My forehead’s throbbing. One minute this girl is yelling at me for giving up and the next, she’s laughing. Whiplash.
I squint my eyes at Danielle and whisper with my lips firmly in place, “I will never give up.”
Her voice is high and cheerful, “So what’s your plan?”
Johnny Boggs is a teen with trouble to spare who has learned one thing in life – trust no one. Paranoia befriends him as he moves into his fifth foster home and discovers no one appears as they are, his dreams are not just dreams, and he is supposedly the Prince of Shamayim.
On Johnny’s sixteenth birthday, fate requires him to leave the protection of this world but allows for him to choose to reign over the light or turn to the darkness. A vicious competition begins as two kingdoms fight for his loyalty while two beautiful girls, Danielle and Shay, fight for his attention. Time is running out; a decision must be made. Johnny finds it impossible to resist the beauty of his dreams, nor can he turn away from the one who has his heart.
Footsteps enter my bedroom and approach my bunk. Not. Right. Now. I pretend to be asleep. A cold chill covers my body, making every hair stand on end. Then the bedroom door slams shut. I’m not in the freaking mood! Expecting to see one of my annoying foster brothers, I jerk my head toward the door and punch my fist into the mattress. “What!” I yell out, but no one’s there.
My eyes dart all around the room. Maybe there’s a draft, or someone shut another door causing this one to slam. Doubt it. I’m sure it’s just JC and Miguel trying to get even. “Hilarious, guys, I’m so scared. Now get the hell outta here.” I throw my pillow at the door and throw myself back on my bed.
An abnormal silence plays with my mind. I decide to reach for my headphones, but I can’t move. My heart jumps. No matter how hard I flex, my arm is stuck to the mattress. My lungs suck in air while every other organ aches under the pressure. An uncontrollable trembling takes over. What. The. Heck. Is. Going. On. My eyes blink over a hundred miles per hour. I can’t move, I can’t speak, I can’t, and then I realize I only have one ability left—sight.
Next to my bed stands a huge man with solid black corneas full of swirling dark fog in his vacant orbs, the Hollow Man. He’s staring me down again, but this time we’re the only ones in the room—no queen, no Camaro, no Mom. This can’t be real. It’s just another one of my crazy dreams. I go along for the ride, like I have a choice. The Hollow Man stands there clenching his fists, causing his abnormally large pecs to flex. My heart races, and my stomach threatens to return my lunch. An intense pain surges as he’s controlling every cell in my body without touching me.
The Hollow Man speaks, “Prince, why are you lying here as if you are a helpless child?” He turns off his death stare, and I feel an instant release followed by the familiar ache of a four-hour football workout in the Texas heat. Is this guy serious? Prince? And how am I supposed to fight something that isn’t really there? My chest tightens, and I try to wake up.
Jana Grissom is a middle school teacher, an advocate for foster children and at-risk teens, a mom of two amazing teens, and married to Roy, her high-school sweetheart. Jana holds a Master of Education in Administration and Policy Studies and offers professional development in bullying identification, prevention, and intervention. She is available to speak to students at secondary schools about the writing process or bring a message that challenges them to S.T.O.P. bullying and suicide. Jana is a Texas girl who loves the outdoors, flip-flops, chocolate, and sweet tea. In her spare time, she loves escaping to imaginary worlds through the magic of books.