I decided I would post the chapters here and see what you all think. So here is the first chapter. A heads up this is middle-grade Christian Fantasy. The final word count is 34634, so not a lot of wiggle room for stuff. Let me know what you all think.
My name is Darby, and I guess we’re related somehow. I live in the state of Washington in America. I’m in fourth grade. My best friend is Emily. I call her Emmie. She lives in a cabin behind our house with her mom. She doesn’t have a dad like I do and sometimes other kids tease her and call her names. Then there is Bobby. He lives on the other side of the street. He has two big brothers and a mom and a dad and of course, I have a mamma and a daddy and one baby sister.
The three of us play together at recess. Sometimes Bobby and I ride our bikes, but Emmie can’t because she doesn’t have a bike.
We go to the same school and are in the same class. There’s also a boy named Rocky in our class. He’s supposed to be a fifth grader, but they didn’t let him out of fourth grade. He’s a bully. He picks on Emmie and me and Bobby, especially Emmie. He and his big brother, Tank, live with their grandparents on the other side of town.
A few weeks ago my mom and dad took Emmie, Bobby and me to Mt. Rainier for a day of hiking and picnicking. Mt. Rainier is a long way from our house. Mamma says it’s not so far, but it felt like we were in the car all day.
We had a real fun time that day. Us kids managed to sneak away from Mamma and Daddy for a little while. We found some old ice caves and played hide and seek. I found some really cool rocks in the cave. Bobby thought they were just dumb rocks, but Emmie and I put them in our backpacks anyway. For a couple of minutes when I thought I was lost the rocks glowed and got really warm. I didn’t feel so lost anymore and then Bobby found me and I forgot about the rocks in my bag. I heard growling.
Bobby said, “It’s just a bear.”
Emmie nodded in agreement. “I think we should get out of here.”
Bobby waved his hand. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. I’m a Cub Scout after all.”
“I don’t think so, you always run away when Rocky comes around.”
We heard the growl again and ran out of the cave.
Then Daddy found us. He was mad, but he bent down and hugged me. “You kids shouldn’t hide like that; Mamma and I were so scared that something had happened to you. I could never live with myself.” I don’t know what the big deal was, nothing happened. We went home after that.
Later that night, Mamma read a Bible story to me, we said our prayers, and I was lying in my bed reading about dragons. I remembered the stones in my backpack and how they had made me feel in the cave. I got them out and curled up under the covers. Maybe these were magic stones that belonged to a dragon living in the caves under Mt. Rainier. I’ll talk to Emmie tomorrow; she took some of the stones. Maybe they made her feel the same. I fell asleep thinking about dragons and Jesus.
All night I dreamed about dragons guarding Emmie, Bobby and me, while Rocky, Tank and a gang of fifth graders chased us around the playground. The stones were warm and comforting, and they felt as if Jesus was standing right beside us the whole time in case Rocky got past the dragons. I woke up when my alarm went off at 6:00, but the last thing I wanted to do was go to school. I told Mamma about the dreams. She said it was just a silly dream and I had to go anyway, because in case I forgot we had a religion test that afternoon.
When I got to school, the first thing I did was look for Emmie and Bobby. When I found them I told them about my dreams. Emmie said she had the same kind of dreams. Bobby said he didn’t dream anything. It must be a girl thing. Then he went off to find some boys to play with. Emmie and I lined up and said our opening prayers then followed Mrs. Smith into the classroom. Rocky was at the back of the line fighting with some other boys and Mrs. Smith had to take him to the principal’s office. He would be in big trouble at least for now. Maybe he wouldn’t bother us at recess. The rest of the morning was quiet, but Rocky was back with the class for lunch then recess and boy was he mad.
The first thing he did was find Emmie, Bobby and me and start teasing Emmie. I stepped between Emmie and Rocky. Bobby by this time had run off to hide. I yelled at Rocky, “Quit teasing her.” This made Rocky even madder. He pushed me and I fell down. Emmie tried to hit him, but he just laughed and pushed her down beside me. “What a bunch of sissies and where is your little protector, chicken Bobby? (Bobby’s dad is a chicken farmer). Guess he ran away to hide behind his mommy.” Bobby’s mom was the eighth grade teacher, although he didn’t like to admit it.
