The Leading eBooks Store Online 4,385,058 members ⚫ 1,459,539 ebooks

New to

Learn more
Prism by Faye Kellerman
Buy this eBook
US$ 8.99
(If any tax is payable it will be calculated and shown at checkout.)

Prism takes us to a slightly alternate universe in which medicine and health care do not exist, and in which sick people are allowed to die without any care. Set in New Mexico and California, the novel features three teens who fall through a cave at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico while on a field trip. They are plunged into a frightening parallel universe—seven weeks in the past, in which their "normal" worlds of family and high school remain the same…except for the fact that no medicine exists and when people die in the street they are picked up and disposed of.

HarperCollins; June 2009
272 pages; ISBN 9780061919787
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Prism
Author: Faye Kellerman; Aliza Kellerman

Chapter Three

"He didn't get out?" Zeke was in a panic. "What do you mean he didn't get out!" He kicked the ground with the type of anger found only in boys and men.

"You don't know that," I told Joy. "Don't say that!"

"The car was completely mangled—"

"We got out!"

"Exactly," Joy said. "We got out. So where is he?"

"He's around here somewhere!" My tears were falling fast and furious. Think,

Hutchinson, think! "Let's back it up. Everyone just shut up a moment and let's try to think!"

No one spoke, which made things even creepier. The only thing that was now making noise was the fire—loud popping noises that expelled glowing embers upward like an erupting volcano. To drown it out, I started talking. "What happened exactly? I mean I know we crashed, but . . . how?"

"I'm pretty sure we hit something." Joy's voice wasn't much louder than a whisper.

"What about Mr. Addison?" I continued. "Should we go back to the car and check? Maybe he got flung out and needs us and . . ."

"Did you see him?" Zeke questioned.

"No," I responded.

Joy gulped. "I might've. I mean I think he was still in the car . . . or maybe between the car and a rock or maybe . . . Everything was getting hot and smoky."

"Oh, God." I felt revolted. I felt sick.

"I—I really can't be sure. . . ."

I twisted my shoe into the dusty ground. The desert was vast and completely alien. It was dark but not black because of the fire and the overcast night, the cloud- covered full moon providing some visibility. I couldn't make out any bugs or beasts, but we all knew that terrible things were out there. I felt an electric breeze run over my face, blowing my hair in all directions. Up above, the winds were pushing the clouds across the sky.

"Okay." I drew a line in the dust of the New Mexican desert. "Let's think."

They continued to breathe heavily and say nothing.

"Okay." I rubbed my hands together and then clapped them, trying to signify something official. "Where's everyone else from our school?"

"Driving miles ahead of us." Zeke groaned.

"Or miles behind us," I proposed. "Our car could have moved quicker than the big vans they were using. So maybe all we have to do is wait until they catch up."

"Does anyone have a phone?" Joy inquired.

"Mr. Addison made us pack them in the trunk of the van so we wouldn't be on the phone, blah, blah, blah." Zeke sat down and banged his head against the fold of his arms. He was right. All of our luggage and provisions had been incinerated. I had my messenger bag and Zeke had his backpack. Joy had escaped empty-handed. Everything else was gone.

"Check your bag, Kaida," Zeke prodded. "Just in case."

I groped around, but my phone wasn't there. "It's freaking black." Actually more like a subdued navy. I heard rustling and saw the faint outline of Zeke's hands searching through his own backpack. A click sounded and a bright beam shone.

"Wow—" I shielded my eyes.

"Aha!" he shouted comically. "It works!" The light focused on me, then my bag. "Now look for your phone!"

I opened my beautiful, worn bag and sifted through my remaining possessions lovingly. I discovered I had a flashlight, too—thanks, Mom!—and quickly extracted it. I turned it on. "Let's all go through our stuff. You know, to see how much food we have, et cetera."

"Good idea," Zeke agreed.

We sat down on the cold, dusty ground and rifled through our bags. For the next two minutes, the silence of the desert was broken as we tore through items, hoped, waited, listened for some car motor or anything that signified salvation.

"No," I stated dryly. "No phone."

"What do you have, Hutchinson?"

"Where's Joy?" I panicked. I hadn't heard her voice for a few minutes.

"I'm here."

"Stop pacing and sit down," I told her. "We need to stick together."She sat. Her face was wet and she was still shaking. It dawned on me that she was walking to burn off all that nervous energy. "I didn't bring my bag. That was stupid."

"Who had time?" I told her.

"Did you find anything, Kaida?" Zeke asked me again.

"Yeah." I focused my flashlight on the ground. Inside my bag was a thrift-shop sweatshirt that said DANCE! DANCE! in loopy black scrawl. I also had a poncho, the ugly yellow kind you beg your mom not to pack. Thank goodness Mom disregarded my wishes. I also had aspirin that I didn't remember packing and Benadryl that I vaguely associated with fire and Maria. I also had pretzels, a bag of potato chips, and lots of candy, along with two bottles of water, which was now worth its weight in gold. I turned to Zeke. "How about you?"

Zeke gestured at his pack. There was another sweatshirt, blue and crumpled. Another poncho, but his was red. He had some Cheez-Its and Doritos and another couple bottles of water. He also had a GPS, probably the most useful thing either of us had managed to bring. Suddenly I felt like I was suffocating and I began to cry.

"I feel like I'm in a bad movie." Joy rubbed her arms. Then a small light flicked by her face.

I ignored Joy's words and focused on the pinpoint of sparkling orange by her cheek. What was that? A firefly maybe? The strong, shady scent of tobacco filled my nostrils and I was absolutely baffled.

"Wait . . ." I stared at her. "You forgot your bag. You didn't sneak in your phone. But you have a lighter and a cigarette?"

"It's a disposable lighter. It cost less than a dollar. I had two smokes left in my pocket. I didn't even know I had them."

"A disposable lighter?" Zeke cried.

Joy blew out a cloud of smoke in response. I always wondered if people actually puffed out smoke rings in real life, or if actors just did that in movies.

"How many times can you use it?" he pressed.

She flicked it on and off several times. Nothing came out. "It's empty . . . disposable." In the dark, Joy's face was shadowed. All I could see of her were the wispy ribbons veiling her eyes. "Who cares?" Her voice had become less quivery.

More Children's