Synopsis:

 

When thirteen year old Austin Kelley is  forced  to spend his summer at his annoying cousins lodge at the edge of a canyon, he knows right away that it will be the worst summer of his entire life, but when he receives a mysterious threat, he wonders if he was wrong…

 

Excerpt:

Chapter One

 

The thing I hate about the summer holidays is that my family never has any plans. Not that I’d rather go to school, I also don’t like that either. For me, school’s kind of boring, so that’s why I always sketch peoples faces and stuff like that. The worst teacher I have is Ms. Conway, my Math teacher (Math is my least favorite subject), and I for some reason always get detention when I sketch hash tags, but can she blame me? Her lessons are so tiring that I could almost fall asleep.

My name is Austin Kelley and I’m thirteen years old. And, as you’ve probably realized, I’m a bit of a troubled kid, but my parents don’t want me to go to one of those troubled kids school. But Ms. Conway certainly does.

 

***

 

My best friend Nathan and I are walking home from school. It’s Friday afternoon and the sun is shining very hot today, but I’m used to it by now; Florida is always hot no matter what month or season we’re in.

“What grade did you get on your Math test?” Nathan asks.

“D,” I say. At the same time Nathan says, “F!”

Nathan glances surprised at me. I’ve actually never gotten a better grade than an F this year. That’s how Ms. Conway is. I can only roll my eyes.

“Yeah, don’t be surprised! I actually studied five whole minutes for math! Can you believe it?” I tell him enthusiastically. I’ve never studied math before. Because I hate math. And when you hate math, you don’t…well, you get the point. (Hopefully, and if not, then that’s what I call tough luck! I’m a teenager so you can expect me to get rude; I can’t do anything about it; it’s the puberty’s fault.)

“No!” Nathan shares my enthusiasm, and right now it’s hard to tell if he’s making it up or not, but by the expression on his face, it seems like he means it. “And you really studied five minutes long?” Okay, this conversation might be boring, but it isn’t. Trust me.

The rest of the way home, I’m chatting with Nathan about school. Surprise! Shocker! (No, really, it is a shocker!)

 

***

 

When I arrive at home, my mom, Audrey, is waiting for me. As usual. She’s always hoping for an A, but has she ever seen me study before? She really shouldn’t get her hopes up every day for me to get a good grade.

“Bye Nathan, I’ll come over later today to play some basketball, okay?” I ask him.

“Sure. See you later! Bye.” He takes off. His home is only a block further away. Poor guy. He has to walk more than I do.

“And,” my mom says, “did you get any tests back?”

“Yeah,” I say simply, trying to push myself through the doorway, but my mom blocks me.

I sigh. She wants to know the subject and grade.

“Math,” I say.

My mom’s face falls.

“But on the bright side I got a D.” I prepare myself for her reaction. I do think that my mom is a bit…how do you say it…crazy when it comes to stuff like this.

I push myself through the doorway because my mom isn’t blocking me anymore; her mouth has dropped open and is standing there stiff. Then she starts screaming with joy. Yikes.

 

***

 

“Austin!” my mom calls up the staircase and I crank the stereo louder. Her yelling for me every two minutes is getting on my nerves. Every time she calls my name it has to do something with the math test that I got back from Ms. Conway today.

“Austin!” my mom calls again.

“What,” I ask loudly, rolling my eyes.

“You got a letter from…” The last words are muffled because of the loud stereo. I turn the volume down.

“A letter from who?” I want to know, scooping myself up from my wooden, bedroom floor. I had been bouncing my favorite basketball up and down, while sitting. I shuffle out of my room and into the hall.

“From your uncle!” my mom says as I descend the stairs. She is holding a bright yellow letter in her hand.

I only have one uncle, and that’s my dad’s older brother, Brian.

I reach the last step and snag the letter out of my mom’s hand and rip it open. I begin to read before my mom can protest anything like: “Wait, first I need to read it!” or “It may be for me!” Yup, that’s what she does, as you might now. She is crazy! (I’ll have to stop telling you guys how crazy she is! So, I hope that you’ve gotten the idea by now. My dad’s better than my mom; he’s more…chilled if that’s the way you say it.)

 

Dear Austin,

 

Since summer vacation is approaching, I was wondering if you would like to spend a few weeks at my lodge with your cousin Taylor and me. She had begged me for a while to ask you if you could spend some weeks at the lodge and finally I had said yes and she did a happy dance. And since you’re maybe going to come (if you want), your parents could go on a holiday together…maybe in Hawaii… Please let me know what you think!

 

Sincerely,

Your Uncle Brian

 

I catch my breath at first. My cousin, Taylor, is the worst kind of a cousin you could wish for. She’s older; she loves teasing and annoying you; and she thinks she knows everything better and is cooler than anything else in the world.

“And?” I hear my mom’s excited voice shrill, and I want to turn around to throw the letter away, but she stops me and snatches the letter out of my hand. I fear the worst as her eyes grow bigger by the second because of excitement.

“OMG!” she cries. “This is the best idea your uncle and Taylor have ever had! I’m going to call him right now!” She strolls quickly toward the living room, leaving me behind. I just can’t believe she is calling Brian now and telling him I’d love to come without my opinion. Brian has asked me and not my mom.

“I’m going to book flights right now!” My mom begins dialing my uncle’s number. I want to sprint over there and rescue myself, but my legs won’t move. I’m possessed by the evil Ying Yang! Or, is it just me who doesn’t want to rescue myself?

“Hi Brian…”

Oh no, she’s actually doing it… She’s calling my uncle! This is going to be a great–a just great–summer.