GENRE: YA fantasy
Gage sank slowly. His longish hair floated upward as if it was the only part of him with the sense to prefer the surface. He held his breath involuntarily, and opened his eyes to the murk.
This is the last thing I will ever see, he thought.
Gage struggled to open his mouth and force water into his lungs, but his lungs wanted to live more than he did.
Forty-five seconds underwater.
His chest filled with hot coals and his head bloated with helium.
I’ll explode, he thought groggily, finally, I’ll explode.
He settled deep into the sticky bottom.
* * *
Gage’s mother grabbed his feet and shook them viciously. “Didn’t I tell you to stay away from girlsss?” She drew her question out like a hiss.
Gage jerked upright in bed, ready to fight for his life. He had learned to sleep on the alert, like a bobcat.
“What do you mean?” he asked. He tried to sound unconcerned, but his voice trembled a little at the end.
His mother shook a pair of ticket stubs at him. “Movies. With a girrrl.” She sounded like she’d caught Gage molesting a chicken. “I should have known.” She threw the stubs in his face. A tiny curl escaped her lacquered hair and bounced on her forehead like an accusatory finger. “And I don’t know where you got the money, if you are really giving me all of your paycheck.”