PLAYING IN THE RAIN
Playing in the Rain - Book 1 of the Escape Series released with Fountain Blue Publishing in the Fall of 2017. In March 2018 it was re-released with Next Chapter Publishing (formerly Creativia).
In April 2018, Readers' Favorite awarded Promised Soul a 5-star review Later in 2018, it won the Golden Quill Award for scifi by Golden Box Books Publishing. In 2019, Playing in the Rain became a finalist for the Cygnus Award (scifi) through Chanticleer Book Reviews and received an Honourable Mention at their Award Gala (held virtually due to Covid19).
Playing in the Rain is published in a number of formats including audio-book. It has also been translated into Spanish
Children’s laughter echoed in my ears. There were giggles and snorts of varied pitches – it was a kaleidoscope of sound. I looked down at my bare feet. Cool blades of lush, green grass stuck up between my little toes, warmed by the sunlight that bathed them. They wiggled, and the sparkles in my purple nail polish reflected the light like shining amethysts. I pulled my hands from the pockets of my shorts and looked at the nails on my fingers. Each nail was painted a different bright colour. I fanned my fingers, and the colours reminded me of a rainbow arcing across the sky.
A pair of smaller hands reached up and grabbed for mine. The same bright coloured nail polish decorated the fingernails of the little girl standing in front of me. Wavy, brown shoulder-length hair framed her round face. Her icy blue eyes beamed at me as giggles shook her body and sputtered out through her pink lips. We spun around in Ring-Around-the-Rosie fashion. The yard whizzed by in a dizzying blur as we twirled faster and faster. I leaned back, tilted my head toward the sky, and closed my eyes.
Suddenly, our bodies sprawled out on the grass, but I couldn’t remember how we got there. Had our spinning dizzied us so much we fell down?
We lay on our backs and stared up at the bright, blue sky. Our imaginations created animals and other things from the fluffy white clouds. I reached up and pointed out the shape of a rabbit, taking note my hand looked much larger and older than it had earlier.
I found myself standing once again, and like before, with no recollection on how I ended up in that current position. A bead of sweat trickled down my chest and wound its way down the front of my purple tank top and between my breasts. To my surprise, I was certain I didn’t have those small lumps moments ago when I’d been spinning around. My hands cupped each small mound and pressed them lightly toward my chest. They were real. I shook my head in confused disbelief.
I took a step forward; something pricked the underside of my foot. I immediately looked down and searched for the cause. Brown, dried grass poked up between my toes like little needles. I took another step. The sensation of breaking and crunching grass travelled up my body and reached my ears. I was certain there had been an audible crunch. My eyes scanned the ground and searched for any evidence of the lush green grass I’d been standing in not long ago.
The yellow and brown hues of dying and dead grass met my wandering eyes. I squinted. “What’s happened?” I whispered. My hand brushed away a damp lock of hair that had fallen in front of my eyes as a bead of sweat dripped from my nose. I watched as it fell to the ground in slow motion. When it hit, the drop broke and splashed on a few blades of yellowed grass. I stared in wonder as the blades bent and moved toward the tiny amount of moisture. I crouched down and lifted the wilted blade with the tip of my finger. The grass would need much more than a drop. I tilted my head up to the cloudless, blue sky. The blazing sun was hot on my face.
“April!” A distant voice called and pulled my attention away from the sky. I rose to my feet and looked around. Who was calling? Who was being called?
“April!” It was her voice, the girl who stood beside me. She looked familiar, older than the girl I’d spun around with, but younger than B2. I stared at her; my lips parted, and my eyes narrowed again.
The girl reached out and touched my arm. My eyes fell on her warm hand. Beads of perspiration glistened in my arm hair. My gaze wandered up her arm and took in her round face. Her icy blue eyes widened as her grip tightened a little on my arm. Her lips parted.
“What’s wrong, April?”
My eyelids fluttered open in the dark, and my hand reached down toward my waist and pulled the sheet up to my chest. B2’s soft snore from across the room entered my ears. I rolled over, pulled the sheet up to my shoulder, and faced the wall. The surveillance equipment reminded me of its presence. I focused on the tiny leftovers of my dream. Piecing the senseless bits of information together with the hope they’d make sense. Each scene became more defined as I put the pieces in place. I pulled my right hand out from underneath my cheek where it had been tucked and wiggled my fingers in the dark. Had my fingers and toes worn such bright sparkling colours? My toes wiggled under the sheets as though blades of dried grass were stuck between them.
The image of the round-faced girl with the brown, wavy hair came to mind. Was she B2? I squeezed my eyes shut to erase the picture of her face. A distant voice whispered deep inside in my head. What did it say?
I focused on the sound, on the word. The whispering voice grew louder as the memory forced its way out from the deepest part of my brain. Come on! I willed. Invisible hands reached inside my head and pulled the voice closer.
My eyes sprang open. Was my name April?