The morning came quickly and Heiphilia once more taking the wheel of the car with Zeydar and Evester. Zeydar was better in a way, Evester could tell, but not perfect. Evester was not sure he’d ever seen the perfect Zeydar since they had left Valaria. It was a few moments into the silence of the car ride that Zeydar spoke first.
“No matter what. We are a united front.” His facade shattered. He seemed tired, lost, and in a daze, but he was attempting to be clear. “Even if Maverin picked us. We are a united front.” Even if it was not a prediction made by the project. Even if they were forced into saving the world.
“We are the ones who have to do it, yes.” Heiphilia agreed. Evester was not entirely sure.
I know, by this point you will have gotten 8 notifications for the 8 posts that I have already posted for the day. That means we are 1/3 of the way through the 24hours of posts that I will be giving you this year. However for now. I am going to wrap up this year, with the following:
The End And Other Beginnings (Stories From the Future) by Veronica Roth
Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill
The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown
Hidden by Helen Frost
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
Grandmaster by David Klass
Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Love Boat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (first 200 pages or so for a reread)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Reread)
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore
The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore
United as One by Pittacus Lore
The Legacies by Pittacus Lore
Secret Histories by Pittacus Lore
Hidden Enemy by Pittacus Lore
Rebel Allies by Pittacus Lore
Zero Hour by Pittacus Lore
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Refugee by Alan Gratz
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Most Likely by Sarah Watson
The Hawkweed Legacy by Irena Brignull
Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
The Rivers Between Us by Richard Peck
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
A Game of Wings and Marks by Rebecca Crunden
Incarnation by Alice Hoffman
House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City 1) by Sarah J. Maas
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
House of Cards by C.E. Murphy
Hands of Flame by C.E. Murphy
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
One Of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManns
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman
All For the Game by Nora Sakavic (reread) – The Foxhole Court – The Raven King – The King’s Men
The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson – The Enemy – The Dead – The Fear – The Sacrifice – The Fallen – The Hunted – The End
Everworld by K.A. Applegate – Search for Senna – Land of Loss – Enter the Enchanted – Realm of the Reaper – Discover the Destroyer – Fear the Fantastic – Gateway to the Gods – Brave the Betrayal – Inside the Illusion – Understand the Unknown – Mystify the Magician – Entertain the End
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Frost Bite by Richelle Mead
Shadow Kissed by Richelle Mead
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers
The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano
Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki
Crownbreaker by Sebastien De Castell
Dead of the Night by Jonathan Maberry
The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
100 years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Slay by Brittney Morris
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Wave by Sonali Deraniuagala
Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries
The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Crave by Tracy Wolff
The Damned by Renee Ahdieh
The Eternal Kiss by Various Authors
City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab
The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn
Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith
Vampire Diaries: The Fury and Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith
Horrid by Katrina Leno
Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
Seven Devils by Laura Lam
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Afterlife by Claudia Gray
Hourglass by Claudia Gray
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
The Van Alan Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz
Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz
Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz
Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz
Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz
Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Andersen Fairy Tales
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Berne
The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Bound by a Dragon by Linda K. Hopkins
Pursued by a Dragon by Linda K. Hopkins
Loved by a Dragon by Linda K. Hopkins
Dance with a Dragon by Linda K. Hopkins
Forever a Dragon by Linda K. Hopkins
Dune by Frank Herbert
Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
The Book of Dragons (Compilation)
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Grand Total: 156
Comp Goal: 156 (YA)
Big Goal: 180
Completed Comp Goal: Y/N
And so here ends this challenge. We have more posts to come. See you soon.
I think, at least. The older I get, the less I remember, and the more, I’m sure, I make up. The details of our exact age are negligible, however. I know that this had to have happened before the 7th grade, because by that time it was too late (for that’s when I met Cynthia, and I know I had the key by the time I met Cynthia). I might have been eleven, but I’m almost certain I were ten, and that she was eleven.
Me and Cyndy, that is. This is not to be confused with Cynthia who is a year younger than me, that I met on the bus. No, Cyndy is a year older than me. Cynthia and Cyndy look the same, eye color, hair color, skin colors (almost). They aren’t related. Obviously. They share the same name, afterall (although I call Cynthia – Cyndy, and bus Cynthia is just Cynthia). Their family circumstances are completely different. And their temperaments? Night and Day. Cynthia is the kind of girl who will stay home and get high, telling stories of wondrous worlds, and making you question the whos and the whats and the why we ares. Cyndy is the kind of girl who goes shopping (always), uses credit cards like money grows on trees, and parties till the sun rises, with new people all the time.
