Gripping Local Read – Tommy Weaving Series!
Hello avid readers!
Many a times, indulging in a great book is a fantastic way to kickback and relax for the evening..
Now, I am extremely excited to share this gripping fantasy series written by our local author – Yang Kah Choon!
The best part, Book 1 (Tommy Weaving and The Mysterious Parchment) and Book 2 (Tommy Weaving and The Adventures at Sea) are both released at the same time so that you can get more of the exciting development!
Here’s a little teaser for our Book 1 – Tommy Weaving & The Mysterious Parchment
Chapter One - First 2 Pages (Sample)
The Magical Chair .
On a starry night, while many were watching their favourite television programmes in their cosy living rooms, a boy was scouring stubborn stains on the floor of a flashy restaurant.
The boy’s lungs were pumping, as if all the air was trying hard to force its way out, as he scrubbed the tough stains determined to stay on the fake marble floor of the restaurant.
The boy was Tommy Weaving, twelve years of age, a bit skinny and looking as though his spirit had just been put into a foul-smelling prison cell at that moment.
His head was covered in dust and spider web from the cleaning work underneath the over-decorated tables, making his jet-black hair look mouldy and chalky. With sweat and dirt smearing his otherwise fine-looking face, his normally brilliant hazel-brown eyes looked empty and dull from the work that was threatening to wear him down.
Tommy and his parents had moved to Great North Road only a few weeks ago in their family station wagon, which was so dilapidated that it could easily convince anyone it was scrap salvaged from a junk yard.
With holes eating through the soles of their shoes, his family had flitted around a great variety of places for a number of years in several countries, where his father had worked. It had been nearly a year since they returned to New Zealand. They had moved to different parts of the country, with Tommy’s parents hoping to find better jobs than the ones providing them with below average incomes, but were still left searching.
The travel expenses had aggressively drained his family finances to an alarming level, haunting Tommy’s parents into settling in a place fast before their options were totally flushed away.
That meant Tommy’s family had to reluctantly settle into a shabby old weather-board house with wonky floors and doors, together with a new hefty home mortgage they had obtained from a private moneylender as a last resort. Saddled with an impressively wide selection of personal loans, Tommy’s parents could only take out a loan from a private moneylender instead of a regular bank.
The private moneylender, after learning that Tommy’s parents were overloaded with many other personal loans when he granted the mortgage to them, behaved more and more like a loan shark. He came every few days to remind them not to miss even the first monthly instalment on their mortgage, or they would have to face the prospect of living in their old family station wagon, with their luggage piled dangerously high on the roof of the vehicle.
Left without much of a choice, Tommy’s parents had to let their only child take on part-time work at the restaurant after school, since they had already worked to the point where they could feel weariness marching well into their bones, yet were still barely keeping up with the family expenses.
Their home mortgage was the most burdensome. Coupled with the monthly interest, it was growing speedily like weeds in the wild.
Tommy’s boss, Mr Martin Lawrence, owned only a moderate fortune but was keen on associating with very wealthy people. His ‘ostentatious’ restaurant had been given several makeovers, with as many fake and cheap sparkling decorative materials as he could afford, so that he could fulfil his desire of outshining the middle-class neighbourhood he was in. He had lived in this area for a long time, and had a gift of ascertaining fairly accurately who the truly desperate job seekers that came to him were.
He had a near-perfect idea of the situation Tommy’s family was marooned in after barely a minute into the first conversation with the boy. He moved to further grasp the extent of Tommy’s plight with his usual speedy background check done expertly on him the following day.
Therefore, he knew he would have the upper hand in making Tommy work considerably harder with excessively low pay. Tommy’s boss was a middle-aged man with a big belly. In fact, nearly every part of his body was big, and his fat head with a huge double chin easily gave others the impression that it was simply mounted on top of his shoulders—hardly any neck could be detected.
Mr Lawrence was fond of shiny stuff, which he thought would be particularly good for his restaurant’s image and would bring him great fortune, even more than his big head could imagine. His big eyes had noticed that many shiny things tended to be high-value items, like jewellery.
