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    Elfboy Sample Chapters 1 – 3

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    Okay, here it is! A sample of my novel, debuting in August 🙂 Enjoy & don’t be afraid to provide me with criticism!

    Thank you for checking it out! 😀

    Chapter 1

     

     

     

    “Stop worrying, Chris,” my cousin Julie insisted. The two of us stood at the Aunt Sally’s driveway, waiting in a signature thick, Orangeboro Kentucky fog for the school bus. “You won’t be picked on, I promise.”

     

    I didn’t like having a fourteen-year-old talk to me like that. After all, I was going on eighteen. But, I did need the reassurance. I’d always been homeschooled before Mom and Dad died and I imagined I’d be one to get bullied in a public school.

     

    “Aren’t you a little worried about your first day of high school?” She looked standing with her arms crossed, shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

     

    “No.” She rushed to defend herself. “And I’m not scared of him either.”

     

    “Who’s him?” I couldn’t help teasing her about what I expected to be her crush.

     

    “Nobody. Just a kid at school.”

     

    I shrugged my shoulders, going back to listening to the bears moaning around in the woods behind us. I knew even then Julie was wrong, but I didn’t care about asking her more.

     

    I took a deep breath as the enormous, yellow machine emerged from the fog, stopping three feet from us. Aunt Sally be right about the school kids around here, I didn’t feel like using my rusty karate on them.

     

    “Good morning,” a short, sandy-haired driver sang out as I climbed on behind Julie. He reminded me of an old crab I’d found on the beach near my Florida home. “Welcome to Orangeboro High.”

     

    “Thanks,” I said, following Julie to an empty seat.

     

    More kids than I thought existed around the town pleasantly smiled and greeted me. A couple even shook my hand. Surrounded by this much cheerful chatter, I began to feel that maybe I wouldn’t have any trouble in school.

     

    That only lasted until he got on the bus.

     

    The driver stopped in front of an overgrown driveway, with a broken gate and smashed-up mailbox. An old, semi-Victorian style house was only just visible through the trees and fog. It looked like it must have been a grand mansion, but boarded windows and fallen chimneys made it look uninhabited.

     

    The bus door slid open, grinding reluctantly. My observation of the house shattered by the horrible noise, I noticed that everyone had suddenly fallen silent and now sat still in their seats.

     

    Hardly daring, I turned my head the slightest bit towards the door.

     

    A thin kid, who looked younger than me despite his extreme height, pulled himself onto the bus. He wore a t-shirt, ripped up jeans, and a hooded jacket that must’ve been at least three sizes too big, all black. His face, partly hidden by glasses and long dark hair, seemed like it had once been perpetually happy, but was now shut hard. I couldn’t see his eyes through the thick-lensed glasses, but knew they had to be strange.

     

    He mumbled a greeting to the driver, without answer. It almost seemed like the other was trying to hide behind the steering wheel.

     

    Then the boy turned, gripping the backs of two seats with his oversized, gnarly hands, swinging himself forward like I’d been told not to do so many times over the summer in Aunt Sally’s kitchen.

     

    All the other kids turned away, terrified expressions on their faces. Julie glanced at him for half a second as though in anger and then inched closer to me with her eyes on the floor.

     

    He kept coming closer the same way, grabbing the backs of seats and hauling himself forward. A pained look creased his face each time he moved. When he was about halfway to my seat, I saw why. His right leg was twisted almost backwards and unable to bend at the knee.

     

    Startled, my eyes shot to his face. He caught my gaze and held it motionless. The eyes I had expected to see behind the glasses were still not visible as he stared straight at me, so strongly that it seemed more like through me.

     

    The only thing I could feel was desperation. Whether I was desperate to break away so that I could breathe again or if it came from him, I couldn’t tell.

     

    After what seemed like an eternal stare, he flashed a strange half smile like light beaming through cloud and mercifully moved on to the back seat.

     

    I had expected—more like hoped—that the buzz of conversation would pick up once he was seated, but it didn’t. The silence that he brought on the bus stayed, suffocating all the friendliness and warmth that I felt before.

     

    That bus ride seemed to last forever, but it was probably less than an hour. When it finally ended, I found myself rushing for the door, gasping for breath and feeling as if I’d just come out of a long, dark, airless tunnel.

     

    “Chris?” Julie’s voice shattered my relief.

     

    “Yeah?”

