TITLE: Dust and Bones
GENRE: MG Adventure
Stranded in China after his father’s mysterious abduction, 14-year-old Ethan befriends Mei Li, a beautiful 16-year-old pickpocket. Together they must combat an ancient and immortal evil in a desperate quest to save Ethan's dad—and, perhaps, all mankind.
Ethan leaned on the windowsill while his father snored on the sagging bed. Though the early evening air was cool, it hadn’t helped the tiny, sweltering hotel room one bit. He turned up the volume on his iPod to block the traffic and the snoring.
His watch read 8:30 p.m., but still Ethan knew he should be exhausted. He hadn’t slept, really slept, in days. The flight from San Francisco to Beijing had been a bouncing, turbulent terror and Ethan had been afraid to sleep, lest he wake up in the Pacific Ocean. At least the train from Beijing to Xi’an had been on the ground, but the crowded smoke-filled compartment hadn’t offered much more opportunity for sleep.
Jetlag, Ethan had learned over the last eighteen months, is a wicked tormentor, though—it makes you dead tired when you should be awake and bright-eyed when the world around you is sound asleep. His father apparently paid no heed to jetlag; he was comatose the moment his head hit the pillow. Ethan had offered to take the floor and knew that he’d probably regret it. Space being nonexistent, he thought maybe he would fit under the bed, but the drooping mattress and creaky springs warned him otherwise.
His stomach rumbled. He knew his dad wouldn't want him to go out alone;he was funny about things like that.
Ethan glanced out the window.
I'll only be gone a minute. It's just a block away.
He grabbed his backpack, slid silently from the room, and closed the door behind him.