Kara Swanson’s The Girl Who Could See
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
THE GIRL WHO COULD SEE BY KARA SWANSON — EXCERPT
On television crime shows, they never tell you how cold it is.
They might show the dimly lit room with the hard, uninviting chairs. Or the narrow table separating you from the elderly agent with stone-gray eyes. But a TV camera cannot fully portray the chilling experience of an FBI interrogations.
I rub my bare shoulders, fingertips even icier than the skin exposed by my red tank top. Brilliant move, Fern. Wearing a scarf but forgetting your jacket. Stifling a shudder, I meet the sharp gaze of Agent Barstow, who stands at attention across from me.
“I don’t know where you’re from, Miss Johnson, but in LA, state-of-the-art buildings don’t just crumble.” His voice is gravelly, matching the jagged lines of his dark skin and weathered face. “Especially federal buildings.”
I tug on my beige scarf. You have no idea.
His arms slowly unwind from his chest as he takes two steps toward me. “We’ve called in everyone to analyze this disaster. CIA, local police, firemen. Heck . . . we even called NASA. No one can come up with a plausible reason why a skyscraper in excellent condition would be standing one minute and collapse the next.”
I fight the urge to bolt for the door as he leans down, palms flat on the table—so close I can make out the creases on his black suit.
“You warned us of an attack in that area over a week ago. How did you know?”
I suck in a deep breath as his voice lowers and his fists tighten on the edge of the table.
“Are you involved with a terrorist organization?”
I almost laugh at his words, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m here to save LA, not destroy it. To save everyone in it. And I don’t have much time—none of us does. If I can’t gain this man’s trust, a shattered building will pale in comparison to what comes next.
“No, sir.” I shove my shaking hands beneath my legs.
A pair of lucid blue eyes appears over the agent’s shoulder. I know not to stare. But those eyes, which only I can see, are the reason I warned the FBI in the first place. Their owner is the reason I’m sitting in this room.
Licking my lips, I keep my attention on Barstow. For years I’ve wanted someone to listen. Really listen, I didn’t think the first person to do so would be in the FBI. Be careful here.
I open my mouth and force my voice to remain calm and steady. I hope my words are convincing—they have to be. “I knew about the incident, Agent Barstow, because my friend warned me.” Throat dry, I look away. “My imaginary friend.”
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AUTHOR BIO—Kara Swanson
As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself.
At seventeen, she independently published a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story “Distant as the Horizon” is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine. Kara received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer Award in 2015.