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Trilogia Awakening di Josephine Angelini. Josephine Angelini, originaria del Massachusetts, è la più giovane di otto fratelli. Figlia di un. Read starcrossed by josephine angelini pdf StarCrossed by Josephine Angelini Series also known as Trilogia Awakening ItalianG ttlich-Trilogie German. Josephine Angelini (Ashland, ) è una scrittrice statunitense. Indice. 1 Biografia; 2 Opere settembre ISBN · Dreamless, Giunti Editore, Giunti Y, giugno Crea un libro · Scarica come PDF · Versione stampabile.
I didn't really care for that too much. Also, this whole Helen-and-Lucas are cousins thing has got to stop before I punch someone. If you really love each other, it shouldn't matter whether you're related or not. Furthermore, they're not related, and I find it hard to believe that they're all that ridiculously dumb and none of them can figure it out. Still, once the plot really got going, it was completely awesome. I couldn't put it down. There were so many plot twists that I could never completely guess just what was going to happen next.
I completely loved the concept and the intense action and everything that was going on, the creepiness and the mythology and the little details and everything. Then again, if she doesn't want him, I'll take him. However, since she won't, the choices are Lucas and Orion.
I'm actually not really sure what team I'm on for possibly the first time ever in my life. I have good reasons for both Lucas and Orion and negative reasons for both. The romance was so beautifully well-developed and there's such heartache.
If I really had to choose, I'd probably--oh, come on, I can't choose!
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For the first time in my life, I don't have a team. It's so weird. I love the gorgeous descriptions and the inner voices of the characters. Their thoughts fit them so well. Told mainly from third person POV via Helen, there's actually quite a variety of characters that take turns narrating the story, which is really cool and definitely contributes to its general awesomeness.
I loved how much the writing became so real and really felt myself drawn in to the story. There was betrayal. There was death. There was drama. There was love.
There was war. Ill do what I have to for my House, and so will she. Well have kids with other people if thats what it takes well find a way to deal with it! But dont ask me to stay away from Helen because I cant. We can handle anything but that.
They glared at each other, both of them panting with 29 emotion and covered in white dust grown pasty with sweat. Its so easy for you to decide what Helen can and cant handle, is it? Have you looked at her lately? Castor asked harshly, releasing his son with a disgusted look on his face. Shes suffering, Lucas. Dont you think Id do anything to help her? Then stay away from her. It was like all the anger had rushed out of Castor in a flash.
Instead of yelling, he was now pleading. Have you considered that what shes trying to do in the Underworld could not only bring peace between the Houses, but also bring Hector back to this family? Weve lost so much. Ajax, Aileen, Pandora. Castors voice broke when he said his little sisters name. Her death was still too fresh for both of them.
Helen is facing something none of us can imagine, and she needs every ounce of strength she has to make it through. For all our sakes. But I can help her, Lucas pleaded back, needing his father on his side. I cant follow her down into the Underworld, but I can listen to her and support her.
You think youre helping, but youre killing her, Castor said, shaking his head sadly. You may have made peace with how you feel for her, but she cant cope with her feelings for you.
Youre her cousin, and the guilt is tearing her apart. Why are you the only one who cant see that? There are a thousand reasons you need to stay away, but if none of them matter to you, at the very least stay away from Helen because its the best thing for her. He remembered how Helen had told him that she would pay for it later if she talked with him about the Underworld. His father was right.
The closer the two of them got, the more he hurt Helen. Of all the arguments his father had made, this one cut Lucas the deepest. He shuffled to the couch and sat down again so his father wouldnt see his legs shake. What should I do? Lucas was completely lost. Its like water running downhill. She just flows toward me. And I cant push her away. Then build a dam. Castor sighed and sat down across from Lucas, rubbing plaster from his face with his hands.
He looked smaller. Like he had just lost the fight, even though hed won, taking everything from Lucas. You have to be the one to stop this. No confiding in each other, no flirting at school, and no quiet talks in dark hallways. You have to make her hate you, son. Helen and Cassandra were working in the library, trying to find somethinganythingthat could help Helen in the Underworld.
It was a frustrating afternoon. The more the two girls read, the more they were convinced that half the stuff about Hades was written by medieval scribes on serious drugs. Ever see any talking-skeletal-death-horses in Hades?
Cassandra asked skeptically. No talking skeletons. Horses included, Helen responded, rubbing her eyes. Cassandra put the scroll down and stared at Helen for a few moments. How are you feeling? Helen shrugged and shook her head, unwilling to talk about it. Since Castor had caught her and Lucas outside his bedroom, shed been tiptoeing around the Delos house when she had to come over to study, and stuck inside the hell-house each night.
Usually in the Underworld, Helen could count on at least one or two nights a week where she was walking down an endless beach that never led to an ocean. The endless beach was annoying because she knew she wasnt getting anywhere, but compared to being trapped inside the hell-house it was like a holiday. She didnt know how much longer she could take it, and she couldnt talk about it with anyone.
How could she possibly explain the perverted wool coat and lurid peach curtains without sounding ridiculous? I think I should go home and eat something, Helen said, trying not to think about the night that awaited her. But its Sunday. Youre eating here, right? I dont think your dad wants me hanging out here anymore. I dont think Lucas does, either, she thought. He hadnt looked at her since the day Castor had caught them with their arms around each other, even though Helen had tried several times to smile at him in the hallway at school.
