Meet Me in the Strange
Publication date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
From the author of Beautiful City of the Dead and Stonecutter comes a dreamy, atmospheric coming of age story that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Davi tries to help a new friend, Anna Z, escape a cruel and controlling brother, and the teens end up running away to follow the tour of their rock idol, the otherworldly Django Conn. The story is set in a weird and wonderful retro-futuristic city of glam-girls and glister-boys and a strange phenomenon that Anna Z calls the “Alien Drift.”
She waited just a couple of seconds, then said, “I’m Anna Z.”
That was the shortest thing I ever heard her say. Soon enough, so many words were coming out of her that I felt like I was drowning. Wild stories, charming lies, true facts and fairy tales, rambling rants, song lyrics, rhymes and riddles and beautiful secrets. But for those couple of minutes, she still didn’t know if she could trust me. So she didn’t say much at first.
I asked about her favorite album. Of course, like me, it was Man in the Moon in the Man. We agreed that it was amazing and that we could listen to it a thousand times and never use it up. Only ten songs and there was a whole world hidden there in the grooves.
“Radiation Nation,” I said.
“Signs and Wonders,” she said back. “With the wild gamba solo, right?”
“Love and Gravity, Royal Shining Things,” I said the song names like I was using secret passwords. “Forty Months and a Day. The first time I heard that one, I thought my brain was going to catch on fire.”
She didn’t walk away saying I was a freak or an imbecilo turd-toy. I’d been through that enough times before, people telling me to go away, that I was too fanatical, too wound-up, too much. But right there in front of the theater, I went up to her and started talking about Django Conn, and that’s all it took to bring us together.
“I’ve got some bootleg LPs and some really rare 45s,” I told her, not bragging, but saying it just to see how she’d respond. “I saw a ticket stub from his first show with the Reptiles. A guy had it for sale. It was supposedly autographed, but how could you prove that Django really signed it?”
I kept thinking how amazing it was that she didn’t walk away. Once she’d gotten used to me, and that didn’t take long, she stood there like she was really listening.
And I did too. Of course, that was probably easier for me because she was Anna Z, and there was nobody like her on the whole planet, maybe in the whole universe. Her hair wasn’t quite so wild as at the Maxima, but there were still black snakes tangled in it. No liquid blurs of color moved on her glasses. All the same, it was hard to see her eyes. Swept up into Django’s sound, she was lost and found. Standing on the street with me, she wasn’t so free, so spontaneous. But I remembered how she’d been, and I knew she’d be that way again.
I told her about the Angelus, that my family owned it and that I had always lived there. I mentioned Sabina and Carlos and the others. And that was all it took to make the final link between us, because she told me she’d been there just a few hours before. It really was her I’d heard through the wall, talking about blood, fire, moonlight, music, and mutation. It was no phantasm I’d seen walking down the hallway to the elevator.
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