Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Secret Agent #13

TITLE: The Seakeeper
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy

Greer listened to Mama’s uneven breathing until her own chest hurt from the noise. Mama had secrets. Not the kind of secrets like hiding a shopping bag in the closet the week before Christmas or like pouring store-bought pasta sauce into a saucepan and calling it homemade. Mama had bigger secrets than that. Greer just never realized how big, until Mama checked herself out of the hospital to move six states away. And all because of some fruit.

How can Dad go along with this? Greer watched Dad’s stiff posture as he pulled on the gear shift and wondered for the hundredth time how he could let Mama have her way. Greer’s bare legs stuck like duct tape to the station wagon’s rear vinyl seat as she scooted closer to the drippy window and wiped it with her palm. The car rattled up a gravel driveway and a sliver of moonlight leaked through the clouds, sending tree shadows stretching like witch fingers across the windows. Dark towering walls at the top of the hill loomed over the car.

“Are you sure Uncle Llewellyn won’t be here?” Greer shivered as the shadows of her great-uncle’s mansion seemed to rise out of the ground and swallow up the surrounding forest.

“I’m certain.” Mama’s hoarse whisper from the front seat no longer resembled her once honey-smooth voice. She rarely said more than one sentence at a time these days. She just didn’t have enough air.


  1. Loved your description of 'secrets'. Great stuff. I'm not sure if that very first sentence is even necessary. The rest paints such a great picture, and sets a mood, I'd read more.

  2. Nice foreboding tone here. I love the description of secrets - so in keeping with what a MGer might feel.

    I became a bit lost on first read when I got to the second paragraph, but finally figured it out. For a moment I thought she was just with her dad, so when Mama spoke, it jarred me.

    I like this.

  3. Tree shadows like witch fingers and moonlight leaking through the clouds. I love the Gothic feel you have created in just a few words here.

  4. I would definitely read more after the title and this snippet. I really want to know what is wrong with her mother and if the secrets she's hiding have to do with her illness.

    I don't have any advice to offer at reading this but I am definitely hooked so far.

  5. I actually thought mom was gone as well until she spoke. I love your description because you paint the scene as being sinister. I love myself some sinister reading!

  6. Nice job. I would read on. I also was surprised that Mama was in the car. Since only Dad was mentioned in the second paragraph, I thought they might be going to visit Mama.

    Good Luck.

  7. I loved the voice, I'd keep reading.

  8. Great job at setting the scene, it feels so ominous.

    Uneven breathing, secrets, hospitals, trips, fruit. Wait, what? Fruit? You can’t just drop something in like that and then go back to ominous. You might want to let the reader have a bit more info or hold the fruit revelation for a little later.

    There is also a lot of imagery here, especially in the second paragraph. I felt my attention being pulled along roughly.

    I’d rearrange the paragraphs so the last two come first. That way the reader is asking, “Who is Uncle Llewellyn? Why is her mother’s voice so hoarse? Why doesn’t she have air?” right away.

  9. I am hooked, with a few minor adjustments. I'd start the first paragraph with the second sentence and put the first sentence at the beginning of the second paragraph to tie Mama's problem and her "solution" together.
    Your imagery and scene setting are vivd and give a good ominous portent.

    Give us more!