Author Topic: Diego Luna and the Serenity Stone - MG Fantasy  (Read 217 times)

Online gman

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Diego Luna and the Serenity Stone - MG Fantasy
« on: January 21, 2023, 12:34:47 PM »
“Sopapo!”

I jump as a hand slaps my back. Ricky dashes away to my right to hide behind an ancient stone wall. I don’t follow. My focus is on the image of an eagle warrior carved into the rough surface, complete with headdress and club. Icy claws tickle my spine as I examine every feature. I feel like that could've been me in a past life.

“Sopapo!”

Ugh, yeah, right—no real warrior would endure this torture.

I hate hanging out with my cousins.

I’ve never liked drama. And that’s usually what you get with family. Someone always has to act the fool. I guess you can say I get annoyed easily. Been that way ever since Dad . . .

Now when it was just me and him, that was cool. We’d go everywhere together and have no problems. Okay, okay, we might have the occasional argument, but it was always about stupid things. Stuff like making sure to pee before leaving the house or remembering to pack a snack.

Dad was a history teacher. He loved taking me out to cool places as a kid. I learned more about the world in my first ten years of life than most people do in a lifetime.

But then he vanished into thin air three years ago. Because he was such a prominent figure in his field, there have been countless manhunts done by the Mexican police with no luck. Some say the cartels may have had a hand in his disappearance. But Tio Leo says it’s highly unlikely. He claims that cartels like to show off their power to the rest of the world. He says it’s their way of showing everyone how unstoppable they are. We would’ve known it was them the day after he went missing.

“Besides,” he said, “cartels are in the drug and kidnapping business, not the history business.”

I believe him. He’s a cop, after all.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m here at Aztec ruins with my two immature cousins, Ricky and Carlos, and not with him. Being one of the best cops in Mexico comes with its pros and cons. In my opinion, more cons than pros. I’m living through one of the bigger ones right now. Tio Leo works too much. Dad was the same. Guess it runs in the family. For some weird reason Tio Leo thinks sending me on field trips with my stupid cousins will make me less depressed. He still hasn’t caught on that it actually does the opposite.

“Hey, Diego!” Ricky shouts. Someone forgot to tell him the hider isn’t really hiding if he’s shouting at the top of his lungs.

Mr. Marin sighs. “Ricky, how many times do I have to tell you? No playing in the ruins.” He raises his hands as if asking the Aztec gods for forgiveness. “This is a sacred place. Who knows what spirits linger here. You don’t want to wake up anything unsavory, do you?”

Mr. Marin is my history teacher. He and Dad were good friends. He’s pretty cool. Although, he can be pretty uptight at times.

“Yeah, Ricky,” Carlos snickers. “You don’t want them to take over your body.”

I ignore them as I make my way up to the highest point—up some steps that were used to get inside a large temple, or so Mr. Marin says. All I see are nothing but big pieces of stone scattered all over the place. It looks like a giant crushed it with a few good stomps and left the mess behind for us lowly humans to figure it out.

It’s about an hour after sunrise. We’re the only ones here. The perks of having a famous historian as a father. I love that. It’s an unbelievable feeling. Standing on such a historic place all by yourself. It’s like this is all mine. Sounds cheesy, I know, but that’s how I feel.

A glare in the distance makes me squint. The sun is hitting something shiny.

“Hey, Diego,” Ricky shouts from below, “your pendant’s glowing.”

I look down. He’s right. It’s glowing dark green. Weird. It’s never done that before. The pendant was a gift from my father. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s reacting to that glare.

“Come down from there, Diego,” Mr. Marin says.

We continue our trek through the ruins. Every now and then Mr. Marin stops the tour and points out specific drawings carved into random stones. This time it’s that of a feathered serpent.

“Quetzalcoatl,” I say.

“Quetza—who?” Carlos and Ricky say.

“Quetzalcoatl,” I repeat. “The Aztec god.”

“God?” Carlos says. “Sounds more like a type of cheese to me.”

“All this cheese talk is making me crave abuela’s giant quesadillas,” Ricky adds.

Carlos and Ricky laugh.

Idiots.

“Did you boys know that every ancient civilization has had a serpent deity?” Mr. Marin says.

“Talk about useless information,” Ricky adds. “You had us on cheese.”

More laughter.

“Now boys, if you don’t settle down—”

“You’ll do what?” Carlos says. “Tell our papis? We’re not even in school.”

“Yes, but—”

“But nothing.”

