The 777 Challenge | The Villain Who Saved Christmas

Well, look who’s posting two weeks in a row! Earlier this week, Claire posted her snippets for the 777 Challenge, and today, Deborah tagged me for the challenge! Unfortunately, IDIA book 3 is still in the brainstorming stage… but I just got over 7 pages on my Christmas superhero short story, which also now has a title: The Villain Who Saved Christmas! I’m very excited about this story, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. For now, you can add it on Goodreads. First, the rules:


  1. Open your WIP to the seventh page
  2. Scroll past the seventh line
  3. Copy the next seven paragraphs and paste them on your blog for THE WORLD to read
  4. Tag seven people

And here’s my snippet! (For reference, Scott is a supervillain with ice powers named Hypothermia, and Reflex is a superhero, Scott’s archnemesis.)

Continue reading

Lightporter Release Countdown: Chapter Two

Hullo, everyone! Today I bring you the second chapter of Lightporter, which means we only have one week left until the release tour starts! I can’t wait! If you’re new, you should definitely read Twinepathy first, or you can just try out the second book. Click here to read the first chapter of Lightporter. Hope you enjoy this chapter, and don’t forget to comment your theories and ideas below!

The alley fades away and we appear in IDIA headquarters, in one of the big black circles that I learned are teleporting rings—places for teleporters to safely teleport to without worrying about people. No one’s supposed to walk in them, and no one does. After dropping us off, Blaze immediately disappears, leaving us there with barely a nod.

“This is so weird,” I say, frowning at the spot where Blaze was. “Let’s get to Data’s office so we can figure out what’s going on.”

The teleportation rings are on the opposite side of the huge lobby of IDIA from Jen’s office, so it would be a long trek—that is, if we had to walk. But Maddie’s here, so we don’t have to. She’s been working on her powers with another telekinetic, Push, and her powers have strengthened a lot. She just learned how to fly recently, and while I’m still nervous, I trust her. Mostly. I do wish I had some way to hold onto the ground, just in case. Flying still feels unnatural.

Maddie uses her telekinesis powers to push herself off the ground, then pulls us up behind her. A moment later, we’re hurtling across the lobby, near the high ceiling—which Jen told me was made specifically for flying to be possible. It doesn’t take us long to reach the other side, and I’m very glad to be back on the ground. I barely wait for Brooklyn and Maddie before heading over to Jen’s office door.

The desk outside the office where Com used to sit before he betrayed us is empty. Jen said she might look for a replacement, but it’s been three months since the end of that whole fiasco, and she still hasn’t gotten one. My guess is she doesn’t want to go through that whole thing again, but who knows. If there’s one person I’ll never be able to understand, it’s Jen.

And apparently Blaze.

I knock on Jen’s office door and hear her call for us to come in. She looks up as we enter and smiles. “Good, I’m glad you made it.” She motions to three chairs in front of her desk. “Have a seat, please. This’ll be quick.”

“And clear, I hope,” I comment, sitting down in one of the chairs. “What’s wrong with Blaze?”

Jen’s expression turns solemn, and she nods. “You noticed, then.”

“It was kind of hard not to,” Brooklyn admits. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” Jen says. “That’s why I wanted you three to come here. Blaze has been acting very odd for the past three days. He’s been quiet, snappish, and the opposite of his usual cheerful self. I’ve known him for years, and he’s only been like this twice. But he also won’t open up to me at all, so I know he’s hiding something.”

“And you want us to figure out what that something is?” I ask with a frown.

“Yes and no.” Jen leans forward. “I don’t want to endanger any of you, and I don’t want to make Blaze suspicious, either. I just want all of you to keep your eyes and ears open, and if you hear even a hint as to what’s bugging him, let me know.”

“Can I ask him what’s going on?” I ask.

Jen nods. “Just don’t mention me or make him suspicious.”

“Okay.” I frown. “You said there were two other times when Blaze acted like this. What were they?”

