About the Book
Title: Light Runner
Author: Philip Brown
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
When a powerful healing armband—the Jyotisha—falls into the hands of a teenage girl, she’s thrust into a dangerous search for her father, the reasons behind her mother’s mysterious death, and the truth about herself.
Sixteen-year-old Dara Adengard would rather read graphic novels than do her homework and prefers the freedom of skateboarding to the restrictions of life with her military father. Stung by the recent death of her mother, Dara conceals her mom’s picture under a square of grip tape on her skateboard. But no matter how much Dara tries to keep a foothold on the past, she can’t ride away from her own destiny.
One evening, she discovers a silver and gold armlet with mysterious powers in the shadowy water of the swimming pool. Forged from an ancient meteorite metal, it possesses the power to heal or wound. When Dara holds it, it emits a light that seems to have been ignited by a star’s ray. Moments later, she is stunned to find that someone’s broken into her apartment, her father has vanished, and a dead body lies sprawled in the courtyard.
Evading the police, Dara escapes on a perilous quest for her father, begins to uncover her mother’s hidden past, and starts to realize the shocking truth about herself. Accompanied by a stray dog, Dara soars to sudden fame on the wings of a YouTube video that shows her using the Jyotisha to heal the handsome Diego of a gunshot wound. When the video goes viral, a famous TV talk show personality connects with her, and Dara is propelled from homeless runaway to worldwide sensation.
Dara sat back down on the couch and took a deep breath as the candles’ flickering flames threw shadows on the wall. Dara’s words came spilling out. “The cops told me to wait, and now it’s been like several hours, and I can’t reach my dad. What the…what’s going on?” She looked at Vadoma for reassurance, as though somehow this woman with silver rings on gnarled fingers might fathom answers from the soft green light and dancing shadows.
“That is a big question,” Vadoma said. She reached to pull the deck of cards closer. “Let me try to read answers. Here,” she said, and turned over the top card. “This is your past. Start with past, because out of that comes now.”
Three silver swords pierced a red heart.
“Three of Swords,” Vadoma said. She looked up from the card, and Dara thought she caught a hint of sympathy in her eyes. “It could be you received painful news? Or perhaps”—Vadoma took a deep breath—“lost someone? Someone to cause your heart pain?”
Dara was silent and thought, does she think I lost a boyfriend? Or maybe Vadoma knew? After all, she’d moved into the same apartment building and might have heard.
Vadoma looked at Dara with steady eyes, waiting for her to respond.
“I’m okay,” Dara said, blinking her eyes. The long-ago memory leapt from a place where it had lain hidden: her head against mom’s chest, the gentle pulse as Dara’s small finger traced the tiny ancient scar above her mother’s heart.
“Somehow,” Vadoma said, “there is connection to now.” She turned over a second card, placing it next to the first. “Present condition. This is right now.” She glanced towards the window.
The card showed two dogs baying at a full moon while a crab made its way out of the water.
“Moon card,” Vadoma said. “Moon is deep—your past, secret truths coming out of water.”
Dara thought of how the moon had looked earlier in the evening, rising up out of the twilight while she’d backstroked in the pool. “But, I thought you said it was the present,” she said, “like right now.”
“Yah, it is present. But your past—” She pointed back at the heart-piercing swords. “—is making this happen now. Perhaps you cannot see something or someone that is hidden.”
“Huh? That is totally crazy.”
“Moon does not make sense. It is feeling. You must trust—here.” She placed her hand above Dara’s heart. “Pay close attention to messages.”
Dara looked at Vadoma’s eyes staring back at her.
“Listen with feelings,” Vadoma said.
Dara was on the verge of explaining about the bracelet she’d found in the swimming pool. Had it really healed her knee? Or was the wound not as bad as she’d thought? The bracelet was still in her board shorts on the floor of Vadoma’s bathroom, and Dara decided that there was no reason to tell.
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