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Hiro Loves Kite
Frankie Comes Home…
Paying for a hot dog in pennies and dimes is embarrassing. Being two pennies short and having the hot dog stand guy take pity on us was completely humiliating. We’re skinny. I just hope the Kings haven’t eaten everything we had stored away.
Without Kin and Keeps, there’s been a little more to go around. My shoulders sag. Now there are more mouths to feed. My fingers scrape the insides of my pockets, searching for a coin that maybe got snagged in the seams. If I turn them inside out, I really will look like a street urchin. I’m the pirate who opens the treasure chest, finds he’s been beat, and opens it again just to rub it in. I snort.
We wait for a large crowd to head for the subway and melt in. Frankie’s eyes are as wide as a sliced moon as we weave and duck. Eyes on each other, hands gripped tightly.
Kite pushes Frankie’s head under the turnstile as I pay with our last coin. She presses her back into me. The smell of faint perfume, the last of her old life, and salt, the new, coming from her hair. As I reach around her to push the stile, a two for one, her breath catches. I let my hand rest on her waist for a second. Let myself imagine we’re a couple on our way home from a shopping trip, and then it falls like so many un-granted wishes into a fountain.
Leaning close to her ear so she can hear me, I hold my breath, thinking inhaling any more of her sweetness may actually kill me. “Ready?”
She nods. Her cheek brushing my lips.
We take our route to the secret door. To the home we now share like kids playing house, only far too real.
Frankie, to her credit, rolls with the punches. Punch one: Hot dogs instead of roast beef and gravy for dinner. Punch Two: Cheating our way through the subway. Punch Three… I knock on the King’s door, and Krow answers. He looks us up and down, slick and distrustful for a moment, then breaks into a grin. “Kettle! Kite!” he shouts. “Kettle and Kite are home.” He stares at my hands. When he sees there’s no food—only a suitcase—he quickly looks away. But there’s no hiding his disappointment.
Frankie squeezes her way through the doorway into the vast, abandoned subway tunnel. My home. My refuge. And now hers. Blinking, she stands on her tiptoes. Lip in teeth. “Holy hell!” she shouts, and several Kings look her way.
Kite flushes pink, then taps her sister’s shoulder. “Frankie!” she chastises. “Language.”
We step inside, and Frankie swings her head from side to side. “I mean tank you, holy hell.”
We both chuckle, eyes connecting over the top of her head.
Punch three: “This is where we’re going to be staying for a while,” Kite’s voice chases after a galloping Frankie as she jumps from bed to bed. She is the spokes of a traveling star. She is the light you can’t catch.
Frankie doesn’t hear her, and Kite runs to catch her sister. I drag the case inside, plonk it on Kin’s bed. Now Kite’s to share with her sister.
Finally, Frankie stops running and presses a palm to her chest as she wheezes. Kite rushes to her, and she puts both hands on her sister’s shoulders. “Are you okay?”
Punch four is for me, and I feel it sock me right in the guts. As I watch them, I know. Like really know that I would do anything to help them. They are instantly and permanently part of this family. And it scares me.
by D.L. Jung
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Action-Adventure
Release Date: February 2018
"There was a time when flying didn't mean looking over my shoulder for death coming at me."
World War II. June 1941. Hitler's war machine turns to the Soviet Union.
Escaping her hometown ahead of the Nazis, 16-year-old Aelya Makarova seizes a chance to live her dream. Obsessed with flying, she joins a women's fighter squadron to defend her homeland against the invaders. She'll go faster and higher than she's ever gone before.
But the harsh reality of Air Force life shatters her expectations and forces her to grow up fast. The squadron is split by petty rivalries, male pilots treat them like a joke, and the ideal country she thought she was fighting for doesn't really exist.
Finally given a chance to prove herself in battle, Aelya is pushed to breaking point. With all her talent, the help of her comrades, and a lot of luck, she might just make it through. But will there be anything left of her humanity?
With fast-paced action and a heart-rending mix of humour and tragedy, Sparrow Squadron is an adventure novel for young adults that brings an overlooked episode of history to life.
About the Author:
DL Jung has been an enthusiastic student of history since grade school, when he spent lazy afternoons flipping through an old Encyclopedia Britannica set. He enjoys blogging about history and writing historical fiction. He also writes fantasy and horror fiction as Darius Jung.
Jung is married, with two children, and lives in Toronto, Canada. They are lucky enough to spend part of the time in New Zealand. Outside of writing, he has tried stints as an industrial engineer, a film and TV script supervisor, an IT consultant, a professional game show contestant, and a grossly under-qualified business wear model. Sparrow Squadron is his debut novel.
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