But when Mary’s in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life.
The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary’s feeling the full weight of survivor’s guilt.
However, Carter’s back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a
little “glitchy,” and he’s developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he’s suffering from
major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he’s been possessed.
As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling
him is having the time of its life learning to be human.
Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny “paranormal-lite”
story about being human, being in love, and being healed.
An Excerpt from Radiant by Christina Daley
The bell rang again, and Mr. Hubert began the Pre-Calculus lesson. But Mary hardly paid attention as she thought about what Sienna had told her. Was Carter really here at school? Now? She only had her last class with him—Physics. He normally sat in the back with some of his friends, while Mary took one of the lonely desks near the front. She’d have to wait until then to see if he was in a body cast or something.
When Pre-Cal was finished, Mary gathered up her stuff and headed for the door with the others as usual. But the moment she stepped outside, she collided with another person. “Gah!” she cried as waves of pain surged through her bruised side, bringing her to her knees.
“Mary!” Sienna said as she came over to her. “Geez Carter. What’s wrong with you?”
Mary looked up. The person she had run into was Carter Maxwell. He wasn’t in a body cast and he didn’t have crutches or anything. He looked normal, actually. Except for the thick black sweater he wore over his school uniform.
“I am sorry,” he said. “I did not mean to cause harm.” He then knelt down and looked Mary in the eyes. There was a subtle spark of life in his green irises. “Are you all right, Mary?” he asked.
She didn’t say anything for a moment. Mary didn’t know that Carter knew her name, and she had never noticed he had green eyes before. Nor how nice they looked when he was concerned.
She shook her head quickly to break off his gaze. “No. I mean, yeah. I’m fine.”
The corners of his mouth curled into a half-smile. “I am glad.”
People were staring at them. Mary blushed under the added attention, and she quickly got to her feet.
“Need help carrying your stuff?” Sienna asked.
“Thanks,” Mary said. “But I’m just gonna swing by my locker. I’ll be fine.”
“All right. See you in Art.” Sienna shot one last warning look at Carter before heading down the hall.
Mary picked up her bag and turned the other direction. As she walked, she realized people were still looking at her. That’s when she noticed Carter was walking next to her. And he was doing it in a really weird way. He made each step deliberate, like he was doing mini-lunges.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“I am walking,” he said.
“Um. Okay.” Mary looked forward again, thinking that when she got to her locker, he’d go away. But he didn’t. He stopped with her.
“I’m all right, Carter,” she said. “You don’t have to help me.”
“Okay,” he said.
Mary looked at him from the corner of her eye as she put her Pre-Cal stuff away and got her Art things. “Are you all right?”
Carter smiled. “I am. Thank you for asking.”
Sienna was right. Carter was acting weird. That bus sure did a job on his brain.
“Don’t you have to go to class or something?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
Mary closed her locker and headed towards Art. Carter followed. The halls were emptying as kids got to their rooms, but it was still embarrassing with him lunging next to her. Mary stopped and faced him. “Listen, Carter. I really am all right. You don’t have to walk with me to class.” In fact, she preferred that he didn’t.
He smiled. “You said that already.”
“Yeah,” she said. “So…stop following me.”
Carter wrinkled his brow. “Do I make you uncomfortable? Walking with you like this?”
Give the man a prize. “Uh, yeah,” Mary said. “Very.”
He looked a little sad suddenly. “I am sorry. I will leave you alone.” He turned and walked down the other hall.
Mary felt bad. She didn’t mean to make him sad. She just wanted him to stop following her. She sighed and headed down the same hall to apologize. But when she got there, she didn’t see him. “Carter?”
He was nowhere. Despite the weird lunges, he apparently could move quickly.
That’s when she remembered. For days, Mary had put herself through a series of guilt trips, thinking Carter was going to die or end up a vegetable. She had never considered everything going back to normal. Or, relatively normal. This was the first time she’d seen Carter since the hospital, and she had forgotten to thank him for what he had done.
About the Author
Christina Daley made her first book with neighborhood friends when she was four years old. They “wrote” out some semblance of lettering with crayons, cut up a cardboard box for the cover, and bound it all together with clear adhesive tape. It was brilliant.
Quite a few years later, Christina is trying her hand at writing “real” books. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with a pet plant named Herb.
Leave a comment below and you might win either an ebook copy of
Radiant by Christina Daley or a signed bookmark, winner’s choice.
Open internationally, the winning name will be drawn on the evening of
Saturday, March 2nd. The prize will be sent during the week of March 18th.