Mr. Marin lowers his head. I can tell he doesn’t want to be here. If Tio Leo hadn’t asked him to take us, I’m pretty sure he would’ve said no. He knows how Carlos and Ricky can get. They think because they have family in high places that they can just do whatever they want. Well, that ain’t flying with me.

“I’ll tell Tio Leo,” I blurt out. Petty, I know, but it’s the only thing that’s going to get them to shut up. “You know what that means, don’t you?”

“Since when have you been a snitch?” Ricky asks.

“Yeah, since when?” Carlos adds.

“Since I got sick and tired of hearing you two. That’s since when. You act like a couple of fifth graders. You’re both my age. Act like it!”

Mr. Marin continues the tour uninterrupted. He’s so thankful that he even sneaks in a wink. Ricky and Carlos even start asking questions, which is completely out of character for them. I must’ve really scared them good.

I take this opportunity to go investigate the shiny thing. From where I stood, it appeared to be inside a chamber below the surface, beneath all the crumbling rubble. Takes me a bit of searching, but I eventually find the hole—about the size of a baseball—and peek inside.

It’s definitely some kind of hidden chamber, about the size of Tio Leo’s apartment. Probably never discovered before. I can only imagine how popular this will make me at school. I can read the headlines already: “Daring teen discovers secret of the century!”

Yeah, okay, maybe I’m going a bit overboard.

Now the trick question: How do I get inside? My head is on a swivel as I search for the elusive entrance. An odd bulge in the earth catches my attention about ten yards away. It usually gets like that after an earthquake. We get lots of those here. Scary stuff. Looks like something may be beneath all that dirt. I go investigate.

“Diego!” Mr. Marin shouts.

Carlos and Ricky follow, “Come out, come out wherever you are!”

Better hurry up before they find me. Using my hands as shovels, I quickly clear the dirt away to reveal a stone hatch. Etched into the stone is the drawing of a city. I’ve seen paintings of Tenochtitlán, and this ain’t it. It looks more like a cross between Tenochtitlán, Atlantis, and Ancient Egypt. And yes, I’m fully aware that one of the three is considered a myth. But that’s what it looks like.

I have to use both hands and all my strength to open the thing. All the dust comes flying into my face, and I sneeze violently into the crook of my arm. I hold my breath. Good. They didn’t hear.

I take my phone out of my pocket and use the camera light to look down the dark, musty hole. Icy claws tickle my spine. I feel like I’m eight again, discovering the basement for the very first time. I find steps and slowly make my way down into a narrow corridor. On the walls are more drawings. They seem to show the rise of the Aztec civilization from hunter-gatherer stage to full-blown empire stage.

Then comes the unexplainable.

Portals to other worlds, control over the elements, levitation . . . Magic. They seemed to have all this and more. These drawings seem to suggest that the conquistadors were being controlled by some evil force. In the pictures, they look like grim reapers—dressed in all black, hovering over the Spanish forces, directing them to the heart of the Aztec empire for . . . war.

It doesn’t look like either side won. A shiny stone was broken in half and handed to each side as a truce.

Why do I get the feeling that I’m being pranked? Some wacky conspiracy theorists with too much time on their hands, but the level of detail is incredible, and it appears to be very old. For someone to do this, they would have to spend a fortune.

I step into the chamber and find more detailed drawings of the mysterious city on the walls and the ceiling. The drawings seem to suggest civilizations from all over the world would frequent the city to share information, trade goods, and practice magic.

I try taking pictures but they all come out blurry. Weird. Phone’s practically brand new.

At the back of the wall, I find the shiny culprit—an old, dusty mirror. I use my shirt to wipe all the gunk off.

Sunlight entering through the hole above ricochets off the mirror and hits my pendant.

It glows bright green now.

It gets brighter and brighter . . . and brighter.

Then a blinding flash and the mirror is no longer a mirror.

It’s a door.

I open it and begin to step through when the hatch slamming shut makes my anxiety shoot through the roof. I run back and hear Ricky and Carlos laughing it up on the other side.

“Let me out!”

I punch, push, and punch some more. Then, when I’ve exerted all of my energy, I pass out.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2023, 02:53:08 PM by gman »

Offline susan-louise

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Re: Diego Luna and the Serenity Stone - MG Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2023, 08:16:45 AM »
Gman, I really enjoyed this. The voice is excellent, pace vibrant, and everything flows so well, from action to dialogue. I was at the end before even realising it and was disappointed. So there you go, hooked this reader! Some little points in text.  Hope you find an agent. Can imagine the target readers loving it.


