Genre: YA Fantasy Fiction
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 71,000
SynopsisSixteen-year-old Aislinn Lee Murphy accidentally unleashes her hidden ability to see things before they happen, making her a Visionary. But little does she know that this amazing gift comes with a severe price. She must never tell a soul or she risks putting herself and her family in great peril.
A Visionary is someone who has been chosen to see the future and has the benefit of having spirit animals to guide and protect them, but there is a secret agency whose sole purpose is to terminate all Visionaries and Aislinn has become their next target.
Disturbing, yellow eyes stare at me with implication and an ear piercing cry startles me beyond measure. It’s calling me. It wants me to come closer. I freeze not knowing what to do.
My heart begins to beat faster and faster, my ears start ringing, and my fingers clench the sides of my bed. Instantly, I sit straight up in my bed and find myself covered in a cold sweat. It’s only a dream. I’ve had this dream before. There is no message of any sort. It is the same dream time and time again. Something wants me to come closer and for some strange reason I can’t seem to see what that something is. You would think that after having this same dream over and over again that I would fully remember it or begin to make some sense of it, but no.
After a deep sigh of relief that this is only a dream, I peek out my window and find that today is like every other day in March so far. The weather is cold, wet, and damp. I keep hoping for the first actual sign of spring but you never know what you’re going to get in Hingham, Massachusetts or any part of New England for that matter. One day it’s warm, the next it’s cold, and the next it’s a crap shoot. I open my window hoping to feel the opposite of how it looks outside, but all I get is the expected cold draft.
Should I wear my worn out brown boots with the fur or go with my pink flip flops in the hopes that the weather will magically change? Feeling unlucky, I grab the boots and put them aside. Between being a high school student and living in the quaint shoreline town of Hingham, I tend to choose my clothes very wisely. If one dares to dress what’s considered unconventional to the high school’s “matriarchs”, then you can forget about being treated fairly, let alone being popular. One wrong move and I can easily be classified as being a loser.
Outsiders think that our high school is a bunch of snobby, rich kids. But I beg to differ. I believe that we are all individuals and that we should be treated based on who we are and not where we come from. I consider myself to be fairly accepted in the high school environment. I’m not one of the cute and popular cheerleader girls but I make my presence known. I have a handful of wisely chosen friends and I try to get along with pretty much everyone.
After much debate with my mirror, I throw on a pair of dark blue jeans with little holes in them and an oversized pink sweatshirt with a hood. These are probably my mother’s least favorite jeans. She can’t seem to understand why anyone would want holes in their jeans. She doesn’t seem to get the fact that fashion trends change every decade or so and that jeans that have to be ironed are just not cool. She keeps offering to take my jeans to her seamstress and I always grin and say, “No thank you, Mother.” She hates when I call her mother.
I have absolutely no ambition to go to school today. I have math homework that’s due and I can barely get through the beginning without feeling a sense of hatred for that class. Do you really need math in life? I mean I can add, subtract, multiply and divide, but the other stuff- come on! And my teacher, Mr. Grant, doesn’t make things any better. He is a thorn in my side, front, and back! I look at the clock and remind myself that I have exactly seven minutes until it’s time to leave for school. I’ve got the time thing down to a science, although I am still usually late by a couple of minutes. I scurry down the stairs nearly tripping over my dog, Otis.
Otis, my loyal buddy. One who hasn’t told my secrets or laughed at my mistakes. The one true friend that I love dearly. “Sorry Otie,” I say to him. That’s my nickname for him. He just pants and licks my leg. Why can’t friends be more like dogs with the exception of the licking part? Otie is about 10 years old now. That’s like seventy in dog years they say, but whose counting? He is a black, Affenpinscher. A rather rare breed, like myself, lol. He’s very healthy and has a beautiful shiny coat of fur. I can’t picture my life without him. Who else would listen to me complain about friends who are shallow and boys who are players? I think Otie knows more about me than my own parents. I give him a kiss on his furry little head and he follows me towards the kitchen.
“Aren’t you going be late?” yells my mother.
“Aren’t I usually?” I respond in a curt manner as I grab a banana and a store-bought blueberry muffin. That would be the day that my mother has time to bake. She sips her coffee in her “to-go” coffee mug which smells so good but tastes so bad.
