Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 411
Whitney Leighton has a secret. She is both blind and deaf but that’s not what she’s trying to keep hidden. Her secret is that she can both see and hear through her twin brother Tommy. They call it piggybacking because she can shift her consciousness into her brother’s mind.
Whitney’s not the only one with a secret; Tommy has one too and it’s Whitney that he’s keeping it from. His secret is that Whitney isn’t who she’s supposed to be. He has dreams of her, but in his dreams she has tattoos, battle-scars on her face, and a formidable look of determination. If Tommy’s dreams come true then Whitney is in serious trouble and so is everyone else. The simple Whitney that is, doesn’t stand a chance against the evil that exists in his sleep, and the world will be thrust into chaos.
The teen twins end up at Camp Tumbling Waters and Lake Amicolola where something is waiting for them. Something as dark as Whitney’s vision and as insane as Tommy’s dreams and IT needs Whitney to escape the prison that IT calls … Nethermore.
This excerpt is from Chapter 10 of Twinfinity: Nethermore. In it the main character, the blind and deaf Whitney Leighton, is preparing to make a physical statement to her summer camp peers. They are all gathered at the obstacle course located in Camp Tumbling Waters and the group is divided. Half of the campers blame her for the recent troubles in the camp, and the other half believe that she is the solution to those problems. Whitney knows that she needs to prove a point to all of them in order to unite them.
Whitney had been a little surprised by how clearly her course could be directed through her imagination and memory. Every step, and every move had been based on what she remembered from when she was piggy-backed with Kat, but she had been able to lay everything out in her mind with near perfect clarity.
She had been sitting on the bench brooding over her conversation with Kat. She was mad all right, but little Mike had changed her mood. She couldn’t see the fear in his face, and she couldn’t hear if he had said anything, but she had seen his shadow approach the wall and she had waited with anticipation for his shadow to ascend into the air. She might not be able to see it with her eyes, but she would have still felt pride for him as he succeeded. She could see that climbing it was important to him, and Kat had insinuated that it was so important that he had spent a year trying to get himself ready for it. His body appeared to be weak and frail and Whitney had searched Kat’s mind for an explanation for that.
He had an accident when he was younger--a tragic accident that had broken many bones and left him in a wheel chair for years. He was just getting to the point that he could walk again. And, according to Kat’s memories on the subject, climbing that wall was his motivation—his driving force. It was the thing that he talked about last year that inspired him to work so hard in his recovery. He wanted to do it, but he was afraid.
Like she was afraid.
He backed off and someone else was approaching the wall in his place. She didn’t want to sense someone else climbing the wall. She wanted to sense him doing it, and she didn’t think it was right for everyone else to just shrug it off.
When she first got up from the bench and started walking toward the group her intention was to find a way to convince Mike to make his climb. She was only vaguely aware of the clarity with which she could visualize her course. She could see every clump of dirt, every stone that could make her stumble, and she could even remember seeing a Twix candy bar wrapper as she walked by it.
Her mind was more focused on how to convince Mike to make his climb. By the time she got there she had figured it out. She would lead by example.
It was after Kam had put the safety harness onto her and attached the safety line onto the clip on the back when she knew she had to take it off. It was doing its job. It was making her feel safe. There was no danger. The spotters were trained to make sure that she wouldn’t be injured if she slipped. It was crazy, but she didn’t want to feel safe. She wanted every handhold and every foothold to be risky and she wanted to feel the danger of it.
Most of all she wanted to rely on others to catch her if she did fall.
She had been playing it safe all of her life and for once she wanted to leave safety behind her. She had never let herself rely on anyone but Tommy—who she depended on vigorously for help in almost everything and she was done with that too.
She had chosen the members of her net the way she did because she wanted to show everyone that she trusted them even if they didn’t really trust her. She didn’t just want to convince Mike to make the climb. She also wanted to find a way to bring the group back together again. She had divided everyone, and so she’d have to be the one to link them back together again.
She was a couple of levels off of the ground when the idea of the teambuilding element began to form in her mind. The concept was simple enough. You had to trust in the members of the team to catch you if you fell backward into them. That teambuilding element was about a three foot drop into the arms of your team. What if someone did it from the top of the climbing wall? It was a scary idea, but if that didn’t make an impact on the crowd than nothing would.
Whitney ascended the wall. Despite her nearly perfect memory of every hand and foothold her fear was a very tangible and real thing. Slipping off and falling was still extremely dangerous even with the group below her because she might not be able to control how she landed and a broken leg or arm or even both was a probability.
She reached up and grabbed the next handhold, brought her leg up, and hauled herself up another level. She had made it halfway up and she could feel her nervousness increase with her height. She was about fifteen feet off of the ground, and her limbs began to betray her. She was getting tired and her muscles were beginning to tremble despite her desire to remain steady and calm. She was no athlete and it was beginning to show.
This was stupid she thought to herself.
If she fell from that distance and they didn’t catch her she may or may not break a limb.
Just do it now her mind begged.
And she knew she could. She could steady herself, lean back, and fall into the arms of her safety net. She could do that safely and no harm would come to her. Her point would even be made pretty clearly.
But wasn’t Erik’s speech, as corny and predictable as it was, about just that? Wasn’t it about pushing past your fears even though they sometimes seemed like an impenetrable wall?
She could make her leap from that point but if she did wasn’t she still relatively safe? If so then was she really making her point? Wasn’t her point to go beyond safety and to leap when the outcome wasn’t predictable?
She reached up for the next grip-hold and brought herself up to it. Her nerves began to betray her even more. She had never been this tired before in her life. She had already exerted herself beyond exhaustion and she knew, from that very moment, that she needed to start training her body for more endurance. She was never again going to let herself tire out this easily. So much for being lazy, because she knew that those days had to be over.
She was three quarters of the way up but her muscles were aching and she was losing her breath. On top of that she wasn’t sure if making it to the top was even going to be possible. No matter how bad she wanted to get there.
She sucked in a deep breath, gathered her determination, and made two more handholds in quick succession. Her fingers began to throb and go numb. Her leg muscles were screaming at her to stop and her arms felt like rubber bands stretched out to their maximum.
The only good thing was that she only had three levels to go.
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The author is a 43 year-old United States Air Force veteran of the first Iraq War. This is his debut novel in the Twinfinity urban fantasy series. He was born and raised in south-eastern Michigan and served his country in California, Germany, and Turkey.