Published by: Amberjack Publishing
Publication date: July 11th 2017
Genres: Romance, Time-Travel, Young Adult
Zat is a dreamer from the distant future—a time when humans no longer dream and Earth is a desolate wasteland. He dreams of the beautiful Earth of the past, and a fiery-haired beauty named Babe. Against the wisdom of his peers, Zat decides to risk everything to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams…
Babe is the perpetual new girl in town. Her father’s job frequently moves the family around the country, and Babe just longs for a place to call home. As she settles into the sleepy town of Sugar Dunes, Florida, Babe begins to have strange dreams of a green-eyed boy named Zat. Night after night, Babe shows Zat her world. But the dreams come at the cost of nearly crippling migraines every morning. Babe’s life outside of her dreams pales in comparison to her growing love for Zat and their time spent together.
But the more time Babe and Zat spend together in her dreams, the more Babe’s pain increases, and Zat begins to question the reality of his existence. How can he live a life with Babe, when all they have is her dreams?
Can a dream become a reality?
I finally found Nguyen’s Fish Market and at the same time confirmed once again that a bit could really mean a bit around here or it could mean a lot. In this case it was a lot. A lot of miles away, that is. Turns out it was completely on the other side of the Bay from where we lived, in an area which could best be described as humble. Small, gray buildings that had been beaten up by the moist, salty air for so many years were separated by wide gravel parking lots—one sad building looking just like the other. I was struck by the open space out here. Nobody was fighting for parking places in Sugar Dunes. Parking places were fighting for cars.
Nguyen’s, on the other hand, was jammed. I squeezed the truck into a narrow spot between two other trucks and went in to have a look. I didn’t know one type of fish from another but I suspected everything here was fresh off the boats.
The customers inside waited in two lines. In the first line you gave your order to a guy (an Asian man about my dad’s age) and he wrapped it in white paper, weighed it, wrote a price on it and handed it to you over the counter. After that you went to the second line where an Asian woman with a thick accent (probably the wife) rang up your purchase. There were so many people in the close space that in spite of the fans blowing back and forth, the humidity and sight of all the dead fish made me queasy.
I walked back and forth staring at beds of ice chips where shrimp, flounder, grouper, snapper, catfish, and blue crabs competed for your attention like puppies in a pet store. How was a fish novice like me supposed to decide? I noticed a girl behind the counter sitting at a small card table sketching on a sheet of the white paper used for wrapping fish—an ink drawing of an exotic-looking bird, tail feathers draped over the branch of a small tree. It was beautifully drawn; I could tell even from that distance.
When I caught her eye, she put down the black ink pen she was holding and came to the front to help me. She was around my age but smaller, far more delicate, and beautiful without the aid of makeup. Her black hair was pulled straight off her face into a ponytail. I figured she must be the daughter.
“Can I help you find something?” she asked in a soft southern accent.
“Can you suggest something my mom could make for dinner?”
“The snapper’s always good.”
I glanced at the carnation pink fillets and decided that being a pescatarian was almost as good as being a vegetarian. Anyway, it was either that or starve to death.
“Could you give me enough to feed three hungry people please, or . . . I guess I should go stand in that other line.”
In a flash she’d wrapped and weighed the fillets, and placed them in my hand.
What happened next can only be described as an out-of-body experience. I heard someone call out my name just as a mind-blowing pain started in my left foot and ripped all the way up the back of my leg. It seemed to happen in a split second but it must have been longer because when I came out of it, the girl was staring at me.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
I raised my ankle and rubbed away the memory of pain. Probably a leftover from an old tennis injury of mine—an Achilles tendon tear.
“I’m fine. I guess the heat got to me.”
“Do you wanna come in the back and sit down for a minute?”
“No, really, I’m fine. Thanks.”
Back in the truck, I blasted the AC right at my face.
Kathryn Berla graduated from the University of California at Berkeley as an English major. She has lived in many different countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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