Name: Maria Moreno
Genre: Young Adult-Mystery/Paranormal
Title: In Your Wildest Dreams
When I was 14-years-old I read my obituary and it went like this:
“Ms. Montesino is survived by her parents George and Elena. She was a freshman at Celebration High School. She was loved and will be missed dearly.”
On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend I felt life leave my body. That night I went out with my best friend Jordania and her then boyfriend, Andrew. “Pleaseeee. You know my parents won’t let me go without you,” said Jordania as she was straitening her blond hair in front of her bathroom mirror.
“I don’t know Joey. I hate feeling like everyone thinks I’m your creepy little third wheel.”
“Ugh, stop it with the pity party! You know no one thinks that. Come on. I’ll buy your dinner.”
“Fine! I said rolling my eyes and crossing my arms. “But you still owe me!”
“Whatever. I don’t even feel bad because I know you like going.”
It’s true. I actually didn’t mind tagging along because it meant that I could go to “The Point.” The point is located on the tallest clearing in our town and it is divided by a two-lane street. One side overlooks the lake while on the other is the woods. It was here that I imagined myself going on my first date and having my first kiss.
I liked to suck in the smell from the pine trees and the nippy air from a fall in central Florida; It put a smile on my face and made me feel like anything was possible. It was exhilarating to see so many kids together at one place besides school. As I scanned the groups I couldn’t help but look for one face in particular: John B. He was Andrew’s close friend, but I had yet to see him at the point.
On this particular Saturday most people had already paired off, so I fell asleep in the back of Andrew’s van while Jordania and him took a blanket and went into the woods.
I was awoken when I felt a gentle rocking movement and then a small slide back as if the car was put in reverse. “Hey. Jordania? Andrew? Back already?” I said as I removed my ear buds and sat up. No Answer. Silence.
My stomach dropped when I looked around and saw that no one was in the van with me. The car lurched back again with a little more force. “Oh my god,” I thought. “This car is going to roll off the cliff and into the water with me in it if I don’t get out now!”
I jumped for the side door, and kept pulling at it, but it wouldn’t budge because the child safety lock was on. Frantically, I tried to climb over the center console in order to reach the front passenger door. As I did so, the weight from my sudden movements shifted the car back and propelled it into its quick descent down the hill. I held on to the headrest for grip, but I felt a hot pain when I hit my face on the headrest knocking out four of my front teeth and making me unconscious.
The pressure from the water forcing its way into my nostrils and mouth woke me up. “Ughhh, I’m still in the car.” I sat up, but I still felt dizzy from hitting my head. I knew that I still had to exit the car. Again, I tried to climb over the center console, but the resistance from the water was making it impossible. All of my movements felt like they were in slow motion. My eyelids got heavy and I felt the rising and falling of my chest slowly coming to a stop.
I let myself fall back into the seat. “Don’t. Freak. Out.” I thought. “Count to ten.”
“1, 2, 3….4….” In that moment my spirit peeled away from body and I felt it rise up. As I began to exit the world, I felt weightless and I looked down and saw myself from below. My pudgy body was hovering slightly over my seat, my hands raised and my hair was floating all around me in the green murky water like a mermaid. For the first time ever I saw myself and thought I looked pretty.
There wasn’t a tunnel of white light to follow, but I soon found myself in a sterile empty room. I couldn’t see my body and I didn’t feel safe or at peace. Rather I felt an empty void where my heart was and it was soon filled with hopelessness, anxiety, guilt and anger.
This must be limbo.
On the floor was the Central Lakes Gazette and it was there that I saw my obituary. Just to the left of all two inches of my life, was last year’s equally plain yearbook photo showing a round-faced girl. The purple background making my hazel eyes look a mere brown. The only thing that has always been magnificent about me is my long Pantene Pro-V style brown hair.
I kept staring at my picture and I felt a tremendous lump well up in my throat. I wasn’t sad for the people I left on earth. I was sad for myself. The little girl in the picture would never get to grow up.
I silently pleaded to be given my life back to have the opportunity to live it. Right then an opening in the room appeared and I went through.
My eyes opened wide and I found myself submerged back in the water in the lake. Outside of the window I could see dozens of sparkly lights. I couldn’t tell if it was stars in the sky, but then I saw them moving towards me. “Rescuers!”
I finally had my adrenaline kicking in and I made it over the console. I looked for anything that I could use to break the window. I opened the glove compartment and there it was: a red emergency window breaker.
I slammed it once against the window. Nothing. A second time. Nothing. I screamed in anguish, but only bubbles came out. I hit it again with all my might and finally the window shattered and the glass shards floated around me. More water began to pour into the vehicle while I struggled to get through.
I wanted to go in the direction of the lights, but I could no longer see them. Panicked I let out another wail with more bubbles going upwards. “UP! The bubbles are going up!” That must be the direction of the surface.
I swam up with all my strength, but my eyes were getting heavy again. “Take a break and count to five.”
“1..2..3…” then a hand gripped my arm and I felt it push me to the top of the lake. I let myself rest.
I woke up to a pair of oily lips suctioning onto mine. I gagged and threw up what seemed like a galloon of lake water. Gabriel, the only chubby guy on the swim team, was performing mouth-to-mouth, while John B. had his hands on my stomach pumping out the water.
I sat up and Gabriel instantly put his arms around me. “Clara, lay back down. You could be really hurt.”
I laid there on the ground running my tongue through the gaps where my front teeth had been.
Gabriel put a blanket over me. “Cool. My first kiss and he wasn’t even cute.” I thought while looking up at him.
All the kids who had been at the Point were now gathered around me in a circle. “Don’t worry, Clara. Help is on the way.” “Gosh, Clara you’re so lucky to be alive.” All their faces were indistinguishable and their words of comfort were nothing more than incessant noise.
The only face I could focus on was John B’s. Where had he come from? Also, if those lights hadn’t been searchlights what were they?