Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #26

Genre: Upper MG Epic Fantasy
Word Count: 95,000


Jake lives life on the edge—of a pencil, that is. With his nose glued to his sketchbook, he is happy to ignore the outside world. The fact of the matter is, his voice hasn’t broken, he’s still as skinny as a spring chicken and girls don’t even know he exists. Nothing cool has ever happened to him—until he visits the city museum, where he learns the hard way why the signs say: Do Not Touch.

After brief contact with a sword, Jake suddenly finds himself surrounded by skyscraper trees and people who blur the line between human and animal. If that wasn’t enough to make him curl up and hide, he discovers the locals believe he is the warrior foretold to defeat a genocidal tyrant. None other than the big bad wolf.

There’s just one problem: The prophecy isn’t about Jake, and he’s the only one who knows it.

He’s landed clear out of his comfort zone and smack dab in a pile of dragonscat. If he wants to survive man-eating flowers and a friend’s betrayal, he must adjust to a lifestyle on the sword-tip of danger. After all, he can’t go around penciling people to death. Jake’s dwindling hope to return home quickly transforms into a race to defeat the wolf king before everyone he has come to know and love is exterminated. Even if that means painting himself as someone he’s not.

First 250:

Nothing was more annoying than a blinding sunbeam. Frankly, Jake was not fond of the sun, or anything about the outdoors. And the sweet perfume of spring air was pounding an irrational thought through his mind. Am I outside?  That simply made no sense. And yet, that’s exactly what he knew to be true.

Every muscle and bone within him ached as though he had slammed against the damp ground beneath him. Dark clouds rolled overhead, scattering the sun’s rays. Sprawled within a patch of feathery meadow grass agitated by the wind, Jake lifted himself and took in the scenery.

The dimly lit meadow was sprinkled with flowers and shrubs, surrounded by trees that scraped the clouds. Glancing at the stormy ceiling, he noticed a pink glow shed by the rising moon and another, much smaller moon snuggled close to the horizon. One thing was for sure, this was not Earth. Numbness spread through Jake’s trembling body, freezing the scream in his throat.

And although it had happened seconds before, he felt hours or days removed from the incident at the museum. The words of the boy with the sun-soaked skin continued to echo in his head, “Don’t be such a whimp.” As the tour group converged in another corridor, the unruly kid egged Jake on to join him elsewhere. He shouldn’t have gone. He didn’t want to. But he certainly wasn’t a whimp. And no mop-haired jerk was going to prove him otherwise.

The fog of his memory was splattered apart by a voice, “Are you lost?”

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