Kristina Fugate is hosting the Catch Me If You Can blogfest today! The idea behind this blogfest is to answer the question, “Does my WIP catch people’s attention right away?” Participants post up to 550 words from the beginning of their WIP, and then visit other participants’ blogs as well. Click the button to the left to sign up and find out about the prize.
I hope you enjoy the opening to my YA speculative thriller On the Run. I’m always open to feedback. So, positive or constructive criticism, comment away. Thanks!
On the Run
The overhead light flares on, and my groan is instinctual as I open one eye. The green numbers on the alarm clock glare at me. 12:01. “It’s the middle of the freakin’ night.”
“Get up. It’s time,” Dad says.
His eyes widen, his lips thin. He means business.
“We told you it’d be this way.” He punches the code to open the panic room at the back of my closet. He installed it last month while spouting a detailed explanation involving as much intrigue as a political thriller.
After the tenth kidnapping, parents all over town took extreme measures. But panic rooms? Get real. I thought Mom and Dad were overreacting. Maybe not.
“Where’s Mom?” I stumble in.
Dad’s response, if there is one, is silenced by the door. Its sharp clank is followed by the sucking of the vacuum seal. I’m imprisoned by iron walls, cold and unwelcoming.
The door throws back my distorted reflection, and I wait.
The cold floor freezes my feet. I scrub at my eyes to clear my vision. My fluffy white robe is on the floor by my bed. On the other side of that door.
I long for the security of my iPod and my cell.
I’m so totally screwed.
This room is smaller than most of my friend’s closets. Maybe this is just a drill. Like all those disaster drills at school: fire, tornado, code red, code yellow, code fed up. Dad’s just testing me, right?
I plop yoga-style, to tuck my now cold feet in my lap. A whir of air circulates through the chamber. The white noise isn’t quite soothing but not disquieting either. Didn’t it occur to Mom and Dad that if anyone wanted to kidnap me, they could just snatch me from the mall like pervs on TV do?
Obviously my folks have early onset Alzheimer’s. Or maybe it’s just insanity. Thank God, I’m adopted. It’s not like they haven’t been talking about this, but I really didn’t believe them. So far the kids being kidnapped all came from outlying areas. I guess I assumed we were safe.
Time drags like block schedule in ol’ man Harrison’s psych class as the cramped quarters wear on me. The time on the small control panel flashes red – only 12:15.
I get claustrophobic in an elevator, and this chamber makes an elevator look like the mall’s food court. Anytime, now guys. Let me out.
Amazing how slow time moves when you’re waiting for it to.
During the early tour, just after the room was finished, Dad told me the temperature would always be sixty-eight. It feels more like thirty, too cold for my Battle of the Bands T-shirt. He could at least have tossed in my blanket. A chill deep in my center works its way out, tattooing my skin with goose bumps.
If the kidnappings have reached our area, they’re increasing. Why? Where are all these kids going?
The blower starts up again. I have a busy summer. The guys and I have a camping trip planned for June. My quiz bowl team took state. We’re headed to National’s in July. I’m running all summer. There isn’t time for a kidnapping crisis on my schedule.