|The Ninth Day
Young adult historical fiction/fantasy
Ooligan Press, coming in Fall 2013
"The times, they are a-changin'"This companion novel to Blue Thread takes us to Berkeley, California, in December, 1964, and to Paris, France, in December, 1099, at the time of the First Crusade. Miriam Hope Friis is a bright and talented young woman in search of her voice. Due to a pronounced stutter, Hope struggles to communicate—which becomes especially challenging as the Free Speech Movement engulfs Berkeley. The one person with whom she shares a special connection is her ailing grandfather, whose own unbelievable past soon embroils Hope in a journey through time and history in a quest to save a baby from an awful fate. Hope must find her voice—and confront her own personal mistakes—or face the terrible consequences.
— Bob Dylan (shown here with Joan Baez),
from the title song of his album released in January, 1964
She stood by my desk, holding out her hands and beckoning me
to come closer. She looked about Dagmar's age. Bronze skin.
Gold-flecked hazel eyes, highlighted with white eyebrows and
white, nearly invisible eyelashes. No make-up. No jewelry. She
wore a floor-length beige wool robe and an ochre headscarf
that hid most of her white hair. Maybe she was part of a cult.
Maybe she was from some exotic country.
Miryam Tikvah. How could she know my Hebrew name? And how had she opened the window and closed it so quietly? Maybe she wasn't really there. Oh, God, not another flashback!
I took a breath and stared at her, waiting for her start to glowing or turn into some bizarre creature.
She didn't change.
Keeping her in my sight, I dug into the pile at the foot of Dagmar's bed and closed my hand around one of Dagmar's clogs. And I let it fly.
She caught the clog a second before it would have slammed into her stomach. Her eyes widened in surprise. "I have done nothing to harm you. I come in peace. Why do you insult me with the throwing of a shoe?"
I felt my shoulders relax. Better to be visited by a stranger than a flashback. "First of all, my name is Hope. Second, I threw the shoe to see if you were really here. And third, get out of my room."
The words gushed out of my mouth. Weird.
She sat on my bed, put Dagmar's clog on the floor, folded her hands in her lap, and beamed at me. "Then I, too, shall call you by this name in your place and time. Hope."
I inched closer to the bedroom door, ready to escape. There was something really off about this girl. She was probably one of Dagmar's friends, maybe someone from our temple, which was why she called me Miryam Tikvah. Her voice had a guttural quality to it. Israeli? She was probably stoned or worse—on LSD, which should be illegal in California but isn't. Lysergic acid di-whatever. Since my first and only trip, I'd renamed it Lethal-Suicidal-Deadly.
"I'm going to bed now," I said, pointing to my pajamas. "You'll have to wait for Dagmar outside." No stutter again, which sometimes happens when I am over-the-top angry. But I felt more frightened than angry, and fear usually makes it harder to push the words out. Crazy.
"I am not waiting for your Dagmar. I am waiting for you."