I’ve spent a full year working on a full length manuscript for a novel titled, Dragon in the Mirror: Into Canonsland, that is a follow-up to a short story I released on Amazon in 2016 titled, Dragon in the Mirror. I’m currently working on the final touches to the manuscript such as ongoing revisions, but for the most part the continuation of the middle grade fantasy story about my heroic girl, Jayden, is done. (Hurrah!)
The problem is that it feels like at times I’m not working on my writing at all, even though I know it’s not true. But right now my “free time” is spent doing submissions that can include some, if not all, of the following: researching publishers; and writing cover letters, synopsis, and chapter outlines. This is all the stuff no one knows about and no one sees.
For that reason, and perhaps to prove to myself more than others that my manuscript does exist, I want to share with you the first four pages.
And without further wait, let the story begin….
Last year me, Mom, and Dad weaved along the highway in our truck somewhere between Calgary and Vancouver as rock formations on both sides slid by my window. At one point, I noticed a sign in front of us that had a triangle on it with small dots tumbling along one of the edges. I asked Dad about it and he said, Jayden, it’s a warning sign for falling rocks.
In my whole short life, it’s as if rocks threaten my family car as we travel along the winding road. Then when we were least expecting it, one pebble comes loose and travels along the side of the mountain, gathers force as it tumbles along the downward slope, and makes contact with our truck creating miniscule dents. On occasion, one small stone hits the windshield in the right way, puncturing a coin-sized hole in the glass.
I know this because on that road trip, that’s exactly what happened. A drizzle of small pebbles danced along the edge of the mountain hitting our truck but more importantly, took a chunk out of our windshield. Dad was prudent – and had the windshield fixed. He said, if we don’t get it fixed, the small problem will get bigger.
We didn’t know it before, but the small stones that we faced were nothing in comparison to the boulder that has now been hurtled at us. Worse yet, it might be one of those situations that all attempts to fix it may still have the same final result: our car will be destroyed.
My fists are balled at my side and my teeth are locked together. Bob stares up at me with a tilted head. His brown expressive eyes seem to beg me to tell him what’s the matter. His tail is limp behind him. After a few moments, he slinks up the stairs with the understanding that he can’t help me. There is no happy puppy here.
I’m ready for a fight. I scream, “I WON’T GO!!! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” Then, I turn on my heels and bound up the stairs with my feet hitting the floorboards heavily as if to emphasize my position. It’s as if each one of my foot stomps is meant to punch through the floor that would anchor me in my home.
If I’m anchored, they can’t make me leave.
When I enter my room, I throw the door open and use all the force I have in my eleven-year-old hands to thunder it behind me. The walls of my room shake, and my eyes catch a glimpse of a framed picture that falls down the wall and hits the wooden floor. I hear the smashing and splintering of glass.
“Oh no,” I say as I race over and turn the framed photo over.
When I turn the photo over my face burns with heat, and then small droplets of rain flow from my eyes. My lower lip punches out as if to gather the rain and save it for another day. It’s all about conservation. That’s what Mrs. Whitemore says in geography class.
Conservation means protecting the natural environment. We must conserve and take care of the things that matter to us.
The photo is a picture of me, Mom, and Dad that was taken overlooking Lake Okanagan on our trip last year. We couldn’t go for long – but it was the one and only trip we’ve taken as a family.
Over my shoulder I hear a puffing from behind me; it’s a gentle puff, like breath flows through a nose. It sounds more like a purring sound.
“Leave me alone Bob!” I blurt out.
When I turn to look around, I notice Bob’s in his bed that is placed in the corner of my bedroom. His body is wedged close to the corner of the wall and he stares at me from there. It’s as if he wants to be as far away from me as he can. This causes the small sprinkle of teardrops that began like a slow dribble from a tap to increase in pressure, and now it’s as if someone has turned the tap on all the way. My tummy drops a bit as I look over at my terrified pup that prefers to be against the cold wall instead of anywhere near me. I fold over with the amplified salty pressure of tears that gush from my eyes streaming down to my puckering lip.
The breathing wasn’t Bob. Well, not that Bob.
I glimpse into my bedroom mirror. There he is. My hands still clutch my treasured framed photo. Turning away from the mirror for a brief second, I assess the damaged item. My fingertips cling to it tightly as if I can magically fix it if I never let it go. Incredibly, even though the glass is smashed to pieces, the photo has not shifted in the frame. Satisfied that the picture remains in place, I crane my neck back to see the image in the mirror.
That’s when I see a big, soft, brown eye that watches me as it flutters up and down when he blinks.
Bob is huge. I giggle at the eye as I forget for a few seconds about the fight I had with Mom and Dad downstairs.
There’s nothing creepy about my friend Bob the dragon’s eye. It doesn’t remind me of those ghost stories or movies where eyes peer through a framed picture and watch their victim. I know the person is the “victim” because the music that plays in the background starts off quiet and slow, and then gets a little louder as the sound gets more intense screeching to a final conclusion. The music makes my heart race and sweat gathers on my hands. I know there’s perspiration on my hands because my fingertips slip together with all the moisture that has gathered on them. It’s also because just before something terrible happens in that movie, I throw my hands up and cover my eyes, slapping myself in the face with my wet palms.
Those movies terrify me. When I told Wyndham about them, he told me not to worry because he’ll always protect me.
I continue to giggle and turn my head back to Bob the dog. His tail thumps against the wall as it begins a slow swish back and forth. Bob moves away from the wall as he edges himself to the lip of his bed with ears arched forward. He’s waiting for an invitation from me; my voice that will carry soft words will guarantee that now, everything is alright.
I place the photo with the broken frame on my dresser and pick up the bigger pieces of glass off the floor and throw them in my trash can. I move to another area of the floor where I’m certain there are no smaller pieces of fragmented glass and sit down.
Then I say, “Come here Bob!” as my hands pat the bedroom floor causing a gentle thumping sound. I’m lying to him; telling him that I’m ok, when I’m not. But he doesn’t seem to notice that it may not be the truth. He prances happily into my arms, and with a soft stroke of slobbering wetness of his prickly tongue he licks my face when he arrives. I wrap my arms around his neck while my hands stroke his velvety fur.
“Dear child, what has happened this night that you shook the foundation of thy house?”
In the time I spent turning my attention to cleaning up my mess and to Bob the dog, the dragon has disappeared from the mirror. Wyndham stands in the mirror now, dressed in tights and a white linen shirt.