I’m part of a special event for the next two days to share an excerpt of my YA novel, Half Moon Bay Resort. (Check out the details here.) The idea is to share a 500-word excerpt of our novel or other writing project with the “cliffhanger” theme in mind. Meaning, you can enjoy this little snippet, and be left craving more!
Tell me what you think – I’d love to know! And be sure to read the other participating bloggers’ cliffhangers.
An excerpt from Half Moon Bay Resort, by Mary Jo Campbell
I remember the hush hush feeling, the whispering, and the shed.
“My aunt snuck me out here a lot,” I say over my shoulder to Frank. “To hide and to tell secrets. We’d come home with dirt under our nails, my Nonna scolding us both.”
I didn’t tell Frank that Aunt Julia’s words still rattled in my head. The image of her thin pale lips that turned up when our eyes met. “She’ll never tell you, Liliana. She’ll die and be buried with it.”
Dead end. Frank and I are at the other side of the island, back at the shore. I turn around, pushing past him. I’m sprinting now, over rocks and dead patches of grass. That shed had to be here. I look up for a break in the trees, an opening big enough for a shed to be. My toe slams hard into something and a shock of pain splits through my shin. I tumble over a large boulder breaking the fall with my hands.
“Holy crap, Lily, you OK?” Frank skids to his knees beside me. “That flip was sick!”
I sit up, rubbing my raw hands on my legs and survey the blood dripping down my right shin. I fake a cough, pressing the heels of my hands into my eye sockets, defeated.
“Hey, is that it?” Frank asks.
We’re sitting on the patch of dirt that opens to a small clearing. I can make out the wooden slats of a wall. I get up, pulling Frank with me.
The shack is a dilapidated wooden structure with a door and one broken window. I step inside, overwhelmed by the musky odor. I close my eyes and can feel Auntie Julia’s soft cheek against mine as we dance there in the slant of sunlight.
“She used to sing to me,” I say, walking along the walls of the shack. The floorboards groan like an old sleeping man. Sounds of wind, waves and boats fade away outside. Everything is muffled.
A knocking in my chest begins and an urge to dig tingles in my hands. Across from the only door is a broken floorboard, like a creature had taken a huge bite. I look at Frank. He pats the gun at his belt and I roll my eyes at him again.
On my knees, I run my hand down the broken board, wiggling it free. I lift the dry-rotted wood with my fingers; it crumbles apart. A strong scent of earth emerges. I lift the next board; it bends and then crumbles, too. Something is under there. A glint of gold. My eyes meet Frank’s and he smirks.
I reach in, feeling something cool, smooth and square. It isn’t heavy, but has some weight as I lift it and hold it in both hands. It’s the shape and size of a cigar box covered in a golden leaf foil. I flick a baby spider from the lid and slowly open it.
Copyright Mary Jo Campbell, 2010
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