Publication date: October 16th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
After her father’s death in a plane crash, Miranda Woodward’s life begins to unravel. On her sixteenth birthday, Miranda receives a mysterious gift: a small wooden box containing a needle and spool of gossamer golden thread, left behind by her father, which begins a chain of events that soon leave her life in chaos. Her pet cat is replaced with another, her teachers don’t have her on their roll call at school, even her closest friends forget who she is. When her mother vanishes into thin air, Miranda becomes desperate for answers. She follows clues to a meet a man known only as the Tailor. With his help, she must find a way to fix her life before it’s too late.
Joanna Volavka is the author of the young adult science fiction novel Threadwalkers. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband, two cats, and extensive book collection. A writer for Geek Girl Pen Pals, Joanna spends her time alternately between creative artistic pursuits and has a passion for conservation and wildlife while working on whatever story she’s got brewing in her overly active imagination. She still hasn’t decided what she’s going to be when she grows up, though she suspects it will probably be herself. Read more about Joanna and her adventures on her website http://www.joannavolavka.com
You can connect with Joanna on Twitter: @joannavolavka and on Instagram: @joannavolavka and @geekyjo
Miranda pulled into a little strip mall and parked her car in front of the shop marked “TAILOR.” The “IL” flickered in the middle of the faded, red sign, its neon lights buzzing like cicadas in the distance on a summer afternoon. The other shops looked closed with plywood nailed over their windows and muddled graffiti across their doors. The only other place with lights on was a convenience store on the right-hand side of the strip. The whole place felt melancholic, as if it was holding onto the last vestiges of life that sputtered and blinked in the old signs.
Miranda got out of her car and walked to the tailor shop door. A yellowed Open sign dangled on a nail behind the dusty glass window. The shop looked dark, and grime obscured most of the view inside, so she opened the door. A bell tinkled as she stepped into the dimly lit space.
Miranda found herself standing in a narrow lobby. It smelled like old books, with a hint of cinnamon and some other spice that made her think irresistibly of her father, though a rack of clothing took up most of the left-hand wall, and she could see more rows of clothes in clear plastic coverings extending into the back of the shop
After several minutes, marked by the loud ticking of the grandfather clock and the clicking of the computer keys, a tall, thin man emerged. He wore a brown jacket with leather patches on the elbows, like an old school professor from a movie. Round, wire-frame glasses perched low on his nose. His thinning hair was combed back, and he wore a carefully-buttoned vest with plaid trousers. She’d never seen anyone not on TV look proper. And stuffy. The tailor stood ram-rod straight and moved with ease that didn’t match his apparent age as he walked up to face her behind the counter. Miranda scrambled to her feet, almost dropping her backpack.
“How can I help you, my dear?” He lowered his chin to watch her over the top of his glasses.
“I… um… Is this your ad?” She fished the folded business card out of her bag and pushed it across the counter to him with the ad facing up. Bridget leaned forward to peer at the card with some interest.
“It looks like a handwritten ad,” he said. “I assure you that I typically hand out professional business cards.”
“It’s one of yours. At least I think it is. I saw this online and copied it out,” Miranda said, flipping the card over to show them the front. She glanced once more behind her toward the door. As she reached to take the card back, the old man scooped it up.
“Yes, that is me,” he said as he ran his thumb across the card. Miranda took a step backward as he snapped his gaze to her. “How did you find it?”
“Well, it was, um, it was in my dad’s stuff.” Miranda felt her cheeks flush. Now that it came to it, she didn’t know what possessed her to even come, but she stood her ground all the same. This old guy wasn’t going to intimidate her, not with the disastrous last few days she’d had.
“It is an ad, yes,” he said. “But you have to be truly looking for this place in order to find it.”
Miranda froze. She looked hard at the man, wondering if he was serious, but he peered back at her, a calm expression on his face.
“So, you found a business card of mine,” he continued. “Many people begin the search, but few complete it. And they all come through here at some point or another. I suppose you’ve been wondering about the disappearances? Usually it’s college students looking for a government conspiracy.”
“No, it’s…um…no,” she stammered. What in the world was he talking about? Government conspiracy? She just wanted to know why her dad had this random card, marked “ICE,” in his wallet and nothing else.
“Miss Woodward?” the man asked. “How did you find my shop, exactly?”
“Wait. What disappearances?”
“Never mind about those. All in good time.” He held up his hands, pressing his fingertips together and gazing at her over the top of them without blinking. “I ask again. How did you find my shop?”
“I was trying to find out what happened to my dad,” she whispered. She cleared her throat and said more clearly. “He had one of your cards in his wallet.