Michelle Archer @mflatdog
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Upper MG
35 word pitch: Payton hopes to get the lead in the play, get the boy, and get out of
her best friend’s shadow. She doesn’t plan on being the one who can
save humanity from losing its imagination.
"Be careful! The time is near!”
I rip my eyes away from the ad.
The voice belongs to a tall man with short dark hair; he sports a dark
blue cashmere blazer and designer jeans. A plaid scarf is wrapped around
A well-dressed man, my mother would say.
It’s New York; crazies on the train are normal. Even on the three train.
Most of the people don’t even look up from their books or newspapers. I
continue to look around, ignoring the man, who’s still yelling. Here’s
another. Book Guy. He reads—or I should say, he holds—the same book
every day. To his left, a young mother sits with her two toddlers. She
tries to keep them calm, but they will have none of it.
The train jolts to a stop. I grab onto my bag as I slide into the man
next to me. The people push their way through the door. Everyone always
has somewhere to be and seems to be running 10 minutes behind.
“What are you reading?” asks the woman beside me.
I show her the cover of my book.
“Great book,” she says. “I remember when I had to read it. You must be in Grade 7 or 8,” she says.
“Yes, that’s right,” I reply.
“How are you?” she asks. “You look my granddaughter’s age . . . 12?”
“I just turned 13 today,” I reply.
“Happy Birthday,” says the woman.
I start to say thank you, just as the well-dressed Crazy Guy begins to
yell louder. He starts grabbing people, looking them straight in the eye
to intimately share his message.
The crowd takes notice. Their bodies stiffen. They look around to see if someone is going to remove him from the train.
“You will all start to forget things!” he yells. “It’s coming!” he
hollers, as he makes his way through the crowd of people. “Just wait!”
he screams. “You will be helpless!”
The mother holds tightly to her toddlers; other people back away as he passes by them.
The woman beside me grabs my arm. “It’ll be okay,” she says.
It’s my stop. The Crazy Guy stands between the door and me. He’s still
yelling. Is he drunk? How will I get by him? My legs are trembling. My
stop is next.
I stand up, legs shaking, head down. I tighten my grip on my bag and make a run for it.
He grabs my arm as I try to get by. “You can do something about it,” he says.
A chill shivers down my spine. I free my arm from his grip. I run out of the train and up the steps, until I am above ground.
His breath reeks so much I can taste what he’d been drinking. My heart
is pounding. I take a deep breath and tell myself he was just some crazy
drunk. It’s nothing. I straighten my skirt, smooth out my coat sleeves,
and walk to school.