TITLE: Boulton's Quest
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction
Not long ago Chris would stand on his night table, press his nose to this window, and watch deer filter through the forest and nibble the grass in his yard. Now he stared into the living room window of a house. The window was set into green spackle, overlooked a single Ash tree in a small back yard, and was flanked by a three car garage emptying onto an asphalt road.
He scanned the tiled roofs lining the valley floor and gazed at the sun. It slid behind the mountain tops, propelling an ominous shadow up the treed slopes.
Towering cumulous clouds pulled yellows, pinks, and greens from the sun’s rays and splashed them across the sky. His shoulders sagged. He swayed. The mosaic patterns crept through his eyes, flooded his arms, chest, and legs, and slowed his heartbeat to a whisper. For once, he felt content.
The sun dropped, plunging the valley into darkness.
“Typical,” he said.
Crickets started their ritual with the precision of a marching band. Thousands of chirps blended into a single noise, inescapable and intense.
He slid into bed, pulled a pillow over his head, and held it to his ears. He heaved, drawing a wisp of stale air through the goose feathers, and grimaced. The racket would keep him awake and staring into blackness for hours. Maybe he’d be up when his parents, Claire and Geoff Boulton, got home from work. Either way, it didn’t matter. They wouldn’t drop in and the house would be empty in the morning.