Hed just walked by like she wasnt there. Thats nonsense, Cassandra answered firmly. You are a part of this family. And if you dont come to dinner, my 32 mom will be offended. She walked around the table and took Helens hand, leading her out of the study. Helen was so surprised by Cassandras uncharacteristically warm gesture that she followed quietly.
It was later than the girls had thought, and dinner was starting. Cassandra took her customary place next to her father, and the only spot left was on the bench, between Ariadne and Lucas. As Helen stepped over the bench, she accidentally jostled Lucas, running her arm down the length of his as she sat down.
Lucas stiffened and tried to pull away from her. Sorry, Helen stammered, trying to shrug her arm away from his, but there was no room to move over on the crowded bench. She felt him bristle, and she reached under the table and squeezed his hand as if to ask, Whats wrong?
He snatched his hand out of hers. The look he gave her was so full of hatred it froze the blood in her veins. The room went silent and the chitchat died. All eyes turned to Helen and Lucas. Without warning, Lucas threw the bench back, knocking Helen, Ariadne, and Jason onto the floor. Lucas stood over Helen, glaring down on her. His face was contorted with rage. Even when they were possessed by the Furies, and Helen and Lucas had fought bitterly, she had never been afraid of 33 him.
But now his eyes looked black and strangelike he wasnt even in there anymore. Helen knew it wasnt just a trick of the light. A shadow had blossomed inside of Lucas and snuffed out the light of his bright blue eyes. We dont hold hands. You dont talk to me. You dont even LOOK at me, do you understand? His voice rose from a grating whisper to a hoarse shout as Helen scrambled away from him in shock. Lucas, enough! Noels horrified voice was tinged with dismay. She didnt recognize her son any more than Helen did.
Were not friends, Lucas growled, ignoring his mother and continuing to move threateningly toward Helen. She pushed her shaking body away from him with her heels, her sneakers making pathetic squeaking noises as she scuffed them against the tile, looking for download. Luke, what the hell? Jason shouted, but Lucas ignored him, too. We dont hang out, or joke around, or share things with each other anymore. Lucas reached down to grab Helen, but his father gripped his upper arms from behindstopping him from hurting her.
Then Helen saw Lucas do something shed never once dreamed hed do. He spun around and hit his father. The blow was so heavy it sent Castor flying halfway across the kitchen and into the cabinet of glasses and mugs over the sink. She was the only full mortal in a room of fighting Scions, and in serious danger of getting hurt. Ariadne ran to Noel and used her body to protect her, while Jason and Pallas jumped on Lucas and tried to wrestle him down. Knowing her presence would only enrage Lucas more, Helen scrambled up onto her knees, slipping across a bit of broken crockery as she stumbled to the door, and jumped into the sky.
As she flew home, she tried to listen for the sound of her own body in the high, thin air. Bodies are noisy. Take them into soundless spaces like the Underworld or the atmosphere and you can hear all kind of huffs and thumps and gurgles. But Helens body was as silent as a grave. She couldnt even hear her own heart beating. After what she had just been through, it should have been thundering away, but all she felt was an intolerable pressure, like a giant knee was grinding into her chest.
Perhaps it wasnt beating because it had broken clean through and stopped. Is this what you wanted? Lucas shouted at his father while he fought to break free. Do you think she hates me now?
Just let him go! Castor yelled to Pallas and Jason. They paused, but didnt let go right away. First they looked over at Castor, to make sure he was sure. Castor stood and 35 nodded his head once before passing judgment.
Get out, Lucas. Get out of this house and dont come back until you can control your strength around your mother. Lucas went still. His head turned in time to see Ariadne brush a drop of blood from Noels face, her glowing hands healing the cut instantly.
An old memory, formed of images before he had words, came back to Lucas in a rush. Even as a toddler hed been stronger than his mother, and once during a tantrum hed pushed against her face while she was tenderly trying to kiss him quiet. Hed made her lip bleed. Lucas remembered the hurt sound shed madea sound that still filled him with shame. Hed regretted that moment his entire life and since then he hadnt once touched his mother any harder than he would touch a rose petal.
But now she was bleeding again. Because of him. Lucas pulled his arms away from his uncle and cousin, threw the back door open, and hurled himself into the dark night sky. He didnt care where the winds took him. This was the fifth night in a row shed descended into this same spot in the Underworld, and she knew that the less she moved, the slower she sank into the quicksand.
Even breathing too deeply edged her farther into the pit.
She was prolonging the torture, but she just couldnt bear the thought of drowning in filth again. Quicksand isnt clean.
Its stuffed with the dead and decaying bodies of all its former victims. Helen could feel the moldering remains of all kinds of creatures bumping up against her as she was slowly dragged down. Last night her hand had skimmed across a facea human facesomewhere under the tainted sand. A pocket of gas bubbled to the surface, sending up a plume of stench. Helen vomited, unable to control herself.
When she eventually drowned, the putrid dirt would rush into her nose, her eyes, and fill her mouth. Even though Helen was only up to her waist, she knew it was coming. She began to cry. She couldnt take it anymore. What else can I do? She knew thrashing didnt work, but maybe this one time she would reach the dry reeds on the side of the pool and be able to grab them before the heavy muck swallowed her.
