Out of Place – Middle Grade Fiction

Serial kidnapping was not part of the itinerary for Miriam Mermelstein’s first underwater trip. She will need to be really creative about how she uses her magic gifts if she is going to escape. Out of Place is a humorous middle grade fantasy about choices. Miriam’s most important life choice may have been co-opted by her cat, but there is still plenty of room for her to mess up.

By: Susha Golomb

Sample Text from Out of Place


The minute I unfolded my left wing, the ocean wind, obviously confusing me with a kite, grabbed it and pushed. I was reduced to hopping all over the road just to keep my balance while Mom and Dad zigzagged along behind trying to catch up.

“She’s headed your way, Ben,” Mom, called. “Quick, grab her.”

“Hang on, Miriam,” he hollered. He grabbed. The wind changed. Dad missed and landed on his tush, while I was blown, spinning and bouncing, like a badly launched kite, in the opposite direction.

“Open your other wing, honey,” Mom, already huffing and puffing, wheezed out, “so we can catch you.”

True, two wings would be better. At least I would be pushed in a straight line. But, this wing thing was still new to me. For sure, with both wings open, I would be blown up and away like a lost umbrella.

“Miriam. Sit.” Dad’s insight came from the fact that his recent effort had left him in a similar position.

I sat. Mom grabbed me and helped me tuck my wing back in. Then we all walked over to the car, propped me against it facing into the wind and started over.

This time I spread the wing out against the side of the car and let the wind blow all it wanted while I took Mom’s necklace out of the left wing pocket. Wing pockets don’t have zippers. They keep things in by being very tight. It’s never good to be in a hurry to get something out of a wing pocket.

I had two fingers in and could just feel the chain with the tip of one finger. A little further in and I had it hooked. Using my free hand I stretched the pocket a little wider — not too much, or it hurt —so that the delicate charm wouldn’t be damaged as I pulled it out.

“You know,” I said when I finally got it out all in one piece. “There’s a reason that whoever invented wing pockets isn’t famous.”

Hanging from a silver chain was my ticket to the Twilight Zone, disguised as an ordinary fish scale. Out of the water, it looked thick and dull. It was a part of the ocean. A place where I didn’t belong. But I was going there anyway.

My first big trip away from home. Am I going to Grandma’s on a plane? Off to summer camp on the other side of the country? Nooo, nothing so ordinary for me. I’m going to go and play with the fishies. All by myself.

“Let me, dear,” Mom said. I handed over the necklace and pulled my wing back under my shoulder blade where it stayed nicely hidden. Mom got behind me and straightened the back of my t-shirt while I pulled my hair out of the way. She put the necklace around

my neck and closed the catch, finishing with a reverse hug, wrapping her arms around my shoulders and nuzzling my hair. I could feel wet tears soaking through to my scalp.

“Now, you remember how to use the necklace?” she sniffed. “Do you need me to show you again?” I wiggled free of her damp embrace.

“Mo-om! I remember.”
Dad went right into high-speed lecture-mode. A sure sign of parental distress. “Don’t forget,” he said. “You’ll be perfectly safe as long as you stay under the water.

Fairies, including mermaids, are not on the food chain and that’s exactly what everyone will think you are. Oh, and don’t say ‘mermaid’ when you get there. It’s not considered polite. The preferred term for double breathers is `Sky’. Don’t forget. And don’t forget to give your grandparents the photos we gave you. And call,” he added. “Whatever happens…Don’t…Forget…To Call.”

<End of Chapter 1 – Page 1>

If you Enjoyed Out of Place, read more from The Fairy Gifts and Susha Golomb here:

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