Author Topic: THE CURSE OF THE SPIDER-RIDERS 45,000 word MG fantasy  (Read 69 times)

Offline MDane

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THE CURSE OF THE SPIDER-RIDERS 45,000 word MG fantasy
« on: January 09, 2020, 07:32:47 PM »
Hi all, this is my first chapter. Any and all thoughts are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Jakoby was a clumsy boy, there was no two ways about it. With legs too long and feet too unwieldy, he spent half his life falling over.
But pride kept him bouncing back up. You see, Jakoby had a desire to not only remain upright, but also to be the best street urchin to have stepped foot in the alleyways of the city he loved and called home.
It was Jakoby's hunger to be the best which landed him in the troublesome situation he was in. With troll-like creatures hunting his blood, pesky faeries seeking to trade him for profit, and a hoard of car-sized spiders thirsting to suck his blood like a juice box, it was safe to say he was not having a good week.   
But Jakoby's story starts before all this, back in the dirty streets of a city no one now remembers. Back when he was a member of a gang of un-adoptable children, trying to survive freezing winters, stabbing hunger pains and the sharp edge of the Fish Monger's cleaver.
But most importantly, back before he knew such creatures as faeries, slurry-slugs and spider-riders existed.


*****


"Punch him in the throat!" Jared shouted, urging Macey on to greater violence. "Go on, just a little."
Macey hoisted Jakoby from his feet by the front of his muck-stained shirt. "Oh, I'm going to do more'n that," she snarled, causing Jakoby to gag on the stench of her breath. Macey was the largest thirteen-year old girl Jakoby had ever seen; with arms as thick as lamp posts and a skull which was thicker, it was easy to mistake her for a professional wrestler. Or a mutated ox. "This is the third time we've caught you stealin' food from our bins," she said, shaking him. "No one steals our rubbish!"
Jakoby, far from intimidated by the abnormally strong girl, laughed. Sure, she may be able to squish his face like play-doh, but he had something she would never have: intelligence. He cleared his throat. "But I was doing it for you," he pleaded.
Macey cocked her head. "What are you talking about? I didn't ask you to go through our bins."
Jakoby sighed. "I know, it was going to be a surprise. I was trying to find you a present, you see." A twinkle of excitement glittered in Macey's eyes and she lowered him, just a little. "But you caught me before I could find a toothbrush. I know how badly you need one."
It took a second for Macey to realize she had been insulted, and when she did she bellowed and snorted like a possessed bull. "I'll kill you!"
"Didn't work so well last time. Or the time before that," Jakoby reasoned.
Macy pulled his face close to hers and whispered, "I'm going to turn you into—"
"Dead meat," Jakoby finished for her, having heard the threat from Macey many times over the years. "You can pummel me bloody, snap my bones and use them as toothpicks, even make a necklace from my teeth, but please, let me keep my money. I'm supposed to bribe the Fat Constable with it." He looked down at a small pouch dangling from the rope he used as a belt.
Jared's eyes widened and he rushed forward, greedy hands outstretched. "He's got gold, he has!"
Macey dropped Jakoby and punched Jared square in the nose, knocking him to the pavement. "It's my gold now," she barked at Jared, who was already bleeding profusely. With a sneer at Jakoby, she ripped away his purse and untied it.
"Oh no...please...that's my money..." Jakoby said as he regained his feet and dusted himself off, surprisingly not fussed about the pouch at all. While it was his favourite one, he believed Macey fully deserved its contents.
Macey didn't listen, of course. She plunged her sausage fingers into it earnestly, eager to count her bounty. But her face did something funny then. First, her smile turned into an unsure frown, her brows furrowed and her tongue poked out, and then it morphed into a look of complete and utter disgust. She yanked her hand free, screaming, and flung the pouch to the ground. Her fingers were coated in something brown and mushy and smelly, something that was certainly not gold, but smelled quite distinctly like...
"Dog turd!" Jared cried, still on the ground. He scrambled away on all fours like a crab, his shirt now red with blood.
Macey gagged and shook her hand as though trying to fling it free of her body. When it remained stubbornly attached, she fell to the ground in tears and attempted to wipe the steaming poo from her fingers. "It won't come off!"
"Of course not," Jakoby said with a shrug, "It's fresh from Baxter. We all know he has too much protein in his diet."
Macey wretched and a river of chunky yellow vomit escaped from her to cover her hand in more filth.
Jakoby quick stepped away before he got puke on his best boots. "Well, it has been lovely catching up with you both," he said as he tipped his Gatsby hat. "We should do it more often. But right now, I'm very late for the Gang Board Meeting. So, until next time..." He gave a sweeping bow before sprinting down the rat infested ally and onto Old Cobbled Road, where he passed South-side Bakery whose fresh baked bread masked the cloying stench of the city's rotting garbage.
"Come back here you lanky slime-ball!" Macey ordered.
Needless to say, Jakoby did not go back there. Not only did he not fancy having his throat punched in, but he truly was late for his gang's meeting.
Again.
