The Sound Of Light
By Claire Wallis
Release Date: July 17, 2017
Pre Order: Amazon
My littlest girl has always been a bit peculiar. It was nothing I could ever put a finger on, but I always knew there was something inside her that made her a different kind of special. A deeper kind.
K’acy’s got a light around her, one that’ll just about knock you over, especially if you don’t see her coming. She’s got music in her soul, too. Deep, resonating music that echoes and hums, just like the notes that come from the bass guitar she’s had attached to her hip since the day she turned thirteen years old.
She’s got a hell of a secret, yes, but she does what she’s got to do to make it one worth having. She takes care of people. She changes their stories. I spent my life telling both of my girls that you always gotta do what’s right, even when it hurts, and it makes me proud to know she was listening.
I saw the way she looked at that boy on the day they met, and I knew right then that things were going to change. Two different people from two different worlds is nothing but a recipe for heartbreak, and when the lies pile higher and higher, it can change a person into something they’re not.
It took me dying all those years ago to finally figure out just exactly how special my K’acy really is, and even though I’m not with her anymore, I don’t want that boy and his family to change her. I want her to keep doing what’s right, even when it hurts.
Because that’s who she is inside. That’s her deeper kind of special.
**This stand-alone novel from Claire Wallis is intended for readers age 17 and up.**
I’m playing my StingRay again. This time, I’m by myself, in the back of a dive bar called The King’s Court. It’s my regular Wednesday-night emotional-housecleaning gig. The one I use to forget about the rest of the world. I don’t get paid to stand here, slapping my fingers against the strings in a solo performance that’s, more often than not, completely devoid of an audience much larger than a half dozen. I do it because I need to. Because it helps me forget.
Jarrod is sitting at the bar nursing a beer. He’s the only person who’s religiously here on Wednesday nights, and I like it that way. Flying under the radar is just fine with me. I don’t need “regulars”; I just need music.
The StingRay sits against the perfect pocket formed by the front of my hip, tied to me with a thick strap of leather and a set of strings that go straight to my heart. I play for two solid hours, thinking of nothing but the music coming out of me. My foot presses down on the compressor pedal from time to time, serving to both balance the sound and decompress my soul.
Then, just before I finish, I start playing the bass riff that’s been echoing through me nonstop since I shook Adam Sinclair’s hand on Monday afternoon. The moment Jarrod recognizes the song, he looks up at me. He’s never heard me play a Chili Peppers song before, and he’s wearing a look of amused bewilderment. Hell, I’m confused myself. But “Soul to Squeeze” comes out of me in an unstoppable pulse of flawless notes. And, though I don’t say them out loud, the lyrics roll through the inside of my head like they somehow belong there. It’s disconcerting. I’m gonna catch hell from Jarrod for it, that much I’m sure of. But still…when I finish the song, I feel cleansed.
“What the fuck was that?” Jarrod asks, walking up to me just after I zip my gig bag closed. I stand, sling the StingRay over my shoulder, and turn to him. I can smell the beer on his breath.
“‘Soul to Squeeze.’ Why?”
“I know what song it was, smartass. I wanna know why the hell you were playing it.”
“I don’t know. It’s just been stuck in my head for the past couple of days. I had to purge the earworm.” It feels like we’ve undergone some kind of bizarre personality flip. This time, I’m the one turning away from him, just to keep from showing him too much. Too much of what, I’m not sure.
“Earworm? Since when do you get earworms that involve Anthony Kiedis?”
“Since Monday, I guess.” I start walking toward the front door, hoping to avoid any more questions. I have no reason to feel like I have something worth hiding, but if anyone’s gonna call me out on an awkward reason for playing a particular song, it’s Jarrod. He knows I don’t play anything without purpose.
“And what happened on Monday to get this particular earworm tunneling into your little brain far enough for it play on repeat for two entire days?”
“Nothing.” I open the front door and walk out into the night, turning to the right and heading to the closest bus stop.
Jarrod coughs into his hand, spitting a rough “bullshit” out with the sound. I stop and turn on my heels, staring him down as best as I can without raising my hackles, or his. I don’t say anything.
“Fine. Don’t tell me then. But you have to know that if you don’t, I’m gonna assume all kinds of stuff. Like maybe the Chili Peppers ‘discovered’ you on YouTube and want you to come on tour with them. Ooo, no…I’ve got it! Maybe you had a crazy sex dream about Flea. Like the kind where you’re screwing on stage or something. Maybe that’s what this is all about. Which is it, K’acy? The tour or the sex dream?” He nudges me on the shoulder with his outstretched hand, like a big brother would prod his little sister. I can’t help but smile.
“It’s neither, you big douche. It’s just someone I met at work. They remind me of that song for some reason.” I see the bus coming down the street. I turn away from him again and hurry toward the stop. I don’t want to miss this one because another 43D isn’t scheduled to come for another forty-five minutes. He follows close behind me.
“You met an old person who reminds you of the Red Hot Chili Peppers? You’ve gotta be kidding me.”
“Maybe it isn’t an old person.”
A split second later, the bus meets me at the curb and the doors open. I step on, leaving him standing on the sidewalk alone. As the bus drives past Jarrod, I look out the window and see him frozen there, wearing his Kranky Records “hugs and/or drugs” T-shirt and one hell of an enormous grin.
Enamored with the process of creating messy characters filled with imperfections and wicked inclinations, Claire believes that you don’t actually have to like a character to fall in love with them – a good story, after all, is best served with a hearty side of evil (just ask Disney). Claire’s first New Adult novel, Push, was released by MIRA Books on May 1st 2014. The story speaks to her appreciation of enigmatic male characters, perfectly capable of charming themselves straight into your unwilling heart. She enjoys writing about characters that are, at any given moment, both loathed and loved. You know, the ones that refuse to be forgotten.
Claire Wallis has penned hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles over the last ten years, with science playing the lead role in almost all of them. Though non-fiction writing will forever be her first love, fiction has unexpectedly swooped in, hooked her by the soul, and become her true love. As a result of this coup d’état, Claire’s writing career has made a complete U-turn, and instead of rocks, plants, insects, and microbes, she is now putting human characters in the lead.
Claire’s previous jobs include working at a limestone quarry, hawking vegetables at a farmer’s market, clerking at the dollar store, and convincing new mothers that they need to renew their subscription to that parenting magazine in order for their child to survive. She lives in Pennsylvania with her amazingly awesome husband and son.