“Sopapo!”

I jump as a hand slaps my back. Ricky dashes away to my right to hide behind a stone wall. I don’t follow.  (Not sure the opening lines grab me....nearly...perhaps a little more world building but I think you are close)

I hate hanging out with my cousins.

I’ve never liked drama. And that’s usually what you get with family. Someone always has to act the fool. I guess you can say I get annoyed easily. Been that way ever since Dad . . .

Now when it was just me and him, that was cool. We’d go everywhere together and have no problems. Okay, okay, we might have the occasional argument, but it was always about stupid things. Stuff like making sure to pee before leaving the house or remembering to pack a snack.

Dad was a history teacher. He loved taking me out to cool places as a kid. I learned more about the world in my first ten years of life than most people do in a lifetime.

But then he vanished into thin air three years ago. Because he was such a prominent figure in his field, there have been countless manhunts done by the Mexican police with no luck. Some say the cartels may have had a hand in his disappearance. But Tio Leo says it’s highly unlikely. He claims that cartels like to show off their power to the rest of the world. He says it’s their way of showing (verb repetition jars - try "reminding" )everyone how unstoppable they are. We would’ve known it was them the day after he went missing. (this last sentence isn't clear. Needs some tightening for clarity)

“Besides,” he said, “cartels are in the drug and kidnapping business, not the history business.”

I believe him. He’s a cop, after all.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m here at Aztec ruins with my two immature cousins, Ricky and Carlos, and not with him. Being one of the best cops in Mexico comes with its pros and cons. In my opinion, more cons than pros. I’m living through one of the bigger ones right now.  (The teen voice is good here...)Tio Leo works too much. Dad was the same. Guess it runs in the family. For some weird reason Tio Leo thinks sending me on field trips with my stupid cousins will make me less depressed. He still hasn’t caught on that it actually does the opposite.

“Hey, Diego!” Ricky shouts. Someone forgot to tell him the hider isn’t really hiding if he’s shouting at the top of his lungs.

Mr. Marin sighs. “Ricky, how many times do I have to tell you? No playing in the ruins.” He raises his hands as if asking the Aztec gods for forgiveness. “This is a sacred place. Who knows what spirits linger here. You don’t want to wake up anything unsavory, do you?”

Mr. Marin is my history teacher. He and Dad were good friends. He’s pretty cool. Although, he can be pretty uptight at times.

“Yeah, Ricky,” Carlos snickers. “You don’t want them to take over your body.”

I ignore them as I make my way up to the highest point—up some steps that were used to get inside a large temple, or so Mr. Marin says. All I see are nothing but big pieces of stone scattered all over the place. It looks like a giant crushed it with a few good stomps and left the mess behind for us lowly humans to figure it out.

It’s about an hour after sunrise. We’re the only ones here. The perks of having a famous historian as a father. I love that. It’s an unbelievable feeling. Standing on such a historic place all by yourself. It’s like this is all mine. Sounds cheesy, I know, but that’s how I feel.

A glare in the distance makes me squint. The sun is hitting something shiny.

“Hey, Diego,” Ricky shouts from below, “your pendant’s glowing.”

I look down. He’s right. It’s glowing (if repeating "glowing" is deliberate and part of the teen voice, fine. If not, try another word--"glimmering? gleaming etc) dark green. Weird. It’s never done that before. The pendant was a gift from my father. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s reacting to that glare.

“Come down from there, Diego,” Mr. Marin says.

We continue our trek through the ruins. Every now and then Mr. Marin stops the tour and points out specific drawings carved into random stones. This time it’s that of a feathered serpent.

“Quetzalcoatl,” I say.

“Quetza—who?” Carlos and Ricky say.

“Quetzalcoatl,” I repeat. “The Aztec god.”

“God?” Carlos says. “Sounds more like a type of cheese to me.”

“All this cheese talk is making me crave abuela’s giant quesadillas,” Ricky adds.

Carlos and Ricky laugh.

Idiots.

“Did you boys know that every ancient civilization has had a serpent deity?” Mr. Marin says.

“Talk about useless information,” Ricky adds (tag seems wrong. complains? laughs?). “You had us on cheese.”

More laughter.

“Now boys, if you don’t settle down—”

“You’ll do what?” Carlos says. “Tell our papis? We’re not even in school.”

“Yes, but—”

“But nothing.”