Therefore, besides keenly making his restaurant sparkle noticeably, he often spent an excessive amount of time turning his clothes and shoes into.. (to be cont)
Chapter Two- First 2 Pages (Sample)
Departure of the Old Man
Tommy gasped at the mention of the wizard’s extraordinary old age. He had heard of some very old trees that could live for hundreds of years, or close to a thousand years, but he had never realised, even in his wildest dreams, that someone could live for so long. The old man noticed the astounded expression on Tommy’s face and chuckled.
‘Yes, he was very old, but he looked like he was only about eighty years old then. I had quite a shock at knowing his age too. The duels he was involved in took place about a thousand years ago. I guessed he wasn’t an ordinary wizard, but I didn’t ask too much about that, since he didn’t seem keen on discussing it in detail, and he looked extremely tired after performing the charm on my rocking chair.’
The old man looked up from Tommy’s face, and through the gaps in the canopy of trees, he stared at the silvery moon shining softly in the calm night sky, recalling how similar it was to the night he had met the old traveller.
Speaking heartily, the old man added, ‘I had a very enjoyable conversation with him on that night, because it’s been a very long time since I last had a pleasant chat with anyone.’
The old man dropped his gaze to look at Tommy and said with sheer pleasure in his voice, ‘That was a wonderful time. He told me a lot of stuff that I hadn’t been aware of and I truly regarded him as my best pal. During our conversation, I asked him why he was travelling around and not resting in a safe place.
‘He told me he was trying to contact some of his fellow wizards again, and most importantly, he was searching for someone he had been told about by his grandmother when he was very young. He briefly revealed to me that the person would save the old kingdom he was from, as it is still cruelly ruled by an evil and mad lord.
‘However, he wasn’t certain where that person would be and didn’t even know if he had been born,’ the old man paused, shrugged and continued slowly, ‘well, if you ask me, I’d say that it would be a hard job finding someone under those circumstances, not even knowing if he was born yet. It was definitely a tough mission...very tough.’ The old man shook his head as he pondered over what he had said. Tommy shared the concern, shaking his head as well.
‘Oh, where was I...yeah, I got it...he told me he was on a search mission; and considering the fact that he was my best pal, I volunteered to help. However, what he did was to give me a scroll of old brown paper, telling me it was a very precious ancient parchment. He said that by leaving it with me in this suburb, according to his last calculation, it would help him accomplish his mission of seeking the person out, even after his approaching death. I couldn’t really understand what he wanted me to do, but he told me there was nothing further he could say, only indicating that we should leave things to fate, and then his face became stone calm.
‘Soon after, he just went straight to the room I had prepared for him, all the while looking deep in thought about something important. The next morning, before leaving, he stared at the rocking chair so intently as though all his hopes were pinned on it, and that was the last time I ever saw him.’ The old man raised his head, looking grimly at the shining moon, recalling the very last moments he had with the old traveller.
After staring at the moon for a short while, which somehow diluted the feeling of missing his old friend, the old man faced Tommy again and continued, ‘After that, the rocking chair kept me company. It really made me feel terrific as if I had gone to a wonderful world. Whenever I rocked in it, happy thoughts and feelings flowed like pretty pictures and beautiful songs in my mind, taking away the loneliness and grievances that usually haunt my life. My personality was no longer considered bland by many, and I started making more friends.’
‘Wow! What an amazing story about your charming chair. But, how did this special chair get damaged?’ Tommy asked, his eyes glinting keenly at the old man’s tale.
The old man gave a long sigh and replied in a sorrowful tone, ‘Soon after my rocking chair had become my closest companion, some people in this suburb discovered that I had a chair with magical charming powers and became very interested in it. They sent someone over trying to play hardball by making a lousy offer for it, thinking they could force me to sell my chair by behaving aggressively, but I flatly rejected their offer.’
‘Oh! So, they retaliated against you?’ Tommy blurted out anxiously.