For some reason, time was a construct which never seemed to work in Jakoby's favor. After missing the previous meetings, he was told—in no uncertain terms—that if he missed another, he would no longer be welcome in any of the future ones. Instead, he would be relegated to chili harvest duties; the worst of the gang's chores. Eyes burned for weeks after and sinuses ran like leaky faucets for at least a month. No, he had to be on time for this meeting.
He leaped onto the graffitied skip bin Macey had caught him plundering and hefted himself onto the rafters of the burnt-out chemist behind it. He raced across the skyline, easily traversing the rusty pitched roofs—free from the congestion of people below—until he approached the Main Street Gap, which was a span of thirty stride to the opposite roof. To many, this was an obstacle too treacherous to attempt to cross.
But not Jakoby.
He knew the streets better than any urchin, knew every secret passage and unsavoury alley. He also knew there was a rope tied between the two buildings which he could catch and pull himself to the next roof. And so, without slowing, Jakoby leapt confidently into wide open space, arms held before him to snare the rope.
Only, it was no longer there.
His eyes widened and he tried to scream, but his voice was left somewhere on the roof. Instead, he settled for windmilling his arms frantically as he attempted to catch hold of thin air. He crashed into the canvas roof of an open-air stall, his weight tearing it in two before it dropped him onto something surprisingly soft and squishy. 
"Could have been worse—" Jakoby groaned with a wince.
"Oh I doubt that!" a voice said from underneath him. A hand latched hold of his foot and yanked hard.
Jakoby, dignity forgotten, squealed like a four-year girl and kicked out, trying to break free of the vice-like grip.
But the man he had landed on was as round as a baby rhino and had eyes bulging sickly from of his skull with contempt. "Tear down me stall, will ye?" he growled, his jowls quivering like jelly. His hand grasped for his Jakoby's throat as though it were a hot dog. "I'll have yer head fer this, I will!" He bounced closer on his stomach like a seal on shore.
Jakoby, terrified senseless, kicked out with all his strength and managed to connect with the beast's chin, causing his grip to relax enough for Jakoby to pull free and roll away. The man growled with rage as he tried to squirm after.
"I'm sorry about your stall," Jakoby yelled over his shoulder as he barged through the gathering crowd and down Main Street.
He took the next right into a deserted alleyway and threaded himself through the maze of back streets until he arrived at a chain-link fence enclosing the train graveyard: his gang's territory and home. He slipped through a gap in the fence and rounded the abandoned ticket office to find five people exiting the nearest train carriage. They were armed with steel piping and boomerangs and each had a jar of chili seeds. 
"Wha...what's going on?" Jakoby asked, surprised to find these members—the gang's hierarchy—dressed for war.
Nik, the leader of the gang, shouldered his pipe and stepped forward. "If you were on time for once, you would know. Go and wait inside—"
"It wasn't my fault," Jakoby protested.
"It never is," Nik finished, and continued walking past him.
Jakoby followed. "This time it really wasn't. Please, let me come, I can help. I won't be late again, I promise." It wasn't like Nik to be treating Jakoby so cold.
Nik sighed and turned. "It's too dangerous for you, Jak. We need you here, safe, in case something happens to us."
"I don't care how dangerous it is—"
"We are going to storm the Fish Monger," Nik said, bluntly.
Jakoby sucked in is breath, the hairs on his neck dancing. "You can't! Remember what happened to Ricci? The Monger caught him we never saw him again!"
Nik placed a hand on Jakoby's shoulder. "Jak, these are desperate times. The gang needs to eat and the streets aren't providing food like they used to. We have stomachs and the Monger has fish—"
"And an armoury of knives he desperately wants to use on you!" Jakoby cut him off. He had no desire whatsoever to meet the Monger. He was a monster in human form; a child butcher. Even the Fat Constable was wise enough to keep his patrols well away of the Monger's stalls.
But Jakoby couldn't let the gang face the Monger by themselves. "You'll need all the help you can get," he said, squaring his shoulders.
"No," Nik said, a frown on his face. "It's for your own good."
"And ours," Biff, the Second in Command, added as he tossed his jar of chili seeds from hand to hand. The other three snickered like rich house children.
Nik silenced them with a look and turned back to Jakoby. "We can't have you stumbling around out there, Jak, not in front of the Monger. Someone will be seriously hurt if we don't get a clean getaway. And I'm talking the never-breath-again kind of hurt. I'm sorry, but you have to sit this one out." He tipped Jakoby's Gatsby hat and smiled. "We need your brains back here in case our muscle don't return."
Jakoby's throat burned and he felt hot tears sting his eyes. He was sick of being excluded, sick of being made fun of. Nik was the only person who had time for him, and now he was brushing him off too, just like all the others. A tear spilled onto his cheek and he knew he had to get out of there. He pushed past the group and sprinted towards his train, hearing Biff's laughter all too loudly.
The only thing that mattered at that moment was the tears beading from his chin and how he would never be able to face the gang again.

