Finished my latest short story. It’s called the New Kid. Once again, it clocks in just around the 3000 mark, which makes it eligible for just about every magazine out there. 3000 words is about 6 single spaced pages (this one is more because there’s a lot of dialogue).
This one is a little different than my previous as not only is not action based, but it’s no longer the weird fantasy. In fact, the fantasy/horror element doesn’t even enter until the last paragraph.
Here’s the first page:
Jake was being followed by the new kid. He was persistent, chasing him through the neighborhood on his banana-seat bike. Jake pulled out all the tricks to lose him, but the kid was good, pedaling faster and showing top maneuverability.
Jake turned into the schoolyard, skidded around an outcropping and waited. When the new kid rounded the corner, Jake slammed his bike into his, enough to knock him off balance but not enough to spill him.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I’m the new kid.”
“You’ve been following me.”
“I’m not from here.”
The kid smelled funny – like tapioca. Jake didn’t like it.
“Can I hang with you?” the new kid asked.
“I don’t know you.”
“I’ve got smokes.”
Jake’s eyes narrowed. “Smokes?”
“Let me see them.”
The new kid dug a squashed pack from his back pocket. Player’s Menthol.
“What’s your name?”
“Where’d you get those?”
“From my dad.”
“Does he know you have them?”
“I only take one or two a day so he’ll never notice.”
“Hand them over.”
“Can I hang?”
Joshua was holding out the cigarettes but Jake knew that they could easily disappear into his back pocket. And Jake wasn’t the type to try to take them by force.
“You can come with me. But it can get rough. You understand?”
The kid blew a strand of blond hair from his face. “I can handle rough.”
“I’m not so sure. Mike and Trevor don’t like new kids.”
They biked across the school yard and into the maze of portables. Mike and Trevor were already there, their bikes parked up against the corrugated wall. They were crouched around a patch of dirt, snapping marbles across a make-shift playing circle.
“Who the hell is that?” Trevor asked. He was the smallest of the bunch but the one with the biggest mouth – he was used to having Mike stick up for him.
“A new kid. He brought smokes,” Jake said.
“You playing marbles?” Joshua asked.
“I have marbles.”
“So?” Trevor replied.
“Can I play?”
“Let’s see the cigarettes.”
Joshua produced the crinkled pack.
“Hand them over.”
“Can I play marbles with you?”
“Sure, sure,” Trevor said, grabbing the pack from the new kid. “I need a lighter.” He held out his hand to the new kid.
“Those things are dangerous,” he said.
“How are we supposed to light them without one?”
“Hold on. I still have some matches.” Mike dug into his pocket. Took a few tries before producing a weak flame. Trevor leaned in, took some quick puffs. He smiled at his accomplishment, regarded the cigarette, then took a long, deliberate pull on the Player’s Menthol. He held his breath, before hacking out a cloud of smoke redolent of medicine.