The Compulsive Reader: An Excerpt from Meridian by Amber Kizer

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Excerpt from Meridian by Amber Kizer

Meridian, a new paranormal book from Amber Kizer (author of One Butt Cheek at a Time), is about sixteen-year-old Meridian who has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain. Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.


August 11, 2009 Release Date

"In the economy of Nature nothing is ever lost.I cannot believe that the soul of manshall prove the one exception."

Gene Stratton-PorterAfterword from JESUS OF THE EMERALD 1923


The first creatures to seek me were the insects; my parents cleaned the basinet free of dead ants the morning after they brought me home from the hospital. My first word was "dead."
At age four, when I stepped out of bed and popped a giant toad like a water balloon, I never again turned any lights off. For all of my sixth year, I slept sitting up thinking I'd spot the dying coming toward me.

There were times when it felt like my insides were full of broken glass, times when the souls of the animals passing through me felt too big, too much. I'd open my eyes in the morning and peer into the glassy gaze of a mouse on my pillow. Death never became my comfortable companion.
I didn't have nightmares about monsters; I wasn't afraid of a thing in my closet. In fact, there were many times when I wished they, the dying, would hide under my bed instead of burrowing into the pile of stuffed animals by my head.

My mother hugged me, told me I was special. I'd like to think my parents weren't revolted by me. But I'll never forget the feelings apparent in the glances they exchanged over my head. Worry. Fear. Repulsion. Concern.

My first chore was to clean up the carcasses. My second was to make the bed. I'd don rubber gloves and pick the dead up. My hands grew callused from digging so many graves. We ran out of room in the backyard by my fourteenth birthday. When I was too ill to do it, my dad stepped in and removed them, but it was always with thinly veiled disgust.

I trembled my way through the days, constantly sleep deprived, chronically ill. My stomach always hurt. Low-grade headaches constantly thumped a slow tempo. Doctors labeled me a hypochondriac, or worse—still they never found causes for the symptoms. The pain was real.

The cause a mystery. They suggested shrinks. Growing pains. Perhaps I was one of those children who required lots of attention. I'd catch my mom staring at me—she often started conversations, only to break off and leave the room.

With each moon phase, the animals got bigger. Soon, they came during the day as well. At school, kids whispered my nicknames: Reaper, Grave Digger, Witch. Others, I pretended not to hear.

Adults ostracized me, too. It hurt.

As I got older and stopped trying to bond, I came to the same conclusion as everyone else. I was weird. A freak. A sideshow act.When my brother Sam was born, I kept a vigil in his room. Intent on cleaning up the dead things before he woke. I focused on making him feel that he wasn't alone, that I understood how scary this world could be. I wouldn't let him suffer my fears; he'd be normal in my eyes. By the time he was a month-old and the only dead came near him because of me, I retreated.

My parents pretended it didn't matter. That nothing ever died around me. That our backyard wasn't a graveyard. If anything, they acted like I had a talent. A gift.

If we had an extended family, I didn't know them. The only exception was my namesake, a great-Aunt who sent me birthday quilts once a year. My world was, and is, me and death. It's a lonely place to live, but I thought things were getting better. My name is Meridian Sozu, and I was wrong.

Reprinted from Amber Kizer's newsletter—get your own at AmberKizer.com. Amber's debut novel ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME is available in hardcover and paperback. To read or listen to an excerpt, get up the minute news, and be eligible for cool exclusive promotions please visit http://www.onebuttcheek.com/.

What do you think?


Unknown said...

oooh this one looks and sounds good

I liked one butt cheeck at a time, it was pretty darn cool :D

Emily Ruth said...

ooh, I'm interested :)