UnEnchanted, страница 1
(An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 1)
4th Edition, 2013
Copyright © 2012 Chanda Hahn
Photo by Jorge Wiegand
Cover model Paulina Godoy
Editor Bethany Kaczmarek
Cover design by Chanda Hahn & Steve Hahn
To Richlie Fikes
Because you always asked me what was going to happen next…
Thank you for downloading this ebook.
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Table of Contents
About the Author
Not all Fairy Tales have happily ever afters.
Some just have afters.
Today I saved Brody Carmichael’s life!
Mina penned the jubilant words into her blue spiral notebook with her favorite ballpoint pen. She faithfully used the same pen when writing all of her entries in the hope that it would change her luck and she could write something good in her notebook—like today. Mina stared at the words written before her in her sloppy script and felt a pang of guilt. She started to close the notebook but paused in thought. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t seem…truthful. With a heavy hand and a heavy heart, she added in parentheses next to her previous entry:
(Today was also the day I almost KILLED Brody Carmichael).
Feeling slightly better about telling the truth, she closed her notebook, titled “Unaccomplishments and Epic Disasters,” and tucked it in her dresser drawer with a sigh.
Nothing in the world ever went right for fifteen-year-old Mina. She was always late for class, her homework usually looked as if it had spent the evening being a chew toy for a pit bull when she didn’t even own a dog, her long-time crush didn’t know she existed, and she frequently spilled chocolate milk on herself whenever she became nervous. Mina was certain it was because she was the magnet for all the bad, terrible, and so-so luck that existed in the world. So she kept a notebook hidden in her unorganized sock drawer to prove it.
All of these events had turned her into a cynic, especially since yesterday morning had started out like any other event-filled, disastrous day.
She dreamed she was flying. She was much more graceful in the air than on the ground, where her feet always seemed to be tripping her up. But her peaceful dream was interrupted by the loud banging and crashing of thunder. She was no longer flying…but falling.
“Ouch! What the…?” Mina cried out as she landed painfully on the mismatched oak floor of her bedroom. She had fallen out of bed. Struggling to untangle herself from her sheets and comforter, Mina saw a pair of feet poking out of blue Toy Story pajamas next to her head.
“Charlie, what are you doing?” she mumbled, still wrestling with her sheets.
Charlie, a young and solemn boy of eight, pointed toward her clock, which was blinking 12:00 p.m. In his hands, he held a pot and wooden spoon. The power must have gone out again, which was a regular occurrence for their city block.
“What time is it?” she asked, feeling dread build, knowing that today she was going to be late…again.
Charlie held up one hand, pinching his ring finger and thumb together to sign the number seven.
“Charlie, how could you have let me sleep in so long? I’m going to be late!”
Charlie answered by shrugging his shoulders and banging on the pot with his wooden spoon. She knew that it wasn’t Charlie’s fault; she was a very deep sleeper. Her mother, Sara, said that she was harder to wake up than Sleeping Beauty. In Mina’s case, though, there was no Prince Charming to rescue her from her snoring, and with her horrible luck, there never would be.
Jumping up, Mina grabbed what she hoped was a clean pair of jeans from the pile of clothes that littered her floor and slid into them. Silently she thanked her mother for never giving in to her request for skinny jeans; otherwise, her dressing time would have doubled. Next, she shoved her feet into her favorite Converse All Stars, bending the backs in the process.
She picked up a blue zippered hoodie and gave it a cursory sniff before deeming it clean enough to wear. She ran her fingers through her long brown hair, attempting to tame the stray locks, which were the same boring color as her eyes. She tried to force a winning smile onto her face, but it slid into an awkward grimace.
Giving her brother a quick kiss on the head, she ran into the small and dated kitchen, and grabbed her backpack from the breakfast table. Turning, Mina heard a rip as the backpack clung stubbornly to the back of the chair. The chair won, and the shoulder strap ripped off the back of the bag, causing all of her books to crash to the floor in a heap.
Sighing, she threw each book back into the bag and did her best to hold it shut while she scoured the kitchen drawers for safety pins.
Sara Grime walked into the kitchen with a quizzical look on her face. She was dressed in her work clothes, tan pants and a blue polo with a stitched outline of a feather duster and smiling mop. Sara worked for Happy Maids, cleaning homes so she could afford the tuition to send Charlie to a private school. Their mother worked long hours without ever complaining, which was why Mina never allowed her to enter Mina’s pigsty of a room.
“Mom, did you sign my permission form?”
“What permission form?” Sara asked distractedly, sliding a raspberry Pop Tart into the toaster.
“For today’s field trip. To Babushka’s Bakery, remember? I gave it to you last week.”
