice. Maybe he was dressed so he wouldn’t be recognized; celebrities do that. But I doubted that for some reason.
Nothing about him rang a bell. Nothing stood out except those leather pants, and, for some reason, that ring.
Pissed that I’d only moved a little bit for whatever reason, I checked the rearview mirror just to see if he was still there. And he was, looking back at me. In a couple of blinks, I checked again, sensing he wouldn’t be this time.
And, he wasn’t.
Table of Contents
1. A Fearless Heart
2. Celeb or Not
3. Some Shake-ups
4. Trust on Alert
6. We Meet Again
7. Them…the Echoes
8. Let’s Get Serious
9. Unusual Pursuit
10. Broken Commitment
11. The First Episode
12. Moping in Tears
13. Ring the Separation
14. The second Episode
15. Memory Lane
16. Ball of Confusion
17. Human Shackles
18. On the Run
19. When Hands Join
20. Island, the Island
21. Them, Him, and Me
22. The Ring in Truth
23. We Stick Together
24. White Nightgown
26. Oh no, not Again
27. Let the Games Begin
28. Lights go Out
29. Bypass Death
30. Weeping Memories