The Fade By Demitria Luetta
The Move From Chicago
Haley is afraid of her basement from the moment she enters the house in Demitria Lunetta's The Fade.
Urged on by her blonde Herculean sister, Shannon who bears no resemblance to her half Asian sister, Haley whom is tiny and wispy, it is realized early on that Haley might not be the brawn needed to move boxes but she can easy fit into tight spaces that her sister can not.
Finding a hope chest of a girl's jewelry, a necklace with a sneaker and wings that seemed to childish for either girl but it fits Shannon's jock personality well. A tiny ring slides perfectly on the finger of Haley proving it is a good thing to be so slender.
Feeling something watching her as they retreat from the basement, Haley doesn't mention that she swears she sees a face watching her from a nearby window.
Resentful of her parent's decision to leave their home in Chicago for the Wisconsin countryside, feels alone and afraid of her new home even before the kids in town tell of a town mystery that left four girls missing. One had lived in her house and shared the same bedroom where Haley was living now.
A young boy next door warns Haley that he sees the missing girls peering out from their windows and they have been waiting for her.
The young boy had died at birth and been revived, this is why he could see them. Haley feels her legs shake, thinking of her own reason the ghosts can communicate with her.
Four teenage girls were missing from the neighborhood all within the same year. They were members of the high school track team which lead to early speculation by one neighbor that perhaps a coach was involved but he was interviewed and released as being a suspect. Other than the team, the girls had little in common when it came to social cliches. All the missing girls were tall, blonde, and athletic, this description bearing a close resemblance to Shannon and Haley feared for her sister.
The Fading Away
When she was nine years old, the family had taken a trip down to Lake Michigan in the dead of winter.
It had happened in just a second's time.
One Haley had been standing with her family and the next she had no idea what had sent her crashing through the ice and into the sub zero water that tugged down her heavy jacket. Saturated with water, her clothes grew heavy and she began to slip out of sight under the dark water.
It took a moment before her father reacted.
Her mother and sister holding each other close as they scanned the water, her father fearlessly diving into the abyss feeling for anything under the water that felt like his daughter's water logged body.
Something brushed his leg and he grabbed at what turned out to be Haley's coat and hauled her over the edge.
Passersby spared their coats to warm her but she wasn't breathing as her parents hammered away at her chest to clear her lungs.
Finally as the police arrived, Haley sputtered.
Hazy, she was back.
She doesn't remember being dead for nearly ten minutes, but it was enough to connect with whatever was on the other realm and put her on their radar.
Living in a haunted house now in Wisconsin, the ghost of the girls want themselves known and they begin to reach out to Haley.
Knowing it was stupid, Haley agrees to let her new friends play with the Ouija board in her room. It only made sense with the current activities. One girl had been missing from her home, another from the house next door. When nothing happened at first they had assumed that they had done it wrong, until something came over Haley and she began to furiously sketch a face she was seeing in her mind, the face of a girl that had been missing for sometime from the very room where they had sat.
A Cause For Real Concern
Several things in the house have become broken and Haley had been pushed and locked inside the hope chest in the basement, but her family doesn't seem any the wiser for the events taking place.
Haley begins to have serious concerns that something is about to happen to her mother and begins to have nightmares about it.
Sharing her knowledge with her family about the missing girls, there still seems to be no real concern raised for the fruit of her research and everyone begins to think that she is cracking under the pressure of the move.
Not sleeping well, as the ghosts of the Grabbed Girls of Gladwell continue to appear and loom over Haley trying to find a way to make themselves known, Haley's concerns begin to shift to Shannon.
She will be leaving for college soon, but will it be soon enough to get her out of the house? And where does that leave Haley? Alone in the house where their parents don't believe about the paranormal activities happening around them?
He is always watching, the ghost girls warn and Haley has a vision of the girls gathered around in her room smoking cigarettes. She seems the girl who's ring is wearing, the girl that went missing from next door. Through the vision, Haley is lead to the basement where she is directed to a lose board that can be pried away with a hammer revealing a doorway long closed off. Who would close up a door unless it was the path used to murder the girls?
New Findings Before They Fade Away Forever
Reporting her findings to the boys next door, Haley tries to explain the closed off doorway and the Ouija board spelling out the name of a neighbor. Why wouldn't anyone believe what she was saying?
When she is questioned about her phone, she realizes that she doesn't know the last time she has even answered a text message.
Thinking back to something the boy had said about the girls in the house, that over time they are becoming more transparent as time passes with their murders not being solved, that they are fading.
"You know that you are fading now Haley," the young boy says to her. "You know why."
She thinks about it.
She doesn't remember anything about how she had come over to the house. Suddenly she was just there like she had appeared out of the darkness.
He couldn't be suggesting that she had died again. Could he?
No, no this wasn't happening.
She had to be alive.
She just had to still be alive, right?
It had been well over a year since Haley and her mother had died. She hadn't been able to see it.
The distance that grew between her parents, between her and Shannon. It wasn't until the neighbor had reminded her that she needed to look closely and then she saw it. The dusty film on her things.
Everything that she had left behind.
Haley had lived in her house for two weeks before her life was taken from her for the second time. But the girls had shown her who was to blame and now the target was set on Shannon as the prize.
Haley had to do whatever she could to save her sister before she was ready to move on.
She had seen the murderers face. She knew his name and now it was time to make him pay for the deaths of the girls and her own life.
The Fade defiantly took a twist that I wasn't suspecting letting Haley become one of the victims. While this book is more young adult, it didn't stop the experience of reading it as it packed a lot of punch in a teen ghost story.
Where the characters could have been fleshed out a little more than stereotypical teens with identities built around their school activities or who they were dating it felt like high school in the ways that the characters were built.
The Fade might be a small novel but it gets its story across in under three hundred words effectively.