TITLE: The Untimely Death of Jennifer Norwood
GENRE: Young Adult Paranormal Thriller
Jennifer Norwood still dreamt of her father’s head rolling down the
windshield. It left a blotchy red trail of blood and thunked against
the hood of the car. Jennifer knew the eyes had been closed and the
mouth silent, but at night her father’s dead eyes stared as his head
rolled away and he gurgled her name from the forest floor. She woke up
sweaty and bound in bed sheets, arms flailing for the seatbelt
release. There was no blood in her bedroom, no voice in the dark.
Reality didn’t help. Jennifer didn’t sleep anymore, but her
psychiatrist was all smiles and hopeful eyes.
“No more nightmares,” Jennifer said. Her hands clenched her sweater
sleeves. Thin white scars stretched tightly over her knuckles.
It wasn’t a lie. It was a kindness. Dr. Moran was a slight woman with
dark, smooth skin and a penchant for floral sundresses. She kept fresh
cut tulips around her office and served homemade lemonade on days when
Jennifer didn’t want to talk. Jennifer couldn’t bear bringing blood
and severed heads into the airy room that made her feel safe. Moran’s
sunny yellow dress and wide, unassuming brown eyes were bright and
cheerful. The ceiling fan circled slowly over head, ruffling
Jennifer’s hair. She hid behind a fringe of black bangs.
“Are you sure?” Moran asked.
Jennifer swallowed and nodded. “Sometimes I wake up and I don’t know
where I am, but I don’t remember dreaming.”
“That’s good,” Moran said. Her eyes glanced to the side.