The Color of Lies

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This led her to coin the term: Thrillers with Heart. To learn more about CJ and her writing, check out these interviews with her. Website Facebook Twitter. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. The medical conditions these characters have fascinate me. Toggle navigation. Author Interview with C. She had a walking staff that she also used for kung fu, thus hitting all the major tropes that would appeal to eight-year-olds… Thank goodness there are no known copies left in existence! What are some of your favorite thrillers? Describe your book in five words or less.

What inspired you to write a book about synesthesia? Does Ella see her medical condition as a blessing or a curse? You just have to look and listen. What kinds of things did you research while writing this book? Lyons CJ Lyons has lived most of her life on the edge. Website Facebook Twitter a Rafflecopter giveaway. Leave a Reply Cancel reply.

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Every year on this November day, my gram Helen, who raised me, laughs and sings and dances — usually she's a hermit, so I know the effort costs her dearly. That's exactly why I make sure to thank her, as much as I'd prefer to ignore the date circled on the calendar. I can't let her down. So many tears you could salt an ocean with them. Every single time Gram Helen wishes me a happy birthday, it's with the shadow of death clinging to her.

It's a story never told, not from start to end, but so many bits and pieces have been filled in by so many voices. Helen's voice and Uncle Joe's and even Darrin's. Never mine, though. I can't remember anything from back then. A blessing, Helen says, they all say. A few years ago, I mustered the courage to check out the newspaper article about the fire, but I didn't make it past the picture below the screaming headline, f lames reaching out to me from my laptop, heat singeing my face before I even reached the reporter's words.

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It left me sick for a day after, my imagination conjuring horror and pain, worse than if I'd been there in person. So lucky I wasn't there, everyone tells me.

So lucky I was only three, too young to remember. So lucky my parents decided to leave me with Helen so they could take their first vacation in years.

The Colour of Lies

So lucky to have been hundreds of miles from that small cottage on a remote beach I hover a few inches above the pool's floor. Swishing my fingers above my face, I use the crystalline water and softly shimmering light to paint images invisible to anyone except me. A mom and dad cradling a baby, love shining gold all around them. A little girl, dancing and running and jumping into their arms for hugs, and her parents are so happy, so proud of her. They join hands, the girl swinging from their arms, knowing, certain, trusting that they will never, ever let her fall.

The perfect family. Smoke and f lames fill my vision, vanquishing the sheltering calm of the water, engulfing my imaginary family. They vanish, ripples of a dream that never lived to see the light of day. I throw my body to one side but the f lames reach out for me, greedy, grabbing. Fire stole my parents and now it's come for me. I huddle, my legs scraping the rough surface of the bottom of the pool. Black tendrils of smoke bind me, choking my breath. They lead back to a fiery figure standing high above me at the far side of the pool, the nightmare demon who terrorizes my dreams.

When I was little, I used to have this nightmare almost every night. But now, the memories only haunt me on this day — my birthday. I struggle to re-create my peaceful happy birthday wish. But the spell of the water is broken and my lungs burn with need.

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I exhale, push off the bottom, and rise to steal a breath, the air slapping at my face. I inhale, then immediately return below the surface, using only my flutter kick to propel me faster than most people can swim using both arms and legs. I reach the far end of the pool and come up, ready to f lip into my next lap, but as I break the water my motion stutters and I fall back, flailing my arms. For a moment, all I can see is fire and smoke.

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My chest tightens and I can't breathe past my panic. Then I blink and there's a guy standing above me — a real one, not my nightmare fire-demon. He's fully clothed, a messenger bag across his chest, watching me with eyes magnified by horn-rimmed glasses, eyes so green they mirror the water surrounding me.

I splash in confusion, getting the tops of his shoes wet, yet he doesn't retreat.

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No one calls me that, not since I was a child — he must have the wrong girl. Why else would a stranger be searching me out? Who are you? I squint at him, the water's ref lection dancing over his clean-cut features. He can't be the police or campus security — he's only a year or two older than me, dark-skinned with hair as black as mine, dressed like a student in jeans and a Carhartt jacket.

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There's a project I'm working on. Could we go someplace? I could really use your help. Virginia or the Carolinas? The bitter taste of fear slowly ebbs, replaced by curiosity as I realize it's not solely his accent that sets him apart from other guys. Usually by now, I'd be seeing colors and scenes conjured by whoever I was talking to — I wouldn't have to guess where his accent is from, I'd see it in his words. But the air around Alec remains calm. No shimmers of color, no images ghosting over reality.

I'm not used to taking anyone's words at face value — I've never needed to. Like most everyone on my mom's side of the family, I have synesthesia. It means my senses get tangled up, confusing what I hear with how my brain translates another person's words, all combining to form auras of brilliant colors and pictures in my mind. Images so vivid, I've spent my whole life coloring, drawing, painting, trying to reproduce them. But not with Alec. No sparks of color, no ghostly images to reveal the truth behind his words. Suddenly, I feel as if I've become half-blind, tone deaf, and lost the use of three of my four limbs.

I struggle to remember what he even asked me only a few seconds ago. Words without any colors to ground them slip by so fast; mere sounds, virtually without meaning.

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Following my gaze, he turns to glance over his shoulder. There's nothing there except stacks of unused race blocks and lane floats. Then he looks back at me, curiosity lighting his eyes. Bewildered and uncertain, I duck below the surface and swim to the ladder. When I climb out, he's there to hand me my towel. As I towel my hair — water slipping from the dark strands to create a puddle at my feet until I straitjacket them with the terry cloth — I parse his words, seeking their hidden meaning.

Usually so-called small talk reveals everything I'd ever want to know about a person's true intentions — auras don't hide behind small talk. But now I'm drowning, with no clue what truth lurks beneath Alec's words. I'm not feeling underdressed — I'm feeling naked. Alec says nothing. He's still shrouded in an aura-less mystery of blankness.

An empty canvas waiting for me to gather the courage to create that first splash of color that will change everything. Not yet. I mean, I do take classes here, and I have permission to use the pool I never ramble. I never chat. I watch and listen, let others do the talking. But I can't stop myself. It's as if the empty space around him is a black hole and I need to fill the void.

But I have the feeling he already knows everything I've just told him. At least she didn't scream, is all I can think as I make my way down the hall from the swimming pool where I found Nora Cleary. I trudge back to the natatorium's main lobby. The look on her face when she came out of the water and saw me standing there — sheer terror. I almost do, but I catch the eye of the blonde manning the reception desk and pure, stubborn pride stops me. She's watching me but pretending not to, her expression filled with curiosity. Invalid email or password. Try again.

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