Both are lovely.
Either way, this was, before Cynthia. It was only Cyndy and me, and our families, who have been family friends since we were born. We were in the woods. The two of us swear by fact that it was the Redwoods, but the older I get the more that seems like nonsense. It could have been another national park or state park we went to, not that it matters, what happened isn’t possible in any of them. So, I’ll say it was the Redwoods, and that’s where we’ll begin.
I was ten, standing under the towering trees of red, that reached up so high into the sky that I was afraid I’d break my back trying to stare up. I never did see the tops of them. And the trees were wide, so large that cars could go through, so massive that I felt so insignificant, so tiny, so childlike. This was how I found the whismy that came from the freedom of nature. It was so powerful, and I was so small. It was so beautiful, and I knew that no matter what I ever tried to do or say, I would never be able to give the woods the justice that they deserved.
I would never be able to properly describe it.
We were hiking, or rather going for a walk, the nine of us (my family of five and Cyndy’s family of four). Our parents kept an eye on us, but they let us wander. Never get too far. If we can’t see them, then we need to go back. Always have a buddy, and for me that was Cyndy. Cyndy and I ran along the path, looking at the trees. Or maybe only I was running, whispering to them. For I’m pretty certain that at this time Cyndy thought I was strange, not that she doesn’t think I’m strange now, but that we are sisters now and back then we were only friends. (Sisters can think eachother are strange, but friends? That is a possible deal breakers. We’ve been through enough to no longer care.)
Cyndy chased after me, telling me I was going too far down the paths. We had picked a way to go when the road forked and I wanted to go further. I did. Hurrying along, we came to a shop, in the center of an intersection of paths. It was not one of those pop-up shops, but a freestanding building, with a few other shops around it. Different and odd names, candy stores, books and maps, and the antique store that was two floors. It was this store that Cyndy and I went into.
What’s important to note about this, is that when we left the shop, keys in hand, joy on our lips in the form of laughter, we had fully intended to come back. We wanted to go to the candy store next door, but Cyndy and I did not believe we would receive anything for free as we had from the antique store. We had run to find our parents, them not particularly worried. We hadn’t been gone too long. What had felt like forever to us, had been no more than a minute or two. And when we led them to where we had seen the shops, they were gone. Our family told us we might have taken the wrong way, Cyndy and I knew better.
The shops were there. And then they weren’t. All that remained, for me, was a small golden key, to no real door, hanging around a black velvet string. A key that I still have. A key that has never opened a single door, and is constantly a peculiarity to me.
The antique shop was filled, like those book stores where the items tower high and in arcs, a maze of a mess, with no real direction through the madness. Mirrors of all shapes and sizes resting on the walls, with name plates under them or written on them of strange characters or places we had never heard of. And if you starred long enough into one, it was almost like you were starring into another world behind you.
There were paintings too, with time periods, no name or artist, of different people and places. There were door frames with no doors. Doors with no frame, leaning against the wall. Walls and walls of shelves, shelves in the middle of the room. Tables thrown about in every which way, laying on their side, their face, from the ceiling. Books that were all about, locked up tight behind glass or laid open on stacks atop the accessories in the room. Tea cups, postcards, record players. The longer one looked, the more one saw. Bird cages, pianos, metal candle holders and pots, instruments, wind chimes. Vases, plants, bottles, clothes, hangers, clocks. And locks. There were so many locks. Locks on books, on doors, on door frames, on mirrors, hanging from the ceiling, lining the floor.
And there was a staircase, that was narrow and tight, leading up to a second floor, beckoning us forward.
“Can I help you?” The only worker there was the man in white. He was dressed in a white button down, with a white mustache, and stark white hair, and black pants. He had a white apron and white gloves on, with black framed glasses and the whitest teeth we’d ever seen. He told us his name then, but neither Cyndy nor I remember it now. He was a young man, no more than twenty-five, but his eyes held wisdom of a person of more than a hundred, and neither of us knew how young he truly was until we talked about it later.
We told him we were just looking, and he showed us around the shop, to all the locks and mirrors and pictures and books. To the toys and clothes and desks and nooks. To the corners where we could crawl through tapestries, and the secret back room where the candy store kept their candy. The man in white led us through this shop for hours, telling us stories about all that we pointed out.
Then we went upstairs.
