Here's a peek at my book
Cole unpacked his clothes, returning from a long summer break. He had spent the summer taking care of his mom. She divorced his father years ago and became ill. She never seemed to get better, now in bed, barely alive. Cole worked two jobs all summer long to help her catch up on her bills and pay for her medicine. Pulling out a photo of his mother and himself, taken just a few days before, reminded him how painful it was to leave her.
Shaken from his thoughts by the door flying open, he looked back. Wearing his longer black hair down from its normal ponytail, Benson ducked into the room, barley clearing the door frame. Benson’s big black boots stomped across the floor as he approached his friend. “Have you seen all the beautiful little things running around? It’s going to be a great year.”
“Sure is,” Cole forced a laughed, “How’d your vacation pan out?”
“Great, kind of, my mom made me spend time with my cousins out in Cali.”
Cole grinned at his friend. He would give anything to see the beaches of California. Instead he worried about his sick mother. Benson always seemed to have good luck. He even seemed to get the girls. As Cole finished unpacking his clothes; he looked around at the dorm room they had shared for years. Memories covered the walls, all reminders of the time they spent at that school, hiding original color of the wall. Benson’s side looked just like Cole’s, covered with remnants of their past.
“What do you say we rock the dorms tonight with a welcome back party?” This was Benson’s attempt at a tradition. A welcome back blowout. He was into his cell phone, already sending out a massive text message to everyone he knew.
“Ben, you’re going to upset my dad already.”
“No, but the twins will. They already started planning the party.”
“Man, there always seems to be some drama lingering around the parties we have.” Cole confessed.
“True, but the new girls will be out, and all dressed up. You can’t miss out.” Benson argued.
“Fine. I’ll go. Now let’s get our books.”
“Alright, it’s always better when you’re in too.”
As Cole opened the door a group of friends walked by. Waving and stopping to say hello after a long summer. The group talked as a few giggling girls walked by. However one of them muttered “bratlings” and cringed at the group of boys. All had perfect tans and short sun dresses. One of them sported an arm full of books, but all of them pointed shyly or glared. Quiet whispers passed from one girl to the next in a matter of seconds. Being daring one of the girls wiggled her finger in Cole’s direction, leaving his face heated and his friends laughing at him. The girls passed by and Benson managed a few words, “Finally, a girl for you. ‘Bout time.”
“Oh please, she wasn’t even interested.”
Benson gave a devilish wink at Cole, “It’s not like you have to try hard to change her mind.”
Thinking about all the ways he could change her mind, with his power, Cole smirked to himself. “Shut up, Ben.”
The two boys went on their way, leaving their friends to talk more. The same old hallways of the dorms, painted yellow, were meant to cheer up the inhabitance of the school. However Cole would have preferred to be back in public school. Only the warm scent of fresh apples, and a faint chill to the air, reminded them of fall on its way. Leaving the old blackened bricks, which held up the main hall, seem slightly welcoming.
Voices echoed over the huge lobby, leaving no corner of the room empty. In line for their class schedules, Cole heard a familiar whining that he couldn’t ignore. Felicia, from the Marchello family, huffed by; throwing a tantrum about not getting into the chemistry class her father taught. Knowing she couldn’t pass on her own, and counting on her dad to help her out, she hoped for any easy A.
“Welcome home Felicia.” Benson yelled, teasing her. He always knew how to upset her more. Spilling her wrath into the open.
“Bite me Benson!”
She flipped him the bird as she walked on down the hall. Her pink heels clicked on the marble floor and her hair floated behind her as she stormed off. Benson laughed loudly as they continued to wait in the long line. Cole looked around at all the new faces and kids reuniting after the break. It made him nervous to be in such a crowd, he had always feared slipping up and letting his powers show.
“Cole Taylor, welcome back to school.” The sudden, cheerful, sound of Benson’s mom made him jump. Her brown hair was cut short and curled around her face. She reached her short body across the folding card table to hug him.
“Hello ma’am.” He squeezed her back, welcoming the feeling of someone he knew.
“How was your vacation?” she asked digging out his class schedule.
“I finally got to see my mom. So that was something.” He offered, but he knew his face only showed how much he missed his mother.