“What’s the matter with you this morning?” my mother questions as she stares at me with worry.
“Nothing, I just…I’m just not excited to go to school that‘s all,” I reply while putting together my belongings. My mother gives me this confused look with a small smile trying to understand me. She must be thinking about what she did wrong or how she have raised me better. She’s probably telling herself that she should have gone to more of my soccer games when I was younger or paid more attention to me.
My mother and father started this internet consulting business when I was in first grade. They help failing companies strive by changing their marketing strategies and a bunch of boring stuff like that. It took off and did extremely well. However, ever since then I feel like I have lost touch with them. They are always so busy. I don’t even feel comfortable telling them my problems or anything at all for that matter.
I can remember this one time in third grade when my bus got into an accident because the bus driver was distracted by the radio, or so that’s what people say. He plowed right into a telephone pole. I was really scared. My purple Polk-a-dot book bag and matching lunchbox went flying up to the front of the bus. I fell off my seat because I was sitting on my knees drawing pictures with my finger on the window next to me which had a thick layer of water vapor on it. I can still remember the picture that I was drawing. It was a picture of me and my father flying kites and then all of a sudden, BOOM! Out of nowhere, I felt this jarring force hit my body and I went flying off the seat into the brown plastic seat in front of me. There was no warning. Nothing. I thought that somebody had pushed me. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what actually happened until I was much older. I remember my mother being called to the scene along with the other parents. I can remember her holding my hand and then releasing it to answer a phone call. That must have been one important phone call because she never did grab my hand back again. I looked around and saw the other parents holding onto their children and I remember looking back at my mother waiting for her to do the same. She never did. I suppose she figured that I was fine since there were no injuries.
It’s now 7:30 am and I need to go, pronto. I grab my little Coach purse, cell phone, and keys and run to my car. I hop into my little Honda Civic Hybrid that my mother and father bought me for my sixteenth birthday last September. I can’t wait to see what they’ll get me this year when I turn seventeen.
The Hybrid is an economical car and I really like it. Alabaster Silver Metallic is the color. I just like saying it because it sounds so upscale. Efficient in gas and small enough to get into those tight little spaces that aren’t meant to get into. Every time I get into my little Hybrid, I can’t help but think that my parents are buying my love in place of spending time with me. Lack of attention and lack of quality time can be fixed by material goodies, right? I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on them. I know they love me.
As I am about to pull out of the driveway I see my mother running towards the car. “Aislinn! Aislinn Lee!” she yells. I roll down the window to see what she’s so frantic about. “Aislinn, tonight is our dinner party with Mr. and Mrs. Lambert,” she blurts out while trying to catch her breath. The Lambert’s are both college professors at Harvard University in Cambridge. They live here in Hingham. I can’t imagine driving that daily commute. Although, now that we have a new commuter rail service in town, I’m sure they probably both take advantage of that, but still, what a commute. They are both very serious people. They are perfect for one another. I just don’t think that it‘s going to be the most exciting dinner, but at least the food will be good since it’ll be catered.
“You need to be here by 6:00 pm sharp and try to look presentable,” she instructs me with an ever so serious voice. My parents are desperately hoping that I decide to go to Harvard and become something amazing. I thought that I already was amazing. They think that by being friends with professors that I will have a better chance of getting accepted to Harvard when the time comes. As if I couldn’t do it on my own. Shouldn’t the cost of tuition alone be an automatic entry? I nod and smile trying to look excited but I’m most definitely not and I know that she can tell. I know that they want the best for me but I need to figure that out on my own. I’m thinking of maybe going to college somewhere more exciting and tropical, like Florida or a California College.
“Aislinn Lee! Are you wearing contacts?”
“What? No! Why?” I ask her.
“Your eyes! They look different,” she says while reaching for my chin.
“Mom! My eyes are fine,” I say while moving away from her hand.
“I have to go. I’m going to be late!” I fret.
“Ok. Well, have a good day,” my mom says sounding hesitant.
