73.9 F
Winter Haven
Monday, June 24, 2024

Latest Posts

The Light Prince: Grail – Tyler’s Journey Chapter 6

The Light Prince: Grail – Tyler’s Journey

by J.C. Alexandre

Tyler doesn’t have an easy life living in a family of success stories. His mother is a doctor. His father is a lawyer. His older brother went to college on an athletic scholarship. And his younger brother always makes the honor roll. Yet the only success Tyler ever had was with video games.

With the start of a new school year, Tyler hopes to turn his luck around. He aspires to make the team and make the grade. He even made friends with the new girl in town, Amber. Will she be able to help him achieve the same success as the rest of his family? He’ll need to overcome temptations from some real losers at school to do so.

*****

Recap: Tyler really wants to make something of himself this school year. He’s determined to join the baseball team and ace his upcoming algebra test. Problem is, he’s not very good at math. So, he’s recruited the help of the new girl, Amber, to tutor him during study hall. Temptation arises when an old friend, Hannah, informs him of someone who has the test answers. Tyler refuses to cheat and chooses instead to study hard. Will his integrity and determination pay off?

*****

Chapter 6Tests, Allies, Enemies

After practicing for nearly a week, Tyler had significantly improved his batting swing. Once more, he stood inside the batting cage to test his luck. This time around, he landed more hits, though he still made plenty of misses. Once more, the machine launched a ball, he swung his bat, and—

“Hey, Tyler!” a familiar voice called out to him.

Missed!

Amber stared back at him through the netting. The loud hum of the pitching machine came to a stop, and Tyler set down his bat.

“Amber,” he greeted her through heavy breath. “Hey! What are you doing out here?”

Amber jabbed a thumb to the arcade building. “My Dad decided to treat Chelsea and I to a night out. We just wrapped up a game of mini golf, and now Dad and Chels are inside playing a round of skeeball.”

“Interesting he would take you two out on a school night,” Tyler replied.

Amber shrugged. “He works irregular hours and shifts. Now was the best night he could schedule something like this, before it gets too cool outside. And you?”

Tyler leaned against his bat. “Baseball tryouts are tomorrow, and I wanted to blow off some steam after today’s math test.”

“You seem like a pretty good player,” Amber said.

Tyler put a hand on his hip. “Thanks. But you need to be better than pretty good to make the team. Hey, have you ever played in a batting cage before?”

Amber shook her head. “I never learned to play baseball.”

Tyler held the bat out to her. “You want to give it a try?”

Amber shrugged her shoulders with a smirk and opened the cage door. “Why not.”

Tyler handed her the bat. She held it over her shoulder and faced the batting machine.

“Do I hold it like this?” she asked him.

Tyler pantomimed the proper way to hold it. “Just raise your hand a little higher—yeah, that’s perfect. Now, keep your eye on the machine and wait for the light.”

He dropped a token into the slot, the machine revved up, and the lights flickered. Tyler once more pantomimed holding a bat.

“Now,” he told her, “the key to landing a hit is to hold it nice and steady and—”

Amber swung and hit the ball clear across the cage. Both she and Tyler blinked in astonishment.

“Whoa!” Amber exclaimed.

“Huh?” Tyler added. “Lucky first try. Not sure if you’ll be as lucky as—”

With another pitch came another hit from Amber, giggling in sheer glee.

“Nice.” Tyler said with a chuckle. “Third time’s the charm.”

Amber swung, missing the ball by several inches as it slammed into the netting.

“Aw!” Tyler uttered through a laugh. “Seems like your luck ran out.”

“This is kind of fun,” Amber said.

“You sure you never played before?” Tyler asked. “Maybe you should try out for the team.”

Amber shook her head. “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m not a fan of sports.”

A sharp wolf whistle made them both crane their necks toward the netting. Tyler rolled his eyes when he saw three familiar faces peering through it.

“Yo, Tyler!” T-Man said with a chortle. “You and your new girlfriend out on a date?”

Amber blushed in response. Tyler’s face also turned red, though not in embarrassment.

“We’re, uh, we’re not dating,” Tyler stammered.

“Like, you must be the new girl, Amber,” Katie said through a giggle.

“Yeah,” Amber replied. “I think I’ve seen you three around at school. And you—” she pointed at Hannah. “You’re in our study hall period. Sorry, forgot your name.”

“That’s okay.” Hannah chewed a wad of gum. “Names are a social construct anyway. It’s a futile attempt to give people meaning in a meaningless universe.”

“So,” Tyler interjected. “What brings you three out here?”

T-Man clapped his hands so loudly it drew the attention of everyone nearby.

“Just wanted to go an invite you two to a party tomorrow night,” he said, flashing two peace signs. “It’s gonna be ballah!”

Katie nodded. “Yeah, like, T-Man is going to be playing with his band and everything. And all the popular kids are totally going to be there.”

