I, Steven Morgan Carter, being able to read and write, would like to give my stuff away if I die. After what happened this morning, I had to be sure the right things would be done, just in case.
My little brother, Justin, can have any of my toys he wants. Mom can have my clothes and pictures. Dad can have my video games. Andy, my best friend and the only one who understands Doorstep, can have him. And the red wagon we pull him around in. Pieter can have his checker board back, even though he’s been dead for five hundred years. I’ll tell you how to find him in a minute. ***
Everything started this morning. Dad was working on the computer and Mom was helping Justin with a school project. So I grabbed a donut and ran out the door. I cut across two yards to reach Andy’s house. His house is the smallest one on our street, and usually pretty messy. Not from Andy though. Mostly from his Dad. He doesn’t cut the grass or take out the trash, so his mom has to do everything.
I knocked on the back door and went in. I think Andy’s Dad must’ve been working. He’s a policeman. Sometimes he works double shifts.
“Andy’s upstairs. Would you like something to eat?” Andy’s mom asked. Even if someone didn’t know it, they’d guess that she’s a nurse. She’s always trying to take care of things.
“No thanks, Mrs. Turner.” I ran upstairs to Andy’s room. The whole house can look like a bomb exploded with papers and bottles everywhere, but Andy’s room is different. He cleans his own room. Puts everything he owns in piles or containers. He doesn’t like posters on the walls. He likes to hang up class pictures. I would too if I looked as good as him. He may be on the short side, but he’s got nice blonde hair. A lot of girls in Miss Donnelly’s class giggle when they’re around him.
Andy was sitting on the floor when I walked in. He had a bunch of tools spread out around him. He’s been collecting this stuff since the second grade.
“Let’s go to the old Kruger house!” I said. I hadn’t been there since school started a month ago. This would be just the break I needed from Miss Donnelly. She’s always inking up my work, and I can hardly read anything she writes. Going to the Kruger house would make me forget about school.
“But I just got these new screwdrivers.” Andy was busy sorting them. Sometimes I call him Handy. Handy Andy. He’s my best friend. He’s good at fixing things, reading books, picking noses, and scratching butts. His own, that is.
“Come on! You can do that later.” I said.
Andy looked at his Deluxe Micronic Steel Screwdriver Set then looked at me. “Okay. Just give me a sec.” He put everything away nice and neat and then we ran out the house.
We had to cross over two corn fields and one long patch of woods to get to the Kruger house. No-one’s lived there for a long time. It’s falling apart all over the place. Each time we go there, it looks worse and worse.
“You sure it’s not haunted?” Andy said when we got there. He always says that.
“Yeah, right. You gotta stop believing the older kids.” High schoolers think they can scare us. And I really wanted to see inside the house this time.
“We come here all the time. It’s time to go in. Let’s go.” I looked at the doorway and then at Andy. Andy’s afraid of ghosts, and deep-down he believes the high-schoolers.
“You first.” Andy said.
This was my cue. So I started pointing back and forth. “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo. My mother stepped all over your mother’s toe. If she kicks you, let her go. Eeny, meeny, miny, mo!”
“You’re ‘It’!” Andy shouted.
“All right.” I rolled my eyes. If Andy hadn’t been my best friend, he would’ve been bordering on the weenie category.
The Kruger house had a small porch. There were vines hanging off everywhere-the roof, the floor, the posts. They looked like creepy green spiderwebs. Big, rotting holes covered the wooden floor.
The door was brown, with gray peeling paint. It was half open. That was the tempting part. If it had been all the way closed, we never would have gone in.
*** notice how that sly little sentence just slides in and leaves you wanting more? You've almost forgotten it but it's there, in your brain, whispering "read on, read on".
My only quibble with this is that I don't think boys notice appearance in a way that "nice blond hair" indicates. Most boys I know who are that age (a very very small number in fact) seem to judge how "tough" they each are. I'm not even sure they know the word blond, let alone nice.
This is one of the hardest things about writing kids books in first person--getting not just the voice, but the actual words right.
I'd read on though; diction is important but I can fix that if I had to.