As I try to make it on time by driving exactly at the speed limit and not a mile more, I can’t help but to physically cringe at every red light that I seem to be hitting. To top it off, I am behind a slow horse trailer which is carrying two large, beautiful horses. They look like Thoroughbreds. One is a dark black and the other is a chestnut brown. As I sit behind one of my many red lights, I start to picture myself jumping onto one of the horses and taking off to a land that doesn’t really exist. I picture myself riding bareback on the horse with my long, wavy, dirty-blonde hair flowing in the wind. I feel free. Free to be myself and free to do as I please. I can actually hear the galloping footsteps of the horse and then the repulsive sight of a never ending supply of poop breaks my trance. “Beautiful!” I say aloud with an edge of cynicism.
Luckily, I find a decent parking space considering I am late again. I decide to put on some pink strawberry flavored lip gloss which makes me feel pretty and then I spray on some fruity body spray. You never can smell too good. Then I notice one of the infamous basketball players staring at me from two cars down. Justin Maselin. He has platinum blonde hair, dimples, and a huge head. Literally. Great! Just great! Now I have an audience. I pretend like I don’t care. I shut my car doors, and beep my car alarm twice, for extra security and to show off a little.
As I enter my beloved math classroom, I can feel Mr. Grant’s eyes watch me sneak in. “You’re late Miss Aislinn Lee Murphy.” He couldn’t just say my first name. He had to say my whole name. Really! And how does he know my middle name anyway? Does he stay up late at night staring at our names on his roster because he has no life? Yeah, probably I think to myself. “Sorry Mr. Grant,” I say with an embarrassed shade of red on my cheeks.
Mr. Grant is a middle-aged, angry, lonely man. He has dark hair that sweeps to one side and large glasses that don’t flatter his angular face. He doesn’t socialize much with the other teachers and always has this constipated look on his face.
I take a seat quietly in the back next to my friend Star. I wished that I had a cool name like Star or Moon for that matter. I was blessed with the old Irish name of Aislinn. Who ever heard of Aislinn?
Star looks at me strange and points to her eyes. I give her a confused shrug of the shoulders.
“Contacts,” she whispers.
“No,” I whisper back.
What is with everyone thinking that I’m wearing contacts. I dig through my purse looking for a mirror. Found one. They look fine to me. I don’t know what everyone is talking about?
Star smiles at me and shows me her phone letting me know that she has just sent me a text. I check my phone. She text, “look who’s sittin in front of u, lol.” I look up at her and smile. The boy sitting in front of me is none other than Frank Connolly. He is, in my opinion, the cutest basketball player at Litchbury High. I don’t normally go for the jock type but he is different. He has a sweet disposition and I am sweet on him. The other jocks act like they own the school. I text back, “I can smell his cologne. Yummy yum-lol.” If anyone else ever read that text message I would be mortified but Star is a close friend of mine and I don‘t think that she would ever share that text considering that I have many juicy texts that she has sent me in the past. She giggles and Frank turns around and gives us a look. Star and I look at each other and smile.
Just then I notice Austin Michaels staring at me. Austin Michaels is my ex-boyfriend. The sight of him repulses me. We basically went out when I was a sophomore. Stupid me thought that he was a nice boy. A nice boy who, was pretty good looking and fairly popular.
We went out to a movie once and the next day he spread rumors about me to everyone. He spoke of things that I didn’t even know about. When I found out from my friend Star, I was humiliated. How could he do that to me? I never so much as kissed the boy and he’s telling people all sorts of things that are not true. I asked him about it in the cafeteria one day and he began laughing at me. I broke up with him right then and there.
I guess I’ll never understand some people. It’s rather sad really. The fact that he had to make up stuff to look popular. Well, I believe in karma and one day he will experience the negative consequences for his actions. I roll my eyes at him and try to focus on math.
I decide that I am going to try and draw some positive attention to myself and participate in class for once. Participation is good right? Mr. Grant asks the class a question about quadratic functions and I happen to know the answer. I eagerly raise my h and, but he glances right over me, deliberately I’m sure, and calls on someone that doesn’t even have their hand raised. Mr. Grant asks another question to the class. This question I do not know, but Mr. Grant calls on me. What? Why is he calling on me? I look up and find that my hand is still raised in the air. I must have been lost in my thoughts. “Um, never mind, I forgot,” I mutter. Mr. Grant then goes on to remind students to only raise their hand if they have an actual answer. Like that general statement wasn’t geared towards me. Star shoots me a look of bewilderment. Positive attention my ass! What was I thinking?
