Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing Publication Date: January 12, 2016
- The biggest, fanciest house on Sea View Drive.
- Nike Flyknits.
- A ski-jump nose.
- My own car. A new BMW.
- Be a total pro at the piano.
- James Odera to like me. Be James Odera’s girlfriend.
- Get Spencer’s lungs fixed.
“Chasing Midnight is a beautiful, magical story about wishes, hard choices, and the joy of finding happiness in our heart’s own truth.”
— Francisco X. Stork, author of Marcello in the Real World
Excerpt from CHASING MIDNIGHT
I only make it as far as the nearest bathroom, where the scent of hazelnuts and cinnamon seemed to be brewing somewhere inside. When I’m positive nobody has followed me, I push in through the bathroom door and face the graffitied mirror in silence, staring blankly at my reflection. “The first day is usually a shock.” A voice, to the side of me. I jerk my head up and step backward. “Holy . . . how did you get in here?” I ask, staring directly into the black eyes of Bird Lady. It seems like she just appears and disappears at will, each time even more striking, more beautiful than the last—despite the flood of buzzing fluorescent bulbs above us, bathing her in gaudy light. I feel hypnotized in her image, at her ebony skin swirling gold against an overflowing blue sundress, the aura of hazelnuts saturating the air. But then I realize I’m gaping at her, and turn away, embarrassed. “I come and go when I need to,” she says with a slight shrug of her shoulders, as if everything about her showing up in this grimy bathroom is completely normal. “So this is a ‘need-to’ kind of situation?” I ask, staring at her image in the greasy mirror, rather than straight on. It feels less intimidating that way. “Yes,” she says, dipping her head slowly. “I’ve come to enlighten you, child.” “Great. I could use some enlightening,” I say, still trying to recover from Brecke’s odd accusations at whatever she seems to be implying about my supposed disappearance last night. “So what’s the deal?” “You’ve been Struck,” she says simply, the intonation in her voice intoxicating. “Struck? What does that even mean?” A smile ignites her entire face when she chuckles a little, the tip of her finger touching the clock pendant at my neck. “It means you are now a lucky one. How about that, Mackenzie Love?” “But, I mean . . . how does it all work?” I ask, trying to snap out of this trance I feel myself falling into. Her very essence seems to hold me hostage, and the longer my eyes linger on her face, the heavier they feel. “The how is unimportant, my dear. All you need to know for the time being is that this is your life right now,” she says, touching my neck with a long, shiny black fingernail. “For reals?” I say, clutching my clock charm like a lifeline, the ticking inside, the pulse of its own heartbeat. “For how long? Forever? A day? A year?” My vision blurs as the writing on the mirror splits in two, the double letters overlapping each other, my head whirring. “That is entirely up to you,” Bird Lady says, drawing backward into the shadows, away from the light. I turn around, not wanting her to leave. Not yet. “Wait . . .” “No need to trouble yourself about it now. You’ll recognize the signs when it’s time,” she says, as if I should understand what she’s talking about. “You will know what to do then.” “I will?” “You have my word.” She dips her head at me and moves effortlessly toward the door. I blink, and then she’s gone.