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Fiction Friday – Escape To Vindor By Emily Golus

For as long as she can remember, Megan Bradshaw has imagined herself as the heroine of Vindor, her own secret world populated with mermaids, centaurs, samurai and more. When school pressures and an upcoming move make life unbearable, Megan wishes she could escape to Vindor for real. And then she does.

Escape To Vindor

by Emily Golus

INTRODUCTION—ESCAPE TO VINDOR

Young Adult fantasy.

For as long as she can remember, Megan Bradshaw has imagined herself as the heroine of Vindor, her own secret world populated with mermaids, centaurs, samurai and more. When school pressures and an upcoming move make life unbearable, Megan wishes she could escape to Vindor for real.

And then she does. Megan finds herself trapped in a real-life Vindor, containing flesh-and-blood versions of her imaginary characters. But dreaming about being a hero and actually fighting monsters are two very different things—especially when the Shadow, the frightening creature now tearing Vindor apart, is one Megan doesn’t remember putting there.

Playing the role of her alter-ego Selena, Megan embarks on a dangerous journey, accompanied by a know-it-all centaur and a goblin she’s not sure she can trust. Will the Shadow destroy her before she can find a way to save her world?

ESCAPE TO VINDOR — EXCERPT

From Chapter 1
The Riddle

“Who’s there?”

The gray fog swallowed the words. Wispy tendrils of mist swirled around the horses and riders, muffling the clink of chain mail and the thud of hooves against soft soil. The fog pressed up against faces and necks, cold and clammy, like fingers ready to strangle.

The broad-shouldered officer at the front of the group removed his helmet. His ebony brow wrinkled as he surveyed the misty shadows. “Is anyone here?” he asked again.

No sound.

“It’s just buildings.” He turned his nickering horse to face the small group of mounted soldiers. “No sign of life—the village is abandoned.”

“No, Captain Okoro,” came a girl’s voice behind them. She stepped out in front of the party, the mist curling around her long white gown and straight red-brown hair. A pendant with an enormous purple jewel hung from her neck, and a silver circlet rested on her forehead. The girl closed her eyes for a moment, listening. She turned to the men on the war horses. “She’s out there.”

“Are you sure, Guardian Selena?” asked the broad-shouldered Captain Okoro. “The report wasn’t clear if—”

“Did that building just move?” a soldier interrupted.

The party turned toward a great shadowy structure. Something wasn’t quite right about its shape.

“I think it’s just—” Okoro began.

At once the structure sprouted wings. With a shriek, it leapt into the air.

–X X X–

from Chapter 2
Crossing Worlds

Around eleven o’clock Megan navigated through the crowded lunchroom to the table in the far corner as she always did. But as she passed the drinking fountain, her skin prickled as though she were being watched. Not just watched, but seriously stared at.

Sh turned around and found herself looking right at the table where Shari Wilson and most of the other girls from her homeroom sat. Shari stopped mid-whisper to Christy and glared at Megan.

You have a problem, Bradshaw?”

Megan felt herself turning red. “N-no.” She made a swift about-face and hurried toward her table.

Shari and the rest of the popular girls had let Megan hang out with them at the beginning of the school year. But once they got to know her, it became clear she was no longer welcome at their lunch table.

Megan couldn’t blame them. Why would they want to hang out with mousy, quiet Megan? Shari was thin and gorgeous, while Megan wore loose shirts to hide her flat chest and chubby middle. Shari’s posse flounced into school each morning like they’d stepped out of an issue of Seventeen, while Megan still couldn’t manage her impossibly thick red-brown hair, which usually hung loose with little bits flipping out in random directions.

And even if she did get her act together, Megan would alwqays look so different, thanks to her Scottish mother’s reddish hair and freckles combined with her Japanese father’s tan skin and dark eyes—the only lasting traces he’d left in her life.

Megan set down her tray at her usual table and sat quietly, resigning herself to a rectangular slice of sausage pizza.

The prickling feeling returned. The skin on the back of her neck almost stung now, but this time Megan resisted the urge to turn around.

“Ice,” said a voice behind her.

Megan nearly jumped out of the plastic seat.

Her friend Audrey Lloyd clunked down her Return of the Jedi lunch box with a triumphant flourish. “The answer to your riddle. It’s ice.”

“Oh, yeah.” Megan tried to sound calm and normal, put the prickling feeling remaind. “You guessed it.”

“Are you two still going on with that riddle contest?” Megan’s next-door neighbor Kiara sat across the table as usual.

“Yep, and I’m on a roll.” Audrey grinned as she unwrapped her bologna sandwich. “How about the one I gave you?”

Megan reached into her pocket and pulled out the folded piece of paper. She opened it and glanced at the first two lines written in Audrey’s favorite sparkly blue ink:

It moves the stars and worlds unknown,
Soft as rain and firm as stone
. . .

“I have no idea what this means,” Megan said. “And I’ve thought about it a lot—I’m pretty sure I’ve memorized it.”

She didn’t mention the fact that it had inspired that morning’s adventure in Vindor—the world which, of course, Megan’s friends knew nothing about. Megan was pretty sure even Audrey would find the fact that Megan had invented her own fantasy world complete with geography, cultures, and politics to be a bit too weird. She didn’t want to scare away the few friends she had.

–X X X–

AUTHOR BIO—EMILY GOLUS

Emily Golus has been dreaming up worlds since before she could write her name. Her childhood drawings featured mysterious mermaids and well-dressed mice on grand adventures.

A New England transplant now living in the Deep South, Golus is fascinated by culture and the way it shapes how individuals see the world around them. She is passionate about helping teens better understand their value in this great big world, and helping young storytellers find their voice.

Golus has worked as a professional web writer and marketer for more than a decade and enjoys helping adult writers leverage the power of the Internet to spread their ideas.

She lives in Taylors, South Carolina, with her rock-climbing husband and a cat named T.S. Eliot, who walks over her keyboard at the worst possible moments. When she isn’t writing, you can find her cooking up soup, tending her blueberry garden, or exploring the forests of the Carolinas.

Learn more about her writing and speaking at her website.

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