Sacred Ring is a young adult novella due to release around Valentine's Day. In this excerpt, Kynan and his friend Michael plan to stir up trouble on the school field trip.
The annual school trip to the shrine was something Kynan had been looking forward to for weeks. But not anymore. Usually learning about Ireland’s saints was a favorite pastime. Today it was a painful reminder of his parents’ stupidity. When his best friend Michael Connell slid into the seat beside him on the bus, he didn’t even notice.
“Hey, butthead.” Michael’s voice jolted him back into reality.
Kynan glanced up at him and scooted closer to the window, giving him some room. “Hey,” he replied flatly and turned his gaze back on the view out the window.
“Look what I brought,” Michael said, seemingly oblivious to Kynan’s distance. He pulled a small plastic bag out of his school satchel. Kynan looked at what Michael held which contained about a dozen snap noisemakers. He raised an eyebrow and smiled.
“Where’d ya get those?”
“My Uncle Joseph. Well, I snuck one out of each box, so he wouldn’t notice. Thought we could toss a couple out of the window and scare the wick outta the peds.”
Kynan suddenly had a wicked idea. He knew it was wrong, but he felt this need to do something bad. “Okay. And maybe we can save a few for the shrine.” A haughty and mischievous grin curled across his lips.
Michael’s eyes grew wide. “The shrine?” he whispered, his voice quiet. “I don’t know. We could get into a lot of trouble – and it’s a holy place. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He carefully slid his treasure back inside the bag.
“Come on, Mike, nobody will know it’s us. Think of the laughs!”
Michael didn’t answer. Instead he crammed the plastic bag down further in his satchel and wrapped both his arms around it, hugging it to his chest. He slid down in the seat and propped his lanky knees up on the back of the seat in front of him as the bus rumbled into motion.
Though there was plenty of chatter and laughing on the bus, Kynan and Michael spent the ride in silence. Neither looking at the other.
Looking out the window, Kynan watched the buildings fly by in a blur. The way to Whitefriar Street Church was familiar. It would only take a few minutes. Just long enough for Kynan to get lost in his mental replay of the conversation with his parents from the day before.
A repetitive thumping on the seat in front of him caught his attention and he glanced up to see who could be so annoying. It was Brianna Collins. She was smacking her gum nonchalantly and drumming her fingers on the top of the seat. Her long strawberry blonde hair was already falling out of her loose ponytail. “What’s the matter with you two?” she slurred through her gum, popping a small bubble on her tongue with a loud snap.
“Bug off, Brianna,” Kynan mumbled. Her clear blue eyes danced with temper. Usually Kynan enjoyed making her mad. The instant flush of red in her cheeks and the fire in her eyes made his stomach do flip flops. But today, he just wanted her to leave him alone.
“You’re such a jerk, Spud. I was just making conversation.”
Usually he didn’t mind the nickname, but today he cringed as he heard it. He didn’t want to be reminded he was a Murphy. “Well, don’t. If we felt like talking, we’d talk to each other.” He elbowed Michael and rolled his eyes.
Michael chuckled. He elbowed Kynan back, leaned his head down and reached to his eyes. When he lifted his head again, his eyelids were flipped up. Michael crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out at her. Kynan burst out laughing. Brianna snorted in disgust.
“You guys are so immature!” She flopped around in her seat and faced the girls in the seat in front of her.
Michael reached into his bag and pulled out a snapper. Using his satchel as cover, he threw it hard on the floor under Brianna’s seat. A loud pop resounded in the enclosed bus, setting off a chain reaction of girls’ screams and squeals.
Kynan and Michael put on their best innocent expressions and pretended not to notice anything had happened when Brother Leroy stood at the front of the bus and demanded to know what the trouble was. Brianna shot a scorching glare over her shoulder at them.