Jen studies me with a frown of her own. “One is classified, the other involves Blaze’s own personal life, and I’m not at liberty to share about that. I can tell you that in both of those situations, Blaze was willing to talk to me. Only one of them was a serious situation, and it was one I already knew about. So I can only conclude that his unwillingness to talk means it’s something I wouldn’t like.”

I’m thoroughly confused, but I’ve come to expect vagueness from Jen. “Okay…”

Jen glances at her watch. “We need to get to the meeting. Be careful, all of you, especially Albany.” She gives me a warning look. “I don’t know what Blaze is up to, and I don’t like to think that he’d harm any of you, but I still want you to be careful.” With that final warning, she stands up and motions to the door. “We’re in room four.”

The three of us follow Jen down the hallway, more solemn than we were before. Whatever’s going on with Blaze is not good, with a capital everything. I can’t help musing over it in my mind. What if Blaze has started working for FOE, the mysterious villainous agency that Com was working for? Not likely, but possible. I don’t know anything about his history or his family, not even his real name, so who knows what could be going on. Maybe his family has worked for them for years or something. But even then, I can’t imagine Blaze working for the bad guys. Maybe something’s wrong in his non-superhero life.

We reach the meeting room and go inside. No one else is in it when we enter, but Jen motions for us to sit. “Blaze is bringing Push,” she tells us.

We don’t have to wait long. Blaze and Push come in only a minute or two after we get settled. They take their places at the table quickly, and Jen begins to debrief us.

“As most of you know, Com betrayed us because he was working for an organization—or maybe an agency—named FOE. He told us he was hired by someone, and that was the only person from the agency he ever met. After his capture, I read him.” She flexes her hands absentmindedly and her expression darkens a little. “I know what his contact looks like. Unfortunately, there’s a very great possibility that his appearance was a disguise. But through their conversation, I was able to pick up a few clues as to where he was holed up—a hotel in Chicago.”

“You think he’s still there?” I ask doubtfully.

Jen shakes her head. “Most likely not. But this hotel keeps a backlog of guests, so we can figure out how long the man was staying there. If he’s still there, in the hotel, I want all of you to carefully investigate. If he’s not, see if there’s any way you can check the room he was staying in. He might have left something behind that could give us a clue. Either way, Blaze, I want you to keep everyone invisible the entire time. Pop, you will be here at headquarters, keeping in contact with Jazz through your connection.”

Brooklyn sighs in relief, and so do I. That means I get to go on this mission, at least. I can’t wait. I don’t know how Brooklyn can actually like staying here at headquarters. Just goes to show how different we are.

“Jazz, Maddie, Push, and Blaze, you four will be investigating, looking through the records. I have their location at the hotel for you, and I also have the exact date he checked into the hotel.”

“How?” Push asks, frowning.

Jen smiles slightly. “Com was the one who picked him up and checked him in.”

“Wouldn’t that give us his name, too?” I ask.

“No. Unless his name really is John Smith,” Jen replies. “Which is highly unlikely.”

“The cheesiest of all cheesy fake names,” I say with a grin in Blaze’s direction. My smile falters when he ignores me. Of course.

Jen gives us more details, like the location of the records room and small details that might help us. She also gives us a picture of Com and a picture of what she says is the FOE guy. He looks normal enough… too normal, come to think of it. “This is what his appearance was for the most part when he met with Com. You can use this to ask some of the hotel staff about him. Push, I’m putting you on that. Maddie, I’d prefer for you to stay on lookout. Blaze and Albany, you two will go through the registers for information. Understood?”

We all agree, and Jen looks us over. “You can do this. Blaze.” She nods at him, and he teleports the four of us away.

A mission! I can’t wait to find out what happens next… 🙂 Come back next Monday for the third chapter and the start of the release tour! Also, don’t forget that the sign-ups for Lightporter‘s release tour are still open, so you can still sign up if you would like to participate!

