Although Ryder is the protagonist of the Demeter Series, two of the most interesting characters in the series are Debbie, Ryder’s younger sister, and Cynthia Flores. They are strong characters and evolve as central to the plot of the entire series, and in Debbie’s case as comic relief. One of my favorite passages in the first book gives a sense of what is to come. Ryder has been beaten up by the class bully at a school dance. Enjoy the reaction of Debbie and Cynthia.
Ryder noticed Barry’s pointed-toe cowboy boots as one came flying at his stomach. The connection knocked the wind out of him, and he could hear the laughter cut off. That was the last moment he was aware of the surroundings for the next several seconds. Repeated blows came to his face, back, and stomach, depending on how he turned to avoid further contact. He was starting to fade in and out when a chaperone (he thought) arrived and broke up the “fight.” The throbbing pain started to overcome him. “That didn’t turn out so well,” he mumbled as he threw up, then passed out.Ryder wasn’t sure how long he was out, but he was still on the floor in the same position, so it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. As shapes started to come into focus, he was wishing he was still unconscious. The throbbing pain was starting in. He’d felt pain like this before. When was it? Oh yes, when he fell out of that tree and cracked a rib. But in this case, he couldn’t make up his mind which hurt worse, his face or his back or his ribcage. Yup, that same cracked rib. Ryder wondered whether the rib was cracked or broken this time. Meanwhile, it felt like someone had gone over his face with a hammer. No, that was cowboy boots, wasn’t it? he thought.
With his vision back into focus, he saw Mr. Small standing over him in an almost protective crouch and trying to check his pulse at the same time. There was some sort of altercation going on beyond his vision, and screaming, he thought.
“Mr. Small, I’m alive,” Ryder croaked. He realized he must have been kicked in the throat as well.
“We’re calling an ambulance. Lie still.” Mr. Small was using his reassuring voice.
“I’m fine.” Ryder tried to get up, but the throbbing made it easy to relent to Mr. Small’s severe look.
“Come on kids, the show’s over. Back away. We need some air here,” Mr. Small commanded.
The crowd seemed to disperse quickly as there was something else going on just out of Ryder’s vision. Finally, he was able to make out something that made him wonder if he was delirious. Debbie seemed to be flying in circles and he caught glimpses of Cynthia swinging just below her. Suddenly, Debbie seemed to disappear, and there was a great deal of laughter. Ryder thought, I must really be fading. Maybe I’m dying. Then he heard another sharp voice. Was that Mrs. Peterson?
“Get off him you two!”
There was an abrupt screech. Ryder had never heard anything quite so terrifying in his life. It sounded like…well nothing Ryder could imagine. Then his senses came to him quickly. Barry was obviously beating up Debbie. The adrenalin kicked in, and Ryder rose to his feet, holding his side. What he saw made him start to chuckle. His ribs just couldn’t take it. Barry Hales’ voice could now be heard distinctly yelling, “Get them off me! Get them off me!” Mrs. Peterson seemed to be taking her time removing Cynthia and Debbie from Barry, who was now collapsed on the floor. Debbie had two handfuls of hair that had apparently belonged to Barry in her clenched fists. Ryder saw a glaring bald spot on one side of Barry’s head. Cynthia’s foot was retracting from one of those spots guys just don’t like to think about getting kicked. Ryder started to laugh, then spluttered, “Oh no,” and fell unconscious to the floor.
This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of Demeter. The first couple of chapters can be read for free on the Amazon site for the book. Again, Enjoy.