TITLE: The Antidote
GENRE: MG Fantasy
Lonely 12 year old Adam Revelstoke can see disease, and comes to accept, even revel in, this family “gift” while he reluctantly battles ILL, the ancient evil behind most maladies.
No one in this village was safe.
A woman sat weeping, a still man laid out on the bed beside her. His fingertips were black, rotted away. Blood crusted at the side of his mouth. An hour before he’d been coughing, hacking, rust-tinged sputum filled his soiled handkerchief. Now he was quiet. An hour before, his breath had come heavy and harsh. Now there was none.
Outside the cottage, in the churchyard at the end of the lane, a pit waited. Shrouded bodies lined its bottom. Soon the man would join them.
A hooded figure stood beside the pit, looking over the scene with satisfaction. One of his greatest creations. Oh, he didn’t invent the plague, the rats, the fleas. Yersinia pestis had been around for centuries. But he improved upon it. More deadly, easier to catch. In a year, a third of this village would be dead. In the pit.
* * *
The Hot Dog Kid
Everyone loved pizza day. Except for Adam.
Kids crammed the middle school lunchroom, sitting ten or twelve to a table, jostling, laughing, joking. All so easy, all so casual.
Someone bumped his elbow and his tray lurched. Jack and another guy. Adam caught his apple just before it rolled off. He put it in his mouth to hold while he maneuvered his pizza back onto the paper plate.
“Nobody eats the apples, Revelstoke,” Jack said as he tossed his in the compost bin.
“He likes eating wax,” the friend said, jabbing Jack in the arm and sniggering.
Adam put his apple back on his tray and slunk to his usual table, uncrowded even today.