IMAGINE THIS: Middle Grade Space Adventure

I’m starting a new blog project … posting the openings of short stories I’m working on or have recently completed! This week’s opening is for a middle grade adventure story – a SPACE adventure story!

My name is Cinnamon Chou and I’m a detective.

Okay, I’m a kid, but I’m going to be a detective when I grow up. Just like my dad. For now, I’m practicing on the easy stuff. You know, like lost full-spectrum goggles (“They’re perched on top of your head, Master Engineer Wyandotte”), missing red silk slippers (“Got ‘em, Mrs. Abrega! When was the last time you cleaned under your bed?”), or my favorite, The Case of the Missing Inarian.

What’s an Inarian? I’m glad you asked.

An Inarian is a warm-blooded denizen of the planet Inaria. They’re cute and cuddly and definitely don’t meet the standard of intelligence necessary to classify them as sentient. Reading through my datalinks on old earth biology, I’ve decided they’re pretty similar to hamsters. They make great pets, but they’re about as bright as deep space with no stars in sight.

My best friend, Lando Maxon, has an Inarian named Dumpling. When Lando woke up that morning, he discovered that Dumpling had managed to escape from his habitat. Inarians may not be smart, but they can wriggle out of places you’d swear were tightly sealed.

Normally, a Dumpling escape wouldn’t merit my intervention as a detective. Lando would just set out a bowl of Dumpling’s favorite treats and wait for his pet to get hungry. But today was not a normal day. Today Lando and his family were leaving the space station and returning to Centauri Three, their home planet.

That’s one of the real bummers about living on a space station. Sooner or later all of your friends move away.

Of course, the up side is that new friends cycle in constantly.

At least, that’s what my mom tells me every time a close friend leaves for a distant star system. Dad says Mom is an optimist. He’s right, but so is she. By the time I grow up and take my place in the Universal Star League, I’ll have friends in so many star systems I’ll need my own database just to keep track of them all.

Back to Dumpling. I was eating breakfast with Mom and Dad when Lando pinged my link. “Lando Maxon,” my link announced.

Mom frowned at the link on my wrist. “Not at the table, Cinnamon,” she said, using her duty officer voice. “You know the rules.”

I swallowed a mouthful of protein-rich, calcium-enhanced syntho-juice, wiped my mouth on a recycled napkin and said, “But Mom, Lando is leaving the station in less than six hours. If I don’t answer him, I may not have another chance.”

Mom glanced at Dad, who nodded.

“Very well, Cinnamon,” she said, “Your father and I will make an exception this time. You are dismissed.”

I grabbed a slice of replicated toast, jumped out of my chair, and dashed for the door. I didn’t want to give Mom time to reconsider.


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