The Mael is a standalone science fiction novel for ages 9-14. It doesn't contain vampires, wizards, kids with psychic powers, or superheroes. It does contain monstrous aliens, horrible torture, and acts of desperate heroism. This may be a dystopia, but they're certainly not playing games. More
The summer seemed to last forever. There was the park to play in, and the river to sail on. There were trees to climb and ruins to explore.
But then, when you were 12 years old, you were taken away to fight the Mael. Huge, monstrous aliens. The most ruthless enemy man has ever faced.
Few soldiers returned alive. Most were killed in battle, or tortured horribly on a distant, hostile world.
Alex knows his duty. He knows he must fight, and scream, and die.
For what is one boy's death, against the survival of a whole species?
THE MAEL is a standalone science fiction novel for ages 9-14. It is guaranteed to contain no vampires, wizards, kids with psychic powers, or superheroes! 50,000 words.
The entire playground seem to plunge a meter. All the students flinched. There were cries of shock and fear. Even the teachers ducked.
A second later a terrific explosion sounded, right overhead. Alex’s stomach wrenched downward, making him gasp for air. The trees around the edge of the sports fields whirled angrily, spinning up leaves.
Soundless cries, lost in the booming noise, and pointing arms among the frightened children. Alex found himself pressed against the schoolhouse wall, driving his fists in his stomach and staring up. His breath heaved in his chest.
It came blasting out of the sky. A massive jagged shape, hurtling over the buildings. All along its underbelly, the mouths of its gravity drives crackled with violet sparks. Its wings and vanes were like cruel hooked noses. There were the open slots of missile silos along each side. Behind it the air was smeared with rainbows. Black smoke billowed from a tear in its hull.
In seconds it had plunged across the sky, low down between the school and the houses, and disappeared behind the shallow hill that separated the school from the river.
Immediately a squadron of their own small ships whizzed after it through the ugly-looking rainbows of its wake.
The ground began to roll wildly. The school gates screeched on their hinges. Cracks shot across the playground and scrabbled at the red brick walls. There was panic among the students.
Alex felt a hand grab his arm and whip him around. It was Tom.
“Come on!” Tom hissed.
“Where?” he whispered back.
Tom darted a look up at the teachers.
“It’s after the bridge. We can’t see anything here.”
Alex’s eyes widened. The ground continued to shudder. He couldn’t move.
“No,” he murmured. “Tom, I can’t.”
“Don’t be stupid. Of course you can.”
“No, Tom, I—”
“Look, Alex,” Tom said fiercely. “Either you come with me and be a man, or you stay here and cower with the other children. What’s it going to be?”
“Stay then. Be a coward like all the rest.”
Tom set off at once, crouched down and weaving through the crowd toward the school gates.
Alex stared after him. He forced himself to leave the safety of the wall, to move two steps toward the gate, to try to stop him.
At that moment there was another explosion, even louder than the others. It echoed between the buildings. The whole school seemed to clutch closer toward the ground.
Tom ducked through the gates. Alex glanced back and saw Mr. Grieve turning in their direction.
Mr. Grieve’s gaze caught Tom, disappearing out the gates. Then his eyes swiveled and locked on Alex, crouched a few meters away. A grim look was on his face. He began to stride toward him.
Alex straightened. At once he was racing for the gates. His shoes skittered over the gravel dancing on the playground. Flinging himself out, he pounded after Tom.