United States

Hopeless romantic
Equally hopeless Fangirl™️
Early senior
The Lumineers
Bird lover
Fascinated by Great Britain
Love M. Night Shyamalan movies
In love with Rami Malek

Message to Readers

ANY FEEDBACK IS WELCOME! This is the first chapter in my second draft of a story that I hope to publish within the next few years.

Chapter One: The Game

February 4, 2019


Should I ask her?

     The entire country was preparing for the national event known as the Game, one that all children 15 and under could enter. And Lynn Thomas wanted to enter.

    “Lynn, breakfast!”

I’ll ask her later.

    She went downstairs, where her mom was standing at the stove, cooking breakfast. She turned around and smiled when she saw Lynn. “Hey, good luck on your math test later!”

     Lynn grinned. “I’ll need all the luck I can get,” she replied. Her mother laughed and leaned forward. “Okay, here’s a little motivation: I’ll give you permission to have Cassidy stay over on Friday if you get at least a B. Okay?”

     “Definitely!” Lynn nodded vigorously. “Will you make chocolate chip pancakes?”

“Lynn, you know I save those for special occasions,” her mother fake-frowned.

     Lynn shrugged jokingly. “What? I mean, technically some people consider the weeks leading up to the Game a special occasion.”

     Mrs. Thomas rolled her eyes. “Okay, fine. But just this once.”

Lynn did a dance in her chair. But then she stopped and her face grew serious. “I actually wanted to ask you something about that.”

     Her mother turned her full attention to Lynn. But just as Lynn began to speak, her phone began to ring. She glanced toward it as her eyes went wide. “I’m sorry, honey, but I’ve got to take this. It’s really important.”

     Lynn sighed as her mother left the room. She went upstairs to change into her school uniform, grabbed her backpack, and then left the house to head to the bus stop.

     When she reached the bus stop, her friend Cassidy Jessen, a bright redheaded girl, was waiting for her. “Lynn! Hi! I found a really hilarious joke last night that I have to tell you. Do you want to hear it?”

     Without waiting for an answer, Cassidy barreled on: “One time there was this parrot named Chet that lived in a pet store. His owner knew an awesome trick to do with him. If you held a candle under his right foot, he would sing “Jingle Bells”. If you held a candle under his right foot he would sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. So one time the man took him to a Christmas party.”

     By this point, Cassidy had everyone there riveted, and she knew it. So she really hammed it up, using crazy facial expressions and hand movements: “Everyone at the party loved Chet. But then, one kid got the bright idea to hold it under the middle of the bird. And you know what he did?” Cassidy was nearly cracking up herself now. “He started singing “Chet’s Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire!”

     The entire bus stop erupted in laughter, and it took a full 5 minutes before the last person stopped and the bus pulled up. “Hey, you think you’re ready for the math test?” Cassidy asked Lynn once they were seated and the bus was on its way to the school.

     Lynn blew her hair out of her face. “I don’t know. But my mom said you can stay over Friday if I get a B or higher, though, so…” She laughed.

     Cassidy grinned. “Awesome! Also, I made flash cards so we can quiz each other.” She pulled them out of her backpack and flipped to a random card. “Okay. Simplify x24 + 13 ÷ 4.”

      “Jeez, Cassidy, you had to pick the hard ones,” Lynn said, laughing and burying her face in her hands. Cassidy laughed too and they did practice problems until they reached the school. They greeted Kaiden and Liam, two of their friends, as they headed to their respective lockers to grab their books and then parted ways. Lynn slid quickly into her seat in Math just as the bell rang.

     As the Math lesson dragged on, Lynn’s mind wandered to the Game again and again. She doodled in her notebook, picturing herself and Cassidy winning and becoming famous in her country. “Lynn!” her thoughts were interrupted by her teacher. “What is the proper use of a variable?”

     Flustered, Lynn stuttered out the words, “Oh! It’s uh, a letter that can symbolize a, um, a number. Like x can equal 7.”

     Her teacher nodded slowly and returned to the front of the room. That was close, Lynn thought. She took her test when it was passed out and felt that she’d done well as she left the room. “How’d you do?” Cassidy asked her when they passed in the hallway.

     “I think I did okay,” Lynn answered. “Hopefully better than a B!”

Cassidy nodded. “I hope it won’t be too hard for me. I’ve got it next period.”

     “Oh, you’ll do fine. You’re better at math than I am.”

The bell rang, and they went to their next classes, where Lynn avoided several more close calls. At lunch, she confided in Cassidy. “I’m planning on asking my mom if I can enter the Game later today.”

     “Really?” Cassidy lit up. “Me too! Actually, I already asked my mom and she said yes, so I went to enter last night.”

     Lynn took this as a good sign, knowing that if her mom knew Cassidy was entering, she would probably let her enter too.

“Do you and your family want to come for dinner tonight and try to convince my mom to let me? I don’t think she’ll say yes.”

    Cassidy shook her head. “We can’t do it tonight. We’re supposed to meet our grandparents for dinner and we’ve already put it off three times. Mom said we’ve got to do it tonight.”

     Disappointed, Lynn sat back in her chair and took a bite of her sandwich. “Oh well.”
Cassidy shrugged. “It’s fine! I’m sure she’ll let you. Your mom’s cool.”

    Lynn laughed and they talked about other things until the bell rang. Lynn went through her classes with even more mind-wandering after her and Cassidy’s conversation at lunch, but managed to focus enough to get her work done. She left the building slowly after school ended, nearly walking into a car on the street before realizing what she was doing and going to the bus instead. Cassidy tried to talk to her on the ride to the bus stop, but stopped when she realized Lynn’s lack of attention. “See you tomorrow!” she told her when they separated at the stop, and Lynn waved absently.

     When she entered her house, it was empty save her dog, Juno. Her mom was still at work. “Hey, Juno,” Lynn said when the dog lumbered to meet her. “How you doin’, puppy?”

     She entered the kitchen to get a drink before starting her homework. When she did start, she could barely focus. Finally she gave up and began to doodle on the paper she was using. She jumped when her mom walked into the kitchen, still wearing her work clothes. “Mom!” Lynn said. “When did you get home?”

     “About 5 minutes ago,” Mrs. Thomas told her daughter. “I know it’s kind of late, but I had a 2 o’clock meeting that went way longer than it was supposed to.”

     Lynn shrugged. “It’s fine.”

“What did you want to ask me earlier?” Mrs. Thomas asked, pulling a package of chicken from the refrigerator to cook.

     Lynn put down her pencil and avoided her mother’s eyes as she gave her request in one breath: “I…I was wondering if I could enter the Game this year.”

    Her mother’s face, which had been questioning, hardened. “No.” she said simply.

Lynn’s heart sank. “What? Why not?”

    “There’s a lot of reasons. You could—“ Mrs. Thomas seemed to be struggling to speak, and she cut herself off. “My answer is no. And that’s final.”

    Her daughter sighed. “Okay. Fine.” Lynn returned to her homework, aggressively flipping through the pages, and Mrs. Thomas uneasily turned back to cooking.

     Though Lynn appeared to simply be doing her homework (if not slightly aggravated), she was internally furious. It was her last chance to enter, and now she couldn’t! There had to be something she could do.


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  • February 4, 2019 - 5:58pm (Now Viewing)

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