She waded forward, but for every inch of progress she paid with an inch of depth. When she was up to her chest she had to stop moving. The weight of the quicksand was pressing the air out her, like a great weight settling on her chestlike a giant knee was pressing down on her.
I get it, okay? I put myself here by being upset when I fall asleep. But how am I supposed to change the way I feel? The quicksand was up to her neck. Helen tilted her head back and thrust up her chin, trying to will herself higher.
I cant do this alone anymore, she said to the blank sky. I need someone to help me. It was the first time Helen had heard another voice in the Underworld, and at first she assumed she was hallucinating.
Her face was still tilted up, and she couldnt move it to look or shed be sucked under. Reach toward me, if you can, the young man said in a strained voice, like he was struggling at the edge of the pit to get to her. Come on, try, damn it! Give me your hand!
At that moment her ears filled, and she could no longer hear what he shouted at her. All she could see was a flash of golda bright glimmer that pierced through the dull, 38 defeated light of the Underworld like the lifesaving beacon of a lighthouse.
She caught the barest glimpse of an angular chin and a full, sculpted mouth at the very edge of her vision. Then, under the surface of the quicksand, Helen felt a warm, strong hand take hers and pull. Helen woke up in her bed and pitched forward, frantically scraping the muck out of her ears. Her body was still racing with adrenaline, but she forced herself to stay very still and listen.
Jerry was singing. Well, sort of. A burst of relieved laughter jumped out of Helen. She was safe at home, and this time she hadnt broken anything, stabbed herself, or drowned in a festering bog. Someone had saved her. Or was it all in her head? She thought about the deep voice and the warm hand that had pulled her from the pit.
Healers like Jason and Ariadne could go down around the edge of the Underworld in spirit, but no one except Helen could physically get into the Underworld with his or her body still attached to the soul.
It was supposed to be impossible. And Helen had been in Tartarusthe lowest of the low. Even farther down in the Underworld than Hades itself. Not even the strongest 39 Healers had ever come close to it.
Was she so desperate for help that she had hallucinated? Confused about whether or not she had imagined the whole thing, Helen sat in her sodden bed for a few moments and listened to her father mangle Princes Kiss while he made breakfast. Jerry was getting half the lyrics wrongwhich meant he was in a great mood. Things between him and Kate were going very well: so well that Helen hadnt seen much of her father the past three weeks.
Even their timeworn system of trading weeks cooking for each other was all thrown out of whack, but that was okay with Helen. She wanted her father to be happy. Jerry repeated the line you dont have to be beautiful four times in row, probably because he couldnt remember any of the other words. Helen smiled and shook her head, thanking her lucky stars she had a father like Jerry to wake up to, even if he was a terrible singer.
She had no idea why he could never get the words to songs right, but she suspected it had something to do with being a parent. Nobodys parents were supposed to sing Prince well. It would be disturbing if they did.
Throwing back her covers, Helen launched into cleaning mode.
Two weeks ago, Claire had taken Helen to the mainland to get the special plastic sheets that moms use if they have a kid who wets the bed, making a thousand cracks about the Princess and the Pee along the way.
Helen didnt mind. The sheets were uncomfortable and 40 super-embarrassing to download, but a necessity since every night she came back from the Underworld either bleeding or covered in yuck.
She stood up and started stripping her bed as fast as she could. In the laundry room, she took off her muddy boxer shorts and threw out her ripped T-shirt, putting everything that could be salvaged into the wash. She took a quick shower, and then retraced her path with a rag to clean up the dirty footprints she had tracked across the floor.
A few days ago she had considered using her superfast Scion speed to get through this new and annoying morning cleaning ritual, but she decided that it would probably scare her dad to death if he ever caught her doing it. Instead, Helen had to either get up at the crack of dawn or run around frantically at normal human speed to cover her tracks, like she was doing that morning.
Out of time, Helen wiggled into some jeans before she had completely dried off while trying to pull a sweater over her damp hair. It was so cold in her room that the tips of her ears were beginning to go numb.
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Your breakfast is getting cold! Jerry shouted up the stairs. Oh, for crying out. Helen cussed as she stumbled over her book bag. Her sweater wasnt all the way on yet, and it was still covering her face and pinning her arms over her head. After a moment of flailing around like a muppet, Helen regained her footing and paused to laugh at herself, wondering how a demigod could be such a damn klutz.
She 41 assumed it had to have something to do with the fact that she was so tired. Helen righted her clothing, grabbed her school things, and ran down the stairs before her dad could start singing Kiss again.
Jerry had gone hog wild on breakfast. There were eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal with nuts and dried cherries, and of course, pumpkin pancakes.
Pumpkin pancakes were a favorite of Jerry's and Helens, but around Halloween, which was only about a week and a half away, anything with pumpkin in it was on the menu. It was sort of a competition between the two of them. It started with roasted pumpkin seeds and went all the way to soups and gnocchi.
Whoever found a way to sneak pumpkin into a dish without getting caught was the winner. The whole pumpkin thing had started when Helen was a little girl. One October shed complained to her dad that pumpkins only got used as decoration, and although she loved jack-o-lanterns, it was still a big waste of food.
