Excerpt: Benji’s Portal
Benji’s Portal tells the story of an ten-year-old boy who discovers a portal that allows him to travel anywhere in the universe. Benji Haight and his family recently moved from the city to a small town, and Benji isn’t fitting in well at his school. The kids tease him on the bus, and his only friend is another social outcast who lives nearby.
Benji’s life changes when he discovers an old homestead behind their house. The homestead includes a well, and when Benji looks into it, a mass of swirling stars rises from it.
“So tell me about your day!” Dad suggested,
“Yes, tell him about the kids on the bus,” his mother prompted.
“Okay,” Benji said, reluctantly. “These kids were teasing me about my name. They were chanting, ‘We hate Haight.’ But it was only about a dozen of the older kids, so I just ignored them. Then at school, I kicked a double at kickball, and Tommy said I was really good at kickball!”
“That’s wonderful,” his dad said. “What else did you do today?”
“I went tiger hunting,” Benji began. “Then I found a pond, and I was hunting alligators. I found an old fireplace, where people used to cook alligators. Then I found an old bottle, and I was going to bring it back to show you, but I forgot because of the stars.”
“The stars?” his mom asked.
“Yeah!” Benji continued, excitedly. “There was a well near the pond, and it was full of water. And I looked into the water and all these stars came up from the bottom. They looked like the Milky Way, and they were just swirling right there in front of me! It was really cool.”
“Hmm,” his dad said. “And this happened while you were hunting alligators?”
“Well, yes,” Benji said. “I mean, I was pretending to hunt alligators. Everyone knows there aren’t any alligators around here. Or tigers either.”
“But there were stars in this well?” his dad asked.
“Yes, Dad,” Benji confirmed. “I can show you if you want. I’d like to take you there.”
Benji’s mom gave his dad a knowing look, and then turned to Benji.
“You know, Benji,” she said, “wells can be dangerous. If you were to fall in, you would drown. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go back there without one of us with you.”
“Mom,” Benji protested, “I’m not going to fall in. Besides, even if I did, which I won’t, I can swim, remember?”
“But no one would know where you were,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to come help you.”
“Your mom is right,” his dad said. “It’s best that you stay away from that well. Maybe one day you can take me there and show me what it looks like. But until then, play somewhere else, okay?”
“Okay,” Benji said, sadly. “I’ll stay away from the well.”
Of course, Benji doesn’t stay away. He soon discovers that the well is a portal, and that he’s the only one he knows who can operate it. Thus begins as series of adventures on alien worlds. But the old homestead also has ties to their family that none of them yet realizes. Benji’s ancestors were driven out of town because the residents feared they were witches. And they’re pretty sure that Benji and his family are witches, too.
Benji’s Portal is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.