Fate's Child

Fate's Child

by Joseph Stallings


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449065867
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 01/25/2011
Pages: 444
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.99(d)

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By Joseph Stallings


Copyright © 2011 Joseph Stallings
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4490-6586-7

Chapter One


It was springtime and the day was warm. A cool breeze made the tall green grass roll across the meadow like waves across the ocean. The meadow was almost a complete circle surrounded by trees, except where the cliff dropped off. Directly south of the meadow, birds could be heard in the forest area that led to the small town of Haven. Over on the northeast side, there is a precipice that stretched for miles. There were sharp rocks, steep ledges, and treacherous terrain as far as the eye could see.

A red-tail hawk was soaring across the eastern sky high above the town, along the river. The bird of prey glided freely following the layout of the river until it reached the waterfall's edge at the southern part of town. It swooped down, racing the falling water, which seemed like forever; then, it pulled up at the last second, a fish clutched tightly in its talons. Now climbing, the hawk flew past a giant rock that appeared to be forced out of the side of the cliff. Once it reached the top of the precipice, just above the meadow, the hawk prepared to land and eat its fare.

When it swooped in for a landing, the majestic bird disappeared as a young boy opened his blue, dreamy eyes. Deep in the tall grass of the meadow, two boys lay looking up at the sky. Both boys had their hands behind their heads, and they were staring up into the cloudless sky, lost in a dream. One of the boys was sixteen years old, light in complexion, and had wavy brown hair that blew across his face because of the breeze. He was wearing brown shorts, a white tank top, and had a strange, short rope necklace on that made his blue eyes shimmer in the sunlight.

The hemp rope of the necklace was thick and twisted in unusual braids; it was old and weather-beaten. As for the medallion of the necklace, it was black on the outside and faded slowly into purple. There were a total of three triangles that made up its strange configuration. The first triangle was the size of a large arrowhead that faced down; the other two downward-facing triangles were spaced just slightly off center and were mirror reflections of each other on the inside of the bigger triangle. It was made of bizarre metal alloys that no one had ever seen before.

The other boy was a little younger. He was thirteen years old and had short, spiky black hair and eyes to match. By the boy's clothes alone, anyone could tell he loved to play rough. They were grass-stained, ripped, and even had a spot that looked like old blood. His shorts were faded blue, and his off-white short-sleeved shirt told most of his story.

The younger one, while still staring up, said, "Dude, what do you always daydream about?" Unaffected, he continued to just stare up without blinking an eye. He said, "Hey Alex, why do you always just lie out here? We never do anything anymore."

With a heavy sigh, Alex replied, "Because it seems like this is all there is left to do."

"What do you mean? There's plenty we could do!" The younger boy began counting on his fingers as he continued. "There's the fishing hole ... the Movie Tavern."

Alex closed his eyes and without moving a muscle, he interrupted the other boy. "Look, Nelly, fishing is your thing, plus, I hate seeing a movie more than once." He chuckled as he added, "—and that's if it was good. As for anything else around here, we've done them all. Out here, we have only two choices: we can either do nothing or just get ourselves in trouble again."

Nelly pushed himself up and looked around as if he was pondering something. Once he looked toward the cliff side, he replied, "I choose trouble; it's more fun that way. Why not cause another avalanche?"

"Rockslide, Nelly. It's a rockslide."

"Whatever. Let's just find a big boulder and push it down the cliff to block the road again."

Nelly's eyes flashed with anticipation while Alex watched him closely. Alex, with mischief in his tone, said, "Fine ... but only on one condition, though." Alex then laid his hands across his stomach, his fingers interlinked. His class ring had a blue stone in the center. The lettering around the jewel read HAVEN HIGH SCHOOL.

Nelly replied, "What's that?"

"I know the perfect place, but we have to go to Dread's Point to cause this slide."

Nelly stumbled backward and fell back to the ground in shock as he stuttered, "Ya ... ya ... you're kidding, right? It's near impossible to get to Dread's Point! Only crazy or stupid people climb those areas!"

Alex just chuckled under his breath and said, "I climbed Dread's Point four times when I was half your age."

Everyone in town marked Alex as a daredevil because he would always one-up his odds. Some of the townspeople joked around, placing fake bets on when Alex's luck would run out and he would actually get hurt.

Nelly laughed while shaking his head. "Thus, the stupid people part."

Alex simply responded, "So, are you game or not?"

With a deep, heavy sigh, Nelly finally replied. "Yeah, sure, let's do it."

A devious smile crossed Alex's face as he placed his hands by his ears and then mule-kicked himself up to his feet. "All right, let's go," Alex said as he started toward the cliff side. Slowly Nelly pushed back up to his feet and began to follow Alex.

While approaching the edge, Nelly said, "Of all places, why Dread's Point?"

Alex plainly stated, "Silly Nelly, tricks are for me to know and you to find out."

Nelly's expression changed from a worried to a bizarre look as he said, "From that dumb joke, I clearly see you really are stupid."

