Mom was going to kill him when she got back from the store.
Elliott Hippleforte sat back from the kitchen table and stared down at the size 4 sneaker that rested, glaringly empty, on the floor. His little brother’s foot had formerly filled it- attached, of course, to his little brother. Only seconds ago Toby had occupied that very spot, being as dirty and loud and as real as only little brothers can. The five-year-old boy had just exploded through the back door, one hand waving a trowel and the other closed tight, excitedly yelling for Elliott to come look at his find. But as he extended his grubby fist toward Elliott, mouth wide open in mid-holler, Toby suddenly just- wasn’t.
A tiny wisp of sour smoke rose up, smelling faintly like Toby’s feet. Elliott rose from his chair, his math homework forgotten. As soon as he picked up the sneaker an object rolled out into his palm. At first Elliott thought he held in his grasp one of Toby’s marble collection. They were always rolling underfoot no matter how many times Mom picked them up. He noticed that one side of the small sphere glinted a shining brown circle flecked with gold, giving it a strange illusion of depth. As Elliott looked closer, a disturbing thing happened.
The thing twitched. It rolled slightly in his palm. And it looked back.
He yelped and dropped the eye. It bounced twice, then rolled, coming to a stop in the middle of the floor. Elliott slowly backed up until the backs of his knees hit the chair and he sat down with a thump. What was that thing? And where on earth was Toby? Mom was not only not going to believe his story, but she was also going to seriously freak out.
He pictured his mother now- she had always been pretty, but lately she looked so tired. Earlier this afternoon his mother’s face had seemed even more weary and drawn than usual over her neon pink beautician smock. After a ten hour shift at The Curl Up and Dye Salon she had come in the front door, tiredly dropped another couple of bills onto the pile on her desk, tiredly asked the boys about their day, and tiredly- and fruitlessly- searched the freezer for something to cook for their supper. Then she had headed for the Piggly Wiggly. Dad was gone- he had left yesterday for another extended trip for work. Every summer and winter he left for two weeks to scour the European countryside for antiques to sell in his shop, Conrad’s Curiosity Emporium (Elliott’s mother referred to it as a junk shop, though never where Dad could hear). Elliott had overheard Mom and their neighbor, crazy old Mrs. Hossleberg, talking about the bi-annual trips over coffee just last week. Mom had told her that she thought they were completely un-necessary, that he didn’t bring home anything that couldn’t be found at a yard sale up the street, that Dad’s head tended to float along after any passing cloud while hers had to stay right here on the ground, along with all the responsibility. Of course, Mrs. Hossleberg had given her a wise look over those half-moon glasses she wore and a very Mrs. Hossleberg-like response: something having to do with fate and webs and following your own thread. She often said weird things like that- Mom said it was because she had Romanian blood flowing in her veins. Apparently her great-grandmother had been a gypsy. She certainly had a big enough collection of turbans to back that theory up, he reflected.
Anyway, he couldn’t add to Mom’s worries. Just this past year she had finally started trusting him to babysit Toby. And even that was only for short periods, like while she ran to the grocery store or the post office. Anything longer, she still asked Mrs. Hossleberg to look in on them. No, Toby had been his responsibility: Elliott would find him himself.
Hmm. Maybe he should call 911? He pictured himself trying to explain his brother’s disappearance to the operator: yes ma’am, he disappeared in thin air, right in front of me. Just left a sneaker and an eyeball, no, not one of his, thank goodness. No, scratch that idea. He sighed and wished Nicholas Sparkleberry, his best friend were here.
This is a first page. Start with a specific action or problem.
Example: Elliot's younger brother disappears in a puff of smoke in front of his eyes. Mom's at work; Dad's off carousing with Eurotrash; what's a lad to do. Can he keep them from noticing till he figures out where the soon-to-be-seriously-sib-smacked little pest is hiding.
Then give us what the dilemma is. Then the antagonist.
You might have a good story here but it needs to be whipped into shape.