TYNE E. TELLS (CHAPTER ONE)

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Submitted Date 08/15/2018
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(When my daughter was eight months old, I had a dream about a small mouse with seemingly impossible ambitions. As soon as I awoke, I knew I had the beginning of a story my daughter would one day cherish. For the next two years, I spent late nights and early mornings getting to know Tyne E. and his gang of humorous, quirky, loyal friends. Although my daughter won’t be able to fully enjoy Tyne E. Tells until she is much older, the thought of having it waiting for her on the bookshelf always makes me smile.)

 

Prelude...

A gutsy mouse who dreams of becoming a jockey, an amnesia-stricken racehorse who fears only two things: things that move and things that don’t, a bombastic caterpillar veterinarian whose pomposity is matched solely by his bird sidekick’s patience, and the visionary German Shepherd dog who brings them all together are more than just characters in Granddad’s book. How much more, thirteen-year-old Savannah Ashford doesn’t realize, until picking up the pen herself.

Finding the mysterious old trunk in the attic seems odd to Savannah, but not as odd as when pages of a story her granddad had written during his race against disappearing memories begin to fill the empty trunk. Each night the adventures of Tyne E. Tells, a mouse whose passion for jockeying a winning horse to the finish line of a crowd-worthy race, capture Savannah’s imagination.

How is Savannah to know her granddad’s story will inspire a school revolt at Ward Middle School, or that by the end of the week, every student in Mr. Weiss’ fifth period biology class will be counting on her to save their grades? The pressure is on, and Savannah feels up to the task — until the night the pages stop.

Through love, Savannah’s granddad transcends impossible boundaries, reaching out in the magical moments of his story to reveal a universal truth. Those who come before us begin a story, and we do our best to pick up where they left off, delivering each page as we go.

 

Chapter One

The Trunk

 

            I took a deep breath and continued telling Kim my story.

I had returned to the attic that afternoon expecting to find more pages. Instead, I found nothing. Not one word, not even one paragraph was there to satisfy the anticipation I’d felt all day.

With a flashlight in hand, I tiptoed down the hall toward the attic steps. The ladder creaked and popped like it hadn’t been pulled from the ceiling in years. But it had. I had pulled it down and used it to climb into the attic every night that week. Every night, I’d visited the attic to discover yet another set of pages. I didn’t understand why or how they would appear, but that bothered me less and less with each passing night. The more I read, the less preoccupied I became with the why and the how – until the night the pages stopped.

When I reached the top of the ladder, I peered across the attic floor. My eyes locked onto the trunk. I didn’t blink for fear of missing something. And though my eyes were locked in place, my feet moved forward. When I got halfway to the trunk, I suddenly felt different. I had sat beside it every night for a week reading the story Granddad had written me. I had loved every moment I’d spent next to the trunk, yet this night I felt nervous. All I had left of Granddad was only ten steps in front of me. So why was it so hard to take the first one? Perhaps I already knew the events that were about to unfold. Perhaps I’d dreamed it, or at the very least, hoped it into existence.

With a slow and deliberate pace, I made my way to the trunk and brushed the dust from the top of the stressed, cracked, wooden lid. After taking a deep breath, I pried it open and looked inside. To my surprise, the first thing I saw was a stack of old pictures. I reached my shaky hand into the trunk.

“Wait a second,” Kim said, as she rested her chin between her thumb and index finger. “You saw pictures? You told me what was inside the trunk was the inspiration for the novel you wrote. How am I supposed to satisfy the press with the explanation that old pictures spawned your book? Honey, I’m just a book publicist, not a miracle worker.”

Kim raised her hand. With five fingers pointed stiffly toward the sky, she bellowed, “Waiter, I’d like another cup.”

“Sure, Ma’am. Would you like more fresh cream for your coffee?”

“Yes, cream and sugar, please.”

“Ms. Savannah Ashford,” said the waiter as he smiled delightedly at me. “Can I get you anything else? It’s on the house today. My family is a big fan of your book. You’re welcome in our diner any day. We’ve got the best desserts in the South: bananas Foster, root beer floats made with our signature vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sundaes – you name it, and we can make it for you,” he said as his smile grew even broader.

“I’m okay for now,” I answered while my cheeks turned a deeper shade of pink with every compliment.

 I was still getting used to the fame my book had brought me, but I loved every moment of it: book signings, appearances, traveling to new places. My book had led me into a whirlwind of experiences in such a short amount of time – most good, some not as good, and a few absolutely unbelievable.

The year between twelve and thirteen is full of changes for anyone. Now add the surprise of making a discovery so special that it gives me goose bumps every time I recall the moment, and you will have the beginning of my story.

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