Enjoy the chapter? Comment below with your thoughts and theories!

The 777 Writing Challenge

Hi, everyone! Today I was sort-of tagged for the 777 challenge by Lynette Noni!

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.

Since my two main stories that I’m working on are still in the plotting stages, I decided to share from the story I’m currently editing. This worked out perfectly to the first time we see the villain! And don’t worry, you’ll be hearing more about this story soon.

Marba wove her way down the hallway between the small groups of people. They didn’t pay any attention to her, and she repaid them with the same treatment. You could tell which trainees were new; they were the ones who stared at her in awe as she walked past. Most of the seasoned trainees, and those who had completed training, had grown used to her commanding stature.

“Marba,” an authoritative voice called from behind her. The very sound of that voice was enough to silence all of the conversation in the hallway.

What a perfect ending! 😀 Now for those people I tag…




Ashlee Willis


Robyn Hoode

And if you’re reading this, I tag YOU as my seventh person! 😀

What did you think of the excerpt? Are you going to do the challenge? Well, are you????

A Quick Quote from ULOR

In celebration of finishing the first vague round of editing.

“You have opposed me. For this, even though you have proved that you have the brain of a bug and the imagination of a plumber, you still must be punished.”

Raltan Menger, ULOR

ULOR Excerpt: Quote I Just Wrote

“The world is a horrible, cruel place, Captain Hensley. Any country you go to, even so-called developed countries, you’ll find poor people. Abused people. Hurt people. I was one of those people, and now I plan on standing up for those people.”

“While ruling the world and killing those who get in your way.”

Raltan grinned. “But of course. What other way would there be?”

ULOR: United Lands of Raltan. In progress. All rights reserved.

Glossophobia: A No-Chapter Novella

This is an excerpt from the late beginning of the story I wrote for my sister for her birthday. I didn’t put in chapters in this novella, so it’s more like a super-long short story. Please let me know what you think of this excerpt in the comments below. Thanks!

Mr. Bullis walked to his desk and pulled out a black notebook. He flipped it open and started calling roll. His voice was gruff, and Amanda could feel herself getting more apprehensive every second. He finished calling roll and laid the notebook on the desk. He turned back to the class.

“Let me start off by introducing myself. I’m Edward Bullis. I’ve been teaching at this school for five years.” He paused, studying them. “And if you thought that speech class was going to be easy, let me inform you that it won’t be.” The few cheerful faces that were left in the room vanished. “A few things you should know about this class. First, you will be required to write and give a speech every week. I will split you into two groups. One group will do their speeches on Thursday, and the other will do theirs on Friday. The next week they will switch.” Amanda glanced over at Jamie out of the corner of her eye. So far everything that Zane had said was true.

“We will also have pop speeches where you will have five minutes to write a two-minute speech.” Mr. Bullis’s cold blue eyes quickly silenced the students’ groans. A hand slowly rose.

“Yes, Miss Kerr?” Mr. Bullis asked, irritated and impatient.

“Will we actually have to give our pop speeches in front of the class?” the short girl in the second row asked.

Mr. Bullis’s face reddened with exasperation. “Yes, of course. In fact, we’re going to have one today to see how advanced each of you are. Get out a clean sheet of paper.” The sound of zippers and scuffling filled the room as each student obeyed. Amanda glanced over at Jamie fearfully. She knew that she wasn’t ready to do this, especially without instructions.

To her slight relief, Mr. Bullis quickly explained a few speech-writing basics. Jamie sent Amanda a wobbly smile. Amanda gave her a shaky half-grin.

“All right, students. You may begin,” Mr. Bullis said.

Amanda picked up her pencil and stared down at her blank sheet of paper. She tried desperately to think of a topic. She decided to write about dog habits, since that was something she was pretty familiar with. Not only did her family have three dogs, but sometimes she volunteered to dog-sit for other people.