“Hang in there, it will get better. Now slide on down to Jess and she’ll get your books, honey.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
He followed the tape line on the floor to find Jess standing behind a table, almost waiting on him. Red flushed her cheeks as she noted Cole’s approach; she’d had a thing for him. Quickly she wiped at the thick black eyeliner darkening her eyes, leaving them a little brighter, before she nervously reached for his class list. “Welcome back Cole.”
“Funny, you’re not a volunteer type.”
“I’m making up for a big mistake I made on break.” She scanned a pile of books, plucking one out of the middle of a stack.
“Was it worth it?” Cole asked.
“Undeniably.” she smirked.
“That doesn’t surprise me.” Cole laughed, taking his books from her. She’d always been a bit of a trouble maker. He waved and stepped aside to wait for Benson.
“I’m so confused, was Jess helping?” Ben laughed.
“Hey, be nicer to her, she might bite you back.”
“I know, it creeps me out.” Benson squirmed a little. Cole could remember several pranks Jess had pulled on Benson, leaving him forever weary of her.
The boys took off walking back towards the dorms. Along the way, Benson had to stop and smile at the girls gawking his way. Cole never took himself for the handsome type, but he felt the eyes on him, and the urges racing through the minds of the young ladies staring at him. Being unable to filter all of the thoughts made it hard to pick out just one. However the intense words popped out at him, causing his face redden.
Hearing a radio playing the school station reminded Cole that Zoe would be making her appearance tonight. Of course it helped that she was a major part of the music department, and part of the audio/ visual club. Though you never would have guessed it by her long blonde hair and cheerleader uniform.
Daydreaming while pretending to listen to Benson go on about some girls he’s met, Cole walked into a bench, spilling all his books. Clobbering both of the people seated on the bench. Evan had been sitting there talking to a blonde girl. Pink, streaked one side of her hair and her eyes shocked him with a purple color. Locking onto the strange hue of her eyes, he almost missed the quick wave of energy that escaped her. Twinkling so quickly, that he thought he may have been seeing things. Evan wailed, upset about Cole’s stupidity. “What the hell?”
“Sorry, I’m not thinking right.” Cole answered, shaken from his gaze on this new source of power.
“Get yourself together, you jerk.” Evan snapped shoving some of his books at him.[AF1] [JT2]
“Sorry I dropped my books on you.” Cole turned, looking back to the beautiful creature.
“Totally alright, accidents happen.” Her voice sounded so gentle and sweet. The silvery sound of each word uprooted his attention and focused it wholly on her. The silence that followed, made the fact that he was staring at her in awe, a little more creepy.
Turning and quickly walking away before he could make it worse, Cole burned from embarrassment. Benson wasn’t far away with something unaccommodating to say. “Dude, you have got to teach me how to pick up chicks like that! Plus, Evan’s pissed, and it’s hilarious from that kid.”
“Not cool man!” Cole snapped at him friend and couldn’t help one look back. His body almost demanded he see her one more time. Meeting her eyes, he felt a slight burn in his wrist.
“Sorry buddy, you need to calm down. It’s too early in the school year to stress.”
Reaching the dorm, Cole stood in front of his door, unlocking it and pushing his way in. He had overdone himself already; and it was going to be a long semester. Dropping all his books on his bed, he looked over his schedule; Chemistry, Math, English, Specials 368, Specials 057, and Specials 623. The “Specials” were listed as such, to hide the true nature of the classes, and Cole had the three hardest coven classes.
While reading ahead in his Chemistry book, Cole was brought back to life by the sound of the party starting. Glancing out his window, he noted the sun had set, and a huge cluster of teenaged kids were already laughing. “Come on, let’s make our appearance.” Benson tugged on Cole’s arm.
Cole nodded and followed his friend’s lead. Soon Benson went into “girl chasing” mode and left Cole by himself. Finding a tree to lean against, he watched as Zoe hyped up the crowd.
“Hello Taylor Prep! How are my people?” She spoke into her mic, inviting the roar that silenced her for a moment, “Welcome back to a fresh year at Prep! I am your school D.J.Z. and before we get our dance on, let’s jam with Vilincia’s very own KILL ZONE!”