Upstairs was dark, it was not filled with the light of a hundred lamps, like the downstairs was. Nor was their sound, which until going to the second floor we had not realized that there was an ambience of light jazz music playing on the floor below. Upstairs was lit by glow in the dark bottles and potions, and paint that dusted the sides of the walls like constellations. With a flick of his wrist the man in white lit a candle that then lit another and another until the room was glowing in the blue glow of the dark light potions and the soft amber of flame.
There were tables here, decorated in strange artifacts, however the table of note, and the one of importance, was the table of keys. It was not until we were leaving the upstairs that we had realized that the walls and floor were covered in keys, hidden behind painted glass, thousands of them. All different. On the table, however, there were only five set on thick black velvet.
The first key was silver, small, with a deer decorating the top of the key for the loop. It had three prongs, and odd runes that made strange words that the man in white could read.
The second was black, two prongs, big and heavy, made of iron, he said. The handle was too big for my hand, and the loop at the end was nothing special, until he waved a candle over it and it glowed from the inside.
The third was my key, the one I ended up taking. A gold key, larger than the first, much smaller than the second, three rivets in a row, with a loop at the end that was shaped almost like a heart with design that looked like leaves.
The fourth was silver again, but this time it had painted veins of blue that pulsated as it grew cold and dark around the key. It was large, but not too large, and was cut as a modern key was, despite looking so old.
The last was bronze, with a large loop at the end, of three circles wrapped around each other to form a globe, with a crystal hanging from the inside. The key blade itself was just a long rod, that looked like nothing more than a stick, until it was moved and one could see the indentations imbedded into the metal, creating grooves.
Each key had a task or a weight, something that had to be given to take.
The first was a promise, to give one that could never be taken back or broken or else. The second was of heat, of passion. Glory could be achieved but would it be worth it? The fourth was for stability, a million worlds could be reached, but no true home would be found. The fifth was a soul. Whose? The man in white would not say.
The third was “you will know.”
I still do not know.
“Take a key, or leave. You don’t have to take one. But you can.”
“Can we both take one?” We had asked.
I took the third key of gold and Cyndy took the first key of silver, promising never to lose it. She last saw the key when she was twelve, under her bed, not where she had left it, and then she never saw it again. I am not sure what she gave to lose it, or what she lost when she lost it. Was it the chance at opening doors? I will never know.
The man had told us not to worry about paying, for payment was already made and then we ran downstairs, and away, the man in white waving at us from the counter. A beautiful man.
It was only upon looking back, when much older, that Cyndy and I realized just how strange and wrong it all had been. We could have been lost forever. We could have been hurt. And despite having full faith in the man in white, the shop was just so strange, so unreal, so magical that both of us chose to ignore it existed, disregarding the fact that I still had my key and no logical answer could be given to how I got it. My parents didn’t remember buying it for me. I had never gotten it as a gift. And thus we were stuck realizing that the two of us in our naive world had wandered onto something unfathomable, and unreachable ever again.
When I was seventeen, Cyndy and I were out shopping when we both stopped. There across the busy shopping center we both swore we saw him, but when we chased him to ask, we found ourselves not only wandering back from where we had come, but certain we had not saw him at all. I believe this, too, was his magic.
When I met Cynthia in the seventh grade, she had said some strange things to me. Of note was one strange man in all black that she had met once at her aunts house who had come to get a key from her aunt, with sharp white teeth. He had wanted the key from an attic long locked. Her aunt had died a few months later, in a mysterious fire that started in the same room. Apparently no one had ever opened a door, so she never did know if he had gotten the key. It was this same strange man that the two of us swore we saw on the bus one day when it was stopped at a light, starring at us from a gas station parking lot waving.
That was when Cynthia had seen my gold key and asked me what it was worth and to which I replied: “I do not know.” I still do not know.
There are strange things surrounding the Cynthias and I, very strange things that I can not place. But this key, I have never lost, despite trying to. I have always remembered. And somehow for some reason, I feel like it is as a part of me as I am to it.
And I am still waiting for the door, the door that I might be able to use this key on. I have not found it yet, not for lack of trying. But I know that when I do, that is when I’ll know what it costs.
She slipped through the alley, masking her footsteps to match the bustling noise of the nightlife and the pitter patter of the rain. Light footsteps hiding her actions, in order to disguise her and make her disappear. The night was busy with cars and honking, letting her sound drift away as her body shimmered out of sight with the flickering of the nights.
Two breaths. Three.
Street lights, like all lights, created a circle. It was the halo of protection from beings like her. Those who lived in it, would not — could not– be touched by her. Cities such as these were a killer to her kind. However, the brightest cities had the darkest corners.
Three breaths. Four.
