There are some people you never forget. In the summer of 1964, Luke D’Angelo falls for one of them – a mysterious girl named Celeste. Like Luke, Celeste is an outsider struggling to find her identity, but unlike Luke, Celeste has special powers that have the potential to destroy everything Luke and his friends believe in.
Luke and his mentally challenged sister become fast friends with this curious girl. Set in upstate New York, in a town that is home to a shrimp cocktail plant that belches a foul-smelling tomato and fish fog, this coming of age tale about a girl with a dream and the teens who want to help her fulfill it, is a balance between the comic and the profound. The story resonates with the message that inside each of us is a light that burns so bright no dark can extinguish it. But at what cost?
Out of nowhere in that dense haze, someone laughed near me, a laugh that tinkled melodically. I looked left then right, but the fog hung too thickly to make out who rode there. All I could tell was that someone female inhabited the cloud. My heart raced and my imagination flew. I increased my pedaling and thought I could see a slim shape ahead, arms extended to the sides, riding without hands. A daredevil girl. No one I knew.
She laughed again and I realized she was laughing for the pure joy of the ride; she had no idea I was watching her. I resolved to get her attention. Perhaps I could sneak up on her, shout above the noise of the truck, give her a scare.
I saw sparks near her front wheel and thought the DDT truck might be on fire. I slowed a bit. “Watch out,” I yelled, but she didn’t acknowledge me. Before I could yell again, the sparks moved upward and gathered over her head. I held tight to my handlebars to keep my balance, watching as the sparks grew into a shiny ball with a dark core. Bright rings circled the outside of the globe. I pedaled hard again and watched as the ball settled a few inches above the fender of the girl’s bike. She held her arms wide.
As I drew nearer I thought I felt something tugging my bike. I wasn’t sure what drew me forward, but it was as though my Schwinn had been caught by a magnet. Now I rode alongside her, holding tight, trying to gain control of my front wheel. The ball was wider than the back of the DDT truck, a silvery sparkling object with a dark center that frightened me. Overhead, the sky was dark now, and I wondered if the moon had somehow fallen from the heavens. In spite of my fear, I reached one hand toward the pulsing mass.