“Oh, honey.” Sara wrung her hands. “Don’t you think it would be better if you didn’t go on the field trip? You know how clumsy you are. What if something should happen to you?”
“Mom, I have a paper to write on today’s trip, and it’s worth a quarter of my grade.” Mina had finally found a few safety pins in a junk drawer and was fumbling with them to reattach the strap to her backpack. She knew they didn’t have enough money to buy another one. She would have to make do with a quick mend.
“Well, maybe you could do some extra credit instead?” Sara asked.
“Mom, I’ll be fine. I’ll stick to Nan like glue, and you won’t have to worry about me. It’s just a boring bakery tour. What could possibly go wrong, other than death from boredom?” Mina saw the look on her mom’s face and knew that she had won the argument…barely.
Going to a stack of mail by the fridge, Sara sifted through it until she found the folded yellow permission form. Signing it, she handed it to Mina with one last warning. “Just promise me you’ll be careful.”
“I will,” Mina promised, knowing it was a half-truth. She would be careful, but bad luck had a habit of following her everywhere.
Charlie shuffled into the kitchen still wearing his pajamas, plus a striking pair of bright yellow galoshes. Sitting on a slightly dented chair, he pulled one of the boxes of cereal toward him and began his morning routine of combining random cereals into one bowl. Today he chose only Franken Berry, Chee
The toaster released her Pop Tart and Mina grabbed it in midair, wishing she hadn’t as she began tossing it back and forth in her hands until it cooled. Once it had cooled enough, it went into her mouth while she slipped on her temporarily fixed backpack and darted out the door to grab her bike from the landing.
The Grime family lived in a small rented apartment above The Golden Palace, a Chinese restaurant run by Mr. and Mrs. Wong. Mina loved living above the restaurant, unless she forgot to close her window the night before; then all of her clothes would smell like peanut oil. To make up for it, Mrs. Wong gave Mina all the pot stickers she could eat.
Mina carried the bike down the stairs to the sidewalk, nicking the paint from the wall on the way down. She had a love-hate relationship with the bike. Last year, on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, she thought she was being led outside blindfolded to be presented with a car. Instead, she got a red 1950 Schwinn. The bike was old and scuffed, and it needed new brakes, oil, and tires, but she didn’t care.
Once she got over the disappointment and realized how unrealistic a car would be on her family’s budget, she began to love it. The bike allowed her some freedom. Besides, if Mina’s riding ability was any indication of her driving ability, then the world would have been in for a lot of dented mailboxes.
Swinging her bike onto the sidewalk, Mina waved to Mrs. Wong and barely missed colliding into an old lady walking her gaggle of toy poodles. “Sorry!” she yelled, losing a chunk of the Pop Tart she was still holding in her mouth. She watched in disgust as the poodles, who only moments ago had looked cute and cuddly, morphed into snapping, sugar-crazed dogs. The lady stared in shock as she tried to get control of her wild, pampered babies. Mina shrugged apologetically in response.
Ten minutes later, after cutting through two back streets and riding across three neighbors’ backyards, Mina arrived at a schoolyard that was devoid of human life, giving her the undeniable impression that she was tardy. She left her bike by the bike rack, but without a proper kickstand, it sagged pathetically to one side against the nicer, newer bikes.
Running toward the bus barn, she was relieved to see the field trip bus was still there—until it pulled away from the curb.
“No!” Mina yelled, running after the bus, trying desperately to catch the notice of the driver.
A window slid down, and a familiar blonde head popped out with something silver in her hand. “Mina, you really need to get a watch,” the girl shouted.
“Nan! Tell him to stop!” Mina cried, feeling a stitch begin in her side.
“And a cell phone! You really need to be brought out of the dark ages. I could have called you.” The girl just kept talking, impervious to Mina’s desperation and waning stamina.
“Nan! Snap out of it! Stop the bus!” she screamed, huffing and puffing.
“Oh, right!” The blonde head popped back inside. A moment later the bus slowly decelerated and pulled to the curb.
Out of breath and slightly limping from the side stitch, Mina finally boarded the first steps of the bus. The bus driver gave her an indignant look; this would probably delay their arrival, and he was a stickler for being on time. She ignored him and stepped to the front row, where her teacher was sitting, to hand him her permission form.
“You really should have been on time,” Mr. West commented. His balding head glistened from the heat of the already too-warm bus.
“I’m sorry,” Mina answered quietly. “We had a power outage.”
Mr. West looked over her permission form and then nodded for her to take a seat. Walking toward the back of the bus was like being in a bad slow-motion dream. She had no choice but to be the recipient of twenty-some odd stares.
Ducking her head and sliding into the seat next to Nan, Mina poked her in the side in revenge. “That’s for making me run for so long.”
Nan grinned, showing perfect white teeth. Today she wore an “I