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This is the first chapter, or maybe just the first session of a short fantasy novel I would like to write. This is just an introduction to the main character, who after this chapter will find himself in a strange new land and go on great adventures in a midevilesque kingdom.
What I am looking for is advice on writing for children, as I haven't done much of this. Also, does this first bit draw you in and make you interested? Does the "warp" scene (for lack of a better term) work for you? Do you think this will be above children ages 10-16, or below, or what?
Also, any other serious critique is great. I'd rather not hear anything than to hear a bunch of "Oh wow, that's great! I love it, bla bla bla, I'm super fake and want a point so that I can post my own article!"'s.
Thanks guys, and let me know what you think, honestly.
Rays of golden sun shown down on the frost covered sidewalk as Lucas walked the slippery morning route to school. It was his first day back after winter break. The vacation was nice, but he was beginning to wish he’d gotten a warmer coat for Christmas instead of new toys. His scarf flew behind him in the wind as he walked carefully on, avoiding patches of melting ice.
Deciding to take a shortcut and arrive a few minutes early, Lucas stepped through a jagged opening in an old fence and entered a large open field. It was used as a sort of dumping ground and hangout for bullies, but they didn’t come out until later in the day. He had run into them before, but they usually let him get away. It seemed to be enough that this runt of a seventh grader was scared of them. He hustled to school, weaving in and out of broken down cars and refrigerators. The ground was littered with broken glass and twisted metal. Nails, screws, nuts and bolts were scattered everywhere.
The school grounds lay just on the other side of the field, through a hole in the fence, and on the other side of a row of fir trees. They offered limited protection from the school staff. Enough so that you could hide until the coast was clear, and then dart safely into the school through a back door. Lucas did this on a regular basis, as he was often late.
Noises came from somewhere ahead. He could hear crying and laughter, then the sound of a breaking bottle. Lucas stopped dead still. He was scared. His first instinct was to turn around and take the long way. ‘There’s still time to make it!’ He tried to convince himself. ‘If you turn around now, it will all be okay.’ But there was another voice in his mind that he had grown accustomed to obeying. It was his conscience, and this time it told him to keep moving forward.
Lucas was still scared, but he put on his toughest face and marched on in the direction of the noise. On the other side of a large pick up truck he found three tenth graders huddled around an older man, curled up on the ground at their feet. He was dressed in ragged old clothes, like the kind you would normally throw away. Dirt covered his face and hands, and his hair was greasy. The boys were taking turns kicking the man in the gut. ‘This poor man.’ Thought Lucas. ‘He has done nothing wrong!’ But he could not do anything but stare.
After a few moments, the boys finally noticed Lucas’ presence and stopped their attack. Lucas stood perfectly still, a mix of anger and fear in his eyes. ‘Speak.’ He though. ‘Be tough.’ He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
The boys laughed. One stepped forward and spit in Lucas direction. “What do you want, squirt?”
Lucas’ silence was met by laughter.
“Why ya just standin there? Your legs broken?” More laughter.
Lucas knew he had to say something, he had to stand up for this man. “You guys just stop it, okay?”
The three boys were obviously annoyed. Nobody stood up to them like this. The leader spoke again. “Stop what?” He looked at the two other boys, proud of the response. Drawing back, he prepared to deliver another swift kick to the mans mid section.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” Lucas was surprised at his own voice. He sounded tough, or he thought he did anyways. “Just back off.”
The boys stopped and looked at each other, whispering their disbelief. “Or what?” jeered the leader.
“Or,” Lucas couldn’t think of a threat that he could actually carry out. “Or I’ll tell.”
The boys laughed again, and the leader took another step closer. Staring Lucas directly in the eyes he spoke clear and slow, “We’d kill you before you even got to school.”
Lucas stared strait on, without blinking. He felt three sets of eyes glaring at him, just waiting to see what was his next move would be. As he readied himself for the chase, Lucas looked at the man lying on the ground. Their eyes met, and the man nodded as if he knew what was about to happen.
In an instant Lucas turned and fled, the man laid himself out in front of the boys, two of which tripped and fell face first in the dirt. They got up quickly and sprinted after him, leaving the old man behind. They had new prey, and this one was asking for it.
Lucas crawled under a small car to his right and made his way through a maze of rusty appliances, out of the bullies site. The pile of junk extended all the way to the rear fence almost a hundred yards. The three pursuers were right behind him, but they stopped at the front of the maze, panting.
“We know your in their, kid.” The ringleader yelled. He was short of breath, tired from the chase. “Go ahead and come out and we might go easy on ya!”. They were bluffing. Lucas knew that this was his best chance to escape. The biggest of the three kids started making his way into the pile as the other two went around on either side, talking all the while. “We’ll just take your lunch money and let you go on your way.” Lucas kept low and slowly moved towards the other end. ‘You need a distraction.’ he thought to himself.
Lucas was surrounded by bullies on three sides, and a solid fence on the other. He was safe in his hiding spot for now, but the big bully was getting too close for comfort. About ready to give up, he felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to see the old man, one dirty finger pressed firmly to his lip.
“Take my hand.” Came a raspy voice between yellow and black teeth.
Lucas didn’t know what to do. He did not want to see this man get hurt, but he didn’t exactly trust him either. He sat in silence and stared. Just then he felt a hand firmly grasp his shirt collar. “Gothca!” yelled the big bully, proudly. He tugged, but Lucas held tight to the bumper of a nearby car.
“Lucas, take my hand!”
Lucas was startled. ‘How does he know my name?’
“Trust me, Lucas. You have been called, take my hand!”
With that, Lucas reached out with his free hand and clenched the old mans as hard as he could. Suddenly the wind picked up, light faded as dark clouds moved overhead. Thunder clapped and lightning struck. The bully let go. He stood back In shock at the sudden weather changes. Lucas looked up to see an opening in the sky. Wind blew from it in all directions, yet somehow it was pulling both boy and man off the ground.
Lucas wanted to cry out, he wanted to scream. He looked up to see car parts and foliage being sucked into the hole above his head. He opened his mouth wide to yell for help, but he stopped. He looked at the old man. One hand was still firmly grasping his own, the other balled into a fist and held firmly against his heart. His eyes were closed. It looked as if he was asleep!
As Lucas was torn from this world into the hole in the sky, his eyes closed and he faded into a deep sleep. The weather stopped, and they were gone. Three young boys were left staring at the clear blue sky in bewilderment. They looked at each other, back at the sky, at each other again, and then left without saying a word.
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