Every sentence and paragraph seemed to take way too long. When Mr. Bullis announced that their time was up, she set down her pencil and groaned, along with most of the class. She felt like she had hurried through too quickly and that she was going to have to give a horrible speech. Her heart started pounding as she thought about getting up in front of the class and having them all stare at her. She gulped.

“We’ll go in alphabetical order by last name,” Mr. Bullis stated. “Cameron Aldly.”

As the boy with the long blond ponytail started his speech about motocross racing, Amanda felt her stomach churning with nervousness. She swallowed, trying to drown her fear. It didn’t help. She fidgeted nervously.

After four more people gave their speeches, it was Jamie’s turn. Amanda managed to give her friend a smile and a thumbs up. Jamie grinned weakly in return, then walked to the front of the classroom. Amanda forced herself to focus on Jamie’s speech. Jamie’s amazing, Amanda thought as she watched her friend. She knew that Jamie hadn’t been worried about the actual speaking part, since she loved talking in front of people and being the center of attention. Jamie had been most worried about writing her speech, especially with a time limit. Amanda thought that Jamie’s topic, gardening, even made sense, since Jamie’s mom was a florist; it was one of the things that Jamie knew well.

Jamie finished her speech and nodded at Mr. Bullis. The class clapped, just like they had for all of the other students, but Mr. Bullis actually looked slightly impressed. That only lasted a second before he was back to his normal hardened self. “That was nice, Miss Hamilton,” he said.

“Thank you, sir,” Jamie replied. Amanda could tell that her friend was thrilled. Jamie sat back down in her chair and smiled encouragingly at Amanda.

Two more people went, and Amanda got more and more nervous. There was only one more person before Amanda.

“Valerie Taverna,” Mr. Bullis announced. The tall black-haired girl sitting in front of Amanda stood up, flipped her hair over her shoulder, and strolled confidently to the front of the room, a clearly fake smile pasted on her face. Mr. Bullis raised an eyebrow skeptically at her. She reached the front of the classroom and turned to face the class. Flipping her hair over her shoulder again, she smiled sweetly at the rest of the class. Amanda noticed that a lot of the boys in the room started paying attention. She rolled her eyes.

Valerie started giving her speech, and Amanda gulped. Valerie was really good. The speech she’d written about good first dates was great, even though Amanda didn’t really care about the topic. Amanda thought that Valerie’s speech was way better than her own, and her presentation was definitely as good as Jamie’s. She fidgeted and had to sit on her hands to keep from biting her nails. Her stomach churned, and she started to feel a little queasy.

Valerie finished her speech and nodded at Mr. Bullis. The clapping from the students was thunderous, especially from the boys. Amanda had noticed that some of them had taken notes. Valerie sat down with a smug look on her face. She had done well, Amanda thought, and she knew it.

Mr. Bullis looked down at his black notebook. “Amanda Terrell.”

Amanda felt her stomach jump and tried to swallow her fear. She stood up and picked up her sheet of paper, walking slowly to the front of the classroom, her heart pounding. She turned to face the class. Sixteen pairs of eyes were focused on her, seventeen if you counted Mr. Bullis. Jamie smiled encouragingly at her.

Amanda started her speech. Even with her eyes focused on her speech, she could feel the class staring at her. She tripped over her words and said “um” and “uh” way too often. She knew that she was talking too fast, but she couldn’t help it. She heard giggles rolling through the classroom and her face reddened with embarrassment. She quickly nodded at Mr. Bullis and walked back to her seat with her head down. She could feel the teacher’s eyes drilling into the back of her head. Jamie gave Amanda a sympathetic smile as the next student walked to the front of the classroom.

Valerie turned around from the seat in front of Amanda and faced her with a taunting grin. “So, like, um, don’t you know, uh, how to give a, er, speech?” she teased. Amanda’s face flushed bright red.

“Knock it off,” Jamie growled in defense of her friend.

