Raw NaNoWriMo Draft (How To Make Friends And Not Incinerate People)

NaNo 2013 small coverNote: I thought it would be fun to post my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, one scene at a time. This is completely raw, all mistakes and notes to myself included. I only adjusted paragraphs (I use tabs in the original) for readability.

Chapter 1

They turned onto an unmarked road. Mr. Johnson said, “Almost there.”

Aiden looked out the window, wondering if he would see anything strange. A whole town full of supernatural creatures. And he was one of them.

He glanced over at his parents, who looked as dazed as he felt. A month ago, they’d all been normal, or thought they were normal. Now Aiden knew he was changeling, that his parents weren’t his real parents… weren’t his birth parents, and they knew their real son was out there somewhere. Still, they’d taken it pretty well. At least on the outside, they were taking it better than he was. But they were probably as torn up on the inside as he was. Aiden worried that they didn’t love him as much now that they knew he wasn’t really their son. He wasn’t even human.

On either side of the road, the woods got denser. Maybe a supernatural town really could be hidden back here. A sign warned they were approaching a dead end. Aiden looked at Mr. Johnson and opened his mouth to ask about it.

In that creepy way of his, Mr. Johnson seemed to know what he was going to say. “Ignore the sign. It’s to keep people out.”

Ahead, it looked like the trees grew right across the road. “What about–”

“It’s an illusion. There are illusions and wards around Shadow Valley to make sure ordinary humans don’t stumble into it by accident.”

Mom drew a sharp breath as the trees loomed closer. Aiden tensed, afraid they would slam into the huge trunks. A little noise escaped him when the trees were only feet away. The truck kept going and in the next moment they were through. The trees thinned out and in the distance there were buildings.

“Welcome to Shadow Valley,” Mr. Johnson said.

“This is so weird,” Dad said.

Aiden had to swallow to get spit back in his dry throat. “You can still change your mind.”

Mom reached over and gripped his hand. “No. We won’t leave you to do this alone. No matter what he says, you’re still our son. We love you, Aiden.”

“Thanks.” His throat was dry again.

“She’s right,” Dad said. “We would never abandon you. Don’t even think about it.”

Aiden nodded.

They reached the first few buildings. It looked surprisingly normal. A gas station, restaurants, shops, a bank. Mr. Johnson made a few turns and there were more houses, neighborhoods that looked like anything you could find in the midwest. Aiden studied them, looking for anything weird. A few people worked in their yards, cutting grass, planting flowers.

“I want to emphasize again that you won’t be in any danger here.” Mr. Johnson took another turn. “We have other humans living in Shadow Valley, generally parents of magically gifted children, or spouses of non-humans. There is some crime, just as in any town, but our crime rates are much lower than the city you were living in. Your neighbors will look out for you. I can introduce you if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to them alone.”

“Thank you. We’d appreciate that,” Dad said.

“Here we are.” Mr. Johnson pulled into the driveway of a house. It looked bigger than the house they’d lived in back in Lawrence[this is a joke! pick a different city later]. White with brown trim, three floors — although the top floor looked like an attack and not a full level. An open porch with an overhang protecting it. It even had a swing at one end.
It looked like something out of a movie. An image of a perfect suburban house. It didn’t have a white picket fence, but the lawn was trimmed.

“Wow.” Mom stared up at their new house.

“The movers should be here shortly with the rest of your belongings. Would you like a tour of the house?”

“Yeah. Thank you,” she said.

New town, new house, new school. Aiden’s stomach turned as he thought about Monday.

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