Title: Its Own Kind of Miracle
Category and Genre: YA (Magical Realism)
Word Count: 82000
As fifteen-year-old Cole watches his grandmother’s cancer gradually and painfully rob her of life, he guards his heart behind his inveterate cynicism. Grounded and skeptical, Cole has never been one to give much thought to matters of spirit. That changes when he finds himself reluctantly falling for his religious childhood friend Sara, who embraces her buoyant faith as effortlessly as breathing.
After witnessing a series of bizarre coincidences surrounding an enigmatic old man, including the stunning recovery of Cole’s dying dog, he decides to take a chance on hope. Cole is certain that if he can learn the man’s secrets, he can save Grandma’s life and win Sara’s affection in the process. However, he has to balance the slim prospect of a miracle with the knowledge that hope has the terrible power to crush his carefully constructed defenses.
First 250 Words:
Cole held his phone in front of him like a shield.
The teenage boy had hunkered behind it for nearly forty-four hours. Or seventeen-hundred miles or six states. There are so many fun ways to measure time on a cross-country train trip. As he peered into the display, the pale light gave the angular features of his face a cadaverous pallor. 7:16 AM. Friday, June 13.
Eight hours, five-hundred miles, and two states to go.
A familiar anxiety bubbled in his chest. He deflected the question with a flick of his finger across the screen. No, he didn’t have to think about that. Not yet.
Why doesn’t Jake answer my texts? He should be up by now.
The second of his two older brothers normally rose early. Cole’s fingers danced over the phone and he quickly proofread his fourth message to him in ten minutes:
<–Stop ignoring me.
One extra job while I’m gone, he thought as he pressed send. Feed the dog. And he screws it up the first day.
This time, he didn’t have to wait for a reply. His phone vibrated quietly, but loud enough to cause the mound of blankets in the seat next to him to stir as he examined the return text:
What the hell is wrong with you? –>
“’Mornin’, Cole,” said a sleepy voice deep within the mound. A lock of hair the color of milk chocolate peaked out the top.
“’Morning, Mom,” he said, typing as he rose.