Monday, April 22, 2013

1st 5 Pages April Workshop - Danek Rev 2

Christine Danek

Young Adult Paranormal


Chapter 1

Death is a strange beast. You hear so many theories on what it’s like on the other side. Then you hear about those people who died for like a minute, and came back from the dead claiming they’ve heard angels, saw a white light, or felt calm and peaceful.

It’s totally not true.

Realm 17 has been nothing but one big disappointment. Seriously, a boarding school for seventeen year old spirits is not where I thought dead people went.

For the past five and a half months, I’ve repeated this routine--wake up, get dressed, meet Kat, my best friend, and go to class. Yes, dull, but there’s one part that puts a teeny smile on my face--this one moment sends tingles to areas that make me blush.

Realm 17 is one big high rise, and in a way, reminds of New York, but squeaky clean. Although, I haven’t been outside, I only know what I can see from windows. For the most part, it’s blue sky, white puffy clouds and sunshine. From this window seat, I can see everything. It’s on the main stairway from the dorms to the classrooms. There are ten levels. The classrooms and anything school related is on level six and seven. My dorm is on level three. Anything above seven is for all those who pretty much “followed the rules” on Earth or were at least as close to pure as you can get. Those with no impure thoughts go straight to heaven.

Scooting back on the seat, I take in the quiet before the rush. On Earth, I wasn’t an early riser, but here, I am--mainly because of this everyday thrill.

The bell rings and students pass by all wearing the same thing--white shirt, black skirt or pants, and black shoes. They walk up the steps to class in one heaping mass of spirits. Some are in pairs chatting about assignments. Some of them are alone and avoid looking at me.

Then I see him.

Asher Cane.

He comes up from the bottom floor, taking each step just like the others, but slows on the landing, glancing at me. A black curl falls over his left eye as a slow smile indents up his cheek. He’s your typical hot boy in sea of monotony, and I like it. He turns and follows the others to class. I’m not supposed to have these feelings, but I do, and since we’ve been secretly flirting since I got here, I plan to talk to him . . . today.

“Hey, Becca.” Kat waves her fingers in front of my view. She arrived in the Realm a few weeks after I did. Her death was from an allergic reaction to shellfish. Who knew? We clicked since we had a similar life on Earth—the life of luxury.

I glance at her, hoping that my narrowed eyes give a hint of disappointment. “Seriously? You’re totally ruining my day.”

Kat peeks over at Asher. “Sorry.”

Asher disappears down the hall.

“Ready for class?” Kat’s blonde hair is pulled back just like mine into a simple ponytail. She’d be gorgeous if she could wear it down, and some light blue eye shadow would make her pale turquoise eyes pop. But here? Nothing. We can’t enhance anything that may be tempting.

God! What I would do for some OPI nail polish.

“Not really.” I follow her out to the hall, blending in with every other student and glance back towards the window seat. Sunlight stretches across the floor of the landing, seeping through the stained glass window of an angel with her arms spread, her yellow hair flowing, and rainbow colored glass surrounding her form. I know I’m dead, but really, do they have to remind me at every turn with the overexposed images like this one? Give me a freakin’ break. “Did you get any yellow slips?”

Kat yawns. “Nope. Nothing. You?”

“Nada. I swear I’m not going to make the deadline. No chance at a trial.” We’re expected to earn a final test in six months. The instructors slide you into a body on Earth and you’re supposed to help influence that person to make better choices in their life, basically, taking everything we learn here and apply it there. If you don’t you’re punished. It’s pretty much bull if you ask me.

Kat stops and puts her hand on my shoulder. “Don’t say that. We’ll get one soon. Maybe they’re just waiting for the coolest person to put us into. Maybe someone famous.”

“One can only dream,” I murmur. “But, we have to get one or its isolation time for a whole month.”

Kat pops her lips. “Be positive.”

“How? I’ve failed every written test—“

“Have you even studied?”

A bunch of students scoot around us. The “goodies” as we like to call them. They live on the top floor. The ones who were basically angels on Earth. The only reason they’re here is because they may have had one or two impure thoughts like jealousy. Most of them smile and laugh, which makes me want to gag. The new guy, Jackson, looks at me with his hazel eyes. It’s almost creepy and stalkerish. I squint back and am tempted to give him the finger, but an instructor is standing on the landing.

I take each step like I have weights on my feet, distancing myself from the crowd and continue my conversation with Kat. “That’s beside the point.”

“They may just give it to us. There are millions of spirits that need some good influence,” Kat says with too much of perky.

