I never post excerpts from my work in progress on my blog, but I started a new project yesterday and honestly, it’s turning out to be WAY more fun than I thought it would be, so I thought why not?
Below is the first lines of my new project, which for now is stuck with the sucky title of Zach and the Golden Chalice.
I stared into the eyes of The Griffin, a lump of terror lodged in my throat.
He snarled, spittle gathering at the corners of his mouth. His massive foot had me pinned to the ground, flat on my back. I squirmed, but he pressed harder.
“Going somewhere, Martin?”
I would have answered if I had the breath to say the words. The Griffin had squeezed all the air out of my lungs.
“Get off of him, Griffin,” a girl called out.
Recognizing the soft-spoken monotone, I scrunched my eyes closed and prayed I’d imagined it in my oxygen deprivation. I hadn’t seen her in the group of kids walking home from school.
He chuckled, which coming from The Griffin sounded more like a chain saw caught on a tree trunk. “Looky here, Martin. Princess Caroline’s come to your rescue.” He turned to face her, his foot pressing harder into my ribs, then miraculously, the weight was gone. Griffin lay on the ground next to me.
My brain scrambled to piece together this turn of events, adding a two second delay to my escape. I bolted off the ground and turned to see what happened. Caroline Baxter leaned over Griffin, who was in a remarkably similar situation to the one I had been in moments ago, only Caroline didn’t have him pinned with her foot.
Griffin’s bloated face, which matched his sausage-shaped body, had turned a mottled red, giving him an amazing resemblance to a turnip. His eyes bugged out and his hands clenched at his hands.
Caroline lifted her chin and narrowed her eyes. “Have something to say, Griffin? Something about the inherent weakness of girls?”
Griffin heaved himself off the ground, face to face with Caroline. He stood a head taller than her and his body was a whole lot bigger, his muscles and fat outweighing her scrawny frame by fifty pounds. Then again, Griffin was taller than almost everyone in the fifth grade and twice as mean. Legend had it he’d turned evil when he was held back in kindergarten and declared himself The Griffin. Sometimes he even wore shirts with a griffin emblazed on the front. No one dared defy him.
Someone forgot to remind Caroline of that fact.
“Did you just insult me?” he choked out.
Caroline held her ground, to my amazement and the ten or so other kids who had now formed a circle around the two of them. The cheers and shouts that had filled the air while I had been captive died to a hushed silence. “No,” she said in her cold monotone. “I think you insulted yourself with your own stupidity. Inherent means quality, attribute. Did someone forget to pay attention during the last vocabulary lesson?” She cocked her head to the side.
“He’s going to kill her,” My best friend Brandon hissed into my ear. “I don’t think I can watch this.”
I wasn’t sure I could either, especially given the fact that the she stood nose to nose with Griffin because of me. But neither of us moved. This was the biggest thing to happen since Mike Peterson threw up a nearly intact corndog in PE last fall. Some kids said it still had the stick still attached.
“You’re gonna die, Caroline.”
Caroline took two steps back and assumed a martial arts pose, one leg extended behind her and the other bent at the knee. Her fists clenched and she pulled her elbows close to her body.
The Griffin laughed again, that choking chainsaw sound slicing through the air. “Let’s find out how weak you really are.”
“Griffin, you’re not really gonna hit a girl?” one of his friends asked, the last of his words raising an octave.
Griffin’s answer was his flying fist, which Caroline blocked with a flat palm, the smack of skin on skin echoing in the street. She whirled around and kicked. Her foot connected hard with his chest and sent him flying backward.
The crowd let out a collective gasp. We had a front row seat to history in the making.
He jumped up and rushed at her, growling through gritted teeth. The Griffin had been unleashed.
Brandon’s fingernails pinched my shoulder as he hid behind me.
Caroline met him with her trademark stony eyes and expressionless face, her straight blond hair blowing behind her in the breeze, just like in a movie.
Griffin lunged for her and she ducked to the side, spinning so that she was now behind him. She grabbed his arm and jerked it behind his back, pushing his hand toward his shoulder blades.
“I don’t want to hurt, you Griffin,” she said. “You just need to walk away.”
Griffin’s body shook, a gentle motion that turned to a violent shaking. His dark blond hair shook like a dog’s as he released a growl that sounded like a caged bear.
Caroline pushed his arm higher.
“Okay! Okay!” he shouted.
Caroline dropped her grip and slid three steps away from him. She moved like a ballet dancer, only Caroline was lethal. And she wore Vans instead of pointe shoes.