Alex laughed and said, "Once we get there, you'll see why that is the perfect spot for a massive rockslide."

The two boys got to the edge of the ravine and looked down and to the right. The only sign of life in this perilous area came from the old dirt road that cut through the land. The road slowly wound its way across the countryside to the edge of the cliff and then, at a shallow incline, the road no longer winding made its way up the ravine wall. If traveling on foot, the walk alone took about an hour to reach the base of the ravine. The road eventually disappeared in the distance, before it went to the nearest major city.

They began to climb down the sharp edge. Alex was bouncing from rock to rock, almost like a kangaroo. Occasionally, Alex would swing from another rock like a monkey, while Nelly climbed more cautiously. While hanging from a rock, Alex said, "Okay, Nelly, it will take us about five minutes to get to the trail, another twenty minutes along the cliff side and about another ten minutes to get to Dread's Point."

Nelly, who was climbing down slightly slower and more carefully, watched as Alex made it look easy. "Sure, whatever."

After about five minutes of climbing straight down over the rocks and ledges, they both reached a landing with a small edge about two and a half feet wide. It appeared that the edge overlooked the straight drop down into nothingness. However, they both knew the road was down there somewhere.

"Okay," said Alex, "now for the easy part. We just need to follow this trail for about twenty minutes south, then it's a straight shot up. That's the hard part."

Nelly bit his lip as he started. "What if ..."

"Nothing," Alex interrupted, "is going to happen." Alex then began to follow the path, with Nelly following closely.

Nelly blurted out, "Everyone knows that going up is the easy part and Dread's Point ain't that easy to go up. How am I going to get back down?"

Alex watched Nelly climbing over rocks and hugging close to the cliff wall before answering. "We're not climbing back down once we get to the Point."

"What?! How are we going to get back home?"

In a condescending tone, Alex repeated, "As you said before ... up is the easy part ... or I could take us on a shortcut that'll lead us back to your house."

"Shortcut? What shortcut?" Alex just smiled at Nelly.

Continuing to walk along the edge of the cliff, Alex said, "Let's just say that I know where there is a small cavern that leads to our city's drainage pipes."

Nelly, with skepticism in his voice, said, "Yeah, right. I never heard of any caves under the city."

"I know ... that's because I found them four years ago."

"How?" Nelly exclaimed while Alex jumped a small gap in the trail and then reached out to Nelly.

When Nelly grabbed his hand, Alex answered, "Easy. From Dread's Point, I was going to cause a rockslide to block traffic." Alex then pulled Nelly safely across the tiny fissure. "The boulder I was going to use was blocking the cave's entrance."

Nelly asked, "How do you know where the cave goes?"

Alex replied with slight resentment in his voice, "If you would let me finish, I would tell you, wouldn't I?"

Nelly replied, "If you don't ask the question, you don't get the answer you're looking for, huh?"

"True," Alex said. "True. Well, I went exploring in the cave when I found it; it took just a couple of minutes to get to a small underground stream, then just follow the stream the rest of the way up the cave. Along the wall, you can see where the stream from the drainage pipes cut through the cave wall. Once you're in the pipes, find the nearest opening and you're in the middle of Haven."

"Why did we come the hard way?" screamed Nelly.

"Because, it's funner to climb the cliffs."

Nelly did not know whether to believe Alex or not. Alex, on the other hand, could feel the daggers that Nelly was shooting out of his eyes stabbing into his back.

After a few moments of climbing across the rocks on the walking path, Alex said, "Come off it, you wanted something to do; now you're doing it."

"Playing, roughhousing, a game or two is one thing ... hanging a few hundred feet off the ground and climbing the most dangerous side of the peak is suicide!"

"Suicide?" Alex interjected. "Suicide is intentionally killing yourself. You planning on jumping?"

"No, but I might give you a friendly push though." By this point, both Nelly and Alex's attitude changed as they gave a slight chuckle.

Alex, with a smile across his face, said, "Hasn't anyone told you? It's not the fall that kills you ... it's the sudden stop?"

Nelly, still with a grin, said, "If you don't suddenly stop with your stupid jokes, I just may jump."

When the two boys reached the end of the walking path, they looked down and to the left. The road could be seen from this point as it slowly crept up the side of the ravine. Alex looked over to the lower right and pointed out where the road disappeared around the cliff side. "See that spot right there? That's directly under Dread's Point. That's where the rocks are going to fall."

Nelly asked, "So, I take it we are going to climb up there?" Nelly pointed up to a single peak that stood out like it was put in the wrong spot.

Dread's Point was a solitary peak that appeared as if it had forced itself out of the ravine's wall. The Point itself was smooth, huge, and flat. Most of the area leading up to the Point and beyond the Point's edge were sharp, jagged rocks, and even more, looked unstable. The sun had risen to its highest point of the day and was about to dissapear behind the rock face.

