I’d like to introduce you to the protagonist of “The Portal’s Choice”, Tallis Challinor. I’m going to let Tallis speak for herself in a moment, but first I want to say that creating characters is fun and I’ve loved exploring Tallis and her personality. By the way, like me, Tallis loves to write. A portion of one of her stories is included below. She started the story for her brother, Wyatt, and her cousin, Vanessa but her nasty Uncle Craig made her stop. Anyway, read on. I hope you enjoy getting to know Tallis as much as I have.
“Fifteen year old Tallis Challinor never planned to be a ghost-buster. In fact, she’d never believed in ghosts at all. To her, the idea of some kind of spirit life existed only in the imagination, scary to read about, terrifying to watch in movies, but never possible in real life. But all that changed on a visit to her Aunt Gabbie and Gabbie’s husband, Noreis, in a small town in New Hampshire. For, unbeknownst to her aunt, Noreis was a gatekeeper of the spirit realm with the responsibility of keeping the souls of the dead in their proper place, and away from the living. He wasn’t doing a great job, however, and when the ghosts escaped, trouble followed.”
I’m Tallis Challinor, teenager, writer, and temporary gatekeeper of a portal or gateway between the human and spirit realm. This is my story. I’ve decided to write it down because I’ve got to get it out, but no one who hasn’t lived it would believe me. I’ve always found that words are my best friends, anyway. They don’t judge me, laugh at me, or walk away if I’m not cool enough to hang out with. Words let me say what I feel, pretty or ugly, happy or sad, and once I’ve written them down, I can share them or not, but the result is the same. I feel better.
My parents died almost four years ago, and my brother, Wyatt, and I, had to go live with my Aunt Sandra and Uncle Craig and our cousins, Hannah and Vanessa. Of course we didn’t want to go. We wanted life to stay the same, with mom and dad and us living at our winery in Northern California, having fun, loving each other, being a family. Since that wasn’t going to happen, after mom and dad were lost at sea in a fishing accident, our second choice was to stay in our home where our Grandma and Grandpa Challinor also lived, and where our Aunt Gabbie came to visit regularly. But that wasn’t meant to be either. We got option number three, not our choice at all, but one forced upon us by our mother’s family and that alternative involved moving all our stuff to a tiny town in the middle of the country and far away from our familiar lives.
Aunt Sandra, mom’s sister, prevailed because we happened to be staying with her when our folks died. She conveniently kept us, citing the stability of a home life complete with two cousins to act as siblings and our other grandparents, the Gavets, right down the road. Wyatt came to accept our time with Aunt Sandra and her family, but I was never a fan. Aunt Sandra was nice, but there were other family members who weren’t so welcoming. Let’s just say that having a female cousin who’s sixteen to your fifteen, and loves to lord her supposed superiority over you, isn’t a happy setting in which to find yourself. Then, I had to contend with Uncle Craig. All I can say about him is yuck.
Anyway, life changes. I’ve found that out and maybe a bit earlier than other kids my age. Last February, Wyatt and I moved again, this time to New Hampshire to live with our Aunt Gabbie and her husband, Noreis, and that’s when the fun really started.