“And probably 99% of them, I don’t want to inhabit for a month even if it means getting on the reincarnation list.” Last thing I need is to be in someone else who needs help just to get reincarnated, which wouldn’t help my situation either.

I stop short. “The whole idea is frustrating. I like who I am, was, and never wanted to die. What’s wrong with that? I just want to go back to the way it was.”

“Hey, it could be worse; you could be in Asher’s position. If he doesn’t get a slip soon, he’s facing the upper realm of hell. Speaking of Asher, have you talked to him yet?”

“No, but I plan to. I need to satisfy our flirtatious desires and find out if he knows anything about sliding illegal—“

Heavy footsteps come up behind us as we turn on the landing, ready to head up the other set of stairs. Panic spreads across my chest. Kat and I flatten against the wall as two armed elite soldiers march past. Their gold armor chest plates reflect the lights, giving off a disco ball effect on the walls. No one knows who they are other than spirits working under the winged warriors who protect heaven. These guys protect the Realms.

In their hands are long black stun swords. The long sleek cylinder resembles a blade and the handle is a square box with four pea sized green lights, flickering on the side. At least the lights aren’t red. That’s when they’ve contained someone. If the guards feel the need to use their swords, your spirit is trapped in darkness, punished, and only God will decide if you get another chance. Whenever that would be. That thought gives me the chills and fear clenches my stomach.

Students hop out of their way as they turn down the opposite hall.

“There seems to be a lot more guards lately.” Kat pulls her ponytail from under her backpack strap.

“I heard something evil was disguising itself in another Realm. It’s all a crock if you ask me.” I bite my lip to cover my fright. “I wonder what the boys look like under those helmets.”

Kat giggles. “Becca you’re always thinking of one thing.”

“Oh, like you’re not.”

“Um. Not as much as you do.” Her cheeks flood with pink.

The crowd ahead of us slows and we stop on the stairs. I lean on the railing. The guards are scanning us. New security stuff they started a few days back.

Tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, a button pops on my white oxford shirt, and I hastily re-button it. The cuff of my sleeve inches up a little and I catch a peek of my black Mickey Mouse head silhouette tattoo. It reminds me of my younger brother, Tyler. He’s another reason why I want to get back to Earth. Before I died, he was arrested for drug possession, which is totally not like him. He’s the good one and I wasn’t. And I want him to stay that way, but after his fifteenth birthday his need to impress is sending him down the path I took.

“I spoke to Zac about his trial and Tyler.” When I found out Zac, a fellow student, was going into a body that was in the same circle as my brother, I convinced him to check up on him. It didn’t take much. For some reason, I can be threatening without really saying anything.

“You’re lucky that the body he was in made it easy to spy. What did say?”

“He said Tyler was hanging with Roman Franks.”

Kat sighs. “THE Roman Franks! I wish I could’ve hung out with him.”

“I did, and as fun as it was,” I reply, “he’s a scum bag and a drug addict.”

Roman Franks is the hottest pop star around and my dad’s number one client. Since my dad is his agent, Roman performed at my sweet sixteen then he did a private show for me in the back of his limo.


  1. Fun read. :D I wish you best of luck with it!! I have nothing new to add other than to make sure you go over for line edits like missing words and such.

    1. Lisa,
      Thank you so much for all your feedback. It was very helpful. I really appreciate it.
      Thanks again,

  2. Great revision! The story really flows now and engages the reader. Best of luck in the future!

    1. Thank you, Jeanette. You feedback is greatly appreciated. Best of luck to you!

  3. I really enjoyed this story.

    I have just two suggestions: Paragraph #5,put before.. For the past 5 months... It keeps your thoughts flowing on Asher.
    And: why does she glance back at the window seat? I love the description, but not sure it's in the right place. Maybe make it another paragraph!
    I wish you lots of luck with this story. I'm going to be watching for your title on Amazon....Congrats...

    1. Sheri,
      Thanks so much. Your feedback has been very helpful and I really appreciate it. You are very sweet. Thanks again and best of luck to you!

  4. Well, it's all been said, so there's no need for me to say it again! Except, I will join in and say Good luck and cheers for great success:)

  5. So entertaining! I look forward to reading it in its entirety one day, so please perfect it as much as possible and get it out there. =)

  6. I'm so hooked on this story! Promise me that you'll finish it.

    1. Thank you, Lauren. I promise I'll finish it and keep you posted. :) Thanks again for your feedback.

  7. Great job, Christine! I agree with Sheri about the window. Not sure you've found the right spot for that yet. Good luck!

    1. Thank you Jan. This workshop has been very helpful. I hope you are feeling better. Take care.