Jerry had agreed, and the two of them resolved to start eating pumpkins instead of just carving them up and then throwing them out. Unfortunately, they found that pumpkins on their own are so bland theyre practically inedible. If they hadnt gotten creative with the cooking, they would have given up on their Save the Pumpkins crusade after the first year. There were a lot of nauseating creations, of which the pumpkin popsicles were by far the worst, but the pancakes stood out as the biggest success.
They instantly became as 42 large a part of the Hamilton family tradition in late October as turkey was on Thanksgiving. Helen noticed that Jerry had even made fresh whipped cream to put on top, and that made her feel so guilty she could barely look at him. He was worried about her. What were you doing up there? Jerry joked, trying to make light of his worry, as he looked her up and down.
For a moment, his eyes widened with fear and his lips pressed together in a harsh line, then he turned back to the stove and started serving. Jerry wasnt a nag, but Helen had gotten skinny over the past three weeksreally scary skinnyand this humongous breakfast was his way of trying to remedy that without having to go into a big, boring lecture. Helen loved the way her dad handled stuff. He didnt pester her the way other parents would if they saw their daughter turn into a scarecrow, but he still cared enough to try to do something about it.
Helen tried to smile bravely at her dad, took a plate, and started stuffing the food down her throat. Everything tasted like sawdust, but she pushed the calories in, anyway.
The last thing Helen wanted was to make her dad anxious about her health, although to be honest, even she was starting to feel a bit worried. She healed quickly from any overt injury she sustained in the Underworld, but every day she felt weaker. Still, she had no choiceshe had to keep going until she found the Furies, no matter how ill the Underworld was making her. Shed 43 made a promise.
Even if Lucas hated her now, she would fulfill it. You have to chew bacon, Lennie, her dad said sarcastically. It doesnt just dissolve in your mouth. Is that how it works? Realizing she had been sitting there stock-still, she forced herself to act normal and crack a joke. Now he tells me. While her dad chuckled, she wrenched her thoughts away from Lucas and considered all the homework she hadnt done. She hadnt even finished reading the Odyssey yet, not because she didnt want to read it, but because she hadnt had time.
It seemed like everything on Helens to-do list needed to be done yesterday. On top of that, her favorite teacher, Hergie, kept trying to pressure her into joining the AP classes.
Like she needed to expand her reading list. Claire cruised up the driveway in the new hybrid car her parents had bought her and yelled, Honk-honk! As Jerry tried, and failed, not to hover, Helen stuffed the remaining pancake down her throat, nearly choked, and ran out the door with her shoelaces still untied.
She hurried down the steps, taking a glance back at the widows walk on her roof, but she knew it would be empty. Lucas had made it painfully clear to Helen that he would not sit on her widows walk again. She didnt know why she bothered to look up there, except that she couldnt seem to stop herself. Youre a frigging mess, she continued as she put the car in gear. Helen said with wide eyes.
Claire had been Helens best friend since birth, and was therefore entitled to yell at Helen whenever she felt like it. But did she have to start so early?
Helen opened her mouth to explain, but Claire would not be deterred. Your clothes are falling off your body, your nails are bitten down to nothing, and your lips are chapped, Claire ranted, plowing right through Helens weak protests as she tore out of the driveway.
And the bags under your eyes are so god-awful it looks like someone punched you in the face! Are you even attempting to take care of yourself? Yes, Im trying, Helen sputtered, still trying to button up the front of her coat, which had suddenly become harder to figure out than Chinese algebra. She gave up on the buttons and faced Claire, throwing up her hands in frustration.
Im eating up here, but theres no food in the Underworld and I cant seem to stuff enough down when Im in the real world to compensate. Trust me, Im trying. My dad just fed me enough breakfast to choke a linebacker.
Well, you could at least put on some blush or something. Youre white as a sheet. I know I look awful. But Ive got other things on my mind. This whole descending thing isnt exactly easy, you know. Then dont descend every night! Claire exclaimed like 45 it was obvious. Take a break when you need it!
Obviously, youre not going to solve this in a few weeks! You think I should treat the Furies like a part-time job? Helen yelled back, finally finding her voice. Claire shouted back, and since she was naturally better at shouting than just about anybody, Helen shrank back into her seat, cowed by her itty-bitty friend.
Three weeks Ive put up with this and Ive had enough! Youre never going to find the Furies if youre so tired you cant even see your own big, stupid feet! After a slight pause, Helen burst out laughing. Claire tried to keep a straight face, but eventually she gave up and laughed her amazing laugh as they pulled into the parking lot at school.
No one would think any less of you if you decided to limit your trips down there to once or twice a week, you know, Claire said gently as they got out of the car and started toward the front door of the school. I cant believe you can force yourself to go down there at all. I dont think I could do it. Claire shuddered, remembering her own recent brush with death when Matt hit Lucas with his car.
Claire had almost died in the accident, and her soul had traveled down to the dry landsthe outskirts of the Underworld. The memories of that place still frightened her, weeks later. You would if you had to, Gig. Confused and afraid she was going to get a bellyache, Helen nodded and stood up. Coach Tar? Cant we just do it the way we always do? Coach Tar stopped and turned around to listen, but she didnt look happy about it.
