Authors: Aubrie Dionne
Tags: #Sleeping Jenny
Part One of the Timesurfers
Â© 2014 Aubrie Dionne
Sale of the paperback edition of this book without its cover is unauthorized.
Spencer Hill Press
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Contact: Spencer Hill Press, PO Box 247,
Contoocook, NH 03229, USA
Please visit our website at
First Edition: December 2014
Sleeping Jenny/by Aubrie Dionne-lst ed.
After being frozen for three hundred years in hopes of a cure for her cancer, a teenage girl struggles to find her place in a future without the animals she loves so dearly.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this fiction: Abercrombie,
Baywatch, Beverly Hills 90210
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, Buzz Lightyear, Cheshire Cat, Chevy, Disney/Disney's Animal Kingdom, CSI, Dunkin' Donuts, Elmo, ESPN, Expedition Everest,
, Hummer, iPhone, Jeep,
, Ken doll, Kindle, Lexus, Miss Universe, Mountain Dew,
, NBC, Peter Pan, Smurfs, SpongeBob SquarePants,
, Taylor Swift,
The Twilight Zone
, Transformers, Velcro, Welch's, Wicked Witch of the West, YMCA
Cover design by Kate Kaynak
Interior layout by Errick A. Nunnally
Printed in the United States of America
To everyone who follows dreams. Persist and persevere.
hat if I wake up after World War IV and humanity's destroyed itself?”
I was whining, but I couldn't help myself. My world was about to end. Or more like freeze.
“That's silly, Jennifer. Who'd be there to wake you?” My mom shot me an annoyed look. Sleeping on the hospital couch had made her usually perfect hair frizzy. She looked worse than me, and I could barely move.
I crossed my arms. “Aliens.”
Timmy spewed orange juice from his nose and laughed. He was too young to understand what was really going on. He kept calling me Sleeping Beauty, like some prince would kiss me and wake me. Yeah, that would happen right after he became a Transformer and flew to outer space.
Mom shook her head and pulled some napkins out of a dispenser in the wall. She bent down and wiped Timmy's orange juice sneeze from the floor. I would have helped her, but my leg hung in an elevated sling in a cast that looked like a giant marshmallow.
“Honey, this is no joke.”
I always used comedy to deal with the hard issues. That's why my dad called me the next late-night TV host. “I don't like not knowing. Why can't I spend my final days here with you, Dad, and Timmy?”
“Jenny, think about your dreams for the future. Where is the girl who wanted to go on safari, to work for National Geographic saving
African elephants and polar bears? Why can't you wait a few years and have a lifetime instead?”
“Because the whole thing's a big question mark. Who knows when they'll find a cure? What if
had to go to sleep not knowing what year you'd wake up?”
The idea scared me more than death itself. If I could have moved, I'd have bolted straight out of my hospital room and hidden in the trunk of my pink Lexus. I couldn't imagine what it would feel like to be frozen, my body suspended indefinitely until they found a cure.
“I'd sit tight and wait it out.” Mom fluffed the Peruvian lilies from Aunt Lucy and dusted off the windowsill. She used cleaning to deal with issues. “The scientists are breaking new ground every day. Your father's been funding a major research team ever since you got sick.”
Dad had always bought me everything I wanted. I was the only girl in my class to have a real pony, a hundred-gallon salt water aquarium on my thirteenth birthday, and a Lexus at sweet sixteen. But try as he might, he couldn't buy me more life, just a frozen forever.
Speaking of the richest man in New England, my dad walked in with Dr. Resin. He still wore his business suit from work, and Dr. Resin looked more like a gimmicky TV show ad than a true doctor. He had plasticky Ken-doll hair and a tan, which was hard to get in midwinter Maine.
“Hi, honey.” My dad squeezed my hand before ruffling Timmy's hair and giving my mom a kiss on the cheek. “I've been speaking with Dr. Resin here, and he says they can start the process right away.”
My mom stood up and clapped her hands together like he'd cured me. “That's wonderful news. I don't want it to spread any further.”
Dr. Resin stood in the back with his hands crossed. “The longer you wait, the harder it will be. She weakens every day, and she must be as healthy and strong as possible to undergo the procedure.”
My mom hugged Timmy against her. “Dr. Resin, one thing we glossed over in our last discussion was the results. How many people have successfully undergone this treatment process?”
The doctor blinked and hesitated. “This procedure is still in the experimental stages. A few test subjects have begun the process, but the completion of the treatment depends on when cures are found for their personal illnesses.”
I started to jerk up in bed, but only my head moved. That small motion sent a sharp pain down my neck. “No one's ever woken up?”
“Now, honey, we have every reason to believe this works.”
“Dad, I'd rather have my few more weeks in bed than freeze forever!”
Timmy gasped and pulled on my mom's arm. “Jenny's gonna freeze foreva?”
“Jennifer!” My mom's voice was harsh. “You're scaring Timmy.”
What if I'm stuck in the middle of a nightmare the whole time? What if they can't wake me up?”
Dr. Resin pushed by my dad to stand in the middle of the room. “Let's all calm down.” He turned to me and picked up my chart off the foot of the bed. “First of all, you don't freeze. The cryopro-tectants administered into your body harden like glass to prevent any damaging ice crystals. All brain activity ceases in cryosleep. You won't dream. It's a painless, pleasant procedure. If I were you, I'd give it a try.”
