GENRE: Gay Contemporary Young Adult
LENGTH: 19,974 words
Aiden is sent to Hawaii to stay with his father, whom he has never met. But when he arrives there he discovers there is no one to meet him. He has no money, and his mother and stepfather do not want him back.
Devastated at their betrayal, hungry and heartsore, he walks away from the airport in a random direction, only to be beaten up and have his belongings stolen by vagrants.
But Aiden is a fighter. The next morning he determines to find help, and on his way he sees three children being attacked by dogs. He jumps in to save them, and the consequences of this act of bravery leads him down a brand new path.
Aiden soon learns that he can choose his own family, and that his past need not always define his future.
I’d come to another beach. This one seemed deserted, and likely to stay that way. This one was just sand, dunes, rocks, and downed trees, no picnic area, no ‘facilities,’ not even a paved parking lot. Still, as I walked along, torn by the beauty of the water and sun on one side and the dismal and wind-wrenched trees on the other, I heard voices and barking. I didn’t really want to run into hordes of people, screaming kids, whatever. I looked like what I was -- a homeless bum. I probably smelled like one too by now, or would as the sun rose higher.
Something was wrong. I stopped still, listening, looking, feeling. Couldn’t begin to place it ... not a threat to me ... no crazy bum stalking toward me, no stepfather laughing at me, no -- wait. The people’s voices -- those were kids and they weren’t talking any more, they were crying out. I couldn’t make out the words but the fear was blatant. I jogged forward until I could see around the trees that came down almost to the water’s edge, and there, just beyond that, there was a dirt parking lot just up a short hill from the beach. There were three cars in it and two old men sitting on a rock, one with fishing gear, the other with a six pack of beer. On the beach were three children and four dogs. The dogs, which all looked like pit bull or pit mixes to me, were dancing around the children, darting in at them. The boy was turning and trying to keep the two girls, who were both somewhat smaller than him, behind him, but with four dogs there wasn’t much he could do to protect them.
I glanced up at the two men; they seemed unconcerned. I glanced around for the dog’s owner -- there was another man up the beach, but he was fishing and not paying any attention either. I thought with acid that it was probably him. And then one of the girls let out a scream that made everyone look. I was the closest to them, and I ran. Running through sand is a bitch, but I made it, hyperventilating and with yells coming out of my mouth, but the dog was still after her. She was crying hysterically and so was the other girl. The boy was reaching for the dog when a second one darted in towards his ankles. He kicked out at it.
All this was happening at once, though as they say, time seemed to slow down. The sun was warm and golden, the sands were sparkling, the water was a dozen shades of blue. I reached the three kids, grabbed the littlest girl, and almost hurled her over my head into a tree, gripping her by one ankle as she grabbed onto a large branch and pulled herself up. Her tears fell unnoticed on my upturned face.
The other girl screamed. I screamed too as I felt teeth clench my calf and try to pull a bite out of me, but I had her and lifted her as high as I could. I felt blood run down my calf and just saw a third dog -- or maybe one of the first two -- come in at me, lunging, jumping. I tried to knock it in the face with my elbow, but he got his teeth in my forearm and shook himself, trying to tear me to shreds. It felt like a crocodile had me. I waited for the death roll, but the boy kicked the dog, and I was able to pick the boy up and lift him into the tree -- thank God for the tree -- and then I fell.