Irenya O’Neil is trapped in another dimension. She needs to go home to her infant son, but the way she came is not the way back. She finds she has a unique gift of power; if she could just figure out how it works she could go home. Her journey has just begun.
"To be unaware of the wonders
that exist in me,
is real madness!"
The voices of three hundred students rose in unison and the music gathered pace towards its finale. Violins shimmered. The brass section of the orchestra crackled, and the resonance of a pipe organ filled the packed concert hall.
For thirteen-year-old Irenya O’Neil, who had sung the anthem often enough in rehearsal, the sustained passion of the performance caught up her voice and fused it to the music, swept her to a place entirely new.
She closed her eyes and soared higher and higher. The sound faded, though she felt no incongruity in that change, no fear of heights or of forests far below. Her wings were huge golden pinions, feathers tipped black and gleaming in the starlight. She heard her voice singing from the stars, no longer the promising girlish descant but a strong pure voice chanting a song of power. Each note streamed off her wings…
Irenya sensed something amiss as the final triumphant note reverberated through the hall. She opened her eyes on a bewildering scene. In a circle around her, students were crying out, flinging up their arms for protection.
Next morning they were reprimanded for ruining the final moments of the concert. The girls said they felt as if they were flying among the stars on a huge bird. Some claimed they heard the creature calling to them. One boy insisted it was a demon. The Principal eyed each student, weighing adolescent hysteria against calculated prank. Her gaze rested on Irenya, the only student who stared at the floor and said nothing.
The Principal concluded that whatever the cause, their lack of discipline had damaged the school’s reputation. She punished them with a brief suspension from the choir, except for Irenya, whom she branded with a speculative stare.
Rumours began to circulate. Students avoided her and some muttered witch. She left the choir, said singing was boring, but told her grandmother the one truth she understood.
‘I can’t sing anymore. My throat goes so tight it hurts.’