Silent Echoes

Silent Echoes

by Carla Jablonski

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Overview

What happens to a teenage girl who starts hearing voices? The answer is vastly different for two girls living in two different eras.

When a "spirit" contacts Lucy Phillips at a séance in nineteenth-century Manhattan, Lucy quickly gains fame as a talented medium who can impart knowledge about the future to wealthy socialites. Lucy is grateful to this "spirit," who communicates with her from beyond, for giving her a life of luxury she’s never known before.

By contrast, Lindsay Miller is hospitalized in modern-day New York City for schizophrenia when she starts to hear a girl’s voice in her head. But when the two girls realize they are really hearing each other’s voices every time they occupy the same physical location, they begin to see possibilities that will change both of their lives forever. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101217955
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/01/2007
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 284 KB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Carla Jablonski lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

One

What a pack of fools, Lucy Phillips thought as she smiled serenely at the sitters around the séance table.

The twittering, fluttering overstuffed guests at Mrs. Van Wyck's soiree made Lucy think of chickens.

Ooh, don't think about food, Lucy warned herself. A loud gurgle would not give the appropriate ethereal impression of the spirit-contacting medium Lucy was posing as tonight. She placed a hand on her stomach, pressing against her corset as if she could squeeze the hunger out of herself.

If only Mrs. Van Wyck were less fashionable, then the dinner would have been served first. Instead, it wasn't until ten o'clock. At least Lucy knew that if she and her father weren't formally included in a meal, his way with serving girls would certainly gain them a couple of plates. But dinnertime was still several dead spirits away.

There was a lot riding on the success of this evening.

Peabody, her father's weasel-faced friend who had set up the séance, had intimated that if they performed well, this could turn into a regular moneymaker. That would be a relief. After their bad turn of luck over the last few weeks, Lucy and her father had been forgoing regular meals. In Harrisburg-or was it Hamilton? The locations were all blending together-the town fathers had taken their strongbox of cash when they'd confiscated their bottles of Dr. Poffle's Curative Elixir as evidence. In their haste to quit the town, Lucy and her father didn't have the chance to pack food or redeem their pawn tickets; they'd even had to leave behind a cameo of Lucy's dead mother, which her father dearly regretted.

Until Lucy was twelve, she had believed her father was a rich man. Lucy was born right after the War between the States, when so many families were missing members or had lost fortunes and were forced to find new ways to scrape together a living. Staying with one's grandparents, as Lucy did, was not an unusual circumstance. Her mother had died in childbirth, and when Lucy was small, she felt her mother's absence as just another thing that other children had but she was denied, like a porcelain doll or candy apples. When Papa came around, he seemed to have a never-ending supply of treats and toys. Obviously, he must be very rich indeed.

Now that she'd been on the road with him for the last four years, she knew different, ever since he'd arrived at the farm for her twelfth birthday and determined that an innocent-looking girl could be an asset in his various confidence games.

In Mrs. Van Wyck's drawing room, the air was filled with ladies' sighs, elicited by Colonel Phillips's charming, flirtatious manner. Corpulent gentlemen strained their silk-covered buttons laughing at Lucy's father's wisecracks and made sly glances at Lucy as they sucked their cigars. She kept her eyes downcast, her expression demure, her smiles soft, remote, and mysterious, all the while assessing the jewels, the dresses, the vases, even the floral arrangements. She might not be able to read, but she knew how to figure what things cost.

Her eyes came to rest on her father. Colonel Phillips was entertaining with card tricks, easy sleights of hand that still wowed the ignorant. This was the introduction, Lucy knew. Preparing the audience, loosening them up, softening their suspicion, warming them to the handsome, debonair Colonel and his lovely daughter. He was letting the wine work its wiles, getting them in the mood to believe.

A bead of sweat trickled its way down Lucy's spine. The room was close, the air heavy with cigar smoke. Why are the wrong people rich? Lucy wondered, not for the first time. If she had Mrs. Van Wyck's money, she wouldn't crowd her rooms with such musty furniture, cover the walls with dark tapestries and darker paintings, fill the space to claustrophobic tightness with curios that gathered dust.

Nor, she thought, sneaking peeks at the guests from under lowered lashes, would I entertain such a stuffy group of pretentious bores. Or if I had to, they would be more attractive.

