Today’s snippet continues on from my novel-in-progress, A Handful of Wishes (due out December 2014).
One afternoon when the school bullies were chasing him, the young protagonist, Zeke, ran into a second-hand store owned by the eccentric Cornelius Zwyklychski (pronounced Zwick-lich-ski – from the Polish word for ordinary), who offered him after-school safety in exchange for working around the shop. Zeke, of course, has been lording it over the school bullies, who finally caught up with him, beat the crap out of him, and left him lying next to some knocked-over trash cans.
Cornelius found him and gave him an old green bottle. Zeke’s now home in his bedroom studying it, and last week, he pulled out the cork.
With a loud pop the cork flew out and his head snapped back, but nothing happened; the smoke stayed in the bottle. He sniffed at the opening. At first there was nothing but then he could make out freshly-cut grass, strawberries, rain, and as the smells surrounded him he began to hear things as well: calliope music, a crowd laughing and cheering, babbling water. It was summer, a perfect summer day he’d always wanted but never had.
He shook his head to clear it of the illusions, not sure what was happening to him, and started when he opened his eyes.
A girl sat on the bed next to him, her long dark hair swept back from her olive skin, a pale blue silk scarf around her neck matching her sleeveless silk blouse and billowy pants. Her brown eyes regarded him, smiled at him, as she extended her hand. “Hello, I’m Paribanu.”
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