I mean, why cant I just train with the rest of the girls? Because I am a girl, Helen finished lamely. Weve decided that you need to start pushing yourself more, Coach Tar responded in a cold voice. Helen had always gotten the feeling that Coach didnt like her much, and now she was sure of it. But Im not a boy. Its not fair to make me run cross-country with them, Helen tried to argue. She jabbed two fingers into the spot between her belly button and her pubic bone.
Coach Tar asked, a touch of sympathy creeping into her voice. Helen nodded and Coach continued. Coach Brant and I have noticed something interesting. No matter who youre running against, no matter how fast or slow your opponents are, you always come in either second or third. How can that be? Do you have an answer? I dont know. I just run, okay? I try my best. No, you dont, Coach said harshly. And if you want a scholarship youre going to have to start winning races.
I talked to Mr. Helen groaned out loud, but Coach Tar continued, undeterred. Its a small school, Hamilton, get used to it. Hergeshimer told me that you were hoping for an athletic scholarship, but if you want one youre going to have to earn it.
Maybe forcing you to match the boys will teach you to take your talent seriously. The thought of displaying her speed for the world to see had a physical effect on Helen. She was so afraid that she was going to get some kind of cramp or bellyache that she started to have a mini panic attack.
She began to babble. Ill do it, Ill win races, just please dont single me out like that, she pleaded, the words tumbling out in a rush as she held her breath to hold back the pain. Coach Tar was a hard-ass, but she wasnt cruel. Are you okay? Put your head between your legs. Im okay, its just nerves, Helen explained through gritted teeth. After catching her breath she continued, If I swear to win more races, will you let me run with the girls?
Coach Tar studied Helens desperate face and nodded, a bit shaken from witnessing such an intense panic attack. And more than just a few. As she ran the trail, Helen looked at the ground. An academic scholarship would be great but that would mean competing with Claire for grades, and that was out of the question.
Hey, Giggles, Helen said, easily catching up. Claire was panting and sweating away already. What happened? God, its so hot! I think the entire faculty is trying to see if they can climb up onto my back at the same time. Welcome to my life, Claire wheezed. Japanese kids grow up. You get used to it. After a few more labored moments of trying to keep up with Helen, Claire added, Can we. Not all of us are from. Helen adjusted her pace, knowing that she could pull ahead in the last half mile. She rarely exerted herself in practice but she knew that even without trying hard she could easily finish first.
That fact scared her, so she did what she usually did when the subject of her freaky speed came up in her head. She ignored it and chatted with Claire.
As the two girls ran down Surfside and out across the moors to Miacomet Pond, Claire couldnt stop talking about the Delos boys. She told Helen at least three times that Lucas had held the door for her at the end of class.
That act proved he was not only a gentleman, but already in love. Jason, Claire decided, was either gay or a snob because he had only glanced at her once before quickly looking away. She also took offense at how nice a dresser he was, like he was European or something. Hes been living in Spain for, like, three years, Gig. He kinda is European.
Can we please stop talking about them? Its giving me a headache. Why are you the only person in school that isnt interested in the Delos family? Arent you even curious to get a look? And I think its pathetic that this entire town is standing around gawking at them like a bunch of hicks!
Helen shouted. Claire stopped short and stared at her. It wasnt like Helen to argue, let alone start yelling, but she couldnt seem to stop herself. Im bored to death of the Delos family! Helen continued, even when she saw Claires surprise. Im sick of this towns fixation with them, and I hope I never have to meet, see, or share breathing space with any of them!
Helen took off running, leaving Claire standing by herself on the trail. She finished first, just like shed promised, but she did it a little too quickly; Coach Tar gave her a shocked look when she recorded the run time. Helen blew by her and stormed into the locker room. She grabbed her stuff and bolted out of school, not bothering to change or say goodbye to any of her teammates.
On the way home, Helen started crying. She pedaled past. The sky seemed to sit particularly low on the scoured land, as if it was pressing down on the gables of the old whalers and trying to finally flatten them after a few centuries of stubborn defiance.
Helen had no idea why shed gotten so angry, or why shed abandoned her best friend like that. She needed a little peace and quiet. There was a car accident on Surfside; some gigantic SUV had tried to turn onto a narrow, sandbanked side street and turned over.
The drivers were okay, but their beached whale of a car blocked off traffic from end to end. Annoyed as she was, Helen knew she couldnt even pedal past the boneheaded off islanders without losing her checkers. She decided to take the long way home. She turned around and headed back toward the center of town, passing the movie theater, the ferry, and the library, which, with its Greek temple architecture, stuck out like a sore thumb in a town that otherwise was an ode to four-hundred-year-old Puritan architecture.
And maybe thats why Helen loved it. The Atheneum was a gleaming white beacon of strange smackdab in the middle of forget-me-now drab, and somehow, Helen identified with both of those things. Half of her was no-nonsense Nantucket through and through, and the other half was marble columns and grand stairs that just didnt belong where they had been built.
Biking past, Helen looked up at the Atheneum and smiled. It was consoling for her to know that she might stick out, but at least she didnt stick. When she got home, she tried to pull herself together, taking a freezing-cold shower before calling Claire to apologize. Claire didnt pick up. Helen left her a long apology blaming hormones, the heat, stress, anything and everything she could think of, though she knew in her heart that none of those things was the real reason she had flipped out.