Her father was by far the best-looking man there, a fact he was using to full effect. She'd seen him work his charm before, turning his lake blue eyes on each of the ladies present, eyes that twinkled when he was planning a con. Maybe he's hoping to marry into this circle, Lucy suddenly thought, watching him lean in close to each of the ladies as he asked them if the queen of hearts was their card. She scrutinized the women with new interest. This might be a scheme she could encourage.

Mrs. Van Wyck had pinned her thick, graying hair in a low bun and wore loose, flowing garments, not at all the fashionably seamed, tucked, and flounced attire Lucy would have expected from a wealthy society matron. Her double chin wasn't too pronounced, Lucy thought charitably, and she had a sweet, heart-shaped face that was probably once quite pretty.

There didn't seem to be a Mr. Van Wyck, and, significantly, he was not the person Mrs. Van Wyck wanted to contact in the spirit world. Could my father . . . ? No, it didn't matter how wealthy she might be; with her high-pitched laugh, her buxom, uncontrolled shape, her amateur dramatic gestures, Mrs. Van Wyck wasn't at all his type-Lucy stifled a giggle at the very idea.

The bohemian Miss Carlyle was also unlikely. Considered something of a poetess by the group, the middle-aged spinster was nearly as wide as she was tall. Gloria Buren, on the other hand . . . Miss Buren was in her twenties and dangled so many jewels she blazed when she passed the candles. She was blond, terribly thin, and perfectly coiffed, but she was not at the soiree alone. Her escort was Jeffrey Von Clare, who had the reddish complexion of a drinker. He clearly thought Lucy and her father were frauds.

She sensed no trouble from portly Mr. Hanover, a professor of ancient languages who smelled of tobacco and dust. Mr. and Mrs. Holden were a matched pair, full of breezy chatter and name-dropping, and were a good deal younger than Mrs. Van Wyck. A Mr. Grasser rounded out the group. He called himself an impresario, and his sharp, pointed features reminded Lucy of a much more elegantly dressed Peabody.

Candles in chandeliers flickered, and Colonel Phillips used the stray breeze to remark, "Why, I do believe the spirits are eager to speak with us. Perhaps they sense the presence of my daughter. They are so terribly fond of her."

Lucy fluttered her eyelashes shyly. About time, she thought.

"Will there be manifestations?" Mrs. Van Wyck asked tremulously. "Oh, I do hope so. Sara Schyler's medium produced the most glorious spirit manifestation!"

Her father's friend Peabody had warned them about this: because this was such a last-minute event and since they had no prior experience as mediums, they weren't equipped with the latest devices that produced the more-spectacular effects.

Colonel Phillips was prepared. He shook his head solemnly. "My Lucy would not writhe about in such an unseemly fashion, nor could I allow ectoplasm to defile her innocent flesh."

Mrs. Van Wyck looked aghast and blushed all the way down her cleavage. A murmur rippled through the group, who were clearly surprised by the audacity of Colonel Phillips's reprimand and intrigued by his suggestion that other mediums were not so innocent.

"The dead speak to her and through her," Colonel Phillips explained, "but have enough respect for her purity that they dare not touch her. But have no fear-the spirits will indeed make themselves known."

Lucy's heart started pounding. Showtime. There was a lot at stake here tonight."Shall we begin?" Colonel Phillips asked.

"Oh yes, please do," Mrs. Van Wyck gushed.

"Lucy, are you ready?" Colonel Phillips asked.

She felt eight pairs of eyes on her, their attention warmer than the candle flames. Yes. She nodded.

"What do you want us to do?" Mrs. Van Wyck asked.

"Lower the lights," Colonel Phillips instructed.

Mrs. Van Wyck pointed, and a servant girl adjusted the gas lamps. It took Lucy's eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness.

"Everyone shut your eyes," Colonel Phillips instructed.

"If we shut our eyes, how are we to see the spirits?" Miss Carlyle complained. "I want to be able to capture the proper atmosphere in my next poem."

"You've already been told that there won't be any manifestations," Mr. Von Clare said. "So I'm wondering what the point of all this is."

Lucy hated his disdainful tone, despite the fact that she and her father were shams.

"Oh, there will be things to see, if the spirits choose to visit," Colonel Phillips assured him airily. He wasn't troubled at all by the man's challenge. "But they need the proper atmosphere. I'll tell you when to open your eyes again. First we must harmonize our energies, focus, and concentrate on opening the door between the worlds."

Mrs. Van Wyck shivered beside Lucy.

Mr. Von Clare let out a snorting laugh. "Yes, let's fling open those doors."

This is going to be very satisfying, Lucy thought, gazing at Mr. Von Clare, who leaned drunkenly on one elbow.

