Enlightenment by Liz Keel

“No!” I screamed. It had happened again. This was the fourth night in a row I had

woken up with a start, beads of sweat dampening my forehead and a sick feeling

swirling in my stomach. Rubbing my face whilst trying to sit up I thought back to the

same terrifying dream that had been haunting me for weeks now. Not that I expected

it to be any other way. I mean, watching your parents die in a car crash will have that

effect on you. The difference was that I was supposed to have died. I know it sounds

crazy but there was no way I should have survived that; yet I had, and I was sure

that the only reason I was still alive was because of the bright light that had

emanated from my body.

We were supposed to have been setting off on a three-month expedition around

India, but only got as far as our local town in Montana before it happened. One

minute I was sitting in the back of the car fiddling with my iPod and the next second

I’d heard Mom screaming. I’d looked up just in time to see a car skidding along on

the road before it hit us side-on, flipping us into a ditch. Even now the fear I’d felt at

the time – the fear of what was to come – still swallows me whole. Time had seemed

to slow down as I had watched my mom and dad being thrown around as the car

had turned upside down. Our screams had been overwhelming and I’d been

reaching my breaking point, when suddenly all went silent and

I had been engulfed in a bright, orange glow that had blinded me. Everything

after that was hazy. I remember smacking my head on the window, which had been

followed by an unbearable pain that had made my skull feel as though it would

explode. I put my hand to my forehead, feeling a warm and sticky liquid trickling

down the side of my face. Putting my hand out in front of me, I saw it was blood, but

my fuzzy brain couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. It was at that point black

spots started to creep into my vision, making everything seem blurry. Then, however

much I tried to stay awake, the darkness won and I slipped out of consciousness.

I awoke to an incessant bleeping and hushed whispers of ‘So young’ and ‘Such a

shame’ and it was at that point I knew both of my parents were dead. Upon opening

my eyes, a numb feeling began to take over as I realised I was in the local hospital

with doctors giving me sympathetic looks and calling me sweetie whilst a nurse

asked me who they should contact. That was an easy answer: no one. My parents

had both been only children and their parents, my grandparents, had died when they

were young. There was no one else.

A couple of hours later Eli turned up with his family. Who’s Eli? Explaining him

isn’t exactly one of the easiest things to do, as our relationship was complicated to

say the least. Foremost, he’s my best friend, even with his over-protective nature,

which I think stems from his need to look out for me, kind of like how I imagined a

brother would for a sister. This would make sense as I’ve always been really close to

his family, who seem to have been in my life for forever. Yes, it was helped by the

fact they lived in the same neighbourhood as us and that he went to the same high

school as me; but more than that Eli seems to have been there at all my major life

events. From losing my first tooth, to falling off my bike and then taking me for walks

in the forest when I needed the company, he’s always been there, someone I could

rely on.

And again on this eventful day, he turned up knowing exactly what I needed: for

someone not to say anything, but instead just to sit with me. He completely ignored

his mother’s sobs as he only had eyes for me, walking quickly over to my bed and

wrapping his arms around me. He pulled me onto his lap and once again I seemed

to fit perfectly as he cocooned me, wrapping his arms around my back, his warmth

spreading through me like a drug. We were both seniors but he looked older,

probably due to the growth spurt he had had over the summer. At six foot one he

was a whole seven inches taller than me and had these tanned muscular arms that

were freakishly strong, probably due to his part-time job as a labourer on the local

farm. His dark blond hair spent most of the time being brushed back from his

forehead, as it always fell into his eyes, but it always really suited him that way. One

of the things I loved most about him were his eyes, which sparkled different shades

of emerald green and I swear just looking at them let me know how he was feeling.

On that day they had been a dull green.

I know the way I’m describing him might make you wonder why I’m not talking

about him as something more than just a friend, but that’s the complicated part. You

see, my feelings for him are purely platonic, but I don’t think he feels the same. The

way Eli looks at me sometimes…the subtle hints…the way he grabs my hand and

won’t let go, I think he wants something more and I’m not sure what to do about it.

And however selfish this might sound, I need him in my life and can’t mess up our

friendship, even to see if there could possibly be something more to our relationship.

What if it all went wrong?

“Hey Thea,” Eli had whispered into my ear. “Mom says that when you’re

discharged you’re coming home with us, period. No arguing.” I’d squeezed him back,

gratefully burying my face in the crook of his neck, unable to communicate how

much he and his family meant to me. At least they would be able to keep the

loneliness at bay.

We sat like that for ages, me just breathing in his woody, musky smell, wondering

how I was meant to function again. He twisted strands of my dark brown hair around

his fingers and occasionally stroked his thumb along the side of my chin in a

soothing manner. I could hear his mother and father in deep discussions with the

police officers, and heard them say it was a miracle I was alive. Tell me about it. The

only other person who had been around was Eli’s four-year- old sister Leela, who

kept coming up with big, round, sad eyes, patting me on the leg whilst trying to get

me to take Buggles, her much loved toy rabbit. She had known something was

wrong and had tried her hardest to fix it in the only way she knew how.

That was four months ago, and although I’ve spent most of my time since then

feeling numb and totally lost, I have begun to smile again and do normal things like

getting up in the morning and going to school. If only these dreams would go away.

There was nothing I could do about what had happened, but still my brain was

making me re-play it over and over again. However, this latest dream was different.

Whenever I had dreamt about the crash, before the part where the orange glow

appeared, I could see the faces of the bystanders with their horrified looks as we

began to tip over. But this last time there was another face of a man who looked at

me – and I mean really looked at me – as though he knew me. For some reason his

eyes glowed with an intense ferocity and the sneer on his face only added to the

anger that seemed to radiate off him. I couldn’t work out what I had ever done to him,

or why I hadn’t seen him in my dreams before.




The Driel Trilogy
Liz Keel
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date: 21st April 2016
ISBN:  9780996974875 
ISBN:  9780994664198 
Book Description:
After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. 
Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice. With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. 
Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…
About the Author:
I live in Surrey, England, a short walk from the beautiful Windsor Park, with my husband Richard and our two gorgeous children Noah and Olivia. For me, writing is nothing short of an addiction and I often find myself sneaking out to my writing shed for just a few minutes, which can often turn into hours of pure, unadulterated bliss catching up with my characters and continuing their story. 
In-between writing, I teach in a primary school where there’s never a dull moment! I will also often be found Kindle in hand, reading a wide variety of genres but with YA fantasy and paranormal romance at the forefront of my reading list. Although I’m currently writing the second book in the Driel trilogy, other characters involving all things fantasy, paranormal and YA romance are jockeying for position, wanting me to write their story next, so watch this space! It is such a privilege to share my stories with you the reader. Thank you enough for taking the time to find out more about me. 
To find out more about Liz, visit her website: www.lizkeelauthor.com