Cole spotted the girl from earlier in the front row, dancing and singing along to Evan’s songs. Her hair was now curled and bouncing with her every move. Cole watched on, locked in her every movement as she swayed to the heavy music.
He was pulled from his gaze by a gentle tug. Jess pulled him into the mix of kids to dance with her. She twisted her fingers through his, in an unusual way that she never had before. Letting a burst of power run down her arm and up his. She looked back at him, her eyes barely hidden by makeup. Cole could see more of her face than normal, her hair wasn’t styled like normal, and he realized she was trying to flirt.
Finding the perfect spot, Jess stopped and pulled him closer to her. The surrounding crowd of kids was jumping around and slamming into each other. Taking it a little too far, one of them crashed into Cole. Jess shoved the kid back into the mob with a growl.
When the set ended Jess looked around the crowd. Spotting Jackson, her twin, she hid behind Cole. Reaching her head up, she told him, “Thanks. I needed that, but I got to bail. I’m still in trouble and Jackson is a tattletale.”
“No problem. Later.” He gave her a little more shielding from her brother.
“Now, let’s kick it!” Zoe announced as she started dropping beats.
Cole turned to walk back to his lonesome tree. But his tree was not so lonesome anymore. A pair of kids stood lip locked in the place he once stood. Looking for another place to hide, he crashed into the girl he’d been admiring. This time it was different, though; this time she was weeping and hiding her face.
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Cole instantly filled with guilt.
“It’s not you.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“No, but thank you anyway.” she sobbed, pushing past him to get out of sight.
Cole watched with concern as she disappeared into the dark of night. A sensation of something lingering in her wake. His power seemed to be almost uncontrollable from being in her presence again. The pull to follow her was so hard it was almost pushing him, physically. Cole bit down hard on his lip until the power flowing through him calmed enough he could move without energy blasting from him finger tips. It was all he could handle and it exhausted all the confidence he had to be at this party alone.
Working his way through the party goers, Cole found his dorm building and climbed three flights of stairs to get to his door. Guilt eating at him now, maybe he had elbowed her, and she just wouldn’t admit it? With some privacy now, he let this energy open up. Little bursts of static filled the air in his room. The birthmark on his wrist, a sign of his coven, started to tingle. This crazy new event made his attention shift, and all power dissipated in an instant.
Taking in a deep breath, he tried to convince himself it was just stress, and that he was nervous. The deep breathing calmed him enough to fall asleep, but his dreams of this strange new girl and her last impression on him, kept him tossing all night.
The loud pounding of the alarm clock brought Cole back to life. He reached out of the covers, slapping the plastic box, silencing its scream. Yawning and rubbing his eyes, Cole threw back the soft fabric cocoon and forced himself to a sitting position. Benson moaned as he rolled over, waking to the sound of Cole moving around.
“Come on, it’s the first day. You can’t play hooky yet.” Cole teased Benson as he finally stood up. He reached high into the air, his long fingers almost touching the ceiling.
“Oh man, where did you go last night? It was awesome.” Benson sat up, revealing hair sticking up in every direction. Dark circles were waking up under his eyes, telling everyone, that Benson had little sleep.
“Looks like it was one hell of a night.”
Cole changed his clothes into his uniform and slid on his sneakers. He never wore his tie, and no one seemed to notice. Benson rolled out of bed and started to get ready for class, after a few more sleepy groans. When the first bell echoed from the school buildings, both boys darted out the door and to the café for breakfast before class.
After grabbing some milk, an apple, and shoving granola bars into his pockets for later; Cole then rocketed out of the café. He bolted for his first class, realizing he had three minutes instead of five; barely making it before the bell rang.
“Thank you for gracing us with your presence Mr. Taylor. Take a seat, please.” The teacher hissed with irritation.
Announcements started blaring from the speaker system all over the school. Mrs. Von took pride in her morning welcome all school year long. Keeping an extra ring to her voice and using crafty ways to make everyone smile. Everything from birthdays, to new happenings in the school, were announced every morning before class started. Cole took a bite of his apple and looked around. A lot of new kids he didn’t know were around this year. Word of the schools amazing technology programs and a long list of high class Alumni spread; and normal fought to have their kids enrolled. But he did recognize one face – Jess waved shyly at him from across the room. She pushed her hair out of her face a little more when he looked her way.