He made it sound like he was offering a new ice cream flavor.
Next time, try caramel
. The truth was, I'd be in the freezer
the ice cream. “I hate being cold.”
After scanning my chart, his blue eyes pierced me like ice. “This is not a decision between one procedure or another. In your case, this is your only chance.”
t all started because I forgot my sneakers for gym. Angela handed me an extra pair of hers from her collection. She loved track as much as I loved
specials and she had sneakers for running on pavement, running in the rain, and running uphill. I'm surprised she didn't have a pair for running while being sick of gym. Then again, Angela was never sick of gym.
“They look like small boats.”
“I'm a whole size bigger and four inches taller.” She wiggled her nose. “Put on an extra pair of socks, and you'll be fine.”
“I'll fall on my butt right in front of Chad Foster.”
“Maybe then he'll notice you exist.”
I stared, shooting lasers at her head of teased dark curls.
She shrugged it off, reaching for her sweatshirt with her elegantly long arms. “It's better than getting a failing grade for the day.”
I wished I'd put her expensive sneakers back on the shelf. In the moment, a failing grade would have been the end of my world. But looking back on it, I would have enjoyed a few more weeks of innocence much more. In cryosleep, no one considered my junior-year gym grade.
As we walked out onto the gym floor, the volleyball net came into view and my heart sank. I hated volleyball. I was always afraid I'd break a finger or bruise my arm when I served. That's why I ran
from the ball.
Our gym teacher, Mr. Gold, had muscles that could have been made out of gold. He was an Olympian back in the 90s. Ridgewood Prep had only the best of the best, which usually worked in my favor, except for gym. Mr. Gold didn't understand why you couldn't do three hundred pull-ups or run a mile in under six minutes. It took me a whopping ten.
So the game began. Chad served to our team, and Angela sprinted to the right, hitting the ball up over my head and back to the other side of the net. My reprieve was short-lived. Chad's best bud, Walter, hit the volleyball back, way over Angela's head and right to me. My eyes went to Angela, but she had a look that said, “Not this time. You're on your own.”
So I did what I usually did. I ran away. Taking a leap backward, I tripped over the toe of my right sneaker and fell on top of my left leg in an embarrassing tumble. The ball hit the floor beside me.
Pain shot up my leg into my lower back. The bone in my lower leg felt like a toothpick split in two. I bit down, trying not to cry in front of everyone.
Angela ran to my side. “Are you okay?”
“No.” I whispered under my breath, “I don't think I can get up.”
Mr. Gold shouted from across the gym. “What's going on over there?”
Angela spoke for me. “Jennifer can't stand up.”
I loved my friend more than ever in that moment. Even though I'd just lost a point for our team because of my cowardice, she still defended me.
Mr. Gold walked over, disbelief clouding his eyes.
I wished I hadn't cried wolf all those other days, getting out of gym for having a phantom headache or vague dizziness that only came during third period.
“Can't get up?” He crossed his muscled arms. Tripping over yourself and falling so hard you couldn't get back up at the ripe age of seventeen was ridiculous. I knew that. Only, this time I wasn't faking.
The other students surrounded us. Spying Chad's red football jersey out of the corner of my eye made heat travel up the back of my neck to my cheeks. I couldn't lie on the gym floor forever.
I whispered to Angela, “Help me.”
She pulled on my arm, but when I placed weight on my left leg, the pain exploded in an unbearable spike. I screamed like those girls in the cheap, B-horror movies.
That must have sounded believable because Mr. Gold winced and nodded to Angela. “Get the nurse.”
“Yes, Coach.” She patted my arm. “I'll be right back.”
Meanwhile, everyone stood around me in an awkward circle.
Chad shifted on his feet. “Can we finish the game now?”
Humiliation tingled up my spine. I hated him for being so inconsiderate, but I hated myself more for liking him in the first place. Sometimes beautiful-looking people became ugly when you got to know them inside, and Chad had just turned from hottie into jerkwad. Hot tears stung my eyes.
Mr. Gold had enough sense to call off the game. “Come on, guys. The show's over. We'll continue this game tomorrow. Do your laps for the rest of class.”
As the class moaned and started to run, Angela came back with Nurse Sherry. She knelt down beside me. Smiley faces dotted her scrubs, mocking me with their happiness.
“Can I take a look?”
“Sure. Go ahead. I'm not going anywhere.”
Angela laughed, then covered her mouth like “I shouldn't be joking in a time like this.” This was the exact sort of time I needed humor the most.
Miss Sherry probed my leg gently with her wrinkled hands. Every part she touched hurt, some more than others. I kept squirming and yelping like a baby.
She stood and stared at Mr. Gold like his gym policies had pushed me over the edge. “It's broken, all right. I'll call an ambulance.”
Broken? Like, actually broken?
Suddenly I didn't feel so bad about being such a crybaby.
Angela put her arm around me. “Now I see why you're so afraid of gym. You knew, Jenny. You have ESP.”
I laughed despite the pain. “More like a lack of ESPN.” Angela stayed with me until the ambulance came. Nurse Sherry wrote her a note to get out of fourth period. I guess she pitied me. The sirens wailed from the back exit doors of the gym. Angela smiled, but she looked sad. “Our limo awaits.”
“You're coming, too?”
“I've always wanted to see BMC.”
I rolled my eyes as EMTs picked me up and put me on a stretcher.