For those of you that may not know, “Middle Grade” is a term used in the publishing industry for books that are aimed towards a younger audience, usually between 8-12. That’s not to say other age groups could not enjoy the story (um, Harry Potter, anyone?) but this helps distinguish a book in the marketplace.
That being explained, I’ve decided to start a feature on my blog that showcases excerpts from the various Middle Grade stories I have finished. Some are simply just not long enough to turn into book form, so hence, I will share them here!
Our first story in this series will be “Atop Mt. Lonely.” It’s the story of two twin girls (Carlee and Marlee) who love mountain climbing – and their next adventure will take them to the cliffs of Mt. Lonely. The mountain is shrouded in mystery; other climbers tell the legend of a man that haunts the top of the mountain. But the two sisters can’t resist the call of adventure and tackle the mountain together – what they find might surprise you…
Thirteen year old Carlee Ramus snatched several rock climber’s pitons, used to to help the mountain climber ascend. She threw two of the pitons to her twin sister, Marlee, who caught them, surprised. She rubbed her head in thought, looking around their bedroom for any other supplies they might need on their trip.
Carlee dug wildly through her closet, throwing junk to the floor. She sighed in satisfaction as she grasped one of her many pairs of binoculars and dropped them in her backpack sloppily. Marlee carefully dropped a set of gloves into her backpack.
Although Carlee and Marlee were identical twins, their attitudes were very opposite. Carlee liked to do things fast; make split second decisions, whether they worked out or not. She dressed sloppily, not really caring if the clothes matched. Marlee liked to do things slowly; figuring out the situation carefully before making a move. She had beat Carlee at chess more times than she could count. Marlee’s clothes always matched, her hair always in place. She was not vain, exactly, but felt that everything had to be perfect.
The one thing the girls did have in common was their love for mountain climbing. Often called the “Climbing Ramus Twins,” Carlee and Marlee climbed challenging rock mountains every month. It was the middle of July, and the monthly trip had been arranged. The girls liked to camp out on every mountain all alone – they considered it a test of their strength.
“Carlee,” Marlee coughed from under her sister’s dusty bed. “Where did you put your boots? They’re not under here.”
Carlee stuck her head out from the deep depths of her closet. “Oh, they’re in the garage refrigerator. I couldn’t find any room in my side of the closet and the fridge was empty.”
Marlee scratched her head in wonder at her sister’s uncleanliness then set off for the garage refrigerator.
Fred Ramus, the father of the two girls, stepped into the messy room. Maps clung to the walls, while clothes were strung across the floor.
“Carlee?” he called, wondering if he could find his daughter in the disaster area.
“Yeah?” Carlee called back, her voice muffled from the depths of her closet.
“I’ve already told Marlee, but I’ve checked the weather report. The skies are going to be calm for you on your trip,” Mr. Ramus announced.
“Great! Can we stay an extra day on the mountain, then?” Carlee exclaimed.
Mr. Ramus laughed, ” No, I’m afraid not. We’ll stick to the original schedule – we leave tomorrow and your mother and I will pick you girls up in four days.”
Marlee burst into her room, accidentally bumping into her father. She held Carlee’s mud covered mountaineering boots.
“Carlee!” she sighed loudly. “Look at your boots! You can’t go climbing in these.”
Carlee grunted and climbed out of her closet. She yanked a scarf off her head and frowned.
“Of course I can! They’re just…broken in. I got them wet last week when I was saving my bike from the rain. And, well…you know what our yard is like after it rains…” Carlee explained.
Marlee shook her head. She grabbed a bag and carefully stuck the boots in it. Their mother, Susan, called them to dinner from the kitchen. Carlee jumped out of the closet and raced downstairs. Marlee followed quickly, Mr. Ramus close behind.