Shed been so irritable all day. The air outside was heavy and still. Helen opened all the windows in the two-story Shaker-style house, but no breeze blew through them. What was with the weird weather?
Still air was practically unheard of in Nantucketliving so close to the ocean there was always wind. Helen pulled on a thin tank top and a pair of her shortest shorts. Since she was too modest to go anywhere dressed so scantily, she decided to cook dinner. It was still her fathers week as kitchen slave and technically he was responsible for all the shopping, meals, and dishes for a few days yet, but she needed something to do with her hands or shed use them to climb the walls.
Pasta in general was Helens comfort food, and lasagna was the queen of pasta. If she made the noodles from scratch, shed be occupied for hours, just like she wanted, so she pulled out the flour and eggs and got to work. When Jerry came home the second thing he noticed, after the amazing smell, was that the house was swelteringly hot. He found Helen sitting at the kitchen table, flour stuck to her sweaty face and arms, worrying the heart-shaped necklace, which her mother had given her as a baby, between her.
He looked around with tense shoulders and wide eyes. Made dinner, Helen told him in a flat voice. Did I do something wrong? Of course not.
Why would you ask that when I just cooked you dinner? Because usually when a woman spends hours cooking a complicated meal and then just sits at the table with a pissedoff look on her face, that means some guy somewhere did something really stupid, he said, still on edge.
I have had other women in my life besides you, you know. Are you hungry or not? Helen asked with a smile, trying to shake off her ugly mood. Hunger won out. Jerry shut his mouth and went to wash his hands. Helen hadnt eaten since breakfast and should have been starved.
When she tasted the first forkful she realized she wouldnt be able to eat. She listened as best as she could while she pushed bits of her favorite food around her plate and Jerry devoured two pieces. He asked her questions about her day while he tried to sneak a little more salt onto his food. Helen blocked his attempts like she always did, but she didnt have the energy to give him more than monosyllabic answers. Even though she went to bed at nine, leaving her dad watching the Red Sox on TV, she was still lying awake at midnight when she heard the game finally end and her father come upstairs.
She was tired enough to sleep, but every time she started to drift off she would hear whispering. At first she thought that it had to be real, that someone was outside playing a trick on her.
She went up to the widows walk on the roof above her bedroom and tried to see as far as she could into the dark. Everything was stillnot even a puff of air to stir the rosebushes around the house. She sat down for a spell, staring out at the fat, black slick of the ocean beyond the neighbors lights. She hadnt been up there in a while, but it still gave her a romantic thrill to think about how women in the olden days would pine away on their widows walks as they searched for the masts of their husbands ships.
When she was really young, Helen used to pretend that her mother would be on one of those ships, coming back to her after being taken captive by pirates or Captain Ahab or something just as all-powerful. Helen had spent hours on the widows walk, scanning the horizon for a ship she later realized would never sail into Nantucket Harbor.
Helen shifted uncomfortably on the wooden floor and then remembered that she still had her stash up there. For years, her dad had insisted she was going to fall to her death and forbidden her from going up to the widows walk alone, but no matter how many times he punished her, she would eventually sneak back up there to eat granola bars and daydream. After a few months of dealing with Helens uncharacteristic disobedience, Jerry finally caved and gave her permission, as long as she didnt lean out over the railing.
Hed even built her a waterproof chest to store things in. She opened the chest and dug out the sleeping bag she kept in there, spreading it out along the wood planks of the walk. There were boats far out on the water, boats she shouldnt be able to hear or see from such a distance, but she could. Helen closed her eyes and allowed herself the pleasure of hearing one little skiff as its canvas sails flapped and its teak planks creaked, way out on the gently lapping swells. Alone and unwatched, she could be herself for a moment and truly let go.
When her head finally started to nod she went down to bed to give sleep another shot. She was standing on rocky, hilly terrain, blasted so hard by the sun that the bone-dry air wriggled and shook in streaks, as if parts of the sky were melting.
The rocks were pale yellow and sharp, and here and there were angry little bushes, low to the ground and lousy with thorns. A single twisted tree grew out of the next slope. Helen was alone. And then she wasnt. Under the stunted trees crippled limbs three figures appeared. They were so slender and small Helen thought at first they must be little girls, but there was something about the way the muscles in their gaunt forearms wove around their bones like rope that made Helen realize that they were also very old.
All three of them had their heads bent, and their faces were completely covered by sheets of long, matted, black hair. They wore tattered white slips, and they were covered in gray-white dust down to their lower legs. From the knees down, their skin grew dark with streaks of dirt and blackening blood from feet worn raw with wandering in this barren wilderness. Helen felt clear, bright fear.
She backed away from them compulsively, cutting her bare feet on the rocks and scratching her legs on the thorns. The three abominations took a step toward her, and their shoulders began to shake with silent sobs.
Drops of blood fell from under the skeins of rank hair and ran down the fronts of their dresses. They whispered names while they cried their gory tears. Helen woke up to a slap.
There was a prickly numbness in her cheek and the steady note of a dial tone whining in her left ear. Jerrys face was inches away from hers, wild with worry, and starting to show signs of guilt. He had never hit her before. He had to take a few shaky breaths before he could speak. The bedside clock read 3: You were screaming. I had to wake you, he stammered.
