YA CHRISTIAN FANTASY FROM BEST-SELLING AUTHOR LORILYN ROBERTS
Scarred emotionally by an early childhood accident and dysfunctional family, Shale seeks acceptance by others, only to be bullied and falsely accused. Following suspension from school, she is befriended by a stray dog that woos her into another dimension. There she discovers she has an unusual gift which teaches her the secrets of a powerful king, but is it enough to learn forgiveness and overcome her tragic past?
I hid in the dark closet—the only place I felt safe. Cracking open the door and peering out into the living room, the tear-stained faces of Judd, Rachel, and Chumana overwhelmed me. They were staring into a small brown shoebox.
Chumana burst out crying. “I hate Shale.”
I cringed. I hated that my mother was so poor we had to share an apartment with Chumana and her mother.
Then Rachel stood and softly recited what must have been one of her Jewish prayers. With her unkempt hair and puffy red eyes, I hardly recognized my best friend. I muffled my sobs with my brown straight hair.
“Why are you praying?” Judd asked. “We aren’t here to pray. Shale needs to be cursed.”
“I am sure it was an accident,” Rachel said. “Don’t say things like that.”
It was enough of a curse that Judd lived next door. Ever since the accident, dark thoughts hounded me—memories I could not forget. Judd was probably the peeping tom that kept coming around.
He shook his head. “I don’t understand. Why did she do it?” A well-worn Atlanta Braves cap covered his eyes.
“And she and her mother HAVE to live with us,” Cumana complained. “I hate it. I will get back at her. Mark my word.”
I had never heard a twelve-year-old boy cry. It made me uncomfortable. After all, I rarely cried, except at that certain time of the month. That is, until this happened.
“I am sure she didn’t mean to,” Rachel repeated.
Rachel lived two buildings away in the same apartment complex. I was too scared to tell her the truth. Every time I would think about it, I’d start crying. I didn’t mean to fall down the stairs. My ankle would heal but my heart wouldn’t. I was a killer now.
I always thought a murderer was a monster dressed up in disguise so no one would recognize him. Did I look like a monster? If there were a God, as Rachel told me there was, surely he would hate me, too.
A Diary Entry Many Years Later
Life is about possibilities. In my case, THE possibility happened in a very strange way. The seventh dimension is a place of fabulous tales and infinite possibilities and a wee bit of fantasy. But I must start from the beginning. As you will see, I would be in the seventh dimension for a very long time.
“We will not hide these truths from our children;
We will tell the next generation…” Psalm 78:4
Two Years After the Accident
A hand reached underneath my blue skirt. Feeling violated, I spun around on my heels. The students in the crowded hallway blended into a blur of anonymity. Hurried bodies shoved past me. Time froze. Did I imagine it? Where was that coward hiding? Distracted and upset, I searched for his eyes.
“Shale, why are you just standing there? Come on or you’ll be late.” Rachel was waiting at my locker.
I started towards her as the bell rang.
“Are you okay?” She furrowed her brow.
“I’m fine,” I smiled, pretending nothing had happened. I would think about it later. “Did you finish your analysis of As You Like It?”
Rachel's eyes bulged. “Is it due today?”
“Here’s mine. You can take a quick look if you need to.”
“Oh, thanks, Shale. I hate Shakespeare anyway. No copying, promise. Just a peek.”
When we walked into class, I grabbed the desk closest to the door. My thoughts lingered on what had happened, as if I could figure out who did it by staring into an empty hallway. The teacher's voice brought me back as she recited Shakespeare’s play.
“All the world's a stage.
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts
His acts being seven ages.”
What was my part, I wondered. At fourteen, did I have one yet?