PW #233: Middle Grade Mystery: A TALE OF TWO ROLFS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Kevin Springer
Mentee Name: Erin Fry
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 53,000


Two years ago, twelve-year-old Rolf Malus was imprisoned inside a book by his aunt. Since then, he’s been forced to relive her tale as an insufferably boring boy, whose only friends are three obnoxious kids next door. Now, Rolf has one chance to tell his real story. He needs your help to escape, or he’ll be trapped in her story forever.


Chapter One

The Wolf

Rolf clearly remembered the night he first heard the wolf.

On a cool evening, he huddled on the steps of the cluttered front porch, watching the pale outline of the rising moon. His grandmother hummed along with the radio as she sat in a rusted aluminum chair, guzzling root beer from a long-necked bottle.

“Where’s my parents?” he asked softly.

She’d glared at him with eyes the color of rust. “Are. Where are my parents.”

Rolf hugged his knees tightly. “Where are they?”

Grandmother’s eyes drifted toward the sentinel-like trees that lined their property.

“Gone.” She’d stood abruptly, her chair groaning as it slid across the rough wooden boards. “Nowhere around here. And we’re all better off for that.”

She slung her bottle toward the woods. Rolf flinched as the glass hit a tree and shattered. Behind him, the screen door creaked open and slammed closed, leaving Rolf alone with the moon, the woods, and his thoughts.

Later, he lay on his thin, lumpy mattress, staring at the shadows on his ceiling and wrestling with Grandmother’s words. Nowhere around here, she’d said.

He yawned and absently rubbed the pendant that hung around his neck. If his parents weren’t here, he thought, it might mean they were somewhere.

As he closed his eyes, a wolf’s howl echoed from deep in the forest. Warmth washed over him like a soft blanket as he drifted off to sleep.


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