Carlie Simonsen's Dear Tiger is a young adult science fiction story told in a series of letters written by Simone Michaels. Simone’s parents are exploring another planet and she’s stuck in boarding school when things go terribly wrong.
“Dear Tiger, this has been the best day ever… but I lie.”
Simone Michaels is in trouble, but she doesn’t know how deep. Her letters to old friend, Tiger, reveal that her parents are missing, and that she is afraid she’ll go missing, too. When her parents’ employer takes her in, and takes care of her education and living arrangements, she is drawn more deeply into the mystery. Simone keeps her secrets as best she can, including the secret of the mysterious box her parents sent before they disappear, but she is just as afraid of opening it, as she is of the company discovering its existence. Does it contain the only clue to what really happened to her parents, or does it contain her doom?
Dear Tiger is the first book in the Letters Across Space series and is now available from Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iTunes and DriveThruFiction.
First Chapter: Dear Tiger
From: Simone Michaels, Alpha Centauri Home Room, Losandro’s Interstellar Academy, Mail Bag 4029, Galmon Mail Center, Emerald Moon, Tychon
Date: 22 Landing 3049
Today was a great day, well, as good as any day gets when I’m stuck here on the moon, and mum and dad are away. I hope the expedition goes well for them, because, once the base camp is set up, I will be able to stay with them form the school break. They write to me often, and I am so looking forward to seeing them again.
Actually, I’m lying. It’s been a terrible day. Mum and dad haven’t written to me for almost three months. Even with the time lag in sending messages, that’s too long—and today, when I was in the middle of a practice test, out headmistress, Mrs Coleman, came to the door and spoke to my English teacher, Mr. Ross. I saw them look at me, and then old Rossy shook his head, and they looked at me again. It was freaky.
It wouldn’t have been so bad except that Rossy asked me to stay back after class.
He said I had to see Mrs. Coleman after lunch.
I’m so nervous, Tiges. I keep trying to think of something that I might have done to get into trouble, except that I know that it’s nothing I’ve done. You see, in the dorm we draw straws to see who has to go and spy on the mail room at recess, and today it was me, and today I saw a really big parcel come in.
I could have ignored it, except that it was put in my home room’s mail basket, and I knew I’d cop rays if I didn’t find out who it was addressed to. I waited until the sorters had gone. You know how they stop for a short break about ten minutes after we do. When they’d all left, I raced up to the basket and took a quick peek at the parcel.
I got all kinds of goosebumps when I saw it was addressed to me.
I don’t think it’s from mum and dad; the packaging is too official. It frightens me. You see, Tiges, it’s happened before. Kids receive official-looking packages, and then they disappear. Their stuff gets taken from the dorm, and they’re never heard from again. I don’t want that to happen to me.
I took the parcel, and I hid it in the bottom of my travel trunk, at the back of my locker. I figured if no one knew I’d received it, then no one would want to make me disappear. I really don’t want to disappear, Tiges.
I like it here. It’s been hard to be away from mum and dad for so long, but it’s been better than being dragged from one frontier world to another with only the computer for a teacher, and whatever whacky life-forms living on the planet for friends. It’s not as good as seeing new places all the time, but at least I’ve got real friends now, and in some ways that’s better.
I know you didn’t like it here, but that’s where we’re different. You like the whacky life-forms, and the computer teachers, and no one interrupting you. I like meeting people, and getting to know them a bit better, which is why I’m so scared of what that package might mean.
I don’t want to move again. I don’t want to leave all my friends behind.
I don’t want anything to have happened to my mum and dad.
And, Tiges, I’m afraid that something bad has happened to them. I’m afraid that this parcel carries some really bad news.
Oops, gotta go. There’s a prefect at the door.
I’ll write you again soon, Tiges.
END FIRST CHAPTER
If you would like to read more, Dear Tiger is now available from Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iTunes and DriveThruFiction.