Kevin and Stanley have been bitter enemies since preschool. Can these two middle school students learn to work together on a dangerous and unexpected quest to save an enchanted land without paying the ultimate price?
This story is currently at an agent's New York office awaiting approval. I am sharing the Prologue and first chapter here.
The dark giant paced nervously in his castle chamber, repeatedly looking out the small slit that erved as a small window. Impatience and disgust were written plainly on his face as the setting sun slowly painted the contents of the room red...echoing Yskiner's murderous, hungry thoughts. Suddenly, a door banged in a distant passage. Yskiner turned his enormous, shaggy head and listened as lumbering footsteps approached and stopped just outside the giant's room. The giant scowled. “Well, Krul? It's about time you got back.”
“My lord,” the ugly, squat troll panted, nervously holding up a small bag, “We have it!”
The giant grabbed the bag and clutched it greedily to his chest. “At last!” His sardonic, cruel laugh shattered the chamber's atmosphere, terrifying anyone within earshot. Krul cringed and cowered in the nearest corner, fearing instant disintegration. His master was not known for his kindness or generosity. Ignoring the troll completely, the giant reached a massive paw into the bag and pulled out a string of brilliant jewels which flashed and glinted in the sunset's fire as with a life of their own. Yskiner continued to gaze upon the jewels, laughing his horrible laugh.
“That little wimp really burns my butt!” Kevin Butkus muttered darkly to his friend David Peterson. The two track stars of Stonewall Jackson Middle School watched the skinny, stoop-shouldered figure of Stanley Wellington, III stroll leisurely across the playground.
“You really hate him more than anything, don’t cha?” David asked. “Why? He doesn’t look like much.”
“Long story,” Kevin replied. “It started when we were three. He took my favorite toy truck and smashed it. Then I hit him. Miss Morris called our parents from the preschool. Mom beat the tar out of me when I got home because Stanley said I had started it.”
“Did you?” David asked shrewdly, knowing his friend’s violent temper.
“I really don’t remember,” Kevin answered. “I may have shoved him. I don’t know. Anyway, that was a long time ago.”
“Should have blown over in eight years,” David observed.
“Well, it hasn’t. Remember last year’s track meet?”
“Yeah. You tripped over your shoelaces in the relay. We lost the Fifth Grade championship.”
“I wouldn’t have if that needle-nosed wuss hadn’t tied my shoelaces together,” Kevin retorted hotly. “Just because Tonya Parker came by and we started talking…”
“You really had the hots for her, didn’t you?” David grinned.
“Yeah.” Kevin’s cheeks reddened. “But she’s history. Jennifer Perkins and I are going together now.” Then his eyes gleamed diabolically. “I fixed his wagon. Snuck a dead frog out of Biology and planted it in his locker one Friday. The smell knocked him flat on Monday when he found it.”
“You mean that was you?” David’s eyebrows raised a notch in respectful surprise. “The janitor was really steamed at having to close the hallway for two days to air it out. That stunt is legend.” A sudden grin lit his face. “But you better be careful. The Mug isn’t as appreciative of these things as I am.”
Gertrude Mugler, their teacher, was a withered, hatchet-faced spinster with dingy blond hair tied in a severe bun at the nape of her neck. Her unflattering nickname had originated some years earlier as a result of her unfortunate last name and unattractive facial features, and had been passed down from one sixth-grade class to the next as an unofficial rite of passage. Hers was a name revered and feared throughout the school, as she had held absolute sway over the sixth grade at Stonewall Jackson Middle School for more years than anyone could remember. Even the Marine-like principal, Mr. Pogue, was afraid of her.