I'll start with the last. Today I'll post the beginning of a YA novel I began in 2015 and hope to finish in 2016. The title is Addie's Exile.
Chapter 1. Banishment
“I didn't do it!” My cheeks burnt. “Why do you keep asking me where it is? How many times do I have to tell you?” I faced Ms. Lee across the scarred wooden desk in the tiny office she occupied as the secondary school principal.
“Now, see here, Adina. I jes wanna be sure. Tha's all.” Her voice was placating, but she wasn't smiling.
I sat down heavily on the straight-backed chair, crossing my arms to hold myself together. “I didn't do it.” The bare ground visible through her grimy window caught my eye. It hadn't responded to the futile attempts by my classmates to coax vegetation. Not surprising when rain couldn't penetrate the glass dome enclosing our village. Only a few fruit trees remained here.
“Well, someone did. Six hoes don' disappear. If you din' take 'em, who did?”
I lifted one shoulder. “I don't know. You always blame me whenever anything wrong happens. Everyone does.” I couldn't keep from raising my voice, or from wondering how someone so illiterate could be heading the school.
“Don' be such a smarty pants. And it's never you?” The old woman's earlier gentle manner was gone. “You 'spect me to believe that?” She glared at me.
“Yes, I do.” I felt like cringing but instead I stood again and faced her, arms folded over my chest, my voice became shriller with each sentence. “I didn't take Mrs. Stern's watch. It showed up in her drawer. I didn't break Mr. Tortino's window. Stell admitted doing that. I didn't send nasty messages to Lurie Mills.”
The woman shook her gray head. “You're a troublesome chile, Addy Hinger.”
“No, I'm not. Not on purpose.” So why did everyone make me feel like I was?
“What, it's all accidents? You know we can't tol'rate even accidents in here.”
“Things happen and you all blame me. Why? What do you all have against me?” Ever since my father was exiled and Mama passed, they never let up.
“Don't know what we should do with you this time.” She tsked tsked.
I swallowed hard.
“Well, c'mon. Commander Kenly won't wait forever.”