August Winter is leaving home for the first time. Attending the prestigious Blackstone Academy, where exceptional is the norm, and his brother’s legacy precedes him. It won’t be easy to make his mark. Especially when things don’t always go as planned and chance puts August in the line of danger. Will he respond and rise to the moment or will he be defeated by the perils of existence? Written & Illustrated by C.S. Robadue, it is a warm story of friendship, adventure, and the unexpected turns of new beginnings.
The Adventures of August Winter and the Blackstone Academy – Published in January 2015, follows the exploits of the adventurous young student, August Winter. Written and illustrated by author C.S. Robadue.
Print Length: 162 Pages
Ages: Recommended 6 – 12 (Juvenile Fiction)
Available in paperback, hardcover, as well as kindle e-book. Based on the WaveGarden Arts webcomic, The Adventures of August Winter, the book features original black and white illustrations and is set in the New England city of Providence, Rhode Island. It is a story suitable for all ages and is directed towards an elementary school audience.
Author’s Note: The Adventures of August Winter and the Blackstone Academy represents my first long-form piece of writing and was written with a sensibility of lightheartedness and warmth directed towards both the subject and audience. It is a silly, fun, and novice attempt at storytelling that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve. We get to learn about the origin and humble beginnings of August Winter, discover how he met his close group of friends, and share in his early exploits at the world renowned Blackstone Academy!
A story of friendship, growing up, and the knowledge that not everything you’ll learn in school comes from inside of the classroom. What adventure awaits? You’ll just have to delve into the story to find out!
~ C.S. Robadue
“I loved this book! It is a very well written story of a group of friends at a private boarding school in New England. Children will appreciate the capers and mystery that the kids get into, as well as the light banter between the group of students and teachers. Adults will appreciate that they can freely let their children read this book, since there is no reason to worry about anything inappropriate, and this is something not easy to find these days! If you are looking for a junior fiction book that contains all of the elements of a great story- friendship, mystery, and lots of fun then give this one a try. I can see a great future for the kids at The Blackstone Academy and look forward to more from this author!” ~ Goodreads.com
“C.S. Robadue has crafted a uniquely written and illustrated adventure story about a teenage boy who is off to a boarding school on the prestigious East Side of Providence. As the journey unfolds, the reader is drawn into a mysterious series of events created to enthrall young readers. Honestly, I could not put the book down after reading the first five pages!” ~ Amazon.com
The Adventures of August Winter and the Blackstone Academy
It’s a warm, bright, sunny, summer’s day in the charming colonial city of Providence, Rhode Island. A soft wind in the air rustled the green leaves on the trees in front of the domed RI State House, before continuing on its winding way towards downtown. Where the towering facades of modern skyscrapers combined with the hustle and bustle of a weekday, before it headed East over the river, towards College Hill. An old neighborhood, College Hill boasted an eye pleasing mix of wrought iron and brickwork that framed the historic buildings, giving off a distinct feel that you were indeed in New England.
Downtown, on the border between the Financial and Jewelry districts, the well-worn city streets are lined with many shops, including a popular local convenience store. Inside, walking amidst the aisles filled with snacks, greeting cards, diapers, soda, and milk was a young man in his early teens wearing worn jeans and cowboy boots. Nicknamed JJ by his friends, not only for his striking resemblance to the famous outlaw Jesse James, but also for having the reputation of being able to steal anything without ever getting caught. With alert eyes he quietly tried to avoid the attention of the store clerk at the cash register, who occasionally glanced around the store while he attended to other customers.
Largely distracted, the store’s clerk was busy chatting up a woman in a blue dress in the checkout line. Sensing that the moment was right, JJ, as silently and stealthily as possible, stuffed an entire loaf of bread under his shirt and handfuls of candy into his pockets. No one seemed to notice. Having cased the establishment well, he knew he was operating in the blind spot of the security camera stuck in the upper corner of the store by the refrigerated goods.
