Feedback and comments are welcome. I'd love to be able to give you all a book that you love.
So here it goes. The current first chapter of The Fairy Tale Twist:
The parking lot fills with normal kids talking about normal stuff. I walk past a group of girls who, if you asked them about me, they’d give you a blank stare with wide eyes and say, “Who’s Ivy Thorn?” They’re playing a game I used to love: “The worst thing that could ever happen”. Basically, it’s a contest to see whose life sucks the most. Sounds like the winner of this round is a girl who had a bad haircut and a bad breakout right before a school dance. I didn’t even know there’d been a school dance.
As I walk around the circle of girls, I hate them for being such idiots. But I also envy them. I could win that game without even trying. I almost died over the summer. I was kidnapped by a pixie, then chased through the woods by a wild animal. All because the pixie got bored. (Of course, if I ever mention any of that at school, I’ll never make any friends.) I walk past a kid throwing potato chips at his girlfriend. Then again, not having friends might not be so bad.
I walk off school campus and ignore the cars full of happy kids. Can I ever be like that again? It seems unnatural to not be worried about what could be around the corner. Just thinking about a normal life feels wrong. I almost wish I could get swept away into another fairy tale, just to make sure I’m not crazy. But I’d have to be crazy to wish for that.
Fortunately, I think I’m safe from another kidnapping for now. I found out how they get you. I’m proud to say I’ve broken all emotional ties with Dad’s photo. I still love him, but the picture is just a picture. It took weeks to train myself, but I think it worked.
Now, when Dad’s overseas and I start to miss him, I write him a letter, stick it in the mail, and forget about it. When he writes back, I make myself throw his letters away after a day or two. I can’t risk getting attached to them. I’ve seen Mom fish them out of the trash, but it doesn’t matter. They’re just pieces of paper to me.
Besides, I can’t blame Mom. She’s way emotional and hormonal these days. She doesn’t know why I throw away Dad’s letters. She wouldn’t understand. I told my parents about everything that happened to me over the summer—why I disappeared, how I got back, and a few details about what happened to me while I was gone. (But I left out the life-threatening parts and stuck to fairies and enchanted forests.) I’m pretty sure Dad believes me. But Mom said, “I believe you believe it’s real.” Which basically means she believes I’m crazy. I love her anyway, but sometimes I look at her and I just want to shake her until she understands. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I could just get some video of the blasted pixie. I’d try to contact him, but I never want to see that little creeper ever again. I’m not insane.
I walk through the front door and drop my bag on the end table, right next to the teddy bear Dad sent to Mom for her birthday. The one holding a pink heart that says, “I wuv you.” Ugh. My parents are dorks.
Mom’s lying on the couch with her feet propped up, even though her belly sticks out a little. Ever since she found out she was pregnant, Mom has been all about the baby and doing whatever pregnant women do. It’s weird.
She’s my mom and she’s old. She shouldn’t be pregnant. But I’m excited. I always wanted a little brother or sister to play with, a friend who would move every time I did. This baby isn’t exactly going to be a playmate, but it’s still someone I can love and take care of. And I can show this kid that not everyone is like our parents. Some of us are actually pretty normal.
Mom has the laptop open, resting just below her belly. She’s looking at a baby names website. Again. “What do you think of the name Christopher?”
I shrug and plop down into the overstuffed chair next to her. “I don’t hate it.”
“What about Devin?”
I lean over to get a look at the screen she’s looking at. There has to be better names than that. “Mom, these are all boy names.”
Mom turns around and grins at me. When I don’t say anything, she lifts her eyebrows. “Yeah. They are.”
It takes me a minute. I think she’s saying what I think she’s saying. The eyebrows mean she’s saying something. “It’s a boy?”
“It’s a boy!” I jump up and do a goofy dance. Then I stop. That was the dance I did for the fairies in the enchanted forest. I try to pretend like I’m just done dancing and try to hold onto my smile. But Mom’s giving me the look. The you’re-not-telling-me-something look.
“Does Dad know?”
Mom’s face softens into a smile. “I called him this morning. He said he’ll be home for the birth!”
I give her my best smile. It’ll be good to have him home that long. It seems like every time we get him back, he has to leave again. I should be thrilled. I am thrilled. But at the same time, an ugly thought worms its way through my head. And I suddenly feel like I might be sick. Before Mom can see what I’m thinking, I head for my room. “That’s great. I think I’ll go write to him.”
I force myself to go slow. Running to my room at a dead sprint probably wouldn’t come off as normal. But my heart pumps a gut-wrenching feeling through my whole body. I have to swallow several times to keep from throwing up. Because even though I’ve made sure I’m safe from the pixie…
…my brother won’t be.