Rocky started to walk away. I got up and ran after him. He reached his arm back and knocked me down again. He didn’t even look or anything, just pushed me, laughed and ran off with the fifth graders.
I got up and brushed the dirt off my knees then went to see if Emmie was okay. Her hands and knees were scraped and bleeding, and she had a big hole in her tights. I helped her get up and we went to find Mrs. Smith. She took us to the nurse and bandaged our scratches and then left us with Nurse Nancy while she went to get the rest of the class from recess. We hugged and I felt something warm in her sweater pocket. “What’s that?”
Emmie reached in her pocket and pulled out her stones from yesterday. They were glowing. “Wow, I didn’t know you had them. Mine did that yesterday when I was lost in the cave. I wonder what it means.”
“I don’t know, but it’s kind of weird don’t you think, glowing stones.”
“Do you feel anything else, like you’re getting a warm, fuzzy hug from someone?”
“Yes, kind of like that, but no one else is here. Where do you think it’s coming from?”
“I don’t know, but I sure liked it yesterday when it happened to me. I felt like everything would be okay.”
“Yeah, me too. I guess we should get back to class, before we get in trouble.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about the stones or the dreams. Even during my religion test, they were on my mind.
After school Emmie and I walked home. I’m not sure where Bobby was, but that wasn’t weird or anything since his mom worked at the school. Emmie pulled her stones out of her pocket again. They looked like normal stones, nothing out of the ordinary. I wished I had remembered to bring mine, but I was so upset about my dreams this morning that I left them on my pillow.
“What do you think is going on with these?” Emmie asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know, seems pretty weird to me. Maybe we should ask someone, like your mom.”
Emmie shook her head. “No way, Mamma’s to busy at work. What about your mom?”
I shook my head. “My mom already said my dreams were nothing, she’d think I was nuts or something.” I stopped.
Emmie looked at me. “What’s wrong?”
I looked back as I took off for my house. “I left my stones on my pillow. What if Mamma finds them or Baby Jane? What if she tries to eat them? I have to get them.” I ran to my house with Emmie behind me trying to catch up and wheezing all the way.
When we reached the house she had trouble breathing. I called Mama to help us. Mamma sat Emmie on the swing and asked her if she had her inhaler. Emmie shook her head and whispered she had run out and her mom hadn’t gotten a refill yet.
Mamma grabbed a cell phone from her pocket and called an ambulance while I tried to calm Emmie down. When the ambulance got there they put a mask thing over her mouth. Soon she was breathing okay. After she left, Mamma and I went in the house and she reassured me that everything was alright while we made dinner. We ate and I did my homework, and then went to my room. My stones were on my pillow right where I had left them. Mamma did our Bible reading and left. I got the stones from under my pillow and held them in my hand. I was still upset about what happened today. The stones began to glow and as I fell asleep I saw a purple dragon standing by my bed. She spoke to me in a smooth gentle voice, “Don’t fear child, I won’t hurt you. I’m here to help. You, Bobby and Emmie are special and God loves you. He won’t let anyone hurt you, but you must be brave. He has something special in mind for you.”
I looked at the dragon and pulled the blankets over my head. I never had a dragon in my room and everything I heard about them told me they were bad and liked to hurt people. Why was there one in my room? “Don’t hurt me. I didn’t do anything to you.”
“Don’t worry I won’t hurt you. I’m here to let you know you’re loved. My name is Myrria and I come from God. He has a mission for you and I’m here to get you ready for it.”
“I’m just a kid, what can I do for God?”
“You aren’t ready, but when you are it will be revealed to you. For now though you must sleep and don’t worry about Emmie or Bobby, I’ll visit them when the time is right.”
“But Emmie went to the hospital today, will she be okay?”
“Yes don’t worry; she’s already home in bed. Her stones are under her pillow and healing her as she sleeps. Now you must sleep, close your eyes my dear. I’ll be back soon and we’ll talk more.”
Myrria faded into the darkness. I jumped out of my bed and ran to where she had stood. There was nothing there except a small stone. I picked it up and took it back to the bed and put it under the pillow with the others. I wondered, “What did the stones have to do with her and what kind of mission would God want me, Darby a nine year old to do?”
I fell asleep dreaming of flying to heaven on Myrria’s back.