     

    “You stay away from him,” she said, nodding at the bus, then turned and ran into the brick school building with the rush of kids.

     

    I glanced back at the bus and saw the kid with the limp staring at me through the windows as he made his way towards the door.

     

    As curious as I was, I fully intended to stay away from him.

     

     

     

    Chapter 2

     

     

     

    Hiram P. Snyder, the school principal, must’ve been waiting just inside the door for me since 3 a.m. His eyes were blood-shot, his straw-colored hair looked like he’d torn patches out—forgetting to comb the rest after; and his bowtie was crooked, refusing to stay in place. I soon learned that those things were a part of his normal appearance, but on that first day, they scared me a bit.

     

    What really got me though was the fact that as soon as I walked inside the school, he pounced on me, dragging me into his office.

     

    “Good morning, young man,” he said as though it were perfectly normal for principals to act like that. He motioned for me to sit in one of the stiff cushioned, pouring coffee into a bright orange mug. He took a long sip and stood gazing out the window while the clock on the wall ticked away thirty seconds.

     

    “Is there something you wanted to see me about?” I ventured.

     

    “Not in particular.” He drank more coffee. “I just wanted to welcome you on your first day of school here. And, of course, to warn you.”

     

    “About what?”

     

    He turned from the window, meeting my eyes with his, which were astonishingly dark blue—crimson blue if that was a real color.

     

    “One of the students. Elrond Higgins is his name. I’m sure you saw him on the bus?”

     

    “Yeah.” I knew exactly who he was talking about. “Why?”

     

    The principal took another sip from his mug. It seemed to be as necessary to him as breathing. “Why is not important. You would do better to stay away from him. Now, hurry up and get to history class. It starts in two minutes.”

     

    I had to run to my class. Mr. Snyder’s warning had taken way too much time—and coffee.

     

    As I ran through the hall, I rounded a corner and knocked someone over. We both fell to the floor. Several seconds passed before I realized it was the kid with the twisted leg. The one I’d been warned, twice, to stay away from.

     

    I jumped to my feet with surprise and extended a hand to help him up. “Are you all right?”

     

    “I’m fine!” he flared, ignoring my outstretched hand and trying to get up by himself.

     

    Finally, after realizing he couldn’t do it, he reached up and yanked on my arm. I nearly lost my balance as he pulled himself to his feet.

     

    He still held a firm grip on my arm for nearly a minute after he was up and we both just stood there staring at each other like on the bus, but seeming less hostile.

     

    “Thanks,” he said, giving my hand a shake and letting a slight smile cross on his face. “Thank you.” His voice wasn’t strange, but it missed the mark of normal.

     

    “It’s all right. My name’s Chris, by the way.” Heck with warnings, he didn’t seem so bad.

     

    “Elrond Higgins. Call me El.” He locked away the smile and stared past me a moment before limping off down the hall.

     

    Still on my way to history, I turned to find Julie standing right behind me, glowering.

     

    “I told you to stay away from him!” she hissed, loud enough that anyone in the hall could’ve heard her. “He’s nothing but trouble. Trust me, Chris.”

     

    I shrugged my shoulders. “Let’s get to class.”

     

    I didn’t see that kid—El—again the rest of that day, not even on the bus.

     

    Part of me was glad, wanting to obey the warnings, but most of me wanted to find out more about him. The warnings piqued my interest and anyone with the name Elrond had to be cool—I was a major The Lord of the Rings fan.

     

    That evening over dinner, I decided to ask Aunt Sally if she knew anything, which was likely since she knew literally everything everybody did in Orangeboro.

     

    She burst into tears at the mention of his name and left the table, saying, “you keep well away from him!”

     

    I looked to Julie for an explanation, but she preoccupied herself by picking at her food, eyes full of tears. “Just do what I said earlier,” she mumbled.

     

     

     

    Chapter 3

     

     

     

    The bus ride the next morning went much the same as the day before except that El moved quicker, thankfully not stopping to stare at me again.

     

    I also managed to avoid being taken to Mr. Snyder’s office a second time, though I was sure he watched me from somewhere.

     

    The only time I saw El before lunch was in math class when the teacher was handing out homework. He folded his into an airplane and threw it to her desk without even glancing at it.

     

    Disappointment frowned on his face as she ignored it; as though he wanted to get in trouble, but even the teachers were afraid of him.