‘Yes, and it was nasty.’ The old man’s answer came with a nod and an agonised look. ‘Several days after I’d turned them down, they found an opportunity to sneak into my house while I was out and tried to steal my chair, but.. (to be cont)
Chapter Three- First 2 Pages (Sample)
The Game from the Ancient Parchment
In reality, Tommy did not expect to gain anything from the parchment; however, in order not to disappoint his elderly friend who was currently looking at him with burningly hopeful eyes, Tommy smiled understandingly and said, ‘All right, Mr Johnson, I’ll be glad to receive your gift, and I hope you’ll embark on your tour with no worries, only joy.’
Mr Johnson was overwhelmingly glad to learn that his special gift was accepted; immediately, he led Tommy through a crowd of guests and then to his bedroom, where he unlocked and relocked the door, leaving himself and Tommy alone in the room, cautious not to let anyone else get wind of what he was about to do.
Reaching under his bed, he pulled out an old suitcase, from which he took out something that looked like a roll of paper carefully wrapped in discoloured, brownish-grey cloth.
He tenderly unrolled the old tattered piece of cloth on his bed, exposing the ancient parchment within, and instantly, a light mist suffused with dim golden rays pervaded the room, accompanied by faint images floating within the mist.
The whole experience was surreal. However, Mr Johnson did not seem to notice it, and when Tommy asked him about the strange but beautiful spectacle unfolding before them, he just answered blankly as if nothing had happened and merely busied himself putting the suitcase back under the bed. The tableau before Tommy was wonderful, but he could not be sure of what it was or meant.
Soon, the light dissipated and the room returned to normal. Mr Johnson emerged from under the bed, behaving as though nothing unusual had occurred, picked up the parchment and handed it to Tommy in a manner of deep sincerity.
When Tommy held the parchment in both hands, an inexplicable sense of fascination tinged with nervousness overcame him—it seemed he was holding something that was not totally unfamiliar to him, even though he could have seriously sworn that this was the first time he had ever laid eyes on it.
Passing him the old cloth to wrap the parchment with, Mr Johnson smiled pleasantly at him and said, ‘Well, Tommy, from now on, the parchment will be entrusted to your care. Thank you very much again for all you’ve done for me. My dearest friend, my rocking chair and I shall forever remember and miss you wherever we go. Please promise to look us up if there is an opportunity.’
‘Of course, I will. I believe we’ll meet again, but for now, I’d like to wish you a successful journey with your good pal, Rocking Chair.’ Both Tommy and Mr Johnson laughed mirthfully in the room, for what had recently happened to Mr Johnson was a dream come true for him.
Finally, they exchanged a hearty farewell hug on this very last night before the departure of Mr Johnson. Tommy left the party after bidding farewell to his elderly friend, who was quickly besieged by many of his guests curious to know more about his impending tour. Mr Johnson left early the next morning with peace of mind, knowing he had left the ancient parchment in the care of a new trustworthy owner—Tommy Weaving.
Besides having an energy-draining part-time job at the restaurant which often wrote off a great deal of his joy, Tommy had been pushing himself hard trying to cope with his studies as a transfer student, since he had enrolled late and was hence saddled with a mass of school work that needed catching up on in his second year at Patterson College, an educational institution in the suburb with a reputation among top schools for its academic achievements.
Fortunately, the tower of school work had not reached the level to make him scream, as he had been able to get through pressing deadlines for his assignments, with help from a small troop of classmates, for whom Tommy had agreed to make or fix wooden toys in return.
In the same class as Tommy was a boy, Peter Marshall, who was frequently enthralled by Tommy’s impressive craftsmanship in toy-making and repair. Peter had thick, lustrous, blond hair and sparkling blue eyes that were always looking out for something interesting. He had a sunny smile that could brighten up anyone’s day.
Peter was so enamoured of Tommy’s craft that whenever the latter finished fixing a toy for a classmate, he would always be happier than anyone else and, in an excited spurt of energy, dash about in school while hollering proclamations, such as: ‘Come and see, Tommy has just fixed another toy that was damaged beyond repair. Totally stunning!’ or ‘Wow, look at the streamlined, wooden racing…(to be cont’d)
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Loved the 1st Book? Check out Tommy Weaving and The Adventures at Sea (Book 2) here!
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