Peabody had dug up a little gossip about Mr. Von Clare, nothing too scandalous, just slightly embarrassing. It seemed a certain "lady of the evening" had earned a sizable return on a stock tip given her by a gentleman customer-one who bore a remarkable resemblance to Von Clare.

"Now, everyone shut your eyes," Colonel Phillips instructed, walking around the table behind the sitters to be certain they were following his instructions. He nodded at Lucy, indicating they had. She then positioned the stick she had hidden in the folds of her dress between her knees so that it hooked into the edge of the tabletop.

"Join hands to create the energy impulse of the circle. The spirit will be drawn here."

Mrs. Van Wyck's plump little fingers gripped Lucy's so hard Lucy winced, the woman's many rings digging in. Lucy wondered if she could manage to slip one off onto her own finger.

"Oh, spirits of the departed," Colonel Phillips intoned. "Join us here on the earthly plane. Make your way from the realm of shadow and mystery."

"Come to me," Lucy whispered, as they had rehearsed. "Please, speak to me. Let me know you're here among us."

Lucy wiggled the stick with her knees, careful to hold her upper body still. She tilted the tabletop this way and that, never releasing her hands from those of the people next to her. Gasps went around the table.

"Whoopsie!" Mr. Von Clare said, his elbow sliding off the edge of the table.

Table-tilting was considered standard spirit behavior, though why anyone would want to invite such clumsy spirits was beyond Lucy. But what the rich wanted, the rich got.

"Is that you, spirit?" Lucy asked. "Will you speak to us?"

"Oh, who do you think it is?" Mrs. Van Wyck asked.

"Can we open our eyes yet?" Miss Carlyle begged.

"Yes, the spirits are here. You may open your eyes."

Lucy went into trance mode. Her eyes shut, her body went limp, and her head rolled around. She made soft sighing sounds, then fluttered her eyes open. She stared blankly, as if she were seeing into the realm beyond.

"Will you speak to me, spirit?" Lucy asked. Using the stick, she rapped sharply on the underside of the table.

"That means yes," Colonel Phillips said with excitement. "Oh, this is a receptive group. Very welcoming. I knew that the moment I walked in."

"Is there someone here you'd like to speak to?" Lucy asked.

One rap.

Lucy listened to the ladies shifting in their seats, the men's anxious coughs. She had her audience enraptured; she could feel it.

"Is it . . ." Lucy paused, building tension. The sitters ner-vously glanced at each other. Mr. Von Clare had a superior-looking smile, as if he were above it all. Just you wait, Lucy thought. But first, she knew she needed to satisfy her hostess. "Is it Mrs. Van Wyck?"

One rap.

Mrs. Van Wyck took in a sharp breath. "Oh, my," she whispered.

Lucy didn't react, as if she could only hear the unseen spirit. "Will you speak through me?"

One rap.

Colonel Phillips stood behind Lucy's chair. "Just a precaution," he said softly. "I must always be ready to protect my darling daughter."

She knew her father did that to heighten the drama, letting the audience believe that something dangerous or shocking might happen.

"Auntie Coraline?" Lucy said in a small child's voice.

Mrs. Van Wyck gasped again. This time there was a deeper, rasping sound to it, as if her breath was catching on her heart. "Oh, Amelia, is that you?"

Gotcha.

"Auntie Coraline, please don't be sad," Lucy said. "Thank you for the rocking horse. It was my favorite Christmas present ever. I'm only sorry I couldn't ride it more before I was called away."

"Oh, my dear girl," Mrs. Van Wyck said, her voice shaking with tears.

Lucy's brow furrowed; she was startled by the intensity in Mrs. Van Wyck's voice. She forced herself to keep her expression blank.

"I'm here with Mama and Granny Mayweather," Lucy continued in the little girl's voice. "So I'm not all alone as you feared."

"Thank God, I'm so glad," Mrs. Van Wyck said.

Peabody's Blue Book was dead accurate, Lucy thought. The book was a very useful collection of facts and anecdotes passed among those plying the medium trade. Several of the party guests were listed in it, so Peabody and Colonel Phillips had drilled all the information into Lucy. Peabody said there was a Blue Book for nearly every city these days. Other items were usually picked up through eavesdropping and saloon gossip.

Mrs. Van Wyck's hand trembled in Lucy's, and tears rolled down her chubby face.

