This is the beginning of the first chapter of my wip, Killing Kessler. The book is about Tabitha, her brother (Adam), sister (Leila), and friend (Murphy). In this scene, they're testing out the time machine first built by Tabitha's father and then perfected by Adam. They plan to use the time machine to go back ten years in the past and kill Griffin Kessler, the man responsible for creating a virus that wiped out 99% of the world's population. So, without further ado...
The mouse squeaked when Adam put it in the machine. Tabitha wrapped her arms around her stomach and concentrated on not puking. Sucking air past the lump in her throat felt enough like swallowing crushed glass to make her forget about breathing, at least for a while.
Adam pushed a button on the remote control. The machine's metal door slid shut, locking the mouse inside. "I've already programmed his arrival and return times," Adam said. "For this test, I'll send him twelve hours into the past. According to Dad's calculations, that's the minimum amount of time the machine will allow."
Adam adjusted his ridiculous goggles and scratched his tangled mop of jet black hair. He'd been working nonstop for the past week. It had probably been at least that long since his hair had seen a comb. Throw in his unshaven face and bloodshot eyes, and he had his classic mad scientist look. Tabitha remembered her dad looking the same way when he was on the verge of a breakthrough and couldn't be bothered with routine hygiene. She ignored the familiar ache in her heart and refocused on the test.
Stepping outside the red taped lines that formed a perimeter around the machine, Adam pressed a button on the remote. "Here goes nothing."
The row of lights over the door came to life, flashing in a symphony of yellow, blue, and red. The machine began to vibrate, shaking the floor until the entire room danced a jig. Tools bounced off the workbench and crashed on the linoleum. Adam's newspaper collection, every paper containing every article he'd been able to find covering the Salamander Virus, spilled off the bookshelf and fluttered around the room. A framed picture of their family, taken before either of their parents disappeared and before Murphy came to live with them, fell from the wall. The glass shattered.
Tabitha braced her legs and leaned against the wall for support. Long blonde curls fell in her eyes, and she wished she'd left her hair in a ponytail. She tossed her hair over her shoulder and glanced at Murphy. He watched her with light blue eyes that almost seemed to glow against his sun-browned skin. He gave her his typical broad smile and a quick wink. He was only about sixteen years old, just like her, but he had a way of making her feel safe like no one else could.
She turned to Leila, who used one hand to grasp the window frame while pressing the other over her ear to block out the machine's high-pitched hum. Leila's glossy black hair tumbled in her face and her ebony eyes looked wider than normal. Her perfect olive complexion had a faint pea soup tinge. "I know it will work," Tabitha mouthed. This was a total lie, of course. But Leila nodded and almost smiled, so Tabitha didn't regret saying it.
The metal hatch in the floor slid open, releasing a deafening rattle and a blast of frigid air. The machine plummeted into the ground with a jolt that sent them all to their knees. The hatch closed back up. After a few more tremors, the shaking stopped.
Comments? Suggestions? I'd love to hear them! I've been working on my thick writer skin, so go ahead and be honest.