Mr. Marin lowers his head. I can tell he doesn’t want to be here. If Tio Leo hadn’t asked him to take us, I’m pretty sure he would’ve said no. He knows how Carlos and Ricky can get. They think because they have family in high places that they can just do whatever they want. Well, that ain’t flying with me.

“I’ll tell Tio Leo,” I blurt out. Petty, I know, but it’s the only thing that’s going to get them to shut up. “You know what that means, don’t you?”

“Since when have you been a snitch?” Ricky asks.

“Yeah, since when?” Carlos adds.

“Since I got sick and tired of hearing you two. That’s since when. You act like a couple of fifth graders. You’re both my age. Act like it!”

Mr. Marin continues the tour uninterrupted. He’s so thankful that he even sneaks in a wink. Ricky and Carlos even (two "evens" jar the great flow you have. Not sure you need the second, imo) start asking questions, which is completely out of character for them. I must’ve really scared them good.

I take this opportunity to go investigate the shiny thing. From where I stood, it appeared to be inside a chamber below the surface, beneath all the crumbling rubble. Takes me a bit of searching, but I eventually find the hole—about the size of a baseball—and peek inside.

It’s definitely some kind of hidden chamber, about the size of Tio Leo’s apartment. Probably never discovered before. I can only imagine how popular this will make me at school. I can read the headlines already: “Daring teen discovers secret of the century!”

Yeah, okay, maybe I’m going a bit overboard.

Now the trick question: How do I get inside? My head is on a swivel as I search for the elusive entrance. An odd bulge in the earth catches my attention about ten yards away. It usually gets like that after an earthquake. We get lots of those here. Scary stuff. Looks like something may be beneath all that dirt. I go investigate.

“Diego!” Mr. Marin shouts.

Carlos and Ricky follow, “Come out, come out wherever you are!”

Better hurry up before they find me. Using my hands as shovels, I quickly clear the dirt away to reveal a stone hatch. Etched into the stone is the drawing of a city. I’ve seen paintings of Tenochtitlán, and this ain’t it. It looks more like a cross between Tenochtitlán, Atlantis, and Ancient Egypt. And yes, I’m fully aware that one of the three is considered a myth. But that’s what it looks like. (nice humour)

I have to use both hands and all my strength to open the thing. All the dust comes flying into my face, and I sneeze violently into the crook of my arm. I hold my breath. Good. They didn’t hear.

I take my phone out of my pocket and use the camera light to look down the dark, musty hole. Icy claws tickle my spine. I feel like I’m eight again, discovering the basement for the very first time. I find steps and slowly make my way down into a narrow corridor. On the walls are more drawings. They seem to show the rise of the Aztec civilization from hunter-gatherer stage to full-blown empire stage.

Then comes the unexplainable.  (inexplicable??)

Portals to other worlds, control over the elements, levitation . . . Magic. They seemed to have all this and more. These drawings seem to suggest that the conquistadors were being controlled by some evil force. In the pictures, they look like grim reapers—dressed in all black, hovering over the Spanish forces, directing them to the heart of the Aztec empire for . . . war.

It doesn’t look like either side won. A shiny stone was broken in half and handed to each side as a truce.

Why do I get the feeling that I’m being pranked? Some wacky conspiracy theorists with too much time on their hands, but the level of detail is incredible, and it appears to be very old. For someone to do this, they would have to spend a fortune.

I step into the chamber and find more detailed drawings of the mysterious city on the walls and the ceiling. The drawings seem to suggest civilizations from all over the world would frequent the city to share information, trade goods, and practice magic.

I try taking pictures but they all come out blurry. Weird. Phone’s practically brand new.

At the back of the wall, I find the shiny culprit—an old, dusty mirror. I use my shirt to wipe all the gunk off.

Sunlight entering through the hole above ricochets off the mirror and hits my pendant.

It glows bright green now.

It gets brighter and brighter . . . and brighter.

Then a blinding flash and the mirror is no longer a mirror.

It’s a door.

I open it and begin to step through when the hatch slamming shut makes my anxiety shoot through the roof. I run back and hear Ricky and Carlos laughing it up on the other side.

“Let me out!”
   
I punch, push, and punch some more. Then, when I’ve exerted all of my energy, I pass out.   Oh it's the end!  Great cliffhanger

Online gman

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Re: Diego Luna and the Serenity Stone - MG Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2023, 10:49:37 AM »
Thanks for reading, Susan-Louise! Spot on with your suggestions as always.