Offline rivergirl

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Re: THE CURSE OF THE SPIDER-RIDERS 45,000 word MG fantasy
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2020, 09:44:39 PM »
akoby was a clumsy boy, there was no two ways about it. With legs too long and feet too unwieldy, he spent half his life falling over.
But pride kept him bouncing back up. You see, Jakoby had a desire to not only remain upright, but also to be the best street urchin to have stepped foot in the alleyways of the city he loved and called home.
It was Jakoby's hunger to be the best which landed him in the troublesome situation he was in. With troll-like creatures hunting his blood, pesky faeries seeking to trade him for profit, and a hoard of car-sized spiders thirsting to suck his blood like a juice box, it was safe to say he was not having a good week.   
But Jakoby's story starts before all this, back in the dirty streets of a city no one now remembers. Back when he was a member of a gang of un-adoptable children, trying to survive freezing winters, stabbing hunger pains comma (you're listing things) and the sharp edge of the Fish Monger's cleaver.
But most importantly, back before he knew such creatures as faeries, slurry-slugs comma and spider-riders existed.


*****


"Punch him in the throat!" Jared shouted, urging Macey on to greater violence. "Go on, just a little."
Macey hoisted Jakoby from his feet by the front of his muck-stained shirt. "Oh, I'm going to do more'n that," she snarled, causing Jakoby to gag on the stench of her breath. Macey was the largest thirteen-year old girl Jakoby had ever seen; (comma here or possibly em-dash)with arms as thick as lamp posts and a skull which was thicker, it was easy to mistake her for a professional wrestler. Or a mutated ox. "This is the third time we've caught you stealin' food from our bins," she said, shaking him. "No one steals our rubbish!"
Jakoby, far from intimidated by the abnormally strong girl, laughed. Sure, she may be able to squish his face like play-doh, but he had something she would never have: intelligence. He cleared his throat. "But I was doing it for you," he pleaded.
Macey cocked her head. "What are you talking about? I didn't ask you to go through our bins."
Jakoby sighed. "I know, it was going to be a surprise. I was trying to find you a present, you see." A twinkle of excitement glittered in Macey's eyes and she lowered him, just a little. "But you caught me before I could find a toothbrush. I know how badly you need one."
It took a second for Macey to realize she had been insulted, and when she did comma she bellowed and snorted like a possessed bull. "I'll kill you!"
"Didn't work so well last time. Or the time before that," Jakoby reasoned.
Macy pulled his face close to hers and whispered, "I'm going to turn you into—"
"Dead meat," Jakoby finished for her, having heard the threat from Macey many times over the years. "You can pummel me bloody, snap my bones comma and use them as toothpicks, even make a necklace from my teeth, but please, let me keep my money. I'm supposed to bribe the Fat Constable with it." He looked down at a small pouch dangling from the rope he used as a belt.
Jared's eyes widened and he rushed forward, greedy hands outstretched. "He's got gold, he has!"
Macey dropped Jakoby and punched Jared square in the nose, knocking him to the pavement. "It's my gold now," she barked at Jared, who was already bleeding profusely. With a sneer at Jakoby, she ripped away his purse and untied it.
"Oh no...please...that's my money..." Jakoby said as he regained his feet and dusted himself off, surprisingly not fussed about the pouch at all. While it was his favourite one, he believed Macey fully deserved its contents.