“I’m going, too,” Hannah added. “I’ll be in my usual spot: in the corner with a drink in hand contemplating the existential dread of my life.”

“In other words,” T-Man said, “it’s going to be the main event of the century. So—” he pointed to the other two, “you two in?”

Amber cocked an eyebrow, uncertainty clear on her face. “Isn’t tomorrow a school night.”

T-man chuckled and shrugged both shoulders. “Yeah, but who cares?”

“Well…” Amber clicked her tongue. “I would have to ask my Dad, and he’d probably say no, but—”

Tyler held up his hand, his glance steady on T-Man. “Is there going to be adult supervision?”

“Well,” T-Man quickly glanced in either direction. “My parents are going to be home.”

“I know your parents,” Tyler replied. “They’re real loose. Just because they’re at home doesn’t mean they’ll be supervising. And what about drinks? What are you having there?”

T-Man sucked in breath. “You know: soda—and a little something extra.”

“Yeah,” Tyler replied. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass.”

“Same here,” Amber added. “Even if I wanted to go, my Dad wouldn’t let me.”

Katie snorted. “You two still do what your mommy and daddy want you to?”

“The nuclear family,” Hannah said, “is a social fiction invented by capitalists to get us to conform to upper-class white bourgeoise hegemony.”

T-Man could only blow a raspberry and swat his hands. “Ah, well, when you two want to get down with your bad selves, just hit me up at my place tomorrow. You know where I live, and you’re always welcome.”

When the three walked away. Tyler blew a sharp breath and picked up his bat.

“Losers,” he said under his breath. “Am I right?”

Amber cocked an eyebrow at him. “That’s kind of harsh. Rather mean, too.”

Tyler inserted a coin and the machine warmed up. “You heard them. They’re hosting an unsupervised party with alcohol.” He hit a ball that launched at him. “They’re total losers.”

“Well,” Amber said, “obviously, they’re not good, but—”

“But what?” Tyler swung and missed. “It’s bad to call them what they are? A spade’s a spade.”

“Look,” Amber held up her hands, remaining calm. “I’m not condoning anything they’re doing, and I wouldn’t exactly associate with them, but—you still shouldn’t go around judging people like that.”

“Why not?” Tyler swung and hit. “You don’t know them like I do. If you did, you’d understand why I don’t want anything to do with them.”

“Okay, and you’re right to do that,” Amber replied. “But—you know, my momma used to tell me all the time: never go pointing fingers at people, because you only end up pointing three fingers back at you.”

“Yeah?” Tyler asked, before taking another swing and a miss. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means,” Amber answered, “people only go around judging other people for their faults as an excuse not to look at their own. You know, tend to your own business before poking your nose into others’.”

“Oh?” Tyler turned briefly to place a hand on his hip before returning to his game. “And what, exactly, are the faults I’m trying to ignore? I’m not a slacker like T-Man.” Swing. “Or an airhead like Katie.” Swing. “Or a cynic like Hannah.” Swing. “And I’m not as bad as any of them.

Amber folded her arms with a stern look but maintained a calm composure. “No, but you are awfully hard on yourself. And you’re hard on others. And I think it’s only because you’re so hard on yourself.”

Tyler missed one last time and threw down his bat. “I’m only hard on myself because I know I can be better. No one wants to be friends with a loser.”

“That’s not true,” Amber replied. “I want to be friends with you. And you’re not a loser.”

Tyler stood with arms akimbo.

“Okay.” He returned his glance at her, steadying his breathing to calm down. “So, why are you friends with me?”

“Because,” Amber bit her lip and thought for a second. “I guess I’m just a loser as well, and we losers need to look out for each other.”

Silence passed between them.

“I have to get back to Dad and Chels, now,” she told him as she opened the gate to exit. She closed it behind her and made sure it was secure. “If you need someone to talk to, I’m always available to listen.”

She waved as she walked away. Tyler waved back, then picked up his back and inserted another coin.

###

“Tyler’s Journey” is a side-story to the fantasy novel, “The Light Prince Grail.” The story follows Tyler’s life before he and Amber ventured into the fantastical world of Arden. It details his many personal struggles and how they influenced his decisions in the novel. His story will help readers learn more about themselves as they do about him.

“The Light Prince: Grail” and “Tyler’s Journey” are available in paperback and e-book on Amazon. For more information, visit the author’s website at: jcalexandre.com

J.C. Alexandre will also be one of the participating authors at the inaugural Writer’s Block Part and Street Fair, to be hosted on Sat. May 20 in Downtown Bartow. Feel free to visit him and pick up a copy of his books in-person. For more information, visit their website at: bartowcon.com

author avatar
Allison

Latest Posts

- Advertisement -

Don't Miss

- Advertisement -