First 250 from my Middle Grade Magical Realism story. A huge thank you to anybody who crits, and I'm of course happy to return the favour.
Welcome To Africa
“There’s no way I’ll be able to see the whole desert from up there,” I said, frowning up at the man who had invited me all the way from England to his family farm on the South African Veld. “The Karoo is far too big for me to see all of it.”
Mattheu shrugged, hazel eyes gleaming mischievously. “You would think so, wouldn’t you. But . . .” He held out the gnarled rope invitingly. Attached to the rope a newly painted wood swing glistened a dazzling white in the late afternoon sun. “Hold tight and you’ll be fine. It’ll be worth it, I promise.”
But I did not reach out. “Um, you go first. I’ll watch.”
Mattheu frowned, then started looking around––behind the huge tree from which the twenty-five-foot rope hung, past the immaculate lines of vegetables planted behind the outhouse, even peeking through the polished windows of the farmhouse––as if searching for something.
“What are you doing?” I asked, following him, barely a step behind.
“Where’s Alex?” he asked, puzzled. “Small for his age, scruffy-looking with dark hair and a defiant sort of look in his eye. Seen him anywhere?”
I crossed my arms and glared. “I’m right he–”
“The boy I made Under 11s rugby captain; the one who jumped at the chance to spend three months on a sporting scholarship in South Africa; the one who swam with baby sharks in Cape Town just two days ago. I could’ve sworn I’d invited him out here, but I can’t find him anywhere.” He sighed theatrically, half-turning away. “Maybe I should’ve invited Ryan after all. Maybe he would’ve at least tried–”
“Fine. I’ll do it!” I cut in, stomping over to the swing and sitting down. “Oh, and Ryan would never do this.”
Mattheu turned around, smirking. “Oh, there you are, Alex. Lost you for a moment there.”