Here is a sneak peak at chapter one of the Tuners. Don’t forget to secure your advanced copy over here at Patreon:
Jon Xiong’s earbuds crackled, overpowered by a blast of static. His music was interrupted like a radio station losing signal. In a silhouette of purple light, a blonde in a blue plaid skirt and a white button-up shirt seemed to step into existence in front of the Forever 21 sweater display a few feet from Jon’s location. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and he had a brief moment where he thought he had imagined her.
As real as anyone else, she pulled out a pair of pink headphones from her ear and stuffed them into a hipster backpack. She spoke into her phone, “I’m in U-42—In pursuit.”
She turned and crashed into Jon. They tumbled to the ground. She was on top of him. He looked into her crystal blue eyes and was utterly lost for words. He stammered, but nothing came out.
“Sorry,” she muttered and pushed herself up.
Jon lifted himself to standing, and by the time he had turned around, she was gone like she had evaporated like a drop of water on heated a skillet. The only thing that was left was her white smartphone with the pink case that she had dropped in the collision. He scooped up the device. The make and model were unfamiliar to him. The lock screen had a picture of her and another girl who might have been a younger sister.
Jon was seventeen, had spiked hair and a skateboard. A white cord snaked from his backpack to his earbuds. He was always listening to music, and the soundtrack of his life irritated his dad. His father always hounded him to take the earphones out and pay attention once in a while. Jon, on the other hand, wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he didn’t listen to music.
Blond hair and a blue skirt flashed by the window of the store. He dashed out after her. After a quick scan, he saw the direction she had gone. Jon followed and wove in and out of the people at the mall. At one point, he got stuck behind a large group of elderly women power walking in their jogging gear. Another group of girls sneered at him when he pushed through them.
Finally, he made it to a large intersection where the mall branched in several different directions. He looked every which way and didn’t see her. He thought he had lost her when he had noticed that she had gone down a set of stairs. It was a small service entry, so there weren’t any witnesses.
A man in a large coat held her by the neck. He had black hair, a black beard, and was missing a couple of teeth. There was a scar on his forehead. It looked as if someone had carved a star into his skull. The man held a blade to her throat. It was an odd weapon that erupted from his knuckles like if Wolverine had one giant fierce claw. She struggled to free herself but couldn’t escape his grip.
Jon thought fast and put his skateboard on the ground. There was a No Skateboarding sign right in front of him. As chance would have it, his favorite punk song queued up on the playlist always rolling around his ears. Jon kicked his feet off the ground and skated toward the staircase. A hefty mall cop from across the way saw Jon and yelled, “You, stop right there!”
He jumped the board onto the railing of the stairs. He ground his way down, and the black-bearded man turned at the last moment. The board cracked the man in the teeth, and the guy went sprawling down to the ground, dropping the blonde in the process. Jon whirled around and stuck his hand out. She took it, and he helped her to her feet. He locked eyes with her for a brief moment.
“You dropped this,” He said and handed her the device.
His heart pounded because he wasn’t sure what to do next. He didn’t talk much to girls much less saved one before. Jon had never been good with women. He didn’t really know what to say to them, and they always ignored him.
“Thanks. I got it from here,” she said and swiped the phone.
“Um—What about him?” He stammered.
She ignored him and turned towards the man sprawled out on the ground. The guy was rubbing his head and groaning. She pulled out her pink headphones, put them in her ears, and jacked into her device. She swiped at an app Jon had never seen before. Abby placed her hand on the man’s shoulder, and she said into her phone. “I got him. I’m tuning now. I just got a local to deal with. Hey, you—”
“Jon,” he said.
“Jon, could you go upstairs and get mall security? Don’t worry. This guy isn’t going anywhere.”
“Um—okay,” Jon said and turned toward the stairs. He got up two steps and said,
“Maybe I should just call—”
The blonde and the man were gone.
Seconds later, the overweight mall cop appeared at the top of the staircase, gasping for air, exhausted by his run across the mall.
“You come up here!” The cop said between breaths. “Don’t—make me—come down there.”