The Dream Catcher
Author: Anya Monroe
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Synopsis: **Paddle boards, bonfires & bikinis won’t help Penny. She craves the boy from the woods; not knowing she’s already caught in his nightmare. ***
Penny’s nightmare is ruling her life and she doesn’t know why. It started a few months ago, and since then Red Bulls, 5-hour Energy Shots, and Starbucks drive-thru are her lifeline.
When Penny’s parents decide to take their research of a rare Native American cult to a remote cabin for the summer, she's less than enthused.
Then Penny meets Delsin in a clearing in the woods, and her view of the world awakens. Apathy defines her, but Delsin lives life to it’s fullest. A shaman-in-training, he is everything Penny is not.
Each morning she comes to the woods, handing pieces of her heart to him, but when Penny is confronted with her worst nightmare, Delsin asks for a sacrifice Penny didn’t see coming.
I followed him past the sweat lodge, which smelled like leather and freshly dug earth, with a large fire pit about twenty feet from the entrance. Delsin told me to not walk across it, but rather around the pit, and I obliged. Obviously. I wasn’t interested in ruining his ancient customs or anything.
I followed him as we wove through some trees and down a small hill. I could hear the water before I saw it, and Delsin kept looking back at me, each glance reassuring me.
When we got to the edge of the water, I realized it was a lot more than a creek.
“This is like, way cooler than a stream. This is gorgeous,” I said to him, standing by his side. His arms were crossed and he looked at me again, not looking at the scene before us.
There was a creek, but it was fifteen feet wide and flowed to a drop, where a waterfall cascaded over the rocky edge, falling into a large pool of crystal clear water. It narrowed into a creek again past the pool, falling behind the trees, leading away form this small oasis. Standing at the top looking over, I saw how remote our location was. Trees were everywhere, yet here we were nestled into a secret place.
“Do you come here a lot?” I asked.
“Yeah. After a sweat I come to this water, to jump in and cool off.”
“You jump off the water fall?” I ask, looking at the twenty-foot jump.
We stood there silently. It felt like a moment I should remember. Like the precipice to something that I didn’t understand. My stomach full of expectation, for what I didn’t know, but it filled me up. I was whole.
I didn’t want to ruin the moment by talking. I was scared if I spoke I would lose something. Myself or Delsin or Ollie or everything.
“Are you crying?” Delsin asked.
I brushed away the tears on my face, not even knowing why they were there.
“Did I say something, or do something?” he asked, confused.
“No, no. Of course not,” I assured him. “I don’t know why I’m crying.”
“You are a very serious girl?”
“Not serious. Sorry. I haven’t felt like myself lately. Sorry.”
“Don’t say sorry for your tears.”
“I feel stupid, crying in front of a guy I just met. You probably think I’m a hot mess.”
“Tears are the way you let go of something. Like the sweat lodge. It’s a release.”
I laughed. Out of nervousness. I stood there feeling stupid. Vulnerable like and I didn’t know why. Delsin wasn’t like Ollie. Ollie knew me before I became a disaster, but Delsin was meeting me now as a girl crying over a waterfall. I didn’t want him to judge me.
“We should jump,” he said.
“Are you crazy? No way.”
“Yes. Take my hand. Jump with me. After the sweat, you have to jump and you just cried, so it’s close enough.”
“I don’t do things like this.”
“Like what?” he asked, pulling off his T-shirt, revealing a six-pack and smooth skin and perfection.
“Um.” I was caught off guard by his chest. “I don’t do things like jump off cliffs.”
“You mean you don’t do things like living?” he asked, raising his eyebrows and tossing his flip-flops to the side.
He stretched out his hand and I wanted to take it. So badly.
So I did.
I kicked off my shoes and threw my sunglasses on top of the hoodie that I let drop to the ground. I shimmied out of my cut-offs and kept on my tank top and I took his hand.
And we jumped.
Anya Monroe likes to write stories and paint words on her walls. She believes in love at first sight and fights for happily-ever-afters. As a wife and mom to six kids, she carves out time to write between carpool pick-ups and date nights because words are her heartbeat. She lives a ferry ride from Seattle and is a total Pacific Northwesterner who drinks chai lattes and wears Birkenstocks and has dreadlocks. She's a cliché, but doesn't mind it. Not even a little.
If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
Well, I have a pretty crap-tastic employment history. Basically, it’s non-existent. Which I know is probably not the thing parents want their teenagers to hear, but it’s the truth. I got lucky and found the love of my life at nineteen and wanted a family, so I’ve spent my adult life being a stay-at-home mom.
But if I had to go get a legit-job, I’d like to open a coffeehouse. With my best friend. We would name it The Dirty Hippy, and please do not steal that name. Seriously, that would be so mean.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
A copy of Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums (a favorite of mine!), The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart (that I need to return to a friend), Vivian Apple At The End of The World (from the library), and on my phone (which often finds itself on my nightstand) I am listening to All The Bright Places, and am reading Gabi: A Girl in Pieces on the Kindle app.
What was your inspiration to become an author?
Life is really freaking hard. We all know that. And it’s hard in all sorts of different ways for each of us. For me, the hard stuff started when I was twenty-five. My husband and I decided to grow our family through adoption and I went from being a mom of two toddlers to being a mom of five, overnight.
It was a steep learning curve, and not just figuring out how to enroll my children in school and put restrictions on electronics and how to meal plan for a little tribe. It was also hard because my entire universe kind of exploded.
I was a mess. Maybe some of that had to do with the fact I had another baby soon after, rounding out our family to the nice, still-barely-fit-in-a mini-van, number eight.