The sound of someone clearing their throat at the front of the room caught the three girls’ attention. Mr. Bullis was glaring at them, his angry gaze frigid. He turned to the speaker, who had just finished. “Thank you, sir.” The boy nodded and sat down. Mr. Bullis sent another cold glare in the girls’ direction before calling the next student.

The last five speeches seemed to crawl past, especially for Amanda, who squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. She couldn’t wait to get out of the classroom; on the other hand, she knew that a lot of the students would probably tease her when they got out of class.

The final student finished his speech, and the rest of the class clapped enthusiastically. It wasn’t that his speech was really that great, but the fact that the speeches were over.

Mr. Bullis stood up, glancing at the clock. “Your homework for this week is to choose a topic to write a speech about for Friday.” The bell rang. “You may go,” Mr. Bullis announced over the clamor of the students gathering their books. Amanda stuffed her speech into her binder and hurried to the door, following right behind Jamie.

“Miss Terrell,” Amanda heard someone say behind her. She stopped and turned around. It was Mr. Bullis. “I’d like you to stay after class.” Amanda nodded wordlessly and let the other kids flow past her, her heart pounding, until she was left to face Mr. Bullis.

Passing a Milestone

Woohoo! It’s time to celebrate!

I just passed two milestones in the novel I’m currently working on: I finished chapter three and officially passed ten thousand words. (Current word count is 10,232 words.)

To celebrate, I’m posting the prologue here on this blog. Enjoy! And please let me know what you think in the comments below. Look for more soon!


The man stepped outside the huge double doors at the end of the darkened hallway. The doors were nearly completely cloaked in darkness, and he could barely make out the two guards blocking the doors. Their black uniforms provided excellent camouflage, and their presence was only revealed by the slight bit of light glinting off their rifles.

“State your business,” one of the guards demanded roughly.

The visitor could feel their eyes boring holes into him. His hands shook as he began his rehearsed statement. “I am here to meet with Leader Menger, ruler of our prestigious regime and general or our undefeatable armed forces.” Even in his fear he nearly laughed at the irony of the last statement.

The other guard snorted in derision. “I think we figured out that much,” he snapped sarcastically.

The first guard ignored his partner. “Unless you give me a good reason right now, you shall be thrown into either the streets or the prison.

The man gulped. “I have been sent by Captain Hensley. You should have record of an appointment,” he added.

The first guard pulled a small electronic device out of his pocket, tapped the screen several times, and looked up at the man. “I see the appointment. You were supposed to come yesterday.”

“I was detained,” the visitor said snippily, surprising himself with his own audacity. The first guard shrugged and helped the other guard open the doors.

The visitor stepped into a surprisingly small and empty room. The only furniture was a chair much like a throne that stood opposite the doors. The chair was almost completely in the shadows of the already-dark room, but the man could make out an imposing figure sitting erect in it.

“What do you want?” The harsh, cold voice sent a shiver of fear down the man’s spine. He wiped his sweaty palms on the sides of his dark brown uniform.

“Leader Menger,” the man began, trying to keep his voice from squeaking. “I have been sent by Captain Hensley on some political matters.” He gave a nervous little bow.

There was a long moment of silence. “Begin!” the voice demanded impatiently, beginning to sound exasperated.

The visitor gave another nervous little bow. “He believes that we should make some policy changes, concerning the way we treat our soldiers and the people whose lands we conquer. He thinks our current actions will not please the World Peace Organization.”

“Oh, curse the WPO!” the voice said harshly. “They can’t do anything to stop me. They are completely unprepared. Go back and tell your ‘honorable captain’ that we shall make no changes.”

The man gasped. “But if we don’t do anything, we shall have IDIA agents crawling all over us!” he blurted before he could stop himself.

