As I write this, I’m sitting in my local library’s Young Adult section, glancing over the many books that line the shelves, in complete awe because very soon, my name will be right there along with some of my favorite authors. My book, X5 is being released on August 30 and I can’t even begin to describe the emotions running through me right now. This is a dream come true, to be able to write a story, and share it with others, see my name on the cover, see the words that I wrote printed there on a page.
It’s been an incredible journey.
During the writing process, I discovered that one of the hardest parts of revision, is letting go of the passages you love for the sake of crafting a better story. For me, this is particularly true because the final version is so different from the way it began. One of the toughest decisions I made was to get rid of the first prologue I wrote. It shows Travis having one of his first visions, one that is referenced in the final book, but didn’t really have a place there. I’m proud of it though, and so I’m giving you the “Deleted Scene” to enjoy today.
X5 – Deleted Scene
Travis squirmed out of his mother’s arms, which was harder than it should have been given he stood six inches taller than her. “Mom!” he grumbled. “I’m thirteen. That’s too old for hugs!”
As he finally extricated himself from her grasp, he caught a glimpse of her pout. “You’ll always be my little boy,” she said. “I love you.”
Worried that he’d hurt her feelings, he bent and planted a quick kiss on her cheek. “Love you, too.”
Her smile made her whole face light up and Travis couldn’t help returning it. “Now go to bed,” she said. “Tomorrow is a school day.”
Travis argued for a few minutes because he couldn’t give in too easily, but the truth was that he was tired and looking forward to sleep. He quickly shed his clothes and pulled on his pajama pants before crawling into his bed. It wasn’t long before he drifted to sleep.
Travis walked along the sidewalk several paces behind his mother, trying to catch up, but never getting closer, and he grew frustrated by his inability to move faster. She glanced down at her watch, then reached into her purse and withdrew her phone as she neared the intersection. The wail of a siren echoed between the tall buildings and when Travis turned his head, he saw police cars tearing up the street in front of him, pursuing a truck weaving across the lanes of traffic, and headed directly for the intersection. When he looked back, Travis realized that his mom had begun crossing the street, her attention on the phone in her hand, oblivious to the impending danger.
“Mom!” Travis screamed. “Stop! Mom!” But he couldn’t hear his own voice, only the deafening roar of the sirens, followed by tires squealing and then a sickening crunch. Travis stared as his mother’s body bounced off the hood of the truck, flew into the air and landed on the pavement, limbs bent at odd angles. As the people around him began to rush forward, no one seemed to notice him screaming.
With a jolt, Travis woke up, sweat pouring down his head and his heart racing. The overhead light in his room flashed on and he squeezed his eyes shut against the brightness.
“Travis? Are you okay?”
At his mother’s voice, Travis opened his eyes, blinking while they adjusted to the light. She came and sat on the edge of the bed. He could still faintly smell her perfume, and the familiar scent soothed his nerves a bit as she pushed his hair back from his forehead.
“Mom?” His voice was hoarse and had a small quaver to it.
“I’m here,” she said, her voice soft and calming. “I heard you screaming. Did you have a bad dream again?”
Travis touched her hand to reassure himself that she was really there. A dream. It had just been a dream, but it had seemed so real. He swallowed with some difficulty and nodded, unable to speak.
“Why don’t you go have a drink and then try to get some more sleep?” his mother suggested. Travis nodded again. She smiled and kissed his forehead. “I love you, Travie.” The old nickname brought a smile to his face. He watched his mom as she stood and then left the room.
Swinging his legs over the side, Travis stretched his arms before he trudged off to the bathroom, where he gulped down some cold water. When he returned to bed, he lay awake for the remainder of the night, afraid of falling back into his dream.
School the next day was difficult because Travis couldn’t stay awake. His eyes drooped and his head bobbed downward every so often before he’d jerk it upright and attempt to focus on the lesson. He felt relieved when the secretary buzzed into his second period class asking him to bring his things and report to the office. Though the request was odd, Travis was glad to be out of class.
As he approached the office, he saw the principal standing and talking in hushed tones to two uniformed police officers. Travis felt an uncomfortable clenching in his gut, and constriction in his chest, especially when the three turned toward him and he saw the look of pity in the principal’s eyes.
“Travis,” she said as she placed a hand on his shoulder. “These officers have come to drive you to the hospital to meet your father.”
A huge lump had formed in Travis’s throat, but he managed to choke out, “Why?”
“I wish I didn’t have to tell you this,” she said, her voice trembling. “There was an accident this morning.”
Travis closed his eyes and saw the image of his mother’s body lying broken on the street. He thought he knew what was coming next.
Being a socially awkward geek with anger management issues has made Travis Armstrong an outcast, but on top of that, he has visions of the future. Not that he can tell anyone, except in an anonymous online forum. When he takes a chance and meets with another group member, he winds up at The Bunker, where everyone is like him, and where, finally, he feels like he belongs.
Tara Gage has been at The Bunker since she was thirteen years old. Even among the residents there, she’s unique, and her special talents lead her to discover that The Bunker is not the safe haven it seems to be. She’s determined to escape and get back to her family.
When they each have visions of the other’s death, Travis and Tara know they have to run. With their captors desperate to get them back, they must rely on each other to get away before their visions become reality.
Release Date: August 30th from Evernight Teen
Diana Stager never met a book she didn’t like. An avid reader from a very early age, she discovered she loved writing her own stories down. She dreamed of being able to write a book, but more sensible ambitions shoved that dream onto the back burner. Over the years, she dabbled with the written word, but always had difficulty finding the right story. Then, one day the light bulb went on, an idea was born, and the rest is history (so cliché but so true).
Diana lives in Southwestern Ontario, Canada in a house full of books. In the space that’s left, are her husband of 13 years, two children, a cat, and a fish, all of whom are adorable. Well, maybe not the fish. It’s kind of creepy actually. She’s an elementary school teacher, who loves music and art, and even plays the flute in a community band.
Find Diana here: