Thursday, October 17, 2013


Name: Karen lee hallam
Title: Brothers on the Rim 
Genre: YA suspense. 

While visiting the family’s hunting lodge, brothers, Jackson 15 and Arthur Bower 13  go for a walk. Their father’s drinking again and he’s started in with Artie. Darkness falls and they’re lost. A cave dwelling recluse finds them, and takes them back to his cave, where they discover he’s planning a major bombing. Jackson must drag his wounded brother through the mountain, and the rains, in order to stop the bombing before it’s too late.

First 500:

Artie sure was fast on his feet. You’d think the wet grass would slow him down. Not Art. What he lacked in strength he made up for in agility. I'm the one that tends to slip, but this time, caught myself before I was flat in the mud.

“Artie, where you going?”

“Remember the short cut? Mom used to tell us to follow the trillium flowers if we ever got lost. They wind along the creek through to Mr. Potters.”

“Wait—hold up.”

I caught up with Artie at the edge of the ravine. The white trillium flowers lined the creek, and wound their way upstream. Art stood, staring out over the drop, the cold wind wearing on his face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

It takes a minute for Art to figure out what to say. I know he’s thinking about Mom. “Ah--nothing.”

He knows I know.

And like that, I let it be. There’s an understanding between us, like a secret language we’ve had to use to conceal our communication when our father’s around. Rick has very little time for our “flights of fancy” –his words, but originally, Mom’s words.

We rambled back through the thicket of bare branches, through the buds on the verge of bursting open for the new spring. My breath floated in waves and surrounded me. Somehow I’ve gotten ahead of Artie. I turned to see if he was listening, since I’d been talking on and on. If Artie’s the quiet one, I’m the rambler. Mostly I noted the species of plants we came across. It keeps my head occupied. Keeps me from the negative thoughts and feelings that are about to hit me across the face when we get back.

I’m supposed to keep an eye on Artie. I’m the older brother. Mom told me to watch over him, knowing our father, Rick, would have other things on his mind. Or be completely unavailable. It’s my responsibility. Artie’s only two years younger, but some days I feel years older, like an old man, really, and I’m only fifteen.

It’s been raining for weeks. The rainy season, and should just be called the mud season. A haze of grey covered everything. The brown flowed where the water flowed. We met again with the creek, now a small brook lined with bluebell flowers and walked north, headed upstream, until we spot the Hunting Lodge. With the chimney pumping out puffs of warm smoke, the lodge looked inviting.

But it’s not.

Rick, most likely, barely noticed we were gone. It was half past a six-pack time by now, and maybe 3:00 in the afternoon. I know his drinking schedule pretty well. If Rick didn’t shoot anything today, he’s drink his weight in beer, and most likely, take it out on me, and Artie.

Rick doesn’t “get” Artie. He just doesn’t. I play along sometimes, with all the dude stuff. But Artie doesn’t care. He does what he feels. And he’s got big ideas. Mom used to say Artie was a dreamer. 


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