Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. The Basement: Robbie’s Rite of Passage is my first novel. It is a Suspense/Thriller aimed at an upper Middle Grade/ Young Adult audience (pre-teens & teens). The Basement is a coming of age story about a pre-teen named Robbie and the many issues he faces in his young life (bullying, verbal abuse, alcoholic father, puppy love . . . ) and how the encouragement and support of his mom, friends and neighborhood heroes aid him in the task of overcoming these obstacles. You will feel an array of emotions as you read this novel ranging from indignation and sorrow to laughter and delight, not to mention a bit of thrills and fright.
Please enjoy a chapter from THE BASEMENT, and let me know what you think in the comments below. Your opinions mean a great deal to me and will help me develop further as a writer. Thank you!
Before leaving to go get help, Nestor had cleared away the plants that concealed the well. Robbie and Barney were really beginning to worry. For a while, Robbie and Barney could look up at a circle of blue, but now the sky was somber, and rain poured down in buckets. The sun would set soon, and even the feeble light that allowed them to see each other would disappear. Robbie wondered what would happen if Nestor and the others returned after dark – would they be able to find the well again?
The boys had no choice but to wait, even though the rain did not relent and the water was rising.
“We’re going to need to stand,” Robbie said in a wobbly voice.
Barney nodded—he had also noticed the rising water. He tried repeatedly to get to his feet, but his efforts were futile. He sat rocking back and forth, wincing and groaning in pain.
Robbie passed his hands along the walls to try to find something he could hold onto. His hands came across something he believed to be part of a tree root. He scrunched his brow and pulled on the root to test its strength; it seemed to be anchored securely to the wall of the well.
“Barney, I found something attached to the wall that I can hold onto while I try to stand. It feels like tree roots. Maybe there’s something that can help you get to your feet on your side.”
Barney made efforts to pass his hands over the walls near him, but each twist and bend of his body was like sharp, hot knives slowly entering his flesh. He howled in pain and closed his eyes tightly, clenching his jaw.
“Are you okay?” Robbie asked with a worried grimace etched on his face.
“I’ll be all right.” Barney was breathless. “How about you? Can you stand up?”
Robbie grabbed the root with his right hand and pushed himself off the ground with his left arm, but an excruciating pain in his right leg prevented him from standing. As a consequence, he fell back to the wet ground and into a seated position. He groaned. He knew now he could not lean on his right leg and figured he probably fractured a bone when he fell.
The rain continued to pour, and the water level in the well kept climbing. Robbie bit the corner of his lower lip and made another attempt to get up, gripping the root with both hands and putting his whole weight on his left leg. Doing so, he was able to rise. The effort of standing had made him dizzy, and he faltered off balance. He rested his back against the wall to steady himself. As he tried to move closer to the wall, his foot slipped, and he almost fell again. When he finally got his back up against the wall of the well, he let go with one hand. He stared wide-eyed at Barney, who was almost submerged. Robbie extended his free hand. “Try to reach for my hand.”
“I can’t move. Everything hurts.” Barney grimaced in pain and moaned.
“You have to try. You’ll drown if you don’t! Please try!”
“All right, I’ll try again.” He strained with all his might to reach his hand. A screaming pain shot through his legs when he moved. His right arm throbbed, and his ribs ached terribly. Barney winced and wailed in agony. He began to wheeze as it became difficult for him to breathe. He was in bad shape. Barney moaned and shook his head. “I can’t.”
“Come on! You can do it!” Robbie encouraged him. “The water’s rising fast!”
The water level reached just above Robbie’s knees. Only Barney’s head and his shoulders were above the water. He needed to get on his feet quickly before the water covered him completely.
Barney reached his arm out as far as he could, but he could barely reach Robbie’s fingertips. Robbie’s hand was only eight inches away from Barney’s, but it might as well have been a hundred feet away. It was no use—he could not elevate himself. Even if he managed to reach the outstretched hand, Robbie was not strong enough to support his entire body weight. Barney’s broken legs could not sustain him, so he gave up trying. There was a squeaking, creaking sound when he breathed.
“Barney, don’t give up.” Robbie’s voice was heavy with sadness.
“I’m sorry I can’t get up. I really did try. I gave it my all. I think both my legs are broken and I can’t breathe right anymore.”
Robbie’s heart sank as he heard his wheezing. He bit his lip, his eyebrows drawn in. He wanted to help his friend, but he could hardly help himself. What would Superman do now? was all he could think at the moment.
It was getting dark in the well. The boys could no longer see each other. Robbie’s heart beat hard against his chest. His breathing was fast and shallow. He worried mostly about the water rising above his friend’s neck and drowning him. He lifted his eyes, but it was so dark he could not even see the opening to the well anymore. All he saw was darkness. He decided to pray.
“God, I know you can hear me even from down here. Please save my friend. I know you usually help those who help themselves. Barney did try to get on his feet, but he just didn’t have the strength to do it. Please stop the rain from coming down. Don’t allow my friend drown.”
Robbie closed his eyes while he prayed, although it would not have made a difference if he had kept them open. It was pitch black in the well. He looked up again and opened his eyes. He continued to feel big drops of rain tumble from the sky and mix with his tears.
“Barney, talk to me?”
“I’m still here, buddy.”
“Let’s keep talking to each other, just so we’ll each know the other’s all right.”
“Sure, but it’s not going to be easy for me. Every breath hurts.”
“All right, how about I just check up on you every so often. All you have to say is ‘OK’ or ‘I’m fine.’ Is that good?”
“Yes, Rob-bie, that’s fff…”