by Leigh Dunlap
When the Halifax siblings arrive at Lexham Academy, they don't seem any more or less odd than any other students. They have more important things to do, however, than take exams or find dates for the prom. They have aliens to kill. With the help of his sister Izzy and brother Rom, Farrell Halifax has to stop an escaped alien and save the Earth --- though that's hard to do when the captain of the basketball team is after you and you're falling in love with his cheerleader girlfriend --- who may or may not be an alien herself. Halifax is a teen Torchwood meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer --- with a little bit of The Breakfast Club thrown into the mix.
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We're lucky enough to be able to share with you an excerpt from Halifax. Enjoy!
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Farrell and Izzy scurried around the house. They began stuffing things into bags, tucking whatever useful items they needed, whether they looked useful or not, into whatever they could carry. Rom, meanwhile, turned his attention to the mother. She still had a smile on her face. She beamed at Rom and he looked away. He couldn’t take it.
“What seems to be the problem?” she asked him. He just shook his head sadly.
“Goodbye, Mother,” he said as he hugged her, wrapping himself around her waist. “I’ll miss you.”
“What seems to be the problem?” she said yet again.
“Let’s go!” Farrell yelled at Rom as he ran back into the room, bags on each shoulder.
Rom reluctantly pulled himself away from the mother. He opened a drawer on the bureau in the hallway and pulled out a Magic Eight Ball. It was a children’s toy. It was like a large plastic eight ball from a pool table with a small window at its base. You asked it a question and it displayed an answer in the window, as if it had some kind of magical, eight-ballish psychic powers.
“Will I ever see Mother again?” Rom asked the Magic Eight Ball as he shook it. He turned it over to reveal the answer printed on a triangle floating behind the small window on the ball. The message read Don’t Count On It.
Rom put the ball in his backpack, which was black and white and shaped like a penguin. It had a friendly, smiling penguin face and a nose that squeaked when you pressed it. He headed for the back door, pausing for a moment to take one last, longing look back. Mother stood in the hallway, her arms on her hips and her head cocked slightly. She was still smiling. Smiling at her little boy. She looked like the perfect mother. Rom averted his eyes, keeping his head down, as he rushed out the back door and slammed it behind him.
Farrell and Izzy and Rom scrambled up the hillside behind their house, climbing up above the cul-de-sac. They pushed aside dried scrub brush and slid through the dirt, finally making their way to a fire road overlooking the neighborhood. From this vantage point they could see all the cloned houses and the network of roads that wound around and around, connecting identical street to identical street, past identical mailboxes in suburban bliss. Roaring through the neighborhood, though, overtaking sensible mini-vans and screaming at top speed, were a squadron of police cars, sirens blaring. From every direction they converged on the cul-de-sac.
Police officers climbed out of their cars, guns raised, and slowly began to surround the house as the kids looked on from their perch on the dry hillside.
“It’s time to go, Rom,” Farrell said.
“Do we really have to?” Rom asked as he reluctantly removed the Magic Eight Ball from his backpack. He looked down at it and rolled it across his palm. “I like it here. It’s a good place to raise a family. Nice and wholesome and…leafy…”
“Now, Rom!” Farrell yelled at him, right into his face.
“Fine!” Rom yelled back. He held up the Magic Eight Ball and looked down at its small screen. The message on it read Outlook Not So Good. Rom reluctantly pushed his thumb down onto the screen. It gave way like a button being pressed and suddenly their house EXPLODED! It exploded into a giant fireball. The police officers hit the ground and covered their heads as burning pieces of wood and insulation and, yes, pieces of the mother, fell around them.
Smoke drifted up the hillside as Farrell turned to Izzy and Rom. He hadn’t even flinched when the house exploded and he wasn’t at all concerned about the chaos below --- the burning house, the panicked officers and the approaching fire trucks.
“Izzy, we need a new house,” Farrell said to them. “Rom, we need a new mom.”