His red and brown plaid shirt now stuffed full, he backed away from the shelves and carefully started to circle the long way around the perimeter of the store, toward the exit. Painstakingly, he attempted to remain hidden from view and to keep the sudden growth under his shirt unnoticed! He was nearly to the door, and sweet, sweet freedom, when something caught his eye…
It was the latest issue of his favorite magazine! Pausing for a second, he debated what to do. Imagining how impressed the other boys would be if he could break his own record and add it to the day’s haul, he overrode his better judgment.
Snatching it, he jammed the magazine up under his shirt, which was now stretched out comically far. Turning, he was not able to complete a single step before disaster struck. The magazine has disrupted the balance of loot under his shirt and stuff was falling out left and right, crinkling loudly as it fell and hit the floor!
Panic-stricken, the young man didn’t dare even look up. Knowing full well that he now had the clerk’s complete attention!!
“Hey!” the clerk shouted angrily, not yet leaving his post behind the counter.
Grabbing up a bit of candy and the loaf of bread while leaving the rest, JJ took off like his pants were on fire, making for the store exit. Rushing by the front counter at high speed he cleared the doorway and took a sharp left hoping to quickly get out of sight.
“Oh no!! Not today you don’t!” said the clerk.
Leaping over the counter, he was immediately in hot pursuit of the shoplifter on foot. Leaving a line of customers confused and bewildered, while waiting to purchase their assorted goods.
Outside, the world seemed fresh and clear to JJ. The rhythmic clicking of his cowboy boots striking the concrete preceded him as he ran wildly. Racing down the sidewalk, he only occasionally looked back behind him to see if the store clerk was still on his tail. If the sound of the angry shouts and cursing were any indication, he hadn’t lost him yet!
Slowed down by the busy midday foot-traffic filling the sidewalks, JJ forced himself to push onward, unceremoniously shoving people aside, as he tried to put more distance between himself and the erupting monster chasing at his heels!
“For the last time, stop, I said!!” Yelled the clerk from several blocks back, while he too tried to fight his way through the crowds.
Pretending not to hear, JJ rushed across the street in front of the historic Providence Arcade building, his course now veering closer to the heart of the Financial district and the main Downtown plaza. He intended to lose himself in the throngs of people waiting at the bus station and around the edge of Burnside Park.
Doing his best to keep up, the clerk leaped out into the street himself, and barely avoided being struck by a small commercial truck, as he blindly bolted across the road after the young man.
Noontime in the heart of the city meant the plaza was teaming with loads of people getting picked up and dropped off at the bus terminal. Today was no exception, the scene was an absolute zoo. People blanketed the sidewalks and filled the park benches waiting for their scheduled buses.
In the distance, by City Hall, a silver charter bus was making its way through the fray, as it headed towards its destination on the East Side of the city. Passing the public transit buses, it picked up speed as it rounded the far corner of the plaza.
Walking casually along the sidewalk, immune to the chaos of his surroundings, was a very well-dressed man in a black suit with a visible crescent-shaped scar on his left hand. He was intently reading a newspaper article about a new art exhibit. Specifically for a traveling show of the Renaissance Master Titian’s work, that was to be displayed at the local art museum. It had captured his complete attention as he rounded the corner at the end of the block.
At the same moment, JJ, gasped for breath, and hurtled out of the connecting alley out into the crowded walkway. Not looking, he plowed head first into the well-tailored man in black. It was a fantastic collision, with the last of the candy JJ was carrying going flying everywhere! The impact sent the two of them sprawling into the road directly in the path of the charter bus, the sad loaf of bread being flattened as they landed on the hard ground.
First came the flash of silver, then the searing sound of the buses’ brakes being slammed, as the driver attempted desperately to stop the huge bus in time…
Flailing backwards in an instinctive reaction, JJ, helpless to the forces acting around him, watched with arms outstretched in defiance, as the bus came to a grinding halt mere centimeters from his face. Shocked and frozen, he strained his eyes to look up at the bus. The noontime sun blinded him as it reflected off the dark lifeless windows of the steel beast before him.
Unseen from the street below, cut off from the gasps and groans of horror reverberating through the crowd gathering outside, were the occupants of the bus. All of whom were children and were now grasping the edge of their seats after the bus driver’s evasive maneuvers!
Looking at JJ from behind the double-paned glass of the bus is the face of fourteen-year-old August Winter. Who hours ago, was thrilled at the prospect of his older brother letting him have the window seat on the long bus ride down to Providence, Rhode Island from Leverett, Massachusetts. His earnest face glued to the window in concern, his dark green collared shirt and uncomfortable dress shoes felt restrictive as his heart pounded and feet began to sweat.
Everything seemingly had stopped, as if waiting for someone to flip a switch and let the world breathe a collective sigh of relief. Staring into the eyes of a person who is at the edge of his very self, August could feel the panic and fear inside of JJ.
Already, the man in black was standing up and brushing himself off. Composed, he turned his attention to the young man who knocked him over and was still shaking on the ground. Grabbing the boy by his shirt, he hoisted him back up onto his feet and proceeded to unleash one heck of a strong stare down in his direction.
As if to snap the rest of the world back into motion, the young man was suddenly tackled from behind by the clerk. Down again he went, as he was ripped out of the man-in-black’s hands. This sparked a fierce argument between the well-dressed man and the clerk. Around them the ever-growing crowd of onlookers watched the scene unfold. No one seemed to know how to react, as if somehow they were all miles away, watching the events happen on the evening news, from the safety of their couches, instead of right before their eyes. Seeing that no one was hurt, and in an act of questionable ethics and decision making, the bus driver decided to get his rig out of there!
With a laborious sound from the engine, the bus shifted into gear as the traffic light down the street has turned from red to green. August stared after the scene as it shrank into the distance. No one said a word.
Moving right along, the charter bus passed over the river to College Hill and up Waterman Street as it headed towards the East Side and its destination. They pass by the Ivy League campus of Brown University, with all its brick and stone buildings that house college students, classrooms, research labs, and libraries.
August took it all in, seeing it for the first time, making note of all the signs and populated walkways of Thayer Street. With its mix of lively shops, restaurants, and flocks of young people milling about before classes start. It was quite the sight to behold for a fellow coming from a small town such as himself.
He turned to look at his brother sitting next to him. Unmoved by the sights outside the window, his brother sat, eyes closed, listening to music on his headphones, completely oblivious. He’d been asleep the entire time, and had missed everything. Typical!
Tree lined streets awaited the bus as it made a few turns and entered the residential part of the East Side. Large old Victorian homes, elaborate Tudors, sprawling Mediterranean residences, as well as other architecturally distinctive properties met the eye all along Blackstone Blvd. The manicured lawns and elaborate gardens of the rich, all silently spoke to the work of the small army of landscapers that descend upon this community during normal business hours.
Through the rear-view mirror, the bus driver could see that August was completely enthralled with the sights outside the window.
“Is this your first year at the Academy?” he asked casually, half keeping his eyes on the road.
“Yes sir,” August replied, no longer looking out the window.
“Ah. Well it’s one of the oldest and highest-regarded preparatory schools in the entire country, with students hailing from all over the world. And since there is no cost to attend, admission is based entirely on merit alone. A rare thing indeed!” remarked the bus driver.
August responded by nodding his head in silent agreement.
“Thus bringing together some of the most gifted young minds, regardless of class, wealth, or social status. As Blackstone Academy has always been supported entirely by its endowments and generous benefactors,” continued the bus driver.
“I’ve never been to a boarding school before. But my parents made it clear that the decision was mine to make after I was selected to attend,” said August.
“And a wise choice you made!” the bus driver said warmly.
While the old charter bus slowed to make a sharp turn, August’s heart started to beat faster once again as he spotted the sign for the school. Weeks of anticipation were about to come to fruition, as he had arrived at his new scholarly home!
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