Excitement at Enchanted Rock (Chapter One)

Karen L. Horak By Karen L. Horak, 4th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fictional Narrative

This is the beginning chapter of a book I've written that deals with two teen-age boys overcoming obstacles in their lives to become friends and defeat a bully.

Excitement at Enchanted Rock (chapter one)

The two days of the school year that Thomas dreaded the most were the first day after
summer vacation and the first day back after Christmas break. He hated not knowing what his classes were going to be, who his teachers were going to be, and most importantly of all whether or not Jacob would be in any of his classes. Of these two days, the day after Christmas was better, because at least some of these things didn't change from the first semester.

Like today, Thomas knew that his first class was science with Coach Williams, and he
knew that Jacob wasn't in it. Because he would be safe from Jacob's teasing in the
classroom, Thomas got permission to go in early and work on organizing his materials for researching his science fair project. Thomas had just taken his seat when he heard Ms. James calling Coach Williams. When he looked up again, Ms. James, Coach Williams and some new kid were outside the classroom.

Thomas couldn't help but stare at the boy in the hall with the counselor and Coach
Williams. He looked so different from everyone else at Jefferson Junior High. His skin was a deep tan and his long dark brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail that most of the girls Thomas knew would die for. Thomas remembered that it had been mentioned that a new student might start school today. As he thought back on it, he recalled that new student was a Native American, but Thomas hadn't thought being an Indian would make that much difference in the way a person looked. When the new boy and Coach Williams entered the room, Thomas quickly turned his attention to his book in an attempt to look as if he had been busy studying the whole time.

They walked over to Thomas. Coach said to the new kid, "Sean, I think it would be a
good idea for you to sit next to Thomas."

The boy shrugged and plopped himself onto the stool at the opposite corner of the lab
table. He leaned back against the table, stretched his legs out into the aisle, crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the ceiling.

"Thomas, this is Sean Peterson. This is his first time in a non-reservation school. Ms.
James and Principal Jackson discussed it, and they decided that you would be a good
person to help him get adjusted. Would you mind helping out?"

"If that's what they think is best. Are they sure I'm the one they want to show him
around?" Thomas replied.

"Yes, they are. Also I'm going to need you to share your book with him for a while. We
don't have any more copies at the present time; I'll have to order one. Okay?" said the

"Sure," answered Thomas.

"Oh yeah," said the coach as he headed towards the door, "could you please bring him
up to speed on what we're doing in class?"

"Okay," responded Thomas. He faced Sean. "Hi, I'm Thomas Johnson. Welcome to
Jefferson." Sean simply continued to stare at the ceiling, his ice-tea colored eyes taking in every detail.

Thomas took a deep breath and continued, "We're getting ready for a science fair.
Today we are going to start the background research for our projects. We're allowed to have partners. If you want, you can work with me. I don't have a partner, and that will be a whole lot easier than trying to come up with a topic of study in the next five minutes."

"Whatever," came the cool response.

"Okay, great! I can really use the help. I . . .”

"Look, I think you should know up front that I'm not much into books and stuff. In fact,
I'm not much into school. If my uncle didn't work at the high school, I most likely wouldn't be here. Also, I'm not as helpless and stupid as everybody here seems to think I am."

"Hey, no problem. I didn't mean to imply that you weren't able to handle a project on
your own. I was just hoping that you were good with hand tools."

"What?" asked Sean.

"Like I was saying," answered Thomas, “I could use some help on my project. Not
with the researching part, but with the building part. I can handle the books. In fact, I really enjoy doing research and stuff, but I can't hammer or saw to save my life. My mom tries, but she’s worse at it than I am."

"What do you need to build?" Sean asked, showing a mild interest.

"Well, I want to show how various landscaping techniques help prevent erosion. I'm
going to need someone to help build the display station and any models needed to show what I find."

"I can probably handle that. Do you have the tools? I don't think my uncle will be real
eager to let me use his. I'm still surprised that he's letting me live in the house with his wife and kid. I think that social worker must have threatened him or something. Anyway, if you can describe what you want and get hold of the tools, I'll bet you I can build it for you," said Sean.

"Yeah? Well, we don't have many tools, but I think my mom can probably borrow them
from the school. She teaches freshman lit at our high school. I'm sure the shop teacher will let her use whatever we need."

"Don't be too sure. The shop teacher is my uncle, and he really hates me. My dad and
I ruined his baby sister's life as far as he's concerned. Maybe if she doesn’t mention that I'm your partner he'll let her use them." Sean said.

