Title: The Six Days
Author: Anna McCormally
Genre: YA Fantasy
Fifteen years ago, in the middle of the night, Jamie Carpenter’s mother went up to the dark lighthouse on the cliffs. She never came back.
Yesterday, Jamie had a nightmare: his little brother disappearing like their mother did, through the door of the lighthouse, a door that has never opened.
Today, the nightmare came true. Jamie’s brother is missing. And not just missing–he’s been abducted, taken through the lighthouse door into the world of magic that lays beyond.
With his best friend Nia at his side, Jamie crosses into a world he never knew existed–but Emanu is not the fairytale world of childrens stories. Desperate to understand who took Danny and why, struggling to survive in a world of shadowy magic, Jamie and Nia seek the help of the Council of Witches. As they uncover more and more of Jamie’s family secrets and unknown powers, it becomes clear that Nia herself may be something more than human–and that it’s her the Council views as their biggest threat…
Swept up in a dark political game they don’t understand, burdened by magic they don’t know how to use, Jamie and Nia are going to have to learn fast if they’re going to survive Emanu and rescue Danny Carpenter. There are only six days until the gate between worlds closes again.
Anna Carolyn McCormally currently manages a small used bookstore in Washington, D.C.. She has a tattoo of the Deathly Hallows and blogs about YA fiction at www.giantsquidbooks.com.. Her short fiction and poetry has been published in pacificREVIEW, Quantum Fairy Tales and 3 am magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mccormallie.
"Nia was giving Cal’s injured shoulder the evil eye and reached for the sword that was lying beneath him. She drew it, went to open the cut on her palm.
“Hey!” Rowan said, and reached over and swatted the blade away. “Don’t do that. What are you trying to do?”
Surprised, Nia said, “Blood, for the healing spell,” and Rowan shook his head.
“Barbaric,” he muttered. “There are better ways to heal.” He glanced at her. “But you don’t need to use Old Magic—you’re a witch, aren’t you?”
Curiously she said, “How did you know? Is it because I’m translating?”
Rowan blinked. “What language are you speaking?” he asked.
“English,” Nia said tentatively.
“Huh,” Rowan said, and shrugged. “Well, I’m speaking Anharan. But even if you were human, I’d still translate. No, it’s your pendant,” he said, raising his eyebrows and nodding at Nia’s necklace. “A human would never wear the Council’s symbol. What’s your name?”
“Nia. Junia. And that’s—that’s Jamie, this is Cal.”
“Junia,” Rowan repeated. He had a funny look on his face. “Listen—if you don’t want to get noticed by scum like the Captain back there you’d better learn to hide better than that—the hourglass there, and on your sword. The Council isn’t...universally popular. And your eyes don’t give you away so it should be easier to hide.” But then he frowned. “How old are you?”
“Eighteen,” said Nia, sounding a little defensive.
Rowan looked quizzical. “They should have changed,” he said. “Are you half, too? Or whole?”
Nia didn’t say anything. She did not, Jamie realized, know.
Maybe Rowan could tell Nia was uncomfortable. “At any rate,” he said. “Just give me a minute and I’ll heal his shoulder without cutting anybody up.”"
"Cal says, “I never asked you—what does it feel like for you?”
“What does what feel like?”
“The magic,” he says and all of a sudden all she can think about is their conversation on the boat, the firelight and Cal oh so close under the sky, just like he is now.
Music drifts over them from inside like a cool breeze and the air tastes of silver starlight, crisp and cold. Nia relishes the taste of it, breathes in and out slowly, her breath smoky on the night air. “It feels like breathing,” she says, and looks up at him. “Like I was never breathing properly before, just shallow breaths, you know, something blocking the airflow. And then, in the attic, it was just switched on—and I could breathe.” She looks back at the river below them. “It feels intoxicating,” she says. “It’s like I’m drunk on breathing.”
“So you’re not,” Cal says, “angry.”
She cocks her head, waits.
“I’m angry,” he explains. “I’m so furious that this happened to us I can hardly think about anything else. Everything about our lives—it wasn’t a lie, exactly, but it wasn’t true. I wish none of this had ever happened; I’d give anything to go back.” He says this all very calmly, like he has thought very hard about how to articulate something that he is struggling to come to terms with and, in finding the words, has accepted it a little. It is marvelous, his self-awareness; he is a marvel.
“Oh Cal,” she says. She has the urge to reach out and touch his face, but she doesn’t. “I know I shouldn’t say this but we’re going to find Danny, aren’t we? We’re going to save him? So in the end I’m glad it happened, because—I won’t have to go back.” She pauses and then repeats what she’d said to Jamie, wondering what Cal’s reaction will be: “They’ll have to forgive me, won’t they? The Council?”
He doesn’t say anything; he seems to have tensed.
She says, “You think I’m horrible.”
“No,” he says, “I don’t think you’re horrible. It’s just—you never did anything wrong. I just think don’t think you have anything to prove to them.”
“It’s not about that,” she says, frowning, and Cal says, “Isn’t it? You’re not—you’re not like them.”
“And what are they like?” she asks without looking at him.
“They’re—” he says and then hesitates. “I don’t know. Heartless.”
She laughs. “And I’m not heartless?”
“No,” he says, with wonder, “No, you’re—of course you’re not. Nia,” (his voice is staid and steady voice and it irritates her; everything she loves about Cal and everything she hates about him are the same things), “I’ve known you practically my entire life, I know what you’re like and you’re...you’re the least—”
“I’m not afraid of the Call,” Nia cuts him off. “If that’s what—if it happens to me then I’m not afraid. I would be happy to go to the Council. I’d be grateful.”
He gazes at her; his look rings through the air. “Ni,” he says, and then, blushing, shakes his head."