When eleven-year-old Cody’s too-busy-to-care parents break another promise, he decides to break one, too. He and his dog venture into the woods for the first time and discover an underground city with crystal caves, slugs-and-bugs soup, and new friends with awesome abilities like reading minds and seeing visions.
My parents stink at promises. That’s why I was racing across the grassy dog park with my golden retriever, heading to the woods. I’d decided for every promise my parents break, I get to break one, too. And after what happened this morning, they owed me one.
Title: Ratman’s Revenge
Genre: upper MG urban fantasy
Word Count: 74,000 (and trimming)
Eleven-year-old Cody is sick of his divorced parents breaking their promises so he breaks one, too. He ventures into the woods for the first time and discovers an underground city with crystal caves, slugs-and-bugs soup, and new friends with awesome abilities such as reading minds and seeing visions.
Best. Home. Ever.
Cody tries to fit in by helping his friends find the Detectors, the people who warn the city of dangers. The Detectors are disappearing, leaving the city vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, and invasions by deadly beasts.
But his search takes a dangerous turn when a stinky man-sized rat attacks him, and Cody has no idea why. At first, Ratman’s smelly claws reaching for Cody’s throat is only an illusion in Cody’s mind. But the same gag-so-bad stench surrounds Cody when an invisible force pushes him down the Devil’s Mouth hole, roasts him with a hot crystal, and tries to drown him in the river. And that makes Ratman way too real.
But Cody won’t break his promise to his friends. He focuses on Ratman as he learns meditation and develops visions of the freaky fur-face. From these, Cody suspects Ratman is controlling the minds of the missing Detectors. Now Cody is determined to use his visions to hunt down Ratman and stop whatever the whiskered weirdo is plotting in time to save himself, the Detectors, and his new home.
My parents stink at keeping promises. So I decided for every promise my parents break, I’m gonna break one, too. And after what happened this morning, they owed me one. That’s why I was racing across the dog park with my golden retriever, heading to the woods.
As Sandy and I darted past the fake fire hydrants, she didn’t even stop to pee. Maybe she knew today was different. I stared at the woods ahead as I ran. The trees huddled together like giant aliens, studying us for some crazy experiment. The leaves flickered in the breeze as if a million green fingers were reaching out, begging us to come inside.
This was gonna be so cool.
Mom’s warning blared in my head. I mean it, Cody,” she’d said every summer. “It’s too dangerous. Gangs and drug addicts hang out in those woods. You’re never to go in there. Understand? Never.
Mowed grass turned to tall weeds as Sandy and I got to the edge of the woods and stopped to catch our breath. This was the closest we’d ever been. Sweat dripped down my face and I wiped it with my Green Lantern t-shirt.
My friends were gonna be stinking jealous if I went in without them. Sure, Matt and Zach were probably swimming in that freeze-your-toes-off lake at camp right now. Lucky turds. The only water I’d get to swim in this summer was in the bathtub. But this time, I’d have the best story to tell when they got back.