Thomas shrugged. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. First we need to figure
out what we need to build. That's why we need to do the research."

"Yeah, whatever," Sean mumbled.

The bell rang and the other students filed into class. Sean pulled his feet in under the
table and sat up straight and tall. He faced the front of the room and stared at the board with no emotion whatsoever on his face. He showed no sign of noticing as the other students walked past him and checked him out.

Thomas leaned back on his stool and waited for class to begin. He felt sure that this
was going to prove to be a very interesting day, to say the least. As other students entered the classroom, Thomas watched them. There was a little more visiting than was normal. The tardy bell rang, and the students settled down for class.

Coach Williams closed the door, faced his students and said, "Welcome back. I hope
everyone had a pleasant holiday. I'm sure all of you started to work on your science
projects, and that today's trip to the research lab is really not needed."

The class groaned.

"Oh, I see I was mistaken. In that case let's get the formalities out of the way so we
can get going. How many people are going to buy lunch in the cafeteria?"

The students waited patiently as the coach finished with the administrative portion of
the day. Then he said, "Okay, today you will start on the research phase of your projects. I still need topics of study from three of you guys; you three know who you are. The rest of you can go to the research lab and get started. Take your junk with you because we will be there the whole period. Any questions?"

"Aren't you going to introduce the new kid?" someone in the back of the room called

"Oh, right. This is Sean Peterson. Oh yeah, Sean, you'll need to stay so we can
discuss your project."

"Coach,” broke in Thomas.

"Yes, Thomas?" said Coach Williams.

"If it's all right with you, I'd like Sean to be my partner."

"That's fine with me. How about you, Sean?"

"That would be fine with me, sir," replied Sean.

"Great! Then get out of here."

The students made their way to the research lab. The room had shelves with every
kind of reference material available, three microfilm readers, a dozen computers with
Internet access, three printers, two copy machines and several tables.

"Sheesh, this room is bigger than my whole school back home," Sean said.

"Really?" asked Thomas.

"Really." said Sean.

"Man, this is going to be some change for you, isn't it?"

Sean merely nodded.

"Okay, if everything is new, let's go for the best first."

Thomas steered Sean to the nearest computer. He sat Sean down in front of the
machine and pulled up an extra chair beside him. "Ever use one before?"

"Nope," Sean answered.

"No problem; we'll just start at the beginning. The main thing is to not let the machine
scare you."

"I'll do my best," said Sean with a slight grin.

"That's all anybody can do," replied Thomas. "Okay, this TV like thing is called the
monitor. This other part is called the CPU. The little item to the side of the CPU is called the mouse. To turn it all on push the power button on the CPU . . ."
Thomas spent the rest of the period explaining how the computer worked and letting Sean get used to using the mouse and locating items in the card catalog, periodical file and encyclopedias. When the bell rang for the class to end, Thomas said, "So, tomorrow we can work on actually doing some research for our project. If you get a chance today to come back, go ahead and print out anything that might be helpful. I'll do the same thing.

“Okay, where do you go next?"

"I haven't a clue," stated Sean.

"Didn't Ms. James give you a copy of your schedule?"

"She was going to, but decided that since I would most likely get lost anyway she
would just pair me up with someone who had the same classes I have. She chose you,
except for language class. We have it at the same time, but I'm supposed to go to her office so she can show me to my room. Like I said earlier, they think I’m helpless and stupid."

"Sorry,” said Thomas. "Well, if you are to go to the same classes as me we have phys
ed next."

"What are we doing there?"

"Today we are starting the fitness unit. The idea is to teach us about exercise and
staying healthy."

"And that means. . ."

"Oh, that means that we are going to run today so Coach can determine our fitness
level and plan an appropriate program for each of us for the next six weeks. Let's get to the locker room and change our clothes. It will make a lot more sense once you see what we're doing. Besides, I'm not really sure myself. This is my first time to participate in this particular unit. I've always sat it out before because of my asthma. Oh, you do have something to change into, don't you?"

Sean nodded and tapped the pack slung over his shoulder.They headed towards the locker room. Thomas was so excited about his new partner
and how things were working out for his science project that he forgot all about Jacob who was probably waiting for him in the gym.


Bullying, Coming Of Age, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Tweens

Meet the author

author avatar Karen L. Horak
I am an educator in central Texas. I enjoy writing fan fiction based on the show "The Young Riders". I also have written three novels for young adults.

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