She had lived for long enough, been burned enough, to know how to avoid the lights, to skip around them in a dance as she moved about the world to capture her prey that was lying in wait. Hood over her head, she walked with a sucker in her mouth, humming to herself as she stepped closer.
Four breaths. Five.
The man was cowering and tumbling to the ground. She could smell the stench of sweat and piss dripping down his leg to a puddle on the ground. Then there was the blood. That was what really drew her. She would never lose him as long as his leg bled the way that it did.
Five breaths. Six.
The shadows were tossing about around her, hungry. They were so hungry. Their last meal had not been long, but the shadows were greedy, and that made her ruthless. She aimed to only go after scum. Those who hurt their partners, murderers, and hurt children. She had a set of morals that most of her people found painful. The light-dwellers were not their own. Thus, they were like any other form of live stock. Good or bad live stock? Such things were negligible.
Six breaths. Seven.
She still cared anyway.
Seven breaths. Eight.
She stood over the man, as he panicked and had hit a wall. He starred up at her, fear rampant in his eyes, as the lights around her flicked until they dimmed. They could not go out, as that would draw notice, but dimming was okay.
“Monster.” He called her. As if she hadn’t heard that one before. He was not the talkative type. Nor the fighter type. He was already resigned to his death, and this final statement was nothing more than a cry for help.
Hand out, the shadows devoured the man, leaving her basking in the cool wind of the night as her power returned from her, leaving nothing behind on the floor before her.
“What are you?” she heard from behind her.
She turned to find another girl standing in the light. Not one of her kind. She gave a name not an identity. “Emily.”
“Emily?” The girl in the light, furrowed her eyebrows. “What are you?”
“Its standard practice to give a name in response.” Her shadows filtered about her, condensing and retreating into the darkness.
“What are you?”
With a sigh, Emily was her name now, glared at the woman. “Not a vampire, if you’re wondering.”
“Vampires are nicer than we are. Leave.” She took out the sucker stick in her mouth and dropped it to the ground stepping on it. The woman did not budge. Groaning to herself, she weaved her shadows to the back of the alleyway, and turned herself to leave. Her shadows consumed the alleyway, as she pulled out another lollipop and started walking towards the other exit. The screams sounded around her as she moved further and away, the muffled cries resonating in her as she moved.
Innocent blood tasted different than tainted blood. She felt it on her tongue as her shadows consumed the woman, and forced herself to eat more candy. The candy had to be more important than the lovely taste that came from the woman’s soul. She needed to keep her mind about her.
Skip in her step, she placed her hood lower, and put her hands in her pocket, walking out in to the light. Her shadows condensed around her and into her hood to protect her from the remaining street lights that she could almost walk under.
Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
“You hit like a flight attendant. I was in tougher scraps at Walmart Black Friday. ” – pg 54
” ‘It’s always fucking raining,’ I say to her. ‘ When does this stop?’ ‘Sometimes it seems like it never will,’ she says, and puts the car in drive. “But then, all at once, summer comes. Wait until you see how it feels.’ ” -pg 342
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
“To die would be an awfully big adventure.” – pg 102
Frankenstien by Mary Shelley
“We are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves — such as a friend out to be — do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures.” – pg 15
“The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine.” – pg 24
“The same lulling sounds acted as a lullaby t my too keen sensations: when I placed my head upon my pillow, sleep crept over me; I felt it as it came, and blessed the giver of oblivion.” – pg 81
“I am full of fears; for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever.” – pg 118
“Are you mad, my friend? Or whither does your senseless curiosity lead you?” – pg 194
“Despondency rarely visits my heart; a high destiny seemed to bear me on until I fell, never, never again to rise.” – pg 196
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
“Isn’t it a beauty? Yes; splendid! Did you ever see such a binding? Doesn’t the book open easily? Yes; it stops open anywhere. But does it shut equally well? Yes; for the binding and the leaves are flush, all in a straight line, and no gaps or openings anywhere. And look at its back, after seven hundred years. Why, Bozerian, Closs, or Purgold might have been proud of such binding!” – pg 7
The Reader and Protagonist Definitely Have to Be in True Love by 颓 translated by reika
“When a reader likes a protagonist, does it need an explanation?” – Chapter 91
“How can you be sure … that you’re not in a novel?” – 96
Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
“We are all god’s chosen, and we are all a god’s cursed.” – pg 468
ALRIGHT! Let’s start this count down off right! Heads up NOW. I am posting on post every hour to the start of the new year. If you want to unfollow me, do it now. I know most people will not see this until it is too late but I’m giving you fair warning.