Later, Star and I select our lunches which by the way are not that bad given the fact that they are indeed “school lunches”. Star goes for the turkey wrap and I decide to get the chicken fingers with the veggie of the day. It also comes with a side of cole slaw and a peach fruit cup. “I’ll meet you at the condiment area chicky,” Star says.
“Ok chicky,” I tell her as I am trying to enter my number into the pin pad. I keep fumbling on the numbers and I can sense the lunch lady getting a little frustrated with me. “Take your time,” she says. But, what she really means is hurry up.
I finally make my way over to the condiment area. I pump exactly three squirts of barbecue sauce ever so neatly in my tray. I grab some napkins and make my way over to sit with Star, Jeannette, and Ricky.
Jeanette came to our school this year from a private school. She is a tall brunette with gorgeous green eyes. She has super long eyelashes that I envy. I have to apply mascara several times to get that look and my lashes still don’t look that long. She’s really into reading and the arts. She has so much information about many different random things. I definitely enjoy her company.
Ricky has been friends with Star and me since grade school. He is currently exploring who he is. He doesn’t have many male friends at the school. The other boys are just intimidated by his flawless fashion sense and his tendency to be on the more mature side. Star and I love this about him. When he matures, I can definitely see him as a male model. He has it all. Perfect hair and a perfect body. He is unlike the other self-centered guys at school. He has thoughts and opinions that aren’t selfish. He is also a blast to be around. He is our shopping fashionista.
As I approach the table where my friends are sitting, I suddenly slip without warning and my feet fly into the air. My tray of food ejects into the sky, and everything seems to be moving in slow motion. I can see the food particles from my tray floating in the air. I can see the heads of students turning to look at me. I can even see the apple sauce that someone neglectfully forgot to pick up off the floor.
My head slams into the hard, cold, concrete floor. That is all I remember of that moment in the cafeteria. That is the last time that I was really “me”.
I wake up and find myself in a hospital room. I look around and see my mother and father. “Where am I? What happened? What I am I doing here?” I frantically ask while trying to figure out what is going on. I try to sit up only to find out that I have zero physical strength at this time.
“You are in the hospital, you’re going to be fine,” my mother reassures me.
“Fine? Fine from what?” I ask.
“Don’t you remember dear, you fell,” she tells me.
“I fell?” I question with disbelief.
“At school,” my father chimes in.
I look up and see my mother standing over me. I glance at my father on the other side of me. Then I notice my clothes folded up on the bed side table.
Suddenly, I begin to recall some of what happened. It is still so blurry though. “I fell,” I utter softly as I start to fade back to sleep. The painkillers that the hospital administered to me must be very strong. I keep going back and forth from being awake to completely out of it. I feel drowsy. I have never felt as tired as I do right now and I have never had this much difficulty keeping my eyes open. Although, I do tend to feel like this on occasion in math class from time to time.
Time elapses and I sleep for about eleven hours. I’m abruptly awakened by a creak at my door. I look around and notice that my parents are nowhere to be found. The clock reads 1:15 am. I feel a hand on my head and then I look into the eyes of someone who appears to be a doctor. I am a little startled at first. I feel relieved when the man tells me not to worry and that he is just checking my vitals. It seems like some things are so clear and others so murky. Thoughts seem to pop into my head with no warning.
Ok, I think. It is a little early in the morning if you ask me but I suppose he is just doing his job. He doesn’t introduce himself which I find a little odd. He then goes on to ask me if I have been seeing things or experiencing anything unusual. I tell him the only thing unusual is the pain I have in the back of my head. “I see,” he says sounding doubtful. He stares at me like he is waiting for me to say more. His hair is covered in a hospital hat of some sort and his mouth is also covered. It’s as if I have some airborne contagious disease. Something doesn’t feel right here. I have the gut feeling that he is looking for something else. But what?
I hear the chatter of nurses outside complaining about not getting enough over-time or something of that matter. I look around my bed for the call button and I spot it on my right side. I hit it and groggily murmur, “I think I need something to drink.” I try to act a little dazed and confused knowing that I am not. Where are my parents I begin to wonder?
