Writing sample from my novel
April Curran Meets the Vampire of Crimson Cove High School

 

The below writing sample is a work of fiction.

 

        Brief synopsis of the novel
        April Curran Meets the Vampire of Crimson Cove High School

                   

     In this first book in The April Curran Series, school’s back in session at Crimson Cove High, definitely not your average educational facility. School takes place in a formerly abandoned king’s castle!
     Wealthy April Curran forms a friendship with two new students, one a vampire named Lucian and the other named Dutch, whom some suspect might be the legendary chupacabra.
     As their friendship grows, they must learn to accept each other’s differences as some weird occurrences take place inside school. What happens outside the school’s ivy-coated, fortress-like walls is even stranger.
     The three encounter an angry, ghostly spirit, a hungry shark, a tree that likes to hug people and more in this fantasy world where there are ogres, cackling witches, sorcerers, dragon-like cave beasts and official, certified vampires can fly.
     As April struggles to make it through her sophomore year and pass algebra, she gets a crush on Lucian thanks to his charm and strikingly handsome profile.
     April is looking forward to her upcoming Sweet Sixteen birthday in June. Little does she know devious party crashers plan to make it a day to remember, just not in the way she had planned.
     Will April Curran survive her sophomore year and Sweet Sixteen birthday party to reach eleventh grade?


__________


     Near the rocky, reddish bluffs overlooking frothy Crimson Cove

     There is located a most imaginative school to rove

     Teaching the subjects of history, science, English and math

     In The Towering Castle at the End of the Cobblestone Path.


__________


     Miss Eloise’s paid obituary ran in four separate newspapers. The Dragonlane Gazette. The Dragonlane Daily. The Earshire Valley Village News. The Placidville Daily Discount Shopper, where the obituary appeared on the same page advertising a pink grapefruit half-off sale and a new recipe for chive celery dip. The Curran family paid for the obituary. (Certified check.) A photo of Miss Eloise was included in each obituary. In the photo, Miss Eloise was smiling and her hair was done up in a ponytail. It was her driver’s license photo. She sat in front of a tacky yellow driver’s license bureau background. 
 

     Services tomorrow for Miss Eloise Beatrix Peach who has ascended to eternal peace in heaven. Miss Peach was born twenty seven years ago in a frail cottage with six windows and one kitchen cupboard in Earshire Valley Village’s Dudslop Section. She is survived by her mother Rosemary Peach, older brother Augustus Peach, uncle Willhelm Peach and her aunt Miss Sue Peach. Her father, Gregory Mongo Peach, went to his eternal rest three years ago after suffering a heart attack while peeling an orange. Miss Peach’s twin sister, Roxanne Olive Peach, went missing three years ago while hiking in Steep Slopes National Park and is presumed dead. Only her mascara was ever found.      

     Miss Peach attended Earshire Valley High School where she excelled in the Earshire High Biology Club and was a standout tuba player in the marching band. She was on the yearbook committee and nominated Most Likely To Succeed in her senior year. After graduating with honors from high school, Miss Peach attended the Naval Academy at Crooked Island in Vulture Quay. She majored in submarine acoustics’ engineering and minored in twentieth century film studies.

     Miss Peach was employed by esteemed, respected publisher Walingford Filberhaven Curran as domestic help. She was formerly president of the Dragonlane Cleaning Ladies Union Local Number Forty Four. Under her guidance working conditions improved for it’s one hundred fifty nine members. She was also an active member on the board at the Society for the Preservation of the Pink Flame Breathing Dragons on Clawcapture Island in the Indian Ocean. She also volunteered her spare time for literacy causes and was a frequent reader at public libraries where librarians nicknamed her “Bookmarker Beatrix.”  

     Miss Peach’s hobbies included rolling pennies, chasing fireflies, reading old tombstones, traveling, cooking haggis, ballet dancing and riding roller coasters with multiple end over end loops. Her unfulfilled dream was to run with the minotaurs in Spain and hang glide off Dead Rocks’ National Mountain.       

     Services for Miss Peach will begin sharply at one in the afternoon tomorrow. Arrangements are being handled by the McCoffe Funeral Home on Myers Avenue across from the Major General Marty Shufflefly Courtyard and Statue. There’s free parking in the rear and all are reminded do not park in Miss Xia Wakai’s Chinese Restaurant’s lot next door because towing is enforced.
In lieu of flowers, the Peach family cordially requests donations be made to one of Miss Peach’s two favorite charitable causes, The League for the Preservation of the Endangered Flying Turtles of Rock Quarry Lake or The Society for the Preservation of Troll Tribute Statue in Rakinshade Park near Green Meadows.

     Additional questions can be addressed to funeral director Brogan “The Boss” Featherlawn who is in charge of the arrangements.


__________




     Andreea saw the cabin through a clearing. And she could hear Agatha’s trained flock of ten crows screaming in nearby trees. Andreea could not see the crows, but she knew with their magical vision everyone of them could see her.  

     Agatha Crow operated a very special form of detective agency that utilized magical crows on fact finding missions. She wasn’t cheap but Andreea was able to obtain an advance on her allowance. Between the advance and Agatha Crow agreeing to set up a payment plan, Andreea was able to afford the witch’s services.

