The Latchkey Kids: 1 Meet the Latchkey Kids – Andrew by Vivian Munnoch

Andrew just got home from school and is already so bored that he can’t stand it.

He is in the living room playing half-heartedly on his Xbox game, the volume turned too loud, but there is no one there to tell him to turn it down.  With only one game to play, he got bored with it pretty fast.

“I wish I had more games.  The games are a lot of money and it’s taking me forever to save up enough allowance to buy another one.”

He snorts at the thought.  “I guess I’d earn the money a lot faster if I did my chores, but chores are lame and boring.”

He looks at the clock.  Nobody will be home for a few hours.

“Man, that is just forever,” he grumbles.

At twelve, Andrew has been a latchkey kid since last year and has never really gotten completely used to being home alone.  He’s fine except for one thing that makes him nervous; sometimes he hears strange noises in the house. It usually happens when the house is very quiet.  When everyone else is sleeping or he’s home alone.  Because of this, Andrew doesn’t like being home alone.  It makes him nervous, but he won’t admit that to anyone.

Andrew thinks he’s the only person with this problem and that it’s lame and for little kids.

Sometimes, he imagines the noises are giant rats in the basement, waiting for the right time to come squirming up the stairs to chew their noses off and devour their eyes in their sleep.  Sometimes he imagines it’s someone breaking into the house.

When he told his parents last year about his fear, they said it was ridiculous and laughed. He didn’t talk about his fear again after that; not to anyone.  He doesn’t want anyone else laughing at him too.

Andrew is only going through the motions of playing his game, running his game player through a maze of bad guys, jumping and shooting without really paying attention.  He doesn’t miss a beat.  He has this game down and figures he could play it blindfolded.

He freezes, eyes widening and hands locked on the Xbox controller while his helpless character is repeatedly beaten to a pulp and killed by the bad guy in the game, over and over, phasing back into the game with a new life only to be killed again each time.  It’s a repetition of music, weapon blasts, and his character’s death scream playing on repeat.

“What was that?” he thinks.  “That was a thump, definitely a thump from somewhere in the house.”

He heard it despite the loud noise of the game. His stomach knots with anxiety and he keeps still, listening.  The thump comes again, quiet, and then something that sounds like a wet slither. Andrew’s knees feel instantly weak.

“It’s coming from the basement,” he thinks.

“It’s nothing,” he whispers quietly, trying to convince himself.

“Mom and dad would say I imagined it,” he thinks.  “They would say it’s only my imagination, that there’s nothing there.  Or they would say it’s just the sound of the house settling, whatever that means.”

“More like settling its sour stomach after eating someone,” he whispers.

Andrew keeps listening, a frozen statue, waiting for more noises.  The television blaring the Xbox game in front of him is making him self-conscious now.  If there is anyone, or thing, in the house, the noise will attract it.

He looks at the television anxiously, wanting to move and turn the sound off.  “But what if the sudden silence alerts it or him or whatever that I’m here?” he thinks.

“Better leave it on,” he whispers. He is growing more nervous with each heartbeat.  The urge to get out of there is too strong to ignore.  “Whatever made that sound can have the house to itself.  I’m out of here.”

Heart beating fast and too scared to move, Andrew yells at himself in his head, keeping his lips closed tight because he is afraid whatever it is will hear him breathe.  “MOVE, COME ON AND JUST MOVE! STAND UP!”

Andrew finally makes himself move.  He puts the game controller down as quietly as possible and creeps to the front door, grabbing his jacket on the way from where he had carelessly tossed it on a chair.  He winces at the quiet hissing noise his jacket makes from the fabric rustling as he slips it on.  Jamming his feet quickly into his boots, he grabs his hat and mitts, almost forgets his key, and slips out of the house.  He closes the door quietly behind him, turning the key in the lock as quietly as he can to lock the door.

“If there’s anything here, that’ll slow it down,” he thinks.

He runs down the driveway, turns, and races down the road, the cold snow crunching loudly beneath his boots and his breath pluming in a cloud that hangs in the air behind him for a span of heartbeats before vanishing.  His heart is beating fast and he has to force himself to not look back to see if anything is chasing him.  The feeling that something is won’t go away, even though he knows it isn’t likely.

 

THE LATCHKEY KIDS IS AVAILABLE ON KINDLE AND IN PAPERBACK ON AMAZON

 

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The Latchkey Kids: 1 Meet the Latchkey Kids – Madison by Vivian Munnoch

“I am freezing to death, it’s so cold.  Seriously, I am going to be a frozen dead body stuck to these stupid steps and they will have to pry me off with a crowbar and thaw me out just to bury me.”

Madison is standing outside the locked door to her house.  Around her, the world is covered in snow and ice.  It is very cold despite the bright sun, possibly the coldest day of the year.  She is fumbling in her parka pockets for the key, shivering with the cold.  Her mitts make it hard to feel for the small piece of metal.

Madison is a slight thing, average height for the girls in her class, but skinny enough that they sometimes tease her about it. It’s friendly teasing, not meant to be mean.

“Oh come on key, where are you?” Her breath hangs like a cloud in the air, each breath adding a new cloud of vapor.

“I had my key to lock the door this morning.” She tries the door again, just in case it is somehow unlocked. Again, the door is still locked.

Feeling a surge of fear and hopelessness, Madison fumbles through her pockets again. “I can’t find it.”

She has the urge to dump her backpack out all over the steps, but that would be embarrassing.  “Seriously, nobody does that except crazy people,” she thinks.

Madison looks around, hoping no one sees her.  At the same time, she hopes someone does, that they come and help her.

Taking off her mitts, she tucks them between her knees, the cold biting immediately at her fingers.  Her hands hurt from the sharp bite of the cold without the protection of her mitts, a mix of burning pain and numbness. Her fingers won’t cooperate.  She fumbles in all her pockets, one after another and digs through her backpack again, breaking down and pulling stuff out and dropping it on the steps.

“My key is gone!”  Tears burn at her eyes, but she is determined she won’t cry.  Someone might see.

“What am I going do?” Madison moans.  “None of the neighbours are home and I have no way to get in.”  She looks at the house hopelessly. “I wish there was a way I can break in.”

“If my parents would let me have a cell phone,” she groans, “I could call them.”  She leans against the locked door, cold and scared and alone.  The urge to cry is growing.

“Today is my first day going to school and coming home on my own and I completely blew it.”

Madison has been looking forward to this day for three years as she watched the older kids come and go with a freedom not granted to mere children.  She is finally a ‘tween’ between being a kid and a teenager, who has to come and go to school on her own, spending hours without adult supervision until her parents come home because both her parents work.  Her twelfth birthday was just last week.

“I was looking forward to today. Finally no more daycare.  No more being treated like a little kid.  And I blew it.”  She was so excited all week, eagerly waiting for this day to come.  She felt so grown up but she was nervous too.

Her mother’s words ring again in her head, the constant reminder replaying over and over in the most annoying way. “Don’t forget to lock the door when you go.  Don’t forget your lunch. And do not lose that key or you will not be able to get back in!”

She had repeated that so many times that it made her crazy.  Madison got mad at her mother, thinking she was treating her like a child.  She is a tween, not a little kid.  Next year she will be a teenager, thirteen.

Now her mother’s words are mocking her.

“My two biggest fears, and I would never tell them to anyone, are missing the bus and losing my key.  And I lost the key on my first day.”  She sags even lower against the door in despair.

“Just great, Mom is going to be so mad and Dad will say I’m too young to be trusted with responsibility.  They’ll probably send me to a babysitter.”

Madison moans. That would be the end of her life. It would be like going back to daycare.

“The worst part is that it’s so cold out and I’m locked out of the house and Mom and Dad won’t be home for a couple of hours.  I’ll freeze to death before they get home.”

Madison thinks hard.  “What can I do? I have to show them I can handle a little emergency like this or I’m sunk.  If I leave they won’t know where to find me and I can’t just wait here and freeze to death.”

She looks up and down the street as if the answer might be there.  It isn’t.

“Maybe I should go back to school.  Maybe someone will be there to let me in to warm up and use the phone.”

Madison’s hands and feet are hurting worse with every minute from the cold.  She shoves her stuff back into her backpack quickly, the touch of the nylon pack and zipper painful on her freezing hands.  She puts her mitts back on, and starts the long walk to school.

“Lucky I know a shortcut.”  She tries blowing on her hands through her mitts, trying to warm them.

“I’m not supposed to go that way and usually I wouldn’t do it because of Old Man Hooper’s mean dog Caesar that chases and tries to bite everyone.  That dog is as mean as Old Man Hooper himself,” she thinks, “but it will make the walk a whole lot shorter.”

“I just hope Caesar is inside,” she mutters as she heads off down the sidewalk, the snow crunching under her boots.

 

DOWNLOAD THE LATCHKEY KIDS FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE OCT 9 & 10 2017

 

Unexpected Mate and Giveaway

Bethany Wicker Wednesdays

Hello Fellow Readers,

I’m so excited to finally announce that the fourth installment of the Aluna Series is set to come out on August 29, 2017. You don’t have to read the other three before this one, but it may make more sense if you do. It will be titled Unexpected Mate and here’s the blurb:

Eden was born a hybrid wolf with both Alpha and Luna powers within her. Now that she’s seventeen, she’s expected to find a mate and prepare to take over her pack when she’s eighteen, as is tradition. But nobody expected it to be Liam.

Liam, the son of Knox and Katie, is the only werewolf born without a wolf. It was an unheard of phenomena until he was born. His twin brother got the wolf gene and Liam is just the leftover. Feeling like an outcast, he never anticipated he’d have a shot at…

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Summer & Books: St. Magnus, The Last Viking

Things Visible & Invisible

Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

finalStMagnusFrontCoverSt. Magnus Erlendson was the Earl of Orkney, and he lived from 1106 to about 1115. He is sometimes known as Magnus the Martyr.

His grandparents were Earl Thorfinn and Ingibiorg Finnsdottir. They had two sons, twins: Erlend and Paul. Erlend was Magnus’s father. Other relatives include the Norwegian Kings Olav II and Harald II. You can do an online search and find plenty of interesting historical facts—which I enjoy doing—but nothing compares to stepping into Susan Peek’s novel: St. Magnus, the Last Viking.

About the Book:

Come back in time 900 years, to the fierce and desolate Northern lands, where Norsemen ruled with ax and…

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Who She Was by Stormy Smith Review

Fey's Bookish World

34515672Rate: 5/5 stars

Title: Who She Was           

Author: Stormy Smith

Song Choices:

Ride by Twenty One Pilots

Mess Is MIne by Vance Joy

*I’d like to Thank Stormy me Smith for contacting me and sending me a copy of ‘Who She Was’ in exchange for a review.*

Synopsis

Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.

Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.

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Book Review of “Dragon’s Keep” by Janet Lee Carey

The Book and Beauty Blog

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A few months ago I reviewed the second book, Dragonswood, in a series by Janet Lee Carey. I wanted to backtrack and read the first one, Dragon’s Keep, because I don’t like to read books out of order. Dragonswood read like a stand alone but I thought that Dragon’s Keep may add something to the story, however, I was disappointed.

*No Spoilers*

The Plot

The story begins with the royal family of Wilde Island, more specifically the princess, Rosalind. Rosalind is special for a couple of reasons. One, she was born with a dragon’s claw instead of a finger on one hand and two, she is destined to fulfill a 600 year old prophecy that claims her family will be restored to their rightful throne and there will be peace with the dragons. However, everything is thrown into chaos when Rosalind is kidnapped by a dragon, taken to…

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This Chick Read: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

The Reading Chick

Veronica Roth has taken a creative  left turn out of a dystopian society like Tris and Four inhabited in the Divergent series to a world where your place in society was determined by your currentgift. At least Tris and Four got to choose the world they’d live in, Cyra and Akos’ fate was out of their own control. I am not a woman who likes their path chosen for them so the beginning of this book was a little frustrating for me. Never fear, our hero and heroine soon chose their own paths, and once they did the speed of the story picked up and the reading of it became more enjoyable.

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“The Monster Upstairs” –Another YA Paranormal Hit from Elle Klass

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

themonsterupstairs

Elle Klass fans will undoubtedly love “The Monster Upstairs”,  latest in her “Bloodseeker” series set in historic St. Augustine, Florida.

This heart-stopping sequel to the first book in this series, “The Vampires Next Door”, provides a wild ride (some onboard a rather hot werewolf) as the lethal conflict between Bloodseekers and Slayers intensifies. Slayers aren’t alone in their quest; in case you haven’t already guessed, werewolves are likewise engaged in this timeless battle, as well as Light witches and Dark witches, their mysterious ties revealed in this suspenseful Young Adult thriller.  I’m not normally a vampire fan, but Elle’s have a slightly different twist and culture, that makes them more interesting. Especially the Slayers, tasked with keeping them under control or, better yet, eliminated, through individual powers endowed through their amulets.

The author continues her enviable ability to bring vivid and memorable characters to life, as she has…

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Review: The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

paisleypiranha

piranha stars turquoise 5“Gorgeous and heartbreaking”

About the Book:

Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

Cover of Lisa Thompson's The Goldfish Boy

Review by Katy Haye:

This was a lovely, quietly powerful read. Matty was…

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The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe

Library of Cats

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The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe

Brandon Mull
Shadow Mountain, 2012

From the dust jacket: “Something fishy is going on at the new amusement center in Walnut Hills. The trouble seems linked to the mysterious disappearance of Mozag and John Dart, who have spent their lives policing the magical community. When Nate and his friends are asked to help investigate, they discover kids feverishly playing arcade games in an effort to win enough tickets to redeem one of four stamps: jet, tanks, submarines and racecars.
“Rumor has it that the stamps are definitely worth it. But what do they do?
“The kids soon discover that the owner of Arcadeland is recruiting members for four different clubs. When each club is filled, he will begin his quest to retrieve a magical talisman of almost unimaginable power. With John Dart and Mozag sidelined, will Nate, Summer, Trevor, Pigeon and their new friend…

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