Jun 8, 2014

QK Agent Round: (MG Fantasy) Guerrilla Geek

Entry Nickname:  Guerrilla Geek
Title: Ellie and the Arborites
Word count: 4
Genre: MG Fantasy


No matter how many times twelve-year-old Ellie Emerson tells herself that trees and genetics are not cool topics of conversation, that’s kinda all she’s got.  She’s seen so many eye-rolls that she can’t even force herself to look anybody in the eyes anymore.  And the best defense against bullying she’s come up with is to pretty much stop talking altogether.  It’s gotten so bad that the “friend” she hangs out with after school is an old chestnut tree she’s named Cassie (short for its Latin name, Castanea dentata).  Sure, trees are great, but a few real friends would be nice.  Ellie just has no clue how to even start.

But when Ellie’s out hiking in the woods behind her house and discovers Arborites, little green-haired, bark-skinned elves born from the seed of a tree, she gets her chance.  A tree-loving science-geek is exactly what they need.  Trees and Arborites all over the forest are mysteriously becoming sick, and they think Quercus Supreme, leader of the Oak Arborites, is to blame.  Rumor has it he’s genetically engineering insects and diseases in a secret laboratory to get rid of anyone who’s different.

The Arborites must find out what’s going on and come up with a way to stop it, but they can’t do it on their own.  If Ellie can learn how to look the Arborites straight in the eyes, find her voice, and let her geek-flag proudly fly, she might not only save lives, but also learn how to make friends.

First 250 words:

Ellie’s favorite tree was lying on the forest floor in a tangled heap.  The only branch still covered with the yellow leaves of autumn waved in the breeze like it was signaling for help.

I should’ve stayed with her during the storm.  There had to be something I could’ve done.

“I’m so sorry, Cassie.  But hey, everything’s gonna be fine.  I promise.  Just like always,” she reassured the majestic century-old chestnut tree.  “Wanna read some more Gulliver’s Travels?  Or I’ve got a new book, Remarkable Trees of the World.  There’s like a whole section on ‘Trees in Peril.’  Maybe some interesting treatments for forest diseases and insect infestations can cheer us up.”

Ellie grabbed her backpack and unzipped the main compartment.  As she reached inside for the book, she noticed dozens of ants crawling up her sleeve.

“Eww,” she yelled, her eyes popping wide.  She flicked the ants off and ran her hands up and down her body, straining to look at her backside, just to make sure there weren’t any more.  And that’s when she saw the massive army of black ants marching along the fallen trunk.  No, no, no, no, no.

“Shoo, get off,” she shouted.  “She’s not some rotten log for you to nest in.  Show some respect.  Leave her alone!”

She pulled off her sneaker and beat them like she was trying to put out a brush-fire.  Squished segmented bodies with wiry legs were scattered everywhere, but it did nothing to scare off the new arrivals. 

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