     

    At lunch, we ran into each other—literally.

     

    I had just got my tray of food and was walking over to the table where Julie sat when he appeared out of nowhere and we collided.

     

    “Will you stop knocking me over?” he yelled.

     

    Everyone winced and turned away, murmuring as they watched out the corners of their eyes.

     

    “Sorry, I didn’t see you.”

     

    “Maybe you should watch where you’re going.” Getting up by himself this time, he left the cafeteria.

     

    “Wow,” Julie said as I sat down across from her.

     

    “What?”

     

    “You’re the first person who’s dared talk to him like that since…” She stopped abruptly and went back to eating.

     

    “Since when?”

     

    “It doesn’t matter,” she lied.

     

    Before I could press further, a lanky blond kid who looked like he was supposed to be tough walked over.

     

    “Go away, Frank,” Julie demanded.

     

    “I just want to apologize to your cousin,” he said, casting Julie a disgusted glance. “I didn’t mean to trip you. Sorry you fell into Higgins, he’s not very nice.”

     

    “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Julie said, surprising me with her sudden defense of El.

     

    “Still thinking of him as your “big brother”? He’s a monster.”

     

    “Shut up, Frank!” Julie’s face turned red.

     

    “What for? You think he’s gonna come beat me up for talking to you? The shoe’s not on his foot now.”

     

    “Will you please go away?” I said, as politely as I could manage. “I accept your apology for tripping me and don’t think we have anything else to discuss.”

     

    “Sure thing.” Frank looked surprised by my firmness; most people were. “Just remember that Higgins is no good, regardless of what your cousin tells you.” A smirk crossed his face. “He should be leaving here soon anyway.”

     

    Julie smiled weakly at me after he left. “Thanks.”

     

    “I don’t like him.” I glared after Frank for a moment. “Were you and El friends?”

     

    “Sort of.” Julie squirmed in her seat. “A few years ago.”

     

    “Then why did you tell me to stay away from him?”

     

    For a second, she looked like she was going to explain, but she didn’t. “I don’t want to talk about it. Just stay away from him—stay away from Frank too.”

     

    When school finally ended that day, I saw El head into an alley beside the building.

     

    Frank followed, leading about six other boys.

     

    Trying to ignore their shouts, I kept walking with everybody else to the bus.

     

    Then El called my name.

     

    Sighing, I ran into the alley. I didn’t want to get involved. But, I also couldn’t refuse somebody calling for help.

     

    Behind the school building, Frank and the others were beating up on El. Three of them groaned on the pavement and one was running away. Obviously, El put up a good fight, despite his leg.

     

    “So, are you gonna leave?” Frank asked.

     

    El punched him in the face for a reply, sending him down too.

     

    I clenched my fists and started into the fight with a karate kick that would’ve made Chuck Norris proud.

     

    El gaped at me with a mixed expression of jealousy, admiration, and gratefulness.

     

    I ignored it and focused on knocking Frank back down.

     

    He jumped right up and kicked me to the ground. Just as his fist was about to land on my jaw, El picked him up, throwing him against the school wall.

     

    Everybody else stood still as El held their leader against the brick.

     

    “I’m getting really tired of this, Jessup,” he hissed. “I’m sorry about Greg, but I can’t leave school. Believe me, if I could, I’d have done it a long time ago.”

     

    Seconds held their breath as the two of them locked eyes.

     

    “Yeah right.” Frank kicked El in the shin of his twisted leg.

     

    Gasping loudly in pain, El took a step backwards, shoving Frank roughly into the building. He looked like he might be sick.

     

    “Frank Jessup! Billy Thomas!”

     

    We all looked up to see the principal leaning out a window, orange coffee mug in hand.

     

    “Come up to my office at once. The rest of you, go home.” He caught a gaze from El and held it for a long time before retreating back into his office.

     

    All but Frank and another boy took off.

     

    “We’ll get you too, Wilson!” Frank called as he and Bill walked towards the school.

     

    “Not if I can help it.” I turned to El. “Come on, let’s get to the bus.”

     

    He had already started limping down the alley.

     

    “Where are you going?” I called after him.

     

    “To the pizza shop. I work there.” He stopped and turned to face me. “You can come if you want. Joe would be glad to have you.”

     

    I glanced behind me at the school parking lot. The bus had already gone.

     

    “Sure. Why not?” I ran to catch up with El.

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