TITLE: Speck Hawkins
GENRE: MG Fantasy
Speck Hawkins fumbled in the weeds for his thick, black-rimmed glasses. He slid the heavy frames up his nose, as he'd done every day for years, only to discover he no longer needed them. Blurred through the lenses, sunny yellow splotches appeared all over the lake, bright spots against dark water. He yanked the glasses from his face.
Without them, he saw with perfect clarity: marigolds. Ten flowers floated on the water; ten more bobbed up from below the silver-gray surface. They lingered there, floating like dead fish in a stagnant pond, until suddenly they began to deteriorate. Every curve of the petals, each fuzzy green stem—one by one, they shriveled to ash and faded into the water, until every last flower was gone.
A chill turned his arm hair to frayed wires. No birds chirped, no leaves rustled, no wind howled under the heavy gray clouds; there was only silence, thick and deafening. Close to the bank where he stood, a single ripple disturbed the lake's still water, announcing the rock—it floated there, as if it were ping-pong ball hollow. His rock: the only gift he'd ever been given, from the only friend he'd ever had. "It's a good luck charm," Charlotte had said, when she'd handed it to him yesterday. Already, it felt like weeks had passed.
He had to get it back. Needed it—needed the luck. Needed Charlotte's reminder that there was at least one person who understood him.
But as he reached for it, the rock disintegrated to ash.