TITLE: Kingdom of the Keys: The Initiation
GENRE: MG Fantasy
Lead-in: The morning after learning that the book left by his elderly friend is a portal to an invisible realm, twelve-year-old Adam visits his neighbor and confronts him, struggling with underlying feelings of abandonment by a father he's never known.
“You knew but didn’t tell me?” Adam huffed. “How could you do that?”
Mr. King didn’t respond, but the circles under his eyes spoke of his exhaustion and his eyes told of a great sadness. Adam ignored them.
“Why would you leave and not tell me how it works?” He stomped to the kitchen table and fanned the book’s pages. “Must be nice someone cared enough about you to give you a heads-up, so you never wrote in it.”
The accusation shot out like an invisible blow. Mr. King flinched but remained silent.
“Fine! Don’t talk.” Adam slammed the book shut. “Just sit there, drink your coffee, and let your stupid orchids keep you company!” He marched to the door.
“Adam . . . ” The weak plea traveled across the room. “I did not know how to explain the book to you. It was willed to me when I was just a boy.”
Adam turned but only enough to see that his neighbor was still speaking to his cup.
“Would you have believed me had I said something?”
Adam’s jaw clenched. He probably wouldn’t have believed the book was a portal. He would have thought the old man had gone senile. But that didn’t matter. Mr. King had stirred up feelings so painful, it was just easier to be angry.
“I don’t know if I would’ve believed you,” Adam snarled and grabbed the doorknob. “But we’ll never know because you didn’t care enough to stick around and try.”