"I want you to be happy, Auntie Coraline," Lucy said. "There is no reason to cry for me." Lucy hadn't rehearsed this bit, but the woman's emotions were so genuine, so raw, Lucy wanted to give her some kind of comfort. "This is a very happy place."

"I'll be happy from now on, dear heart," Mrs. Van Wyck promised tearfully.

"Goodbye, Auntie Coraline," Lucy said, making her voice fade.

Lucy collapsed against the back of her chair as if the effort had exhausted her. She opened her eyes and looked around in confusion. "Was someone here?" she asked in her normal voice.

Mrs. Van Wyck sobbed beside her. Lucy released her hand and shrank back in her chair. She hadn't known she would have such an effect.

"Papa?" Lucy asked, wanting him to get things under control, uncertain if they should proceed as planned.

"Yes, my dear, a spirit did speak through you," he said, offering Mrs. Van Wyck his handkerchief. "I do believe you gave our lovely hostess some comfort from beyond the grave." He placed a reassuring hand on Mrs. Van Wyck's trembling shoulder.

"Oh yes, oh yes, indeed!" Mrs. Van Wyck gushed, blotting her face.

"Shall we see if there are other spirits hovering? Or have you had enough?" he asked Mrs. Van Wyck gently.

"I'm fine, just fine," Mrs. Van Wyck assured him. She reached up and clutched his hand. "I'm sure others have those they wish to contact."

"I'd like to see what else you've got," Mr. Von Clare said. "I don't imagine there's a spirit who wants to talk to me." Under his breath he muttered, "I'm not a foolish, excitable woman."

Lucy's jaw tensed. All right, Von Clare, you're next. This was going to be good.

"Lucy?" Colonel Phillips said. "Are you up to having another go?"

Lucy nodded. "I'll try," she said weakly.

She shut her eyes and went back into her trance routine. She threw in a few moans to cover the rumbling of her empty stomach.

"Is anyone there who would like to make contact?" she called out. "Spirits! Speak to me!"

"Help me," a voice replied.

Lucy sat bolt upright in her chair, her skin suddenly cold with shock.

"Help me," the voice repeated. A voice not her own. A girl's voice, a voice that didn't belong to anyone in the room. "Why won't anyone help me?"

The world spun around and went dark as Lucy fainted dead away.

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Silent Echoes 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
dmorrison on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, what a neat way to connect the past and the present.
parkridgeya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Will appeal to readers of A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
It's 1882, and Lucy Phillips and her father are running scams to keep a roof over their heads. Tonight is their first attempt at a séance, with Lucy playing the medium. If it goes well, this could turn into a regular and profitable enterprise for them. Planning only to play her audience with already acquired information, Lucy is shocked to hear a voice that no one else can hear. Maybe she really has contacted the dead!

In the present time, Lindsay Miller is on the floor in her closet trying not to hear the screaming and the crash of dishes coming from the kitchen. Her mom is drunk again and fighting with her latest fling. Unfortunately, this one's not just a fling, this one's her new step-dad. If only there were someone, anyone, she could talk to. The last thing she expected was a voice with no form to come from her closet!

Lucy's new "abilities" as a medium are causing a huge stir. Her ability to predict the future is uncanny. She and her father are rapidly becoming more than financially stable.

On the other end of time, Lindsay's world is shredding to pieces. Everyone thinks she's crazy. They even tried to keep her in a mental institution! Now she's a runaway who's running out of money. And the only friend she can talk to is not only literally light years away, she's part of why all of this is happening.

Between the two girls, and across hundreds of years, can they figure out how to save each other?

This book was completely enthralling. The storyline is fantastic. The characters are strong and interesting. Their situations and experiences are pretty realistic. It's just such a cool idea; I'm so glad it was done well! It's really interesting to look at how a similar situation plays out so completely differently in two time periods; it's almost the opposite of what you'd expect. Normally you'd think "We have so many more resources now, and people are so much more open-minded. Obviously Lindsay would have an easier time of it." But that's not quite how it goes. Not to say that Lucy has an easy time. Oh, go read the book! I don't want to give anything away. Although I will tell you that the solution is really great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book because i was at the library and needed a book to read but i had no idea had good it was going to be!!! even though the plot could use a little work, all in all this was a fantastic read. if you love supernatural, friendship, and a teen struggle novels, this book is for you!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing in the middle it was kind of boring but if you keep on reading you wont be disappointed!!!! If you like books about a young girl and the troubles she goes through this is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The plot of this book was really good but I wasn't too fond of out the author wrote it. But it was still a good, quick read and the ending made it all worth while.