The figure rose in his chair. “Guard!” he called. He spoke to the messenger once again. “I do not care about IDIA. They have no power over me, and they shall not get in my way. I have no fear!” he cried as a guard entered the room. “Take him to the prison and make sure he attends the extermination tomorrow.” The guard gave a curt nod and grabbed the messenger’s sleeve. The figure stepped into the light, revealing himself to the messenger for the first time. “I do not care for peace. I did not come all of this way to have my plans ruined by thoughts of peace.”

“America has changed,” the messenger said, his eyes still wide as he looked at the figure.

“We are no longer America!” the man exclaimed. “I, Raltan Menger, am now the Leader of the United Lands of Raltan!”

Paralyzed Dreams: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the first part of the chapter) from my (currently) longest completed story, which I wrote for my mom for her birthday a while back. Once again, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

CHAPTER ONE (not the full chapter)

“Mine!” Pam Wilson yelled as she dove for the volleyball. Her body slammed into the sand as her arms connected with the ball, which flew high in the air. Lauren Cosden, her best friend and fellow teammate spiked the ball over the net. Pam rolled over to her feet and watched as the ball thudded into the sand. She exchanged a high-five with Lauren.

“Nice job, Lauren, Pam,” Coach Pennington called. “Take five, everybody. We’ll start the next round of practice games in a minute.”

“Nice dive,” Lauren told her, impressed. “You sure aren’t afraid to get dirty anymore.”

Pam saw the teasing glint in Lauren’s eyes. “Yeah. That was a nice spike, too. You sure aren’t afraid to jump anymore.”

Lauren laughed. “When was I ever afraid to jump?”

It was true. Lauren had always been the brave and adventurous one, climbing trees, jumping out of them, and rolling around in the dirt with her brothers. She’d broken her arm more times than Pam could remember, and she was always getting into trouble.

Pam, on the other hand, was more of an indoors person. She liked to stay in her room and read, or cook, or paint. She and Lauren had different interests, but they still had a few things in common, like their love for writing. They both went to the same school, same church, and were in the same grade. And they both had the same love for volleyball.

Coach Pennington came over to the water fountain where they were standing. “Girls, you’re going to be on B court next. You’re going to practice against the twins.”

“Okay, Coach,” Lauren agreed. Pam held in her sigh until the coach had headed back to the courts.

“Great,” she muttered.

“We’ll beat them this time,” Lauren assured her.

Pam rolled her blue eyes. “No way,” she told Lauren. “They’ve got that mental telepathy thing going on.” The twins could figure out what the other was thinking, and they had beaten Pam and Lauren every time they’d played. They were really good.

Lauren hooked her arm through Pam’s elbow. “Come on, don’t be so negative. You want to play in the Olympics, right?”

Pam rolled her eyes. “You know that,” she reminded Lauren.

Lauren laughed. “I know. But you’ve got to have a positive mindset. Isn’t that one of the things that Coach Pennington has been lecturing us about?”

“Yeah,” Pam agreed reluctantly.

“Then…” Lauren prompted, her brown eyes sparkling.

“Let’s go beat them!” Pam declared, acting enthusiastic, although her hopes really weren’t that high.

Lauren grinned. “That’s my Pam.” The two girls strolled arm-in-arm over to the B court. The twins were there waiting. Cheri and Chelsea looked up as the other pair entered. They nodded at their opponents, their dark brown eyes confident but bored. Pam could tell that they thought that the win would be easy. Her blood started boiling.

Lauren sensed Pam’s anger and pulled her over to the bench. She made Pam sit down on the bench next to her. “So,” she started casually, leaning back. “I’ve been working on this theory, you see. If we stay calm and don’t get overly upset over them, then we may have a chance.” She glanced over at Pam, brushing her long blond bangs out of her hair. “Remember your grandpa’s saying: kill them with kindness.”

Pam grinned, then grew serious. “So, let’s just be really nice.”

“And Christ-like,” Lauren added, nudging her. The makeshift judge stepped onto his platform, and the girls stood up. Pam stretched, brushing her dark brown hair out of her eyes. She and Lauren walked up to the net and shook hands with the twins.