A nurse with short, vibrant, red hair comes in and asks what she can do for me. She looks at the man in my room who is dressed like a doctor and asks, “Working late Doctor?” She looks at him with a peculiar stare as if she has no idea why he is in here this late. Maybe it is just my imagination working over time but things seem a little out of place to me. “Just making my rounds,” he says as he slips out of the room.
The nurse looks at me and says with a chuckle, “You have had so many doctors stop by, I can’t keep track of their names.” She seems embarrassed. I smile trying to show compassion. Even though I am the one in pain I always tend to get drawn into others sorrows.
“Where are my parents?” I ask.
“They are sleeping in the room next to you. Would you like me to wake them?” she questions as she pours me some cold water in a cup. I nod my head in agreement and she goes out to get them.
My father comes in. “Hi honey,” he whispers to me. I am so glad to see him.
“Dad, I need to get out of here, I need to go home,” I plead in a very tired voice.
“You can go home tomorrow, it’s late. Try to rest. I will stay here with you. I promise,” he tells me.
“I’m sorry about messing up our dinner plans with the Lambert’s,” I say apologetically.
“Oh, don’t you worry about that kiddo. We’ll see them another time. Get some rest,” he whispers as he kisses my cheek. I take his hand and hold it while falling back to sleep.
The next morning feels more promising. I wake up and see my Dad sleeping in a chair next to my bed. He looks so peaceful. He really did stay the night. I notice that I feel very refreshed and more like myself. I get up trying not to wake my father and look for my clothes. I soon realize that I can’t put them on. They are filthy. They are covered with my wonderful choice of lunch that I chose yesterday. “Ugh!” My mom comes in at that very moment with a gym bag in her hands and tells me that she has clean clothes for me. That’s a relief. For a moment there, I thought I might actually have to go home wearing those disgusting clothes. I can’t express how fast I am getting dressed and how quickly I want to get out of here. I hate being in Hospitals and last nights encounter was too eerie for me.
My mother and I start to pack up my belongings when Dr. Schwarz comes in. He has been my pediatrician since I was born. He is an older man who has a slight limp when he walks. He has a large grin on his face. “Hi guys,” he says in a very cheery voice.
“Good morning Doctor,” says my mom so professionally and yet somewhat seductively. Dr. Schwartz walks over to me and examines the back of my head. Doctor Schwartz looks at me and says, “Looks like you’re ready to go home Aislinn. But, you’ll have to come back and see me next week so I can see how you’re healing, ok?”
“No, problem,” I reply. At this point, I’ll promise anything just to get out of here.
“Say, Dr. Schwartz. How many doctors have been checking on me?” I dare to ask him before he leaves.
“Doctors? Why it’s just me Aislinn. Unless you’re shopping for a new one,” he jokes. My mother laughs. He hands my mother a brochure to take home on head injuries. Apparently, I suffered a slight concussion. They say it’s more dangerous if you hit your head from the side. The brain reportedly goes back and forth in a linear fashion therefore possibly causing serious harm. But lucky for me, I hit my head in the back. I was hoping to get more time off from school but it looks like I will be in attendance bright and early tomorrow morning.
I feel a strange and uneasy feeling all of the sudden. Who was that man in my room early this morning and what did he really want? I decide not to say anything. I don’t want Dr. Schwartz or my parents thinking that I’m crazy. They might try to keep me here another day and I’ll be damned if I let that happen. As we exit the hospital, I tell my parents to go ahead of me and that I’ll catch up in a couple of minutes. I make up some excuse that I left my watch behind and I hurry back towards the room. When they’re out of sight, I take a sharp turn to the nurse’s station and ask them about the red headed nurse that was working last night. The woman at the desk tells me that they haven’t seen her since early this morning and that maybe she went home early. I go back to my room and look around for anything suspicious. Nothing. I look at the information log on my door to see the names of doctors who have entered my room. There is no mention of any other doctor coming in besides Dr. Schwartz. That’s strange!
About the AuthorN. Dunham is an author, wife, mother of two children and two precocious dogs. She earned her MSW from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in West Hartford, CT.
N. Dunham's interest in reading and writing didn't come until early adulthood. She enjoys works of many genres and has a passion for the arts.
VISIONARY-UNLEASHED was inspired by New England's natural beauty and wildlife (especially red-tailed hawks).