     Andreea followed the gentle yellow light spilling out from the cabin’s square windows. Next to the cabin was one parking meter that was well fed with coins. Agatha Crow’s floating broom was parked at the meter. The meter had been installed by  Dragonlane County officials as a way to drive Witch Crow out of business. If she didn’t feed the meter twenty four hours a day her broom would be ticketed. The outside of the cabin was decorated -- defaced in Andreea’s opinion -- with old license plates. Above the single entrance door hung a sign on squeaky wires.

 

Agatha Crow Detective Agency

Licensed. Insured. Bonded. Incorporated

Since 1922

No checks. Cash only

“If it’s the truth you need to know call Agatha Crow”

P.S. Do not call collect or I’ll cast a spell you can’t deflect

 

    Signs were also plastered across the exterior walls of the cabin. The signs were rhyming and whimsical. Agatha Crow did the lettering herself.

 

ENTER IF YOU DARE JUST DO NOT STARE

 

OPEN FOR BUSINESS IS AGATHA CROW EVEN DURING SNOW

 

IF IT’S TRUTH YOU SEEK DO NOT BE MEEK

THIS WITCH’S DEN DOESN’T HAVE A HEN

 

CREDIT CARDS I DON’T TAKE MONEY YES UNLESS IT’S FAKE

 

THIS CABIN YOU SEEK STEP IN DON’T BE MEEK

 

     As Andreea approached the cabin its door, as expected, creaked open on its own. The door opened on its own the last time she visited, so she was not caught by surprise.

Andreea’s mother always told her never eat soup with a fork and never try to sneak up on a witch. Oh, and change your socks daily.

     “Hello . . . Witch Crow?” Andreea said.

     Andreea walked into the small cabin. It was decorated witch chic. Dark drapes. Macabre oil paintings on the walls. Small pewter statues. And plenty of mirrors on walls, none of which reflected Andreea’s image. The cauldron was cold and the kitchen was a mess with dirty dishes overflowing the sink. Wasn’t there a dishes be done spell?

     Agatha Crow was seated in a padded lounger that was floating upside down in the air. A few feet in front of her an unplugged television on a stand floated in the air upside down. A soap opera was playing one of the usual clichés soap operas helped make famous. Some handsome, wealthy, debonair doctor who had just gained complete memory after amnesia learns that his girlfriend has fallen into a coma. He learns of this misfortune from a ghostly spirit of a wealthy, handsome, charming lawyer who was killed off in an earlier episode. Agatha Crow’s face was red, likely from blood pooling. 

     Andreea was slightly taken back by the sight. Last time she came to the cabin, Agatha Crow was watching an old nineteen thirties mystery on a right side up television while seated in the same lounger. That time the lounger was, as proper, resting on its four sturdy legs.               

     “Afternoon,” Agatha Crow said.

     With a nod, Agatha Crow spun the chair right side up and the television also turned. Then both the chair and television settled on to the floor. Thump! The now right side up television’s screen went snowy and the horizontal went haywire.  

     “Don’t laugh,” Agatha Crow said, “upside down’s the only way I can get good reception out here.”

     Andreea stared at the old rabbit ears antenna atop the television.

     “Haven’t you heard of cable?” Andreea asked.

     “Cable? I haven’t got electricity.”

     Andreea stared around the cabin. Lights were on. The refrigerator in a corner hummed. A ceiling fan twirled. She smelled lint in the air and sensed heat from a close by

clothes dryer that was now off. Somebody had just done a load of wash. Somebody was pirating electricity via a witch’s spell. Why didn’t she pirate better TV reception?

     “Can’t you cast a spell for better reception?” Andreea asked.

     “Go to work so I can relax in front of the television? What convoluted thinking!”    

     Andreea removed a clump of bills and handed them to Agatha Crow, who salivated

upon touching the crisp money. While Agatha counted the money, Andreea glanced around, noticing things she didn’t notice on her last visit a week earlier. Maybe that was because this was her second visit and she was less nervous.

Discarded, unwanted urns sat on a mantle. Bottled potions for sale sat on a shelf nearby.

Candle holders for sale. Magical oils and perfumes for sale. Tiny crystals and gems for sale. Homemade jewelry for sale. Agatha Crow’s diplomas on a wall.

     “Agatha Flagg,” Andreea read aloud from one diploma.

     Was Crow her married name or a “stage name”? Why go from a Flagg to a Crow? 

     “All here and that’s good,” Agatha Crow said, “wouldn’t want to shortchange me I’d turn you into a toad.”

     Andreea backed away.

     “Honey, it’s an old witch’s joke,” Agatha Crow said. “Witch sarcasm.”

     “Oh,” Andreea said, faking a laugh.

     “I’m a member of The Witches’ Local Number Twenty Two and The Association for Better Witch Standards Eastern Branch which strictly prohibit and or strongly discourage unnecessary or vindictive spells for personal selfish gain.”

     Agatha Crow nodded and the television turned off. Click!

     “Guess it’s time for you to see what you came here to see. Nervous?”

