Runaways is my middle grade portal fantasy novella about a girl named Hannah trying to rescue her sister from the faeries that stole her. It’s current status is a first draft, but I have plans to revise, beta, and publish it as my debut.
It was a dark and stormy night, and Hannah smiled as the door to her closet slowly creeeaaaked open. A figure stood there, dressed in a white nightgown, staring into the dark room with haunted-looking eyes.
“Are you sleeping?” the girl asked in a whisper.
Hannah reached for the flashlight on her nightstand and clicked it on. She pulled back the covers and patted the bed. “Hi Cecilia. I thought you’d be over.”
Cecilia’s terrified expression didn’t change as she scrambled over and pulled herself into the bed, pulling the covers back over her head so that now she really looked like a ghost.
“Did you shut the door before you came in?” Hannah asked. She knew the answer. Even though she was sure their parents already knew about it, her little sister was fastidious about keeping their passageway a secret. So, she asked anyhow, just in case. Cecelia nodded solemnly, and Hannah gave her a satisfied smile. Then, as thunder rolled over their roof, she shut off the flashlight to watch the show.
Cecilia gasped and grabbed for the flashlight, flipping it back on within seconds. She turned it on her face so that Hannah could see her scowl. The light caught on her long wispy hair, turning the tawny brown an almost golden color – at least, what of it was still poking out from underneath the blanket.
“What are you doing? I thought you wanted to watch the storm, like you always do. Last week I nearly had to pull you back before you fell out the window ‘cause you said you wanted to pet the wind.”
Cecelia shook her head vehemently. “Not tonight. The wind isn’t a friend tonight.”
Hannah squinted at this curiosity, but shrugged, and rolled over onto her belly to reach for a book. “Alright. Light stays on. Easier to read that way. What story do you want?” Her fingers danced over the spines as she read out the names. “Robin Hood? Treasure Island? The Pied Piper?”
Cecelia shuddered. Hannah looked up at her, surprised. “What’s the matter?”
“Don’t call him.”
“Who-“ Hannah turned back to the shelf and realized her fingers had stopped over the worn, creased cover of the book of fairy tales. That was Cecelia’s favorite.
“I can’t bear to hear about the him. And I don’t want to get his attention.”
“Is that what you’re worried about?” Hannah asked, trying her hardest to sound genuinely concerned instead of laughing at her sister’s fear of the silly old story.
“Can’t you hear it?”
“His flute on the wind.” She shuddered again. “It’s deafening.”
Hannah stilled, and listened. If she strained her ears, she could imagine that maybe, just maybe, the howling of the autumn storm was really the keening sound of discordant music.
She didn’t have the chance to answer before Cecelia whispered, “I hope you don’t. You can only hear him when he’s coming for you.”