J Philip Horne

A science fantasy early chapter book fairy tale?

Gentle reader, if you are familiar with my works to date (middle grade fantasy novels), what you will find below will make no sense. If you aren’t familiar with my novels, it still won’t make any sense.

Behold, the opening lines of A Boy Like You, a most unusual story I’ve been contemplating, but have only just started, and may never finish.

On a world far from here lived a boy like you. Unless you aren’t a boy, in which case you are probably a girl, but possibly a goat, or even a radish. The boy was neither a girl nor a goat nor a radish. There were girls on this world, but the boy was not one of them. Like all boys, this boy had pale blue skin.

The boy did not have a name, nor a number, nor anything else by which people could call him, and he desperately wanted one. People could say “boy” if they wanted to get his attention, but nobody wanted his attention, so they didn’t. He lived in a small home for boys that sat next to a large lake on the edge of an even larger forest.

The small home for boys, which did have a name, namely Small Home For Boys, was home to many people, but only one boy, who was the very boy this story is about. The many other people who lived in Small Home For Boys—administrators, cooks, gardeners, and the like—ran the home beautifully, and took great pride in their work. They would often sit around the staff table in the staff room and discuss what a fine job they were doing running the SHFB—which they pronounced “chef-bee”—and only wished that the little nameless boy wasn’t always underfoot.

Each day was much like the other days, except for the many parts of the different days that were very different from all the other parts of other days. For instance, the second day of the week emphasized outdoor work to keep up the gardens around the SHFB, while the ninth day of the week generally focused on indoor recreations such as baddle ball or freeze potato or games of jumping juice. But all the days were very similar in this one important aspect—the boy was ignored as he wandered aimlessly about wondering what he was to do and wishing he had a name.

One day, a day much the same as all the other very different days, the boy wondered what would happen if he simply wandered off in search of a name. So he did.

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