Macey didn't listen, of course. She plunged her sausage fingers into it earnestly, eager to count her bounty. But her face did something funny then. First, her smile turned into an unsure frown, her brows furrowed and her tongue poked out, and then it morphed into a look of complete and utter disgust. She yanked her hand free, screaming, and flung the pouch to the ground. Her fingers were coated in something brown and mushy and smelly, something that was certainly not gold, but smelled quite distinctly like...
"Dog turd!" Jared cried, still on the ground. He scrambled away on all fours like a crab, his shirt now red with blood.
Macey gagged and shook her hand as though trying to fling it free of her body. When it remained stubbornly attached, she fell to the ground in tears and attempted to wipe the steaming poo from her fingers. "It won't come off!"
"Of course not," Jakoby said with a shrug, "It's fresh from Baxter. We all know he has too much protein in his diet."
Macey wretched and a river of chunky yellow vomit escaped from her to cover which covered her hand in more filth.
Jakoby quick stepped away before he got puke on his best boots. "Well, it has been lovely catching up with you both," he said as he tipped his Gatsby hat. "We should do it more often. But right now, I'm very late for the Gang Board Meeting. So, until next time..." He gave a sweeping bow before sprinting down the rat infested ally and onto Old Cobbled Road, where he passed South-side Bakery whose fresh baked bread masked the cloying stench of the city's rotting garbage.
"Come back here you lanky slime-ball!" Macey ordered.
Needless to say, Jakoby did not go back there. Not only did he not fancy having his throat punched in, but he truly was late for his gang's meeting.
Again.
For some reason, time was a construct which never seemed to work in Jakoby's favor. After missing the previous meetings, he was told—in no uncertain terms—that if he missed another, he would no longer be welcome in any of the future ones. Instead, he would be relegated to chili harvest (I don't know what this is. Don't be afraid to spell it out for your young readers) duties;(incorrect use of semicolon again) the worst of the gang's chores. Eyes burned for weeks after and sinuses ran like leaky faucets for at least a month. No, he had to be on time for this meeting.
He leaped onto the graffitied skip bin Macey had caught him plundering and hefted himself onto the rafters of the burnt-out chemist behind it. He raced across the skyline, easily traversing the rusty pitched roofs—free from the congestion of people below—until he approached the Main Street Gap, which was a span of thirty stride to the opposite roof. To many, this was an obstacle too treacherous to attempt to cross.
But not Jakoby.
He knew the streets better than any urchin, knew every secret passage and unsavoury alley. He also knew there was a rope tied between the two buildings which he could catch and pull himself to the next roof. And so, without slowing, Jakoby leapt confidently into wide open space, arms held (arms held is the wrong visual. I can't see this before him to snare the rope.
Only, it was no longer there.
His eyes widened and he tried to scream, but his voice was left somewhere on the roof. Instead, he settled for windmilling his arms frantically as he attempted to catch hold of thin air. He crashed into the canvas roof of an open-air stall, his weight tearing it in two before it droppeddropping him onto something surprisingly soft and squishy. 
"Could have been worse—" Jakoby groaned with a wince.
"Oh I doubt that!" a voice said from underneath him. A hand latched hold of his foot and yanked hard.
Jakoby, dignity forgotten, squealed like a four-year girl and kicked out, trying to break free of the vice-like grip.