Cheri grinned cockily at Pam and turned to her sister. “I figure my coffee won’t have time to get cold before this is over.”

Pam smiled cheerfully. Well, with forced cheerfulness. “Good luck!” she told her.

Cheri raised an eyebrow. “We won’t need luck,” she scoffed.

Singing Lessons: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the entire first part) of a novella I wrote for a friend for her birthday. It was the first longer-than-a-short-story project that I finished completely. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.


“Mo-o-om!” Emily Noble insisted. “You know that I don’t like singing in front of people!”

Her mother looked up from her newspaper. “But, Emily, you have such a beautiful voice. You should share it! Why don’t you try out for choir?”

“I don’t like singing, or being in front of a whole bunch of people.” Emily sighed.

“You could take singing lessons,” her mom suggested.

Emily groaned. “Please, Mom, don’t make me,” she begged.

Her mom sighed, too. “All right, it’s your decision.”

Emily nodded and smiled gratefully at her mom. She knew that her mom wished that her daughter was interested in performing, but she hated being in front of people. Her mom realized that, though, so she allowed Emily to be herself, although she still encouraged Emily to perform, especially as a singer.

“Do you have any homework to work on?” her mom asked her meaningfully as Emily reached for the television remote. She looked up at her mom guiltily.

“Yeah,” she admitted.

Her mother gave her a fake stern look. “Homework first,” she ordered.

Emily grinned at her mom and headed upstairs to her room. She plopped down in her desk chair, flipping on her purple desk lamp. She didn’t have much homework left since she’d finished most of it in study hall.

“Write an essay about your siblings, or another close family member if you are an only child…” Emily muttered as she read over the homework assignment for her English class. She sighed. She only had one sibling, her older brother, Adrian, and she hadn’t seen him since his college graduation. How was she supposed to write an essay about the brother that she hadn’t seen in two years? She checked her notes. The essay wasn’t due until Monday, so she had five days. Emily didn’t normally procrastinate, especially with English since it was her favorite subject, but she really wasn’t looking forward to writing an essay about her brother.


Emily finally finished her homework and leaned back in her chair. She flipped the switch on her boom box, turning on the radio. Upbeat Christian music swelled and filled the room as she adjusted the volume, turning it down so she wouldn’t bother her parents. She stood up, grabbing one of her many novels, and flopped down on the bed on her stomach. She flipped a couple of pages distractedly, and then set the book down. She closed her eyes and rested her chin on the bed, soaking in the music. The DJ came on and started talking. She tuned him out, thinking about her essay that she had to work on. What was she going to do?

“… and here’s one of Manafest’s hits!” the DJ announced. Emily rolled over onto her back. The familiar beat made her close her eyes and bite back tears. Her brother had been one of Manafest’s biggest fans. He’d listened to their music all of the time, so she knew all of their songs by heart. The two of them used to sing along with the songs at the top of their lungs. Emily hadn’t listened to Manafest since Adrian had left. Now the memories of all of their good times came flooding back, and Emily could barely hold back the tears.

She wanted her brother back.


Emily slid into her chair at the dining room table. The dining room was one of her favorite rooms, other than her own. She loved the wooden furniture and the paintings hanging on the wall that her mother had painted while she was in college. Her dad came in and smiled at her, plopping down into his chair.

“How was your day, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Good,” Emily replied. She traced the edge of the lacy table cloth with her finger.

Her mom swept into the dining room with a dish in her arms. “Dinner’s ready!” she announced brightly as she set the dish down on the table.

“Ooh, chicken spaghetti casserole!” Emily’s dad exclaimed, licking his lips. The family bent their heads to pray over the meal.

Adrian’s favorite, Emily thought, but she didn’t mention it out loud. It was her favorite, too. She wished that he was with them now. She made up her mind then and there: she was going to find Adrian.