Friday, October 30, 2015

Jeremiah Watkins and the Four-Year Space Adventure – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

           Jeremiah Watkins hung his head as he walked out of a doctor’s examination room for the 132nd time in the previous three months. The doctors kept saying nothing like this had ever happened in the history of anything. As far as they could tell, he didn’t have cancer or progeria or any other life threatening illness. They ran tests nearly everyday hoping to figure out what was wrong. The only thing anyone knew was that one night Jeremiah went to bed like any other normal thirteen-year-old and woke up the next day looking like a seventeen-year-old.
            Imagine his surprise when he opened his eyes and saw two enormous feet hanging over the foot of his bed. At first he thought maybe his older brother, Max, crawled into the wrong room and fell asleep next to him. His hands swatted the spaces beside him looking for the rest of Max’s body but no one appeared. Jeremiah’s brain grew into a jelly-filled mush of confusion while the large, knobby feet just hung there.
            It wasn’t until he sat up that he realized the feet moved with him. When he thought about wiggling his toes, the curly digits waved at him. Jeremiah snapped out of bed and ran to the bathroom mirror. He nearly tripped as vertigo sabotaged his senses. Every object in the room seemed smaller, as if he had eaten Alice’s special cake from Wonderland.
            The mirror didn’t help his sense of shock. Islands of dark hair skirted his heavy jawline. Sharp cheekbones jutted outward beneath his familiar green eyes. A thick, wavy swath of oak colored locks framed his rugged features. Although clothes he’d never seen before covered the rest of his body, he could see muscle definition where none had existed.
Despite noticing his own resemblance, Jeremiah felt like a stranger stood before him. So, he did the only thing any thirteen-year-old grown man would do at that point.
            “Mom!” he screamed.
            At first, his mother, Daylin, thought a burglar had snuck into her son’s room. She yelled, desperately racing to find a phone to call the police. After much pleading and begging on Jeremiah’s part, Daylin stopped to look. Slowly she discovered the features of her little boy hidden behind the teary-eyed teenager kneeling before her. Not long after, they jumped in her car. She couldn’t stop staring at him on their way to the hospital. After convincing the nurses they weren’t getting pranked, Jeremiah saw a doctor for the first time since his transformation.
             Sometime after the 47th hospital appointment, Jeremiah received a surprise visit. The visitor literally appeared while he lay in bed one night, claiming to know exactly why Jeremiah had aged so quickly. It turned out the visitor wasn’t from earth. In fact, she wasn’t from the Milky Way galaxy either. More importantly, Jeremiah Watkins quickly found out this wasn’t her first visit.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mia - Untitled (Chapter 2)

** I've come back to this story several times, feeling like this might be the one I'll flesh out all the way through. It's tough deciding what character features will appeal to a YA audience. Still, I'm enjoying the process. I suspect these chapters will look very different in the end. If you have any thoughts about direction please feel free to comment. You can find Chapter 1 here.

Mia - Untitled

Chapter 2

            I wish I hadn’t agreed to serve on the Back-to-School Greeting Committee. As if the first day of seventh grade wasn’t hard enough, now I had to be at school an hour early and with my cheeriest voice—as Mrs. Bruce liked to emphasize—tell the sixth graders to ‘Have a happy first-day of middle school!’ What I should probably do is urge them to run back home before the older kids chew them up and spit out their bones.   
Somehow I survived sixth grade, but if it hadn’t been for Julia and Khareem, I wouldn’t have. They had moms they could run to on bad days; I didn’t. I only had them, and my dad, I guess, but he and I seem to speak different languages. Some days I wish I could just lie in my comfy pink bed and never get up again. But at least I would get to see my friends today and that beats sitting in my room all alone.
When I finally arrive downstairs, the smell of burnt toast suffocates me. My dad had, once again, decided to cook breakfast even though I urged him not to—for obvious reasons.
“Good morning, Caterpillar. You ready for the first day of school?” says Dad. He runs from one side of the kitchen wearing oven mittens on one hand and holding a sizzling pan in the other.
“Could you please call me something else? I’m not six anymore,” I respond.
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot. You’re twelve now and too cool for your dad,” he says.
“No, Dad. I’m just not six,” I say, staring at the charred bacon strips on the plate he places before me.
“Are you not excited to see your friends again?” he asks.
“I guess,” I say gloomily. “I’m just not excited to see everyone else.”
“Well, maybe you should perk up. Let people see your smile and they’ll start liking you.”
“I wish it were that easy,” I say.
“Just try a little harder, Caterpillar.”
I don’t even respond. This is where most of our conversations end, with me getting blamed for not trying hard enough.
“Do you want Mary-Ann to take you to school? She’s on her way to the clinic, which is in the same direction.”
“No, it’s okay,” I say, wondering whether I should skip breakfast altogether.
“You sure?” he says.
“Yes,” I say, getting up and placing my plate on the counter.
I grabbed a piece of toast, the least-burnt I could find, gave my dad a hug, and walked toward the door.
“Oh, hi, Caterpillar. You’re leaving for school already?” says my stepmom as I walk past her on the staircase.
            “Yep. Bye Mary-Ann,” I say, closing the door behind me without looking back.