I have finished my Science Fiction Time Travel novel about a seventeen-year-old girl who becomes involved with time travelers from the future.
I successfully finished editing and entered the contest with five hours to spare.
Below, you can read the first four pages of my first chapter.
She longed to crawl into bed and shut out the world, her heartache, her problems. Carlen brushed past her Dad’s car in the drive and waded through the knee-high weeds in the front yard. Her backpack weighed like a load of bricks on her shoulders as she climbed the rickety front steps. The waning moon stared at her in the reflection of the streaked windowpane. The weather-worn flag hung limply in the breezeless night. Carlen flicked her hair out of her eyes and fumbled through her backpack for her keys.
She wondered if her dad would still be up.
With a sigh, she thrust the key into the lock. To Carlen’s surprise, the door was already unlocked. Wrinkling her brow, she pulled the door open and let it bang behind her as she stepped into the dark kitchen.
After flicking on the light, Carlen pulled out her cell phone and glanced at the time. It was 9:30. She was surprised to find it so early. The minutes spent after her high school graduation had dragged on and on. Seeing the other students surrounded by parents and teachers had been like a knife thrust to Carlen’s heart. She had bolted from the auditorium as soon as her few friends had congratulated her. She strove to push disappointment out of her mind. Yet the ache in her heart refused to subside.
Carlen dropped her backpack on the floor, choosing to leave it on the dusty laminate rather than the counter which was cluttered with dirty dishes and spilled coffee.
The main floor, save the kitchen, was swathed in shadow and silence.
Carlen stood without moving, lost in thought. The urge to go straight to bed tempted her. Yet another impulse, one of duty, contradicted it. She made two cups of coffee, leaving one black and stirring cream into the other. She flipped on the light to the downstairs with her elbow and crept down to the basement, balancing the coffee mugs in her hands.
She hoped her dad would still be awake. Though she wouldn’t admit it to herself, Carlen was worried about him. After all, she hadn’t seen him emerge from his room for three days.
The hardwood floors creaked. A few spider webs hung from the ceiling and the doorframe to her dad’s suite. The single light bulb hummed. Carlen paused outside the closed door at the bottom of the stairs. Holding a coffee mug in each hand, she tapped on her dad’s closed door with her foot.
“Dad? I’m home. Are you still up?” Carlen took a sip of her coffee. Her cream swirled in the mug and the warmth spread through her, soothing her nerves.
The silence persisted unbroken.
“Dad?” she called, her voice soft. “Are you in there?”
Carlen turned from the door, then halted with one foot on the stair.
Was he sick? Had something happened?
She had to settle her worry. After putting down the coffee, Carlen tried the doorknob.
The door creaked open.
She peered inside the dark room, curiosity overcoming her fear. A faint odor filled the room. Carlen wrinkled her nose at the sour smell. “Dad?” She tip-toed into the darkness. Where was the light? She shivered. She felt the wall with her hand and her fingers fumbled over the light switch.
A cold light illuminated the room.
But the room was empty.