Bullied on the Bus – James McHarg
4200 words Fantasy / Teen Fiction
Moving to the country was bad enough but now twelve-year-old Jeremy must endure daily bullying. With his mother’s life threatened and his great-granddad close to death, all seems lost. Only a dark family secret might save them, but first he’ll have to turn thirteen.
“Jeremy, please hurry! I can see the bus coming. Come along, quickly now,” Victoria Rayder shouted to the dawdling boy. “Aw, Mom, do I have to go to school? It’s too nice out. Come on, Mom. Please, let me stay home.” Jeremy Rayder dashed up the narrow lane, skidding to a stop in the loose gravel alongside his mother. “Look what I found,” he said excitedly, waving a grasshopper in her face. The bug’s legs clung to his index finger; antennae twitching and eyes bulging out from a blue-green face. “Yes, I see it quite clearly, Jeremy. You don’t have to stick it up my nose.” Jeremy giggled, a playful spark lit up his eyes. “Yeah, and it’s green, too. Just like snot. See!”
Norm – James McHarg
3000 words Science Fiction
The Jones family live on NewWorld, where the government ensures an ordered and peaceful existence. But nothing is perfect. A sinister secret lurks behind the façade of their Utopian society and this family will stare it right in the face.
Norm loomed tall in my doorway, his opaque eyes staring through me rather than at me. I knew it was a by-product of the Reaping, nonetheless, I found it quite unnerving. He was clad from neck to ankle in white coveralls, the only splash of colour, the four-inch-square red patch of his name tag. I didn’t even know why they had a name tag. After all, they were all named Norm. Norm glanced down at his eTab, swiping a finger across the screen. “Mister Evan Jones,” he said in his automaton voice. “May I enter?” “I, uh, guess I have no choice. Do I?” “No,” Norm sharply answered. “We were just sitting down to eat supper. Are you sure you can’t come back another time?”