This is my first attempt at writing a chapter book for teenagers.
Chapter 1: BirdsEye
Ivy Wilder twisted a strand of her chestnut brown hair between her middle and index fingers as she gazed out the window of the second-floor classroom. Raindrops ran down the streaked glass at a pace that seemed out of sync with how slowly the afternoon was passing. Ivy doodled in the corner of her notebook and absentmindedly watched the computer screen of the boy in front of her who was practicing code online. Neither one of them was listening to the 9th grade geometry lecture.
An alert banner appeared on her phone.
BirdsEye :: Congratulations User 801,478,291 you have increased your ranking
Ivy swiped it away and unlocked her phone. The video she had uploaded yesterday of a waitress spilling an entire pitcher of iced tea down a woman’s back was doing marginally well. She hadn’t even meant to film it. She was actually scanning the oceanfront scenery with her BirdsEye app hoping to capture a panorama of the horizon when she had been distracted by an outburst of laughing at the café table behind her.
Camera still on her forehead, as required by app submission rules, she turned around just in time to film the loud laughing woman throw her hands up in the air and knock a tray holding a pitcher of tea right out of a passing waitress’ hand. The pitcher’s contents splashed all down the woman’s back whose laughter quickly turned to squeals.
Though not her fault, the waitress began a series of clumsy apologies as the soaking woman hopped around in disbelief. Ivy had stopped filming then. Delighted with her video gold, she had uploaded it to the app immediately and its ranking had increased her standing by over one million in less than a day.
She idly swiped through the video feed on the app, and upvoted a few she thought were cool. She scrolled through some of the top ranked videos from the past few months. One of them was a video that Katy had filmed. Katy would have liked Ivy’s video of the iced tea spill, but Katy had been different lately – different as in, not around.
She and Ivy had been close for a few years, but over the summer she had become progressively unresponsive. Sometimes, the only time Ivy knew what she was up to was by watching her BirdsEye posts and even those were becoming less and less familiar. One of Katy’s highest ranked videos was of a stormy night up at Inspiration Point. The video was completely dark and the rain was beating down in a loud, unending torrent when suddenly there was a deafening crack of thunder and lightning lit up the sky just as a huge pine tree cracked from its base and crashed down across the mountain road. The video was unbelievably shot, timed just perfectly, and had received millions of votes on BirdsEye.
Ivy was impressed with Katy’s ability to capture such a perfect moment on camera, but also curious about the shoot. Inspiration Point was at least a four hour drive from their town and Katy hadn’t mentioned she’d be going up there. But stranger still, was that Katy was out in the rain at night, as though waiting for the tree to fall. She wasn’t particularly a daredevil, or lover of danger, and up until this summer, she hadn’t been that invested in the BirdsEye app at all – just a simple butterfly landing here or a cannonball pool splash there. Ivy wanted to ask Katy when she became so hooked on posting to the app, but Katy had been avoiding her texts and calls, and now she rarely even saw her around school.
Ivy was watching another of Katy’s videos (a brown bear scaling a thin wooden fence and pacing around the back porch in an unsuspecting neighborhood – also a very highly ranked post) when the bell rang and all the students started shoving their books into their bags.
Ivy tapped the boy in front of her who was closing down his computer. “Is there homework?”
“Yes. There’s always homework. You should have paid attention.”
“Come on, Jake!” she whined, “I try. It’s just so boring. Just tell me what the homework is.”
“I have to go,” he shrugged into his jacket, then rolled his eyes at Ivy, “Fine. I’ll send it to you later.”
“You’re the best,” and Ivy slung her backpack over her shoulder and headed for the grassy area between the school buildings.
As she made her way down the stairs, she looked over the railing into the school office and saw two policemen inside talking with the secretary. There was a crowd gathering around the glass windows of the office as curious students pried their way toward the door. The secretary led the officers into a closed room, but the crowd outside grew larger still.
Ivy made her way over to the office and packed in with the other students who were murmuring among themselves. Someone had died. A student. A girl. How? Not sure yet, just found her body in the Deerwood Valley Park. Missing for a few days.
Ivy elbowed her way all the way up to the office door until she was standing right next to a short blonde girl with a frozen look on her face.
“Who is it?” Ivy asked her, “Who did they find?”
The girl turned slowly toward Ivy with a solemn look and whispered, “It’s Katy Fenton.”
You can read Chapter 2 here: https://letterpile.com/serializations/Congratulations-User-Number-One-A-Teen-Fiction-Book_Chapter-2
© 2020 M Butler Stone