I thought I would share some of Worldjumpers with you today. Here’s the first few hundred words. I welcome any feedback on it or if you would like to see more pop up randomly on this blog. Unless you don’t know, this is my own work. Please don’t try to steal it or use it in any way. I have a sister who likes to think she has ninja-ish tendencies and we will track you down together. Enjoy!
David leaned back against the tree with a sigh. It was Saturday. Finals had finished the day before and he could now look forward to summer. It promised to be a hot one. But no one expected otherwise in west Texas. Dozer, his grandfather’s dog, settled in with him, stirring the dust with his tail as David ruffled his ears. David’s sixteenth birthday had been a few weeks ago. It hadn’t been anything special. He had finally obtained his driver’s license and was now proudly roaming the roads in the pickup truck he and his grandfather had practically rebuilt.
Dozer growled with mild interest as one of the barn cats prowled at the bottom of the small hill that he and David sat on. It flicked its tail in defiance and scampered away, sliding under the rail of the corral. David idly watched it go, taking in his home as he did. A corral was built at the bottom of the hill adjacent to a larger pen for the two retired cow horses his grandfather owned. They were getting on in age, but still good for rides around the property and the dusty roads. After that was the barn, a ramshackle affair, with some farm equipment parked outside. He helped his grandfather maintain a few small fields; one for hay and the others for fresh produce. The house was a smaller ranch house, with three bedrooms and a wrap-around porch.
David had lived there for most of his life. His parents were dead. He had been about five years old when his grandfather had come to collect him from the CPS in Boston. That’s where he and his parents had been living at the time. His father’s company had transferred him from the Houston offices to the Boston branch. Their life had been perfect; a happy young couple with a growing son and another child on the way. Then came the fire. The apartments on the third floor had been caught up in the blaze. They lived on the fifth. David remembered his mother shoving him out the window into the arms of the fireman and preparing to follow. Then the fire had flashed. There was nothing the firemen could do. David still dreamed of fire occasionally.
So he’d come back to Texas to live outside a sleepy little town. He played football at the school that barely classified as 2A, but he loved baseball. He wore a battered Red Sox hat in tribute to the team that had captured his dad’s heart. He still followed the team and he and his grandfather would sit and discuss baseball around the old TV during the summer. On Sundays they traveled to the next town over to go to Mass.
Dozer growled again before trotting off to assert his authority on the approaching mail truck. David closed his eyes. It wasn’t so hot in the shade. He could hear the whir of machinery coming from the barn which also housed his grandfather’s wood shop. He had made a name for himself locally and through much of Texas with his carpentry skills. The sound was soothing. He wished he could spend all summer like this. But like the previous summers, he’d find a job with one of the farmers or ranchers in the area. He didn’t mind. Most of his friends did the same thing. They’d work all summer and hope that school would never start. But school brought football and the life force of the town on Friday nights. Complaining would only last until the first fall practice. But that was months away and David faced what he thought would be a typical summer.
Dozer barked one last time after the retreating mail truck and smugly turned back to the house. His victory was short lived as another foe loomed over the yard. His rapid barks brought his master from his work in the barn. On the hill, David opened his eyes and gaped in shock. A ship was coming to land by the corrals. Not an airplane but an actual ship. At first glance it looked like the man o’ war held inside the glass bottle on the living room shelf, but instead of masts and sails it had what appeared to be a blimp as its source of propulsion. David expected it to crash into the ground but he heard a voice shouting orders and thrusters roared from the bottom of the ship, easing its descent. The horses bolted around their pens in fear at the noise. David ran down to join his grandfather as a gangplank was lowered.
“What…?” he began but his grandfather waved him off, a curious look of surprise and anticipation on his face. A figure appeared and descended to the ground. They could see it was a woman dressed in pants and knee high boots. A bandana held back her long auburn hair and she carried a saber around her waist. Her grey coat reminded David of an old Confederate Army jacket.
“I am Zoey Blackheart, captain of the Saltador, free trader, wanted criminal in three worlds, and champion of the Ankhali. And I need help,” the woman spoke. David’s grandfather pushed his hat up and rubbed his forehead.
“Well,” he said slowly. “that’s something you don’t hear every day.”