No longer alone, he eased back into his chair. When chemistry finally started, Cole let his thoughts wonder. He’d already been over this book; his father always tutored him at home. So paying attention in class was hard for him. There’s no rest for Cole with his father – it was why he preferred the company of his mom; she never pushed him too hard. Unless it was to be himself.
“Mr. Taylor? Are you in there?” The teacher towered over his desk, creases and veins of anger, popping out of the man’s face as he growled.
“What?” Cole shouted, then realized what was going on, and sunk deep into his seat. His cheeks turning crimson, from the laughs of the other around him.
“Do wake up, Mr. Taylor. I’m sure your father doesn’t want to be bothered with you being trouble today.” The old man stared at Cole with vexation, before finally turning away.
“Sorry sir.” Cole replied. Wishing that he could use his power to disappear before anyone could tell his dad.
The teacher went on with his lecture, what the class would be covering, and what the homework for the night would be. The anguish and giggles only got worse; he was called on for every question. His shy side would kick in, and Cole would stumble over his words. Glancing eagerly at his watch for this punishment to be over, the bell finally freed him. Before anyone could say something about him, he was out the door and into the hallways.
As he pushed his way through the mass of students, Cole felt a burning in his wrist again. Memories of that new girl halted his pace entirely. Cemented in place, others pushed passed him, but he looked around feverishly for her. His hand felt like it was about to burst with power again, and it took all the focus he had to stop his powers from showing themselves. With his class just a few doors away, he pushed on, the burning getting worse. At the threshold of the classroom, he heard her sweet voice say hello to another classmate.
The burning stopped and was replaced with a pull. As if someone was actually guiding him in her direction. He took the seat next to her and smiled in her direction. Trying to hide his nerves and the need he had to talk to her. She glanced at him shyly, blushing at his appearance.
While he was good at pretending, he wasn’t thinking about math at all. The instructor was facing the board, writing out the equation for everyone to follow, so Cole took a little action. He closed his eyes and focused in on the energy surrounding her. Trying to pull out any similar thoughts to what he was experiencing. Cole found he was blocked from her thoughts entirely, normal couldn’t do that, they couldn’t block their thoughts from a witch. Who was this girl?
The thoughts racing through his mind now took up the rest of his math class. Needing to know more, he gathered up just enough confidence to ask her name. He stood to say hi to her but was interrupted:
“Cole!” Benson bellowed into the room.
She looked up at the sound of his name, as it beckoned from the doorway. He had been caught now and smiled awkwardly; before he couldn’t take it anymore, he walked away without a word to her. Cole pushed by Benson and turned the corner before anyone else could see how sheepish he felt. Benson followed him happily, unaware he had deflated his friend’s confidence.
“Hey you disappeared pretty quickly after getting food. What’s with the rush?” The relaxed voice Benson had assured Cole his friend had been late to class.
“I have a lot to do already, Ben.”
“Man, calm down. It’s not as big as you think it is.” Benson laughed, blissfully unaware of how big of a disaster this day had been so far.
“It is, my dad put a lot on my shoulders. Remember I ‘have to carry on this legacy’.” This was a conversation the boys had a few times before. Cole knew Benson would never fully understand what he was expected to be.
“Dude, your dad’s not giving this up. He’s going to live forever.” Benson gave a casual laugh.
“Not forever, but longer then I will if I don’t keep up with class. See you for lunch, man.” Realizing that passing time was almost up, Cole dashed through the cluttered halls for his next class.
“Later.” Benson shouted after Cole.
Listening just enough to get by in English class, Cole still dazed off. Thoughts of a sweet soft voice and those unnaturally beautiful eyes, kept him in a trance. She blocked him out and had such a strong effect on his power, but why? He couldn’t see what his brain was trying to show him, but it was forcing him to notice her every time she was near.
With all the basic classes out of the way it was time for lunch and a small break from this insane first day. Benson waited for him with a fresh pizza, outside, in the late summer sun. They couldn’t get outside food delivered, however Benson always got around that rule. Cole pulled out a book and started some of his homework, while stuffing a slice of peperoni pizza into his mouth.
