This is the first in our Line by Line Top 4 reveals. I’ve asked all four ladies if they would like to share anywhere from the rest of the first page to the rest of the first chapter.
A HUGE shout out to Diana because she was our only as of yet published author to cut to the top. BUT, I want to give special love to all the unpublished writers who jumped in. I did this the first time as a contestant when I was unpublished and it made a big difference in how I open a book…so ONWARD!
By Diana Beebe
I opened the pantry to get a box of cereal, and my brother’s AK-47 fell over with a clang at my feet. I jerked out the magazine, pulled the bolt to check the chamber and popped out the round.
“Mom, Nicholas left his AK loaded again,” I said and set the weapon on the stainless steel counter.
Nicholas skidded into the kitchen, sliding on his socked feet. “Why’d you have to tell, Chime? You leave your throwing stars in that drawer.”
I poured a bowl of cereal and said, “Because Mom won’t let me keep them in my room anymore.” I was pretty sure the holes in the wall had something to do with that.
Mom walked in and smacked Nicholas on the back of the head. “You know better, son. Take that to the armory.”
He lowered his head, as if ashamed. He was good. “Sorry, Momma.” He picked up his favorite weapon. “Hey, Chime, will you drive me to school today?”
I tossed the round at him and then poured milk in my bowl. “Sure.”
He caught the bullet in his left hand. I’d been working on his ambidexterity with him. He was improving.
Mom frowned. “No, Eudoxia can’t. She’s got another school to recon.”
Milk and cereal dripped from my spoon halfway to my mouth. It splashed on the counter. “Another one? I just got back from that tiny school in Nowheresville. And don’t call me that.” I hated my name more than the recon missions. Of all the old Russian Rurik names, my parents had to call me Eudoxia—Eudoxia Vasilia Swanson, as if the random American last name they’d picked out of a hat would make it better—I looked forward to changing it after my eighteenth birthday… two more years.
I put my spoon down, cleaned up the mess and scowled at her.
“Don’t give me that look,” Mom said. “Show some respect. And don’t forget to wear your contacts today.”
I hated the brown contact lenses. Because I had multicolored eyes, the contacts made me look like a boring, ordinary girl with brown hair. I didn’t need to stand out with my unusual case of heterochromia. One eye was splotched blue and brown with an irregular gold center. The other was green, brown and gold.
“Where do I have to go this time?” I said through a mouthful of cereal. These jobs wore me out.
I’d rather break into the Smithsonian after hours and rearrange dinosaur bones than pretend to be the new girl again at any of the schools Mom and Dad had chosen for whatever criteria. I’d befriended several pairs of sixteen-year-old twins and then assessed the likelihood they were the girls on my family’s watchlist. I’d find the guilty sisters eventually.
Diana Beebe has been reading and writing science fiction and fantasy since she was a kid. She even found ways to get course credit for doing those things in college and graduate school. After a decade of writing only technical documentation, she realized that the stories wouldn’t stop until she wrote them and is working on her publishing goals. She’s a widowed mom, dog owner, organic gardener, retired-early technical writer, RWA member, dishwasher killer, and probably not a mermaid.