Helen swallowed painfully, trying to moisten her swollen tongue and closed-off throat. Nightmare, she whispered as she sat up. Her cheeks were wet with either sweat or tears, she didnt know which.
Helen wiped the moisture away and smiled at her dad, trying to calm him down. It didnt work. What the hell, Lennie? That was not normal, he said in a strange, high-pitched voice. You were saying things. Really awful things. Like what?
She was so thirsty. Mostly names, lists of names. And then you started repeating blood for blood, and murderers. What the hell were you dreaming? Helen thought about the three women, three sisters she. She shrugged her shoulders and lied. She managed to convince Jerry that murder was a pretty normal thing to have nightmares about, and swore that she would never watch scary movies by herself again. Finally, she got him to go back to bed. The glass on her nightstand was empty and her mouth was so dry it felt tender and sore.
She swung her legs out of bed to get water from the bathroom and gasped when her feet touched the hardwood floor. She switched on her lamp to get a better look, but she already knew what she was going to see. The soles of her feet were cut deep and peppered with dirt and dust, and her shins were scratched with the hatch-mark pattern of thorns. She almost believed that she had imagined themuntil she saw that her sheets were dirty with dried, brown blood and grit.
In order to test her sanity, Helen decided to leave her sheets on the bed, go to school, and see if they were still dirty when she came home. If they were clean when she got home, then the whole thing was an illusion and she was only a little crazy.
If they were still dirty when she came home, then she was obviously so crazy that she was walking around at night and getting dirt and blood in her bed without remembering it. Helen tried to eat a bowl of yogurt and berries for breakfast but that didnt work out very well so she didnt even bother to take her lunch box. If she got hungry she could. Riding her bike to school, she noticed that it was unbearably hot and humid for a second day in a row.
The only wind was the breeze created by her spinning wheels, and when she locked her bike up at the rack she realized that not only was the air still, but it was also lacking the usual insect and bird sounds. All was unnaturally quietas though the entire island was nothing but a ship becalmed in the middle of the vast ocean. Helen arrived earlier than she had the day before, and the halls were crowded. Claire saw her come in.
When her face broke into a smile, Helen knew she had been forgiven. Claire fought the flow of traffic to double back and join her on the walk to homeroom. As they made their way toward each other, Helen suddenly felt like she was trying to trudge through oatmeal.
She slowed to a stop. It seemed to her that everyone in the hallway vanished. In the suddenly empty school Helen heard the shuffling of bare feet and the gasping sobs of inconsolable grief.
She spun around in time to see a dusty white figure, her shoulders slumped and quivering, disappearing around a corner. Helen realized that the sobbing woman had passed behind someonea real person staring back at her.
She focused in on the figure, a young girl with olive skin and a long, black braid trailing over one shoulder. Her naturally bright red lips were drawn into an O of surprise. Then the sound switched back on and the corridor was full of rushing students again.
Helen was standing still, blocking traffic, staring at a glossy black braid swinging against a tiny girls back as it vanished into a classroom. Helens whole body shook with an emotion that took her a moment to recognize. It was rage. Jesusmaryandjoseph, Len! Are you gonna faint? Claire asked anxiously. Helen made her eyes focus on Claire, and she took a wobbly breath. She realized that she was drenched in cold sweat and shivering.
She opened her mouth but nothing came out. Im taking you to the nurse, Claire said. She grabbed Helens hand and started to tug on it, trying to get her to move. Matt, she called out over Helens shoulder. Can you help me with Lennie? I think shes going to faint. Im not going to faint, Helen snapped, suddenly alert and aware of how strange she was acting.
She smiled bashfully at them both to try to take the sting out of her words. Matt had put his arm around her waist and she patted his hand softly to let him know he could release her. He gave her a doubtful look. Youre really pale, and youve got circles under your eyes, he said.
I got a little overheated riding my bike, she started to explain. Dont tell me youre fine, Claire warned. Her eyes were flush with frustrated tears, and Matt didnt look much happier.
Helen knew she couldnt brush this off. Even if she was. No, youre right. I think I might have heatstroke. Matt nodded, accepting this excuse as the only logical one. Claire, you take her to the girls room. Ill tell Hergie what happened so he doesnt mark you late. And you should eat something. You didnt eat any lunch yesterday, he reminded her. Helen was a little surprised he remembered that, but Matt was good at details.
He wanted to be a lawyer, and she knew that someday he would be a great one. Claire drenched Helen in the girls room, dumping cold water all the way down her back when she was supposed to just wet her neck.
Of course they wound up having a gigantic water fight, which seemed to calm Claire down because it was the first normal response shed had out of Helen in a few days. Helen herself felt like she had passed an exhaustion barrier and now everything had become funny.
Hergie wrote them hall passes, so the two friends took their time getting to their first classes. Having a hall pass from Mr.
Hergeshimer was like getting one of Willy Wonkas golden ticketsa student could go anywhere and do anything for a full period and not one teacher would put up a stink. In the cafeteria they got oranges for Helens low blood sugar, and while they were at it they split a chocolate chip muffin. Helen choked it down and miraculously started to feel better. Then they went and stood in front of the sixfoot-tall fan in the auditorium to cool down, taking turns.
