UPDATE: This project has become much bigger than I’d originally envisioned, and since it’s a Young Adult story, I thought it would fit better in its own space, rather that wedged in here at Coquetting Tarradiddles with all the other posts I have here that aren’t very kid-friendly.

I’ll leave the Prologue and Chapter One up here for now, but the rest of the story will now be published on its own website: shadowsandcode.com. There’s also a Facebook page for it here, and a Twitter account here. See? Fancy!

Oh, and Trey is doing the illustrations. See? EXTRA FANCY!

This is an adventure story about two boys separated by time and space, and the mysterious portal that connects them. It’s entirely kid-friendly, and new chapters will go online once a week, every Friday at midnight. (I’m a fan of serials. If you haven’t read my horror serial, the complete story is available to read completely free or as a pay-what-you-want eBook. It is decidedly NOT kid-friendly.)

As with the horror serial, I’ll also be making this one available as a pay-what-you-want eBook after the complete story has been posted. (Just in time for Christmas! How exciting for us all.)

Hope you like it! If your kids read it, I’m eager to hear their feedback. Drop me a line either through the Coquetting Tarradiddles Facebook page, (which you should totally go Like, by the way) or shoot an email to kbland@coqdiddles.com.

Prologue

Torchlight flickered against jagged rock as the warm, green glow of the monitor spilled over the keyboard. The boy’s fingers blurred across the keys. Something in the darkness began to glow and then to hum. He smiled and pressed the spacebar.

The hum grew louder as orange light began seeping from the base of a machine to his right. The cool, damp air started to warm. Hairs on his arms and the back of his neck stood up. Something crackled. A spark. And then, blue.

Dim at first, dark blue light began pouring from the machine as the hum became a squeal, and then a scream. As the machine’s shriek grew louder, so did the brilliance of the light, transforming from a deep, royal tint into a dazzling, pale blue shimmer until everything was bathed in it. The red goo burbling inside a lava lamp next to the computer turned purple as blue flooded the cave. The yellow squares of a Rubik’s Cube resting on top of the monitor turned green. Everything began to vibrate.

Then, a pop. Loud and sharp, it cut through the air and punched him in the gut. The hum faded. The blinding light dimmed, and in its place, hovering just above the ground inside the circle of orange glowing tubes at the base of the machine, stood a shimmering blue rectangle. The edges of it crackled against the air and faded into the darkness beyond, but the middle of the thing looked just like a doorway. A very narrow, very bright doorway made of blue light.

He studied it for a minute, then checked different parts of the machine, twisting knobs and fiddling with different glowing bits, before returning to his computer. Glancing back to his right, he smiled again, then returned to the keyboard.

>RUN MOONGATE

The disk drive on the computer whirred to life, clunking and chunking to attention. The monitor flashed solid green, then went blank. A moment later, a tiny green dot appeared in the upper right corner of the screen. At the bottom, a readout displayed:

Processing…
Est. Time Remaining: 1,042,848,157 seconds

He nodded at the monitor, then picked up a large backpack, slung it over his shoulders, and walked to the machine. The blue doorway flickered.

Processing…
Est. Time Remaining: 1,042,848,123 seconds

He stepped through.

The doorway flashed behind him. The disk drive on the computer continued to clunk away, but eventually fell silent after the last of its data had been loaded into the computer. The program was running.

Processing…
Est. Time Remaining: 1,042,848,092 seconds

And in the shadows, another figure loomed, watching everything. It went over to the machine and looked at the bright rectangle of blue light. The figure checked behind it and looked on both sides. It looked back at the front. The boy that went through had disappeared.

The shadowy shape reached out toward the light, inching itself closer to it a bit at a time until, finally, the two shapes touched: the shadow and the light. The doorway pulled the shadow in. It screamed.

There was another loud pop, followed by a huge gust of wind that through the caves, blowing out every torch as the doorway closed in on itself. The blue light faded. The whine and hum died down. The orange glow left the tubes. The air turned cool again. The cave went dark, except for a warm, green glow coming from the monitor.

The program was still running.

Processing…
Est. Time Remaining: 1,042,847,857 seconds

© 2017, Kristian Bland. All rights reserved.