I hope you enjoy this final preview to Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. The full novel will be published on Amazon – Friday, December 16th! It will be available as both a paperback & an e-book. It’s been an amazing adventure to write my first novel. My hope is that the story of Tiger Kingdom inspires many readers, young & old – to imagine & dream!
Chapter 2: A Magic Key
As Mrs. Drake spoke, I felt my excitement waning, then plunging down deep into the pit of my stomach, turning to dread. There’s nothing I hate more than a writing assignment. It isn’t that I don’t have ideas—they swirl in my head so fast that my pencil can never keep up! At the end, I’m left with a jumble of letters that often make no sense to anyone but me. I sat with my journal opened to a fresh, clean lined page. I stared into it, willing my pencil to begin the words. Instead, I began to draw. I drew the tigers, their bold stripes bending along their backs, their paws held up in mid-flight, flying across the page. With each line, my pencil moved faster, my heart beat stronger, and I felt the familiar rush of creating something.
Around me, everything seemed still, the classroom silent except for the scratching of pencils on paper. I didn’t look up from my drawing, though, wanting to add the details of my dream. As I began drawing the streetlamp in the background, something seemed to glimmer on the page. I raised it up from the desk, shaking it as if to shake away dust. But now the paper seemed to be glowing, right in my hand. I stared, my pencil suspended in the air in disbelief. In the shadow of the streetlamp I had drawn was an outline of something. I put the paper right up to my eye. It was a key. I dropped my pencil, head jerking up to look around the classroom.
But I wasn’t in the classroom any more. I was outside, standing in the darkness. A streetlamp glowed near me. It was as if I had closed my eyes and stepped into my drawing—into my dream where the tigers had been. How is this possible? I gaped.
Suddenly, the silence was broken by a thundering, a pounding so loud it vibrated the ground below me. The tigers! As if in response, my own feet spun into action and I ran, the cold wind biting my skin as I rushed forward. But I heard another sound on the wind, this one a high-pitched melody. It seemed to twinkle and echo, repeating over and over, pulling me in the other direction, away from the road. I turned toward it, running straight into the thorny brambles of a rosebush.
“Arrrrgh! Owww!” I cried as I fell sideways into the thorns. I had never been an athlete, and in fact was something of a klutz. I cursed myself for my two left feet, feeling the pain of fresh scrapes on my legs. I rolled away from the bush, peering down to see if there was any blood, hoping I wouldn’t have to test my nursing skills too. Something was glowing in the grass next to me.
It was the key. It shone as bright as gold, with a beautiful blue stone at its center. Around the stone were three animal shapes: a tiger, a bear, and a bird. And there were symbols on it, too, which looked like ancient hieroglyphic script. I stared at it, transfixed. The music I had heard seemed to be louder now—as if coming from the key itself. Enchanted by its power, and with the pain of my legs forgotten, I reached out my hand and picked it up.