Helen felt so giddy after playing hooky on a Hergie hall pass and eating raw sugar on an empty stomach that she couldnt even remember what class she was supposed to be going to. She and Claire were casually strolling down the wrong hallway at the wrong time when the bell signaling the end of first period rang. They looked at each other and shrugged as if to say, Oh well, what can you do? Then Helen saw Lucas for the first time.
The sky outside finally exhaled all of the wind that it had been holding for two days. Gusts of stale, hot air pushed through every open window into the sweltering school. It caught loose sheets of paper, skirt hems, unbound hair, stray wrappers, and other odds and ends, and tossed them all toward the ceiling like hats on graduation day. For a moment it seemed to Helen that everything stayed up there, frozen at the top of the arc, as weightless as space.
Lucas was standing in front of his locker about twenty feet away, staring back at Helen while the world waited for gravity to switch back on. He was tall, over six feet at least, and powerfully built, although his muscles were long and lean instead of bulky. He had short, black hair and a dark end-of-summer tan that brought out his white smile and his swimming-pool blue eyes.
Meeting his eyes was an awakening. For the first time in Helens life she knew what pure, heart-poisoning hatred was.
She was not aware of the fact that she was running toward him, but she could hear the voices of the three sobbing sisters rise into a keening wail, could see them standing behind the tall, dark boy she knew was Lucas, and the smaller, brown-haired boy next to him. The sisters were tearing at their hair until it came out of their scalps in bloody hanks. They pointed accusing fingers at the two boys while they screeched a series of namesthe names of people murdered long ago.
Helen suddenly understood what she had to do. In the split second it took for her to close the gap between them, Helen saw the other boy lunge at her, but he was stopped by Lucas, who threw out an arm and sent him flying back into the lockers behind them. Then her whole body stopped and strained.
Stay where you are, Lucas called over Helens shoulder, his face no more than an inch away from hers. Shes very strong. Helens arms burned and the little bones in her wrists felt like they were grinding together.
Lucas was holding her by the wrists to keep her hands away from his neck, she realized. They were locked in a stalemate, and if she could get her fingers half an inch closer, she could reach his throat.
And then what? Choke the life out of him! Lucass achingly blue eyes widened in surprise. Helen was winning. One of her long nails grazed the pulsing skin covering the fat artery she itched to slit. Then, before she could process what was happening, Lucas spun her around. The position hed forced her into kept her off balance and unable to bring her heel down on his instep. She was immobile. Who are you? What is your House? She was beyond understanding language.
Outmaneuvered and helpless, she started to scream with rage, then stopped herself. Now that she couldnt see his eyes she was becoming aware of the fact that half the schools faculty was trying to tear her off him. Everyone was staring. Helen doubled over in agony as her abdomen seized up with cramps.
Lucas immediately let her go as if shed turned into a lit match, his body convulsing spasmodically, and she dropped to the floor. Miss Hamilton! Helen, look at me, said Mr. He was kneeling on the floor next to her while she panted, trying to relax her muscles. She looked up at his sweaty face. His hair was messed up and his glasses had been knocked sideways on his face in the fight. She wondered for a moment if she had been the one to hit him, and then she burst into tears.
Whats wrong with me? Its all right, now. Calm down, Mr. Hergeshimer said sternly. All of you had better get to class. Everyone scattered as Mr. Hergeshimer stood up and took charge. You boys, he pointed at Lucas and Jason, are to come with me to the principals office.
Miss Aoki! You are to take Miss Hamilton to the nurses office and then go directly to your next classes. Matt immediately stepped forward and put Helens arm over his shoulder, helping her to stand.
Claire took Helens hand and held it reassuringly. Helen glanced up and saw Lucas looking back over his shoulder at her as he went quietly with Mr. Another wave of loathing broke over her, and fresh tears lined up in her eyes. Matt guided her while she cried, awkwardly patting her hair and getting her to walk toward the nurse at the same time.
Claire walked on Helens other side, shaken and silent. What did he do to you, Lennie? Matt asked hotly. Ive never seen him b-b-before in my l-l-life! Helen hiccuped and cried even harder.
Great idea, Matt! Ask her questions! Can you shut the hell up now? Claire snapped, trying to get hold of herself. They walked the rest of the way without talking. When they got to the nurses office, they told Mrs. Crane what had happened and made sure to add that Helen had come to school with heatstroke that morning. Crane had Helen lie down with a cool towel over her eyes and went back into her office to call Jerry. Your fathers on his way, dear.
No, no, keep your eyes covered. Darkness will help, Mrs. Crane said as she passed by Helens cot. Helen heard her rush out to the hall to speak to someone briefly, then come back in and sit behind her. Helen lay under the towel, grateful that she was being left alone and in relative privacy. She couldnt think two coherent thoughts in a row, let alone explain herself to anyone. What scared her the most was that for some reason she knew that what she had tried to do was right, or at least that it was expected of her.
Deep inside, she knew she would have killed that boy if she could, and she didnt even feel guilty about it. Until she saw her father.But it doesnt work like that, anyway. It is also discovered that a union between Lucas and Helen may initiate a new Trojan War. Lucas felt a physical need to protect Helen. She didnt have to look down to know that the same would happen to her if she lost her grasp on the crumbling window ledge.
Its not like I have any choice!