Nelly told Alex, "It's getting close to lunchtime. We better hurry before we lose the light on this side of the cliff."

Alex replied to Nelly, "I know I can get there in about five minutes. Since this is your first climb, you go first and take your time."

Looking up at the Point, Nelly stated, "If I followed you up, we could get there faster."

"Maybe, but if you go first, I can tell you which way is the easiest, plus I can keep an eye on you."

Nelly, with some resentment in his voice, said, "Why do you need to keep an eye on me?"

Alex sighed, "You and I really aren't related, but if anyone asks ... I always say that you're my little brother. I can't let anything happen to my little B, now can I?"

Nelly focused on Alex and then back up to the Point. Finally, he asked, "So, big B, which way first?"

"Let's just start straight up, then work our way right once we get close to the Point."

Nelly started up the side of the cliff as Alex just watched for a moment. Soon after, Alex began to jump, swing, and bounce his way behind Nelly. When they were both even with the Point (yet still approximately thirty feet to the right of it), the sweat was starting to bead on Nelly's forehead. The breeze had stopped and the sun was beating down on both of them.

Alex noticed Nelly having some difficulties and said, "Good thing the sun is disappearing behind the cliff, huh? We're about to get some shade."

Alex heard the strain in Nelly's voice as he replied, "I'm more focused on getting to the landing over there."

Alex said, "We need to go a little higher. The rocks are easier to grip as you make your way left." After about three more minutes of climbing up and over, the sun had finally disappeared behind the top of the ravine. "Almost ... there." Alex said to Nelly.

Both boys were now above the landing of Dread's Point; the problem now was a ten-foot drop straight down to the landing with no areas to grip hold of. Nelly breathed. "You've gotta be kidding me."

Alex smiled at Nelly and turned loose of the rocks; while he was falling backward, he flipped away from the rocks and then hit the landing, feet first. "Come on, it only looks high when you're up there. See, I can almost jump and touch your foot."

Nelly counted to three in his head and pushed off the rocks as well. Alex helped slow his descent as Nelly's feet hit the flat surface, by catching him just under his arms.

Nelly exclaimed, "What the hell are you thinking?!"

"What, the ten-foot jump?"

"Noooo, the ten-foot bar of chocolate. Of course the jump!"

"Think about it," said Alex. "Almost everyone who climbed up to the Point or down to the Point slipped, fell, got hurt, killed, so on, so forth. Just a ten-foot drop could have saved all those people the embarrassment of putting themselves in the hospital." Nelly looked around the Point and saw the flat surfaces, jagged areas, and other impossible places to try to reach the Point. Alex said, "Believe it or not, we came the easiest way."

Without remembering the cavern, Nelly asked, "So how are we supposed to get back?"

While looking at the ravine wall, Alex walked to the left edge, where the Point met the wall and said, "Jump to that ledge," which was about eight feet down with nothing to grab, "then start climbing down to the road ... unless we take the shortcut I told you about, of course."

Nelly looked along the wall of the ravine and noticed several boulders and rocks of varying size. A few were almost as big as a good-sized couch lying on their sides, while most others ranged between the sizes of a basketball and a Volkswagen. "So, which of these rocks lead to your caverns?"

Alex smiled and said, "You won't believe it unless you see it yourself." Alex then walked over to Nelly and whispered in his ear. "Just say 'Open says me,' and the path will open."

Nelly pushed Alex away and said, "Shut up; this isn't some book or story with magic words."

Alex stumbled back then, and while looking Nelly in the eyes, said, "What's the worst that can happen? Just say it and you'll see for yourself, won't you?"

Nelly studied the look on Alex's face trying to see if he was lying. Though Alex looked dead serious, Nelly said, "I still don't believe you."

Alex replied as he walked over to the edge, "Well, it's a long climb down to the road then an even longer walk back to town. If we cause a rockslide, then we'll have to hoof it back to town; bet we would get caught for sure."

Once again, Nelly studied Alex's face, trying to tell if he was pulling his leg or not. "Fine," Nelly said as he turned to the rocks and spread his arms. "Open says me." After about five seconds, Nelly said it again but louder so it echoed across the land. "I said, open says me!"

Alex fell to the ground rolling and laughing at Nelly's expense. Nelly's face turned bright red between the embarrassment and anger. Nelly pounced on top of Alex and started punching him and calling him names.

With tears in his eyes, Alex pushed him off and said, "Okay, okay. It was still funny, though."

Nelly jumped back on Alex, pushing and pulling as Alex laughed even harder. After a few more seconds of rolling around, pushing and pulling each other, they both started to laugh. Then they both rolled off each other and onto their backs, their bodies spread out, staring up into the sky again. Now, Alex's clothes matched Nelly's (without the blood spot, of course).


Excerpted from FATE'S CHILD by Joseph Stallings Copyright © 2011 by Joseph Stallings. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Fate's Child 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. It is A Wrinkle in Time meets Superman. A great book.