In exactly a month (March 19, 2015), I’ll be releasing Translucent, the first book in my new YA series. Among other things, it’s about a girl who discovers a way to become invisible. Below is the second teaser of the novel, which describes her disappearing for the first time. Enjoy!
Translucent, Teaser #2
I stood in front of the mirror in Megan’s bathroom, my gaunt reflection haunting my periphery like a ghost. Soon . . . soon I would be able to stare straight at myself.
And see nothing.
Breathing heavily, I peered down into the contact lens case, the right slot. Mine. Megan’s slot was on the left.
Put it on, Leona.
“Is it on your finger?” came Megan’s muffled voice through the bathroom door.
“Hang on,” I said. “Just give me a second.”
I filled my lungs again, exhaled slowly. I was really doing this. If Megan could do this, then I could do this. I had texted my parents I was spending the night, so I had plenty of time to take this slow.
I touched the dark matter.
Like a drop of water, it leapt to my fingertip, suctioning itself through surface tension. It’s on my finger. My heart gave an extra loud thump.
“It’s on my finger,” I called, my voice raspy. “Do I rub it in or what?”
“It’s not like lotion. You stretch it, almost like you’re rolling it on.”
With my other hand, I started stretching it out, pulling it and stretching it over my finger like rubber cement, down to the first joint. The tip of my finger shrank away, down to the meat and bone, like a time lapse movie of rotting flesh. A nervous pressure climbed my throat, but I kept going, hurrying now to get it over with. Down to the second joint, then the knuckle. It elongated, but never broke. Like pulling on a thin sheen of honey.
The skin tingled.
Raspy breaths tore from my chest. My hands shook violently, and I had to stop and brace myself against the counter. Breathe in . . . breathe out . . . in . . . out . . .
I could do this.
I held up my hand, and felt the urge to puke. Before my eyes, my flesh eroded into nothing. It was spreading on its own now, crawling across my palm, up my other fingers, taking a huge bite out of my hand. It reached my wrist, and visible in the gruesome cross section, the veins pulsed with my racing heartbeat. The sight of the quivering muscle, a sickly grayish purple, sent bile churning up my throat.
I clawed at my forearm, scratched the skin with my fingernails, trying to get under it, peel it up. But there was no edge, no place where my skin ended and it began. They merged together seamlessly, like it was my skin. “I can’t . . . I can’t stop it,” I gasped.
“Just let it go,” she soothed. “Don’t fight it.”
“It’s eating me!”
“You’re fine,” she said.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck . . .”
It reached my elbow and kept climbing, and I could only stare as my arm receded. Electricity crackled up and down the invisible arm. The only sign it was still there. The rest of my body broke out in prickly sweat. And despite my burning nausea, despite the terror clamping down on my throat, despite it all, I still made the dumb observation that my invisible arm was sweating too, that I could feel air on it evaporating the sweat in chilly waves.
It was like a second skin . . . porous.
It permitted the passage of moisture, of air.
My arm had completely vanished, and now my shoulder blade receded into meaty flesh. I averted my eyes, panicky breaths coming in shallow gasps.
“Heads up,” said Megan. “When it gets to your face it’s kind of freaky.”
Before I could process what she’d said, the tingling crept across my collar bone and climbed my neck, then closed like a fist around my throat, inching up into my scalp and my jaw and over my chin.
Instinctively, I pressed my lips together to stop it from getting in my mouth. My lips stung a little, and it oozed toward my nostrils next. Alarmed, I reached in with my still-visible hand and squeezed my nose shut. Couldn’t let the stuff get inside me.
It rose up my cheeks like a hot flush. My eyes. It was going to get in my eyes! I squeezed them shut, and it tickled my eyelids harmlessly and continued up into my hair. I could almost imagine I was being slowly dunked in a vat of honey. With a soft whoosh, it filled my ears. My torso was completely submerged.
But how was I supposed to breathe? My lungs bristled, suddenly craving air. All at once, my pulse took of sprinting, and my lips parted against my will. But the sticky substance formed a sheen, blocking my mouth, my nostrils.
I fought my gag reflex and blew out hard, trying to pop it like a bubble. It didn’t pop. The effort left my lungs empty, and when I gasped for air, the membrane filled my mouth, coated my tongue, and was sucked down my throat. Panic hit me like a thousand volts. I hacked and hacked, desperate to expel it, but without air, the coughs petered out to tiny wheezes.
I inhaled again, and only sucked the dark matter deeper. I felt it seeping down my air tube until the tingle spread out in my lungs. My throat made a pathetic choking sound.
And then, when I thought I would die like this, it soaked in and seemed to merge with my insides. I felt my lungs expand, followed by the wash of cool air deep in my chest, and I gasped, relief buzzing to my fingertips. I opened my eyes a crack, and the film coated my eyes like a contact lens.
Now you will finally see, Leona.
Lightheaded from lack of oxygen, I leaned against the counter, panting like I’d just run a marathon.
“So . . . some advice,” said Megan, “don’t look down.”
I looked down.
The rest of my body stood below me, severed right through my stomach, providing me a clear view of knotted gray intestines, pinkish kidneys, a white coating of subcutaneous fat.
And then I did lose my dinner. Right into the sink, I blew chunks. The vomit came out in an frothy pool, and as I stared down at the basin through a queasy fog, it turned invisible before my eyes and slipped down the drain.
“What the fuck?” I gasped, spitting invisible spit.
Below me stood two stumps of legs, severed at the thigh, then the knee, then the ankle.
Then all traces of me were gone. Five and a half feet down to the floor, nothing in between. I appeared to hover in space. I held up my arms.
Nothing. Not even a hint.
I raised my gaze to the mirror, and for the first time in two and a half months, I didn’t flinch away.
I had no reflection.