“Man, what is wrong with you sometimes?” Benson shook his head, giving Cole a look of disappointment.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re doing homework before schools over. You are the only kid I know who likes homework.” With one giant hand, Benson brushed a few stray strands of hair out of his eyes.
“Hey one of us has to be smart.” Cole laughed at his friend.
“Good point, if you weren’t so smart we would be in a lot more trouble than we already are.” Benson grabbed his bag and stood quickly. His panic alerted Cole, and he turned to see what Benson was running from. Seeing his father’s approach, he too, started to grab his things. However their attempt to run was useless.
“Where are you boys going?” David’s face reflected a permanent state of irritation.
“Anywhere but here.” Benson replied in defeat. He continued putting things into his bag.
“No more outside food, Benson. Next time I’ll talk to your mother.” David scolded, wagging his finger in disapproval.
“Yes sir, see you later Cole.” Benson replied, bailing before things got worse.
“Cole, I hear it you were already late to class, then fell asleep.” The deep, cruel, voice stated very disapprovingly.
“Dad, I’m not sleeping in class—” Cole tried to defend himself, but he couldn’t even look his father in the eyes.
“Make sure it doesn’t happen again.” David stopped Cole and demanded a change with one statement. Glaring through his thick rimmed glasses, pushing the point of his anger.
“Yes sir.” Cole ground his teeth together and stormed away before getting himself into any more trouble. Cole made his way to his first coven class and saw that Benson already had saved a spot for him. Benson waved and invited his friend over. The room, darkened with no windows, kept the secrets of the classes.
“So… how’s your dad doing?” Benson teased.
“He’s the same old man.” Cole sighed in relief that his encounter with his father was over.
“Good afternoon students and welcome to Advanced Pagan Rituals.” Mrs. Handson, a witch and teacher of this class, started her “beginning of a new year” speech, like every other teacher had done already. The short round woman had curly black hair and gray eyes.
Benson rested his head on his hand like he was board, but Mrs. Handson wasn’t going to let him slack so soon,“Mr. Von, I see you’re so intrigued with my lecture. Why you don’t come write down tonight’s assignment for me? Let’s see, what about… NOW!”
Benson sighed, slid from his seat, and stomped up to the front of the room. Cole couldn’t help but laugh at his friends’ misfortune. He watched as Benson scribbled on the white board. His handwriting barely legible to anyone. Cole wrote down the assignment and jumped right into the book. He knew by the end of this class he would have to be able to show his skill. Expected to be the best, of course –all because of who his grandfather was.
There were now ten kids in class when there used to be only three. A new wave of witches shipped their kids off to be successful with their powers; like the tales of the Vilincia coven. Giving these kids a chance they never had, and experience in rituals they might never get to practice in amongst the normal.
When his day was over, Cole returned to his dorm, and met up with Benson again. He already had his uniform off and his street clothes on by the time Cole walked into the room.
“You look rough man.” Benson laughed.
“Just another year… and a lot on my plate.” Cole let out a puff of air that blew his hair around a little. He dropped his backpack onto the floor. It landed with a thud, revealing its true weight.
“Let’s go raid the café. We could use a snack.”
“Hold on let me change.”
“Oh come on princess, you’re fine.”
“You’re not the only one who gets to be normal around here.” Cole pointed playfully at his friend.
“I’m just the only one making it look good. Hurry up, I’ll wait out here.” Benson laughed, shutting the door behind him.
Cole changed as fast as he could, tripping over his jeans as he tried to wiggle into them quickly. He joined his friend in the hall, and the boys walked slowly. They laughed and talked about Benson's new lady friend. Cole teased his friend for being such a player. He’d never been good at talking to girls.
Benson and Cole met up with Felicia and Haley hanging out together. Haley didn’t talk a lot and Felicia liked that in her friends. Haley could handle Felicia’s tantrums and bitch fits. A part of the Raven family, she was very soft spoken. Haley was reading a book when Cole and Benson sat down with the girls.
“How’d your first day go, Felicia?” Benson started right in. The tone in his voice was full of persuasion, as he baited her into a conversation with him.
“Oh get over yourself Ben, I don’t want you anymore.” Felicia rolled her eyes at the winks and smirks from Benson.
