Hugging her knees, Gwen looked up at the sky where a bat suspended on silent wings defied gravity and all logic. The palm trees waited, mid-sway, their motionless fronds pointing at a distant plane hanging amidst stars.
She glanced around. Lacey Zamora’s finger was still poking Coco’s chest. Zach hung mid-air in a surprised leap. The tiki torches continued to cast icy shadows on Jose’s sexy face.
Rising, she stroked Jose’s cheek. His skin was kinda like one of those sculpted people in Artania. Of course, they moved and talked. But Jose… He just stared with eyes as cold as stone.
Come on Gwen, try something. Anything.
She ducked under Zach’s suspended feet and looked up. The bottom of Mr. GQ’s dress shoes was stamped with a paisley pattern. “You are one stylin’ soul,” she said chuckling at her own pun.
But Zach said nothing.
“Stylin’ soul. Get it, Zach?”
Shrugging, Gwen strolled over to the dance floor. Imitated a few kids’ poses. Even got a couple good Charleston kicks in. Paced back over to the pool with its unnatural ripples frozen in time.
When she bent over and saw no reflection, Gwen swallowed hard.
I don’t want to be alone here..
She backed up. A stiff hand caught her hair.
“Let go!” She jerked away but the statue kid’s fingers were still tangled. She recoiled, losing a clump of hair in the process.
Clamping a hand to her head, Gwen streaked for the French doors. She peered inside before bounding down a hallway. “Can you hear me? Someone, anyone!”
Gwen ran faster, dashing from room to room. She poked a head inside the kitchen where the caterers were in the middle of chopping, slicing, and arranging gourmet hors d’ oeuvres. Turning on a heel, she rushed upstairs to the master bath where a motionless Mrs. Zamora faced a mirror and aimed a lipstick at her mouth.
“Sorry!” Gwen called as she exited, glad she hadn’t caught the woman in a more embarrassing situation.
She raced in one bedroom. Another. Back down the stairs. Down corridors and around corners. Nothing but frozen people everywhere. By the time she returned to the pool, she was out of breath and her red hair was sticking to the sides of her face. She wiped some of the slick sweat from her brow with the back of her hand.
And waited, hoping for a repeat of the year before.
Last year when the world had frozen in time lightning had crackled the silence. Then, after the low rumbling of thunder and a pop, a confused Mr. Clean had appeared. She thought he was there to save the day, but he had no idea how to start time again.
The two had had tried buko things before finally getting it going. None of which she could do on her own.
“Where are you guys? I need you.”
About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry, Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets. Laurie Woodward is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet, and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net