Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Mutanteers - Opinions needed


I have started a new YA novel in my favourite Fantasy genre. This is a draft of  the opening chapter. I would love to get  your comments on same. Does it do what an opening chapter is supposed to do? Does it make you curious about what will follow?



banyan tree




The Mutanteers (working title) Hazel Campbell



Laverne and Binky licked their double dipped ice cream cones in silence. Those first licks of pure sensuous pleasure as they curled their tongues around the intense sweetness left no room for conversation. They didn't start speaking until they reached their favourite bench in IceCream Park. 

Their school had been dismissed early and since it was just 11 o'clock there weren't many people in the usually busy food complex.  Another hour would see it filling up with patrons for the famous ice cream, patties and light lunches. There were several popular mini food courts set in a garden so large, it really was like a park.

"What you thinking, sis?" Laverne asked as she licked around the rim of her getting-soggy cone.

"I was thinking about Georgina. I felt like crying when Miss asked us to observe a minute of silence and use it to pray for her safety."

"Yeah. She is the third girl to disappear in the last two months. They can’t all be running away."

"Her friends say she wasn't unhappy at home or anything like that. She is just 15 years old."

"They say the police suspect there is a very active kidnapping ring abducting young girls."

"But what are they doing with them? Where are they taking them? Why nobody can’t find them?"

"They found one, remember. But she wasn't alive."

"Who is doing this? Why're doing this?" Binky was obviously distressed.

"Human trafficking," Laverne said ominously.

 They finished their cones in silence.

"Suppose somebody tried to abduct you. What would you do?" Binky asked.

"Well, first of all they would have to try to get both of us at the same time since we are always together."

Binky smiled. "Comfort in numbers."

"You are making me nervous," Laverne said. "Be careful what you tell the universe. Let's go home."

It was the last day of the school term before summer holidays. They took up their backpacks, now empty of the Grade 9 rental books they had returned and were just about to move off, when two young men who they had thought were gardeners tending a bed of flowers nearby blocked their path.

"Hey, sweet things. Why you not in school?"

"Holiday," Laverne replied briefly and clutched Binky's hand. Something about the brash approach alerted her to instant danger.

"Not so fast," one of the men said. Both men attempted to grab the girls, whose instant loud screams froze them for a moment.

Then, out of nowhere, it seemed, another young man appeared, grabbed them both and pulled them into a running gait. Neither girl knew how it happened, but, in seconds, they were out of the park and in a secluded area behind a hedge under a large banyan tree.

"Shh!" their abductor said.

They could hear the two who had first tried to grab them talking. This was strange because surely they had to be some distance away.

"Where did they go"

"Who him?"

"How they could move so fast?"

"We better leave before them call police."

The voices faded away.

Two very frightened girls stared at the youth who had saved them. They couldn’t see his eyes behind his expensive looking darkers, but he had a huge grin on his face.

Before they could say thanks for rescuing them, the youth suddenly picked up a baseball bat which was on the ground and swung it at them menacingly.

The girls reacted in an extraordinary manner. Laverne grabbed the bat with her right hand and squeezed it into splinters. Binky squealed, and jumped out of his way. She jumped so high that she landed way up in the banyan tree.

There was complete silence for a few moments, then the boy began to laugh.

"Yes!" He said. He looked at the remains of the splintered bat in his hand, threw it away and said "At last!"

For a few minutes, both girls were too shocked to move or even think. Then Binky called out, "Get me down! Get me down!"

"How did you get up there?" the boy asked. His voice sounded amused.

" I… I don’t know. I jumped, I think,"

"Well, Jump down."

"And mash up myself?" Her voice was pure panic.

"This is what you do. Shut your eyes and think about jumping down safely."

Not knowing what else to do, Binky followed his instructions. When she opened her eyes she was safely on the ground. But she hadn't done anything but think about it. What was going on?

"How did I get down?" she turned to Laverne.

'You jumped down." Laverne's eyes were wide with fright and confusion.

"What's happening?" Binky asked.

"It must be the double dip. Too much chocolate. We're hallucinating."

The boy laughed. "No, you're not. This is very real. I have been waiting for it to happen."

"For what to happen?" Binky asked.

"Relax," said the boy. "I have a strange story to tell you."

Someone had tied the hanging roots of the tree so that they made seats like a swing. The girls sat beside one another, still frightened but taking comfort in each other's presence.

"Who are you?" Binky asked.

They were nervous, but curious about what this strange boy, who couldn't be more than fifteen or sixteen had to tell them.

"My name is Poncho," he replied.

"What kind of name is that?"

"I'll explain later, but now I have to congratulate you on coming into your powers."

"What are you talking about?'

"What do you think just happened?"

Laverne and Binky looked at one another. They turned back to the boy and shook their heads. Then Laverne said, "I know you. I mean I've seen you on our street. Are you following us? Are you one of them? Are you one of the kidnappers?"

The boy smiled. "I believe I just saved you from two of them. Just listen. You need to understand what is happening to you . . ."

"Do tell," Laverne interrupted. "And it better be good."

She held up her hand and examined it.  It looked and felt normal and she wondered how she could have pulverized the bat. More puzzling was the fact that she was left handed and it was her right hand which had done the damage. She looked at Binky who didn't look any different, except perhaps a little paler from the fright. How had she reached the tree top and jumped down without harming herself?