“If I wanted you I’d have you.” Benson retorted.
“Keep telling yourself that, if this helps you sleep during the night.” She laughed in his face. He smiled at her deviously. She turned to Cole who was unusually quiet. “How’s your day going, darling?”
“I’m ok, how are you?” Cole replied with a lost look on his face. He could feel the pull, like he had in class, distracting him from everyone else in the room.
“I’m fine; but that’s not what I asked, Cole. You sure you’re ok?” she sounded more annoyed than concerned.
“Sorry I got a lot of homework to do.” He gave the first excuse that spilled from his mouth.
“Well talking about it isn't going to get it done. You should go do your homework, and take this loser with you.” she replied with a growl and pointed at Benson.
Without another word he got up and went back to his room. Benson stayed behind to tease Felicia a little more. Cole rushed through all his normal class work. It was his other homework that worried him. He was taking Healing Magic, Advanced Rituals and Rites, and Over Taking the Human Mind. While he loved getting into someone else’s head and listening to the thoughts of people around him, he worried someone might know he was there. Listening to their worries about all the small things in life.
As he sat at his desk thinking about it, his mind connected with someone. He listened as a sweet voice rang with thoughts about a break up. Cole listened more as she wondered what she had done wrong, to cause the boy dump her. Then Evan’s name rolled into his thoughts; leading Cole to an idea of what happened to that girl the night before.
With the door flying open and bouncing off the closet door, he was jolted back into his own head.Spinning quickly to see Benson standing at the threshold, shaking his head.
“You are a sad kid, you know that?” Benson crossed his arms over his huge chest.
“Sorry Ben, I’m just no fun anymore.” Cole laughed, shaking off the feeling of leaving that girls mind.
“You’re dam right you’re no fun! We need to fix that about you!”
“How do you plan to do that?” Cole asked.
“A lot of parties and a lot of girls.” Benson followed his statement with a nod.
“Oh come on, you know that’s not my thing.” Cole knew his attempt to protest was futile.
“Dude, you are sixteen! You should be living it up! You have the rest of your life to learn that history of the coven crap your dad is shoving down your throat.” Benson argued, throwing his hands up in the air.
“I have to be the smart one, remember?” Cole teased.
“The sun is still out. You can do that stuff later.” Benson whined.
“What did you have in mind?” Cole gave up. There was no winning this battle.
The boys found their friends and set out to have a little fun. Running plays on the practice field to burn off steam. Football practice didn’t start back up for a few more days, which left them with plenty of energy to burn off.
Caked in sweat and grass stains, Cole bolted down field to catch a toss from Benson. He missed completely when someone’s ankle reached out, tripping him. His face smacked the ground, causing his ears to ring. The sudden rush of pain caused obscenities to come flying out of his mouth. Blood streamed from his nose when he sat up.
Cole looked back to see Evan laughing at him. Benson helped Cole to his feet and he rushed at Evan, knocking him to the ground. He grabbed a fist full of Evan’s shirt with a furious snap.
“What the hell?!” Cole hissed.
“Paybacks.” Evan snickered. Giving a repulsive look towards the blood staining his shirt too.
“For what? I didn’t do anything to you!” Cole protested.
“Dude, you literally threw your books at me yesterday!” Evan shot back.
“That’s the only reason you have for tripping me?” Cole was heated with rage.
“Come on, game over.” Benson said, pulling his friend off of Evan. Cole protested, insisting on putting up a fight. However the rage was dying down, and the pain of his swelling nose diminished whatever anger was left over.
It was exhausting already and the school year had just started. Finally getting to his homework, Cole practiced the ritual he would have to perform at midterms. The ritual, a blessing of good health and life, made him think of his mom. It was so simple… that it became complicated. He had too much attachment to the rite, thinking more of his mom while practicing. It made him lose his focus and worry about his mothers’ health. He knew it was a matter of time before she left this world, living unstrained and happy in the afterlife. He started over though, trying again to get the words correct as he chanted the ritual.
[AF1](You are using the term ‘man’ too much. Try a different thing for each character, maybe even as a way to show the reader how different they are from one another. You can try ‘dude’, ‘mate’, ‘bro’ and things like that.)