GENRE: MG Adventure
Slumping deeper into The Forum Coffee Emporium’s squishiest armchair, I imagined a number of gruesome and excruciating deaths for myself. It wasn’t hard to do. I could almost smell hopelessness in the air, mingling with the scent of coffee beans, brownies, and baklava bars. Tomorrow I would leave behind four-hundred and fifty-three days of perfect attendance at Winston Prep, one undefeated debate club record, eight stuffed animals, and zero friends to possibly be torn apart by the most terrifying, murderous animal in the continent of Africa.
My eyes focused on a photograph of the savage beast. Raw gums glistened with saliva, and three ropes of drool tangled in the air while it charged. I’d torn it from a magazine in hopes of brainstorming possible defense techniques. None came to mind.
“Tripplehorn Parker, you sure drink a lot of coffee for an eleven-year-old girl,” said a warm voice. “That can’t be good for you. Aren’t you British genius types supposed to be tea drinkers?”
Oh wonderful, shaggy-haired Benjamin of the coffee shop, I thought, taking comfort in the perfect mole above his lips. How I’ll miss you, especially if I die.
“I’ve adapted to your American ways,” I told him. “And you know it’s decaf. And you know I’m twelve. And this,” I pointed to the photo, “is something you don’t know. This fellow is about to become my closest acquaintance.”
Benjamin bent and winced. “Ouch. Hippos, huh. How long will you be gone?”
“Too long.” Five years, to be exact.