Three years. So much has changed for Yara, yet much is still the same.
Yara has spent the last three years in Brazil, diligently studying with Vovó to develop her Waker abilities and desperately searching for a cure for Brent. Though her powers—and her control over them—have grown, every possible cure for Brent fails. And they’re running out of the only medicine that keeps him alive.
When a letter from the American Wakers recalls Yara and Vovó to California, Yara has to weigh the fading chance of saving Brent against the dangers of placing them all within the grasp of an old enemy. Not only has his power grown, but the barrier between our world and the spirit world is becoming dangerously thin. As the threat to the Wakers increases, Yara doesn’t know if she’ll be strong enough to defeat him.
Her only hope is to put her trust in some unexpected allies and fully embrace her Waker heritage. If she fails, not only could Brent die, but the power of the Wakers could disappear forever.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw three men in their early twenties or late teens watching me. Ghosts. They looked like they were alive, wearing—and on occasion not wearing—what they had on when they died. Based on their clothes, these three had died recently. They’d noticed me before I saw them, but that wasn’t surprising. Ghosts had the same inner compass for Wakers that Wakers had for ghosts.
What did seem odd was that they were talking together. Ghosts didn’t usually interact with each other. Maybe they’d died in the same accident? But why hadn’t they crossed over? And what were they doing in this private park? Maybe they were relatives of one of the neighbors. I peered into the darkness, but I didn’t recognize any of them.
After my failure with Ana, I wanted to help these three, to prove to myself Vovó hadn’t wasted her time teaching me. I also needed to confirm to myself I deserved my journal.
“There are some ghosts,” I whispered, tugging on Brent’s arm to stop him, my eyes still locked on the guys.
“Of course there are.” Brent was used to this now. He pulled his phone out of his pocket before dropping onto one of the stone benches. “Do your thing. I’ll entertain myself by hacking fruit to bits.”
I hated doing this to him. It seemed like there was always some Waker responsibility that pulled me away from him—especially on nights like this—but my grandmother’s sense of duty to our calling had somehow become mine. So many spirits needed my help. But at the same time, I needed a life. I sighed. Brent didn’t deserve this; he deserved a girlfriend who would pay attention to him during a romantic moonlit stroll.
“You know what? From now on, I’ll set up ghost office hours or something. We’re on a date.”
“Really?” He jumped to his feet. The smile Brent gave me made my insides warm. “Sounds good.”
“I’ll be right back. I’m going to tell them my cousins can help them tomorrow.”
I turned to the ghosts and squinted into the night. They’d vanished. Defeat hit me like an uppercut to the jaw.
But between one blink of the eye and the next they reappeared, surrounding me. Okay, that was weird. And very direct. Ghosts only got that aggressive when they were angry.
My heart tripped in my chest, unease spreading through me. They didn’t seem threatening but just in case I let my hands fall by my side, close to my pocket.
Their eyes were strange, almost glazed, but at the same time their pupils were expanding and contracting erratically, like they couldn’t focus in the dark. Odd. I’d never seen anything like that before. I’d have to ask Vovó about that in the morning.
They stood still, like they were waiting for me. Not sure how else to proceed I decided to tell them about coming back tomorrow.
“Hey, guys. If you come—”
“This won’t take long, Yara,” the ghost behind me said. He stood so close his icy breath touched my neck.
My mouth went dry and the rest of my sentence died on my lips. I spun. “H-how do you know my name?”
“They know your name?” Brent shoved his phone into his pocket, and jumped to his feet, instantly on guard.
I was afraid to take my eyes off the ghost who’d spoken, but the other two drew nearer. My eyes darted between the three of them trying to decide which was the biggest threat. My hand slid into my pocket fumbling for the herb concoction my grandmother had taught me to make. The one that would make the ghosts vanish.
“Jamie Crosby says, ‘Hi,’” one of the ghosts said in a hollow voice.
My eyes widened. “C-Crosby?”
“Crosby?” Brent’s weather ability kicked in with his adrenaline and the wind picked up, ready to follow his instructions.
Brent astral projected so he could see the ghosts surrounding me. Time stopped, and the world became a perfect, three-dimensional still life. The neighbors froze in their houses and yards around us. If not for the daily ‘time slip’ capsule, I would have frozen too.
Without warning, all three ghosts lunged.