But the man he had landed on was as round as a baby rhino and had eyes bulging sickly from typo here i think of his skull with contempt. "Tear down me stall, will ye?" he growled, his jowls quivering like jelly. His hand grasped for his Jakoby's throat as though it were a hot dog. "I'll have yer head fer this, I will!" He bounced closer on his stomach like a seal on shore.
Jakoby, terrified senseless, kicked out with all his strength and managed to connect with the beast's chin, causing his grip to relax enough for Jakoby to pull free and roll away. The man growled with rage as he tried to squirm after.
"I'm sorry about your stall," Jakoby yelled over his shoulder as he barged through the gathering crowd and down Main Street.
He took the next right into a deserted alleyway and threaded himself through the maze of back streets until he arrived at a chain-link fence enclosing the train graveyard: his gang's territory and home. He slipped through a gap in the fence and rounded the abandoned ticket office to find five people exiting the nearest train carriage. They were armed with steel piping and boomerangs comma and each had a jar of chili seeds. 
"Wha...what's going on?" Jakoby asked, surprised to find these members—the gang's hierarchy—dressed for war.
Nik, the leader of the gang, shouldered his pipe and stepped forward. "If you were on time for once, you would know. Go and wait inside—"
"It wasn't my fault," Jakoby protested.
"It never is," Nik finished, and continued walking past him.
Jakoby followed. "This time it really wasn't. Please, let me come, I can help. I won't be late again, I promise." It wasn't like Nik to be treating Jakoby so cold.
Nik sighed and turned. "It's too dangerous for you, Jak. We need you here, safe, in case something happens to us."
"I don't care how dangerous it is—"
"We are going to storm the Fish Monger," Nik said, bluntly.
Jakoby sucked in is breath, the hairs on his neck dancing. "You can't! Remember what happened to Ricci? The Monger caught him, and we never saw him again!"
Nik placed a hand on Jakoby's shoulder. "Jak, these are desperate times. The gang needs to eat comma and the streets aren't providing food like they used to. We have stomachs and the Monger has fish—"
"And an armoury of knives he desperately wants to use on you!" Jakoby cut him off. He had no desire whatsoever to meet the Monger. He was a monster in human form; (wrong use of semicolon) a child butcher. Even the Fat Constable was wise enough to keep his patrols well away of the Monger's stalls.
But Jakoby couldn't let the gang face the Monger by themselves. "You'll need all the help you can get," he said, squaring his shoulders.
"No," Nik said, a frown on his face. "It's for your own good."
"And ours," Biff, the Second in Command, added as he tossed his jar of chili seeds from hand to hand. The other three snickered like rich house children.
Nik silenced them with a look and turned back to Jakoby. "We can't have you stumbling around out there, Jak, not in front of the Monger. Someone will be seriously hurt if we don't get a clean getaway. And I'm talking the never-breath-again kind of hurt. I'm sorry, but you have to sit this one out." He tipped Jakoby's Gatsby hat and smiled. "We need your brains back here in case our muscle don't return."
Jakoby's throat burned and he felt hot tears sting his eyes. He was sick of being excluded, sick of being made fun of. Nik was the only person who had time for him, and now he was brushing him off too, just like all the others. A tear spilled onto his cheek comma and he knew he had to get out of there. He pushed past the group and sprinted towards his train, hearing Biff's laughter all too loudly.
The only thing that mattered at that moment was the tears beading from his chin and how he would never be able to face the gang again.

This is great! Charming and gory enough to thrill young readers. Only need to brush up your punctuation skills.Its kind of like Dickens meets fantasy.