Mourning Gloria - YA Contemporary - Available 9.4.18
He would have given anything to be anywhere but here. A week ago, time shifted into a hellish nightmare and reality disappeared. It ended the moment a small bullet exploded from its chamber and soaked the dark pavement in the alleyway with blood. It was something he couldn’t bear to experience once, much less again in every passing second.
Nothing that had happened since that night had been true. It couldn’t have been. His every sense, including his perception of time, had been disabled. His body ran on complete autopilot—his mind like a machine rendered suddenly inoperable after being dumped into the freezing river.
Everything felt foreign, as though being experienced by someone else entirely. Though his emotions had yet to resurface—he couldn’t be sure if they ever would—the physical world around him was dulled and distant from his own pain to everything else. He knew the heels of his black boots were sinking into the snow. He could tell the wind was blowing, seeing its effect on the barren branches of the trees above. He knew it was cold; the mannequins around him were donned in their finest coats, gloves, and scarves in the darkest black. As if that wasn’t proof enough, every horribly mocking breath he took visibly escaped his quivering lips to dissolve into the mist blanketing Centennial Cemetery.
He was aware of everything, yet the only thing bearing remote resemblance to a ‘feeling’ coursing through his emptiness was agony. It was as though someone pierced a burning knife through his chest and had been ceaselessly twisting it. With the blade’s every rotation, more of him eroded and wore away. He had nothing left but pain. Nothing left but promises he had broken, and promises he doubted he could keep. He had nothing left at all.
Though he sensed the furtive glances of people around him, he had barely been able to look at anyone since stepping out of the limousine that morning. His eyes just glanced off the other ‘mourners’ gathered.
A handful of people here did truly care. He knew that. But he couldn’t look them in the eye either. Everyone was gathered for one purpose, but despite being one of the most emotionally involved, he hadn’t yet allowed his gaze to rest on the casket—where she was.
Drawing a deep breath, he hung onto it as though the excess air would help fill the void in the rest of his chest. It didn’t.
Releasing the breath in a heavy sigh created a cloud of warmth in front of him. Once the fog cleared, he finally let his dark eyes fall to the casket a few yards from where he stood. A shiver rushed through him when his gaze locked on the girl there for the first time that morning. He curled his black gloved fingers tight to his palms, staring at how her eyes were closed and her usually tanned skin was ghostly pale.
Looking at her now, it was impossible to tell if any of it had really been worth it. Had the last few months meant anything to her? Had he really saved her?
The emptiness in his chest ached when he noticed no misty air escaping her frozen lips. She was still as stone, and it looked as though she was holding her breath, clinging to this one moment to hold off the promise of a painful eternity…
Mourning Gloria Reviews
"The entire book, I felt like I was there, with these characters, as they roamed the halls of Centennial High and Coralie’s Café. Katie is clearly talented at making her scenes clear and pristine without a doubt of what’s going on. It’s a talent I desire dearly in my own writing."
- Jayna Ostler, Author of 'Swallow', 'The Openers', 'Stereo', and 'Seven Cities' [FULL REVIEW]
"I’d like to believe (Michelle) was born with the talent of writing. I loved every single one of her characters. They all possess their own unique personality and they all add purpose to the plot. I feel Michelle’s writing really shined through character dialogue. "
- Ryan Jones, Author of 'The Defective' [FULL REVIEW]