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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Excerpt: Clearlake by Stanislava Buevich

by Stanislava Buevich
December 1, 2023
Genre: Upper Middle Grade/Teen Mystery Horror
Number of pages: 245
Word Count: 73K
Cover Artist: Sabina Kencana
Don’t go into Room 214

"Hi, I'm Moon and this is my story. It all started with a terrible cold. When the lady in purple promised my mother that Clearlake Institute would be able to cure me without the use of modern medicine, my mom was hooked.

There was nothing I could do, or say, that could’ve changed her mind. She was determined from the moment we set foot on a remote island far, far away from everyone else, until the moment we were separated, and I was trapped in a creepy, gothic hospital."

Clearlake Institute was hiding something!

Deep beneath the shadows, something sinister was brewing - darkened halls, strange doctors, ghastly nurses that watch your every move, and children who are sent into Room 217 never to return.

Aided by the other children she meets at the institute, Moon Rains embarks on a perilous, suspenseful adventure to uncover the secrets of the Clearlake Institute.

Now, the race against time begins. Will Moon and her friends make it out before it’s too late? Or will Clearlake claim them as its next set of victims?

There will come a time when you wonder, how did a girl like me end up in a place like Clearlake and mortal danger? Well, it all started with a terrible cold. At first, it was just a blocked nose. Then a sore throat, nothing major. About a week later, I got a temperature. And the blocked nose got worse. Much worse. I lost all sense of smell and the ability to breathe. Snot kept trickling down from my nostril to my top lip, and I had to persistently wipe it off with my sleeve or taste the said snot. I had a headache. A constant, nagging, relentless headache as if a woodpecker was incessantly pecking above the bridge of my nose.

I was thirteen at the time and missed so many days of school that my mother got fined by the government. Now, I know what you’re thinking - any responsible parent would have taken their offspring to a GP if the wretched illness hadn’t gone away within a week. Well, not my mother.

My mother didn’t trust Western Medicine, you see, particularly vaccines and antibiotics. As far as she was concerned, those two were the source of all evil. I count myself incredibly lucky that, so far, I have managed to avoid catching something particularly nasty like Rubella, Mumps, or Measles. I’ve never had anything more severe than a cold, in fact. And while most colds went away without intervention, other than a honey, lemon and gin concoction (which was surprisingly effective, never mind that I was far too young to take it), this cold proved to be something else entirely.

About a week in, my mother marched into my room early in the morning. Loud, insistent stomps woke me up from a hazy, feverish dream. She touched my forehead with the tips of her fingers and raised her eyebrow, nodding as if everything was going according to plan.

“Well, I think I know what will finally do the trick,” she said.

I rolled my eyes. Well, not actually. Not on the outside. The outside she could see. I rolled my eyes on the inside, imagining them going so far inside their sockets that all that was left were the white bits.

“Beetroot!” she exclaimed, her voice chiming like a Christmas bell.

“Beetroot?” I yawned, and a few tears seeped out of the corners of my eyes. I wasn’t sure if the yawn caused it or the ever-escalating feeling of utter desperation.

“A few drops of beetroot juice inside your nose three times a day, and you will be good as new. I promise.”

She made similar promises a lot.

“If you stick a clove of garlic in each nostril overnight, in the morning… Poof. Cured. Gone. I promise.”

“Breathing over a pot with hot potatoes and a duvet over your head will open up the sinuses and unleash the phlegm. All of the gunk will stream out. You’ll see. I promise.”

“If you do a wee in a little pot and then take some of that wee with a little pipette that I’ve got here for you and…”


I drew the line at urotherapy, as it was apparently called, and it did take quite a bit of courage to stand up to my mother. She fussed and fretted but couldn’t get me to administer urine into my nose.

About the Author:
Stacy Buevich is a British writer and a film director with many award winning short films. She started writing novels during lockdown (wait did that really happen?), beginning with a magical mystery Maya Fairy, that she wrote for her daughter. Since then she has written several more and not planning to stop

1 comment:

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