     Andreea nodded.


__________



 

     Professor Bonaparte’s biology class visited the local county morgue. The students piled into a shuttle van and off they went, pulling into the high-gated compound ten minutes later. Mr. Lynn Shirley, as usual, drove the shuttle bus, leading to a harrowing ride over. He over-revved the engine, applied the brakes too hard and took a corner so wide he almost clipped an unoccupied moped locked to a pole. They could all fit in one shuttle van, as only half of the parents were willing to sign the field trip authorization sheet allowing their child to witness an actual autopsy.   

     April’s parents signed the form but she was sorry that she went. It wasn’t what she had seen so far -- and she had seen a lot -- it was the smells.

     The smell of death.

     The smell of dried blood.

     The smell of cleaning fluids which, strangely, were not quite as powerful as Professor Bonaparte’s tacky, cheap, eye-watering cologne Lou Bent’s Scent Number Four.  

     Lucian, Dutch, Stacy and Bree were not in this class so she didn’t even have a good friend to lean on. She needed a friend to lean on. Before leaving on the field trip, Professor Bonaparte gave a laundry list of suggestions to help ease the experience.

Wearing a blindfold was not one of the professor’s suggestion but it should have been.

The professor called his suggestions survival skills for the living in a building meant to understand the dead. How poetic. Once inside, the professor suggested, focus on the living not the dead. Take measured breaths. Slow and steady. Wear a jacket. Don’t try to hide repulsion. Simply raise a hand and request to leave if it’s all too much.    

     Even if it were not for the smells, putrid as they were, she wished she had not gone on this field trip. It wasn’t as fun as the year’s earlier field trip to the Sixth Street Aquarium

and also she was baffled as to why Lucian lied to her yesterday. That lie had been on her mind all day, bouncing around somewhere between her ears and cranium.  

     A blimp crashed on The Castle with Tall Red Spirals on Dead Whisper Cliff?

     How? Why? How? Why?

     April did internet searches and found recent news stories on blimps that had crashed in fields. On top of a leather finishing factory. And one landed in a busy intersection in a town called Von Hoot. She found no mention -- zero -- zilch -- nothing -- of a blimp crashing on any castles anywhere in the area within the past ten years!

     Why had Lucian lied to her? They were buddies. Friends. Friends didn’t lie to friends,

at least not about blimp malfunctions. Was he trying to spare her feelings? Was he trying to throw her off the wagon trail?


__________



     April’s Sweet Sixteenth birthday party was held in Curran Manor’s ballroom on the tenth of June, a Saturday. The party started at six pm sharp. Planning it took weeks. It was a catered affair with fifty one guests total. Twenty one guests were students from the school or friends her age from the neighborhood. Thirty of the guests were friends of Father and Mum. April didn’t mind that adults crashed her party, because it meant more gifts and besides the loud rock music blaring from the five speakers the band brought drove most people over age forty into a corner of the ballroom. Some grandparents and a few cousins also attended. Aunt Edna and Uncle Harold danced in the room’s center, neither bothered by the screaming music.    

     The ballroom was decorated with streamers and balloons. April was dressed in her finest and so were most other guests. A large table of food lined one wall and a punch bowl big enough to hydrate an army barrack sat on another close-by table. Near a corner was the table upon which the birthday cake rested. It was a large sheet cake with butter cream icing and lemon custard filling. Megan -- always the sneaky sibling with a sweet tooth tall as a skyscraper -- had already used a spoon to steal one of the butter cream flowers off the cake. Upon the cake were sixteen candles. Lucian joked he had replaced the candles with special candles that lit back up again after they were blown out. April knew he was joking. Lucian would never spoil her party or play a joke on her in front of such a big audience. Or would he? Rumor was vampires could be sneaky.

     Mr. Charles did his best to serve and they had hired Angela Finney, the same maid who worked New Year’s Eve. Angela Finney still had her cute Australian accent (if anything it was stronger) and was still clumsy when carrying food. They solved that problem by having her let guests in the front door instead of handling the potato chip dip. She would formally and loudly announce their arrival to the ballroom’s audience between band sets. Everybody loved her cute Down Under accent. Gidday!

     The band was not April’s first choice. That honor belonged to the heavy metal band

Macabre Dukay. Schultz “Screaming Robs” Shays, lead singer of the rock group, had accidentally backed the group’s logo-spray-painted hippie van into a cement truck in a parking lot on the way over to the party and damaged their equipment. At the last minute, Mum located another band. The Irish Jamming Old Lads with Periwinkle Acorn on the drums. They were good. They were loud. They were old. Not one of them had been a lad for at least fifty years, but judging by the volume they played at it was obvious they didn’t realize their advanced, graying state. Maybe their hearing aids needed an adjustment? They had blown fuses twice so far, so Father asked them to tune down the tweeter and unplug one speaker. Their rocking sessions were drawing too much power. Twice the manor’s chiming doorbell went off and nobody pressed the porch button. Lights were flickering! One old man in the band jammed on his electric guitar so feverishly he almost spit up his prunes. Another old-timer playing the sax almost spit out his dentures.