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Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
Author: C.K. Volnek
Genre: Middle Grade Ghost Story
Release: September 23, 2011
Editor: Christine I. Speakman
Line editor: Greta Gunselman
Cover artist: Tiger Matthews
Word count: 55318
E-book price: $5.50
In 1587, 121 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island, NC, never to be seen again.Something evil is haunting Roanoke Island and it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the mystery of the lost colony and stop the hateful campaign of revenge. But can Jack solve the puzzle in time to destroy the beast, before it destroys him?
Jack rushed to the front door and reached for the doorknob. His hand stopped in midair as the door shuddered violently, shaking on its hinges. A deafening howl roared on the other side. The boards covering the windows shook, the nails screeching as though giant hands were trying to rip them from the house. The lights flickered and went out, leaving the house pitch dark.
Sweat broke out on Jack’s forehead. His heart drummed in his ears. Turning, he fumbled with the dials of the battery-operated radio on the end table. The announcer’s voice sputtered between static crackles. “Hurricane Da...earlier than expec...winds reaching...residents on Roanoke Island…take cover immediately. Stay…”
Jack leaned against the door, his mind whirling. Regret twisted inside as the argument with his dad hammered in his head…
* * * *
“Why can’t I stay home? I don’t need—”
Dad rushed around the front room, putting on his rubber boots and black slicker. “No. Get your coat on. I can’t trust—”
“Come on, Dad. I’ll be fine. It wasn’t my fault Kimmy—”
“Enough! Don’t argue with me, Jackie.”
Jack stiffened at the name. “I’m not a baby anymore. I’m almost thirteen, you know.”
Dad spun around, eyes flashing. “Then why don’t you act like it?” He let out a long breath. “Fine. Stay here. But don’t do anything stupid. I’ll be back before the storm—”
Jack bristled, his jaw twitching. “I’m not stupid.”
“That’s not what I meant—”
Jack didn’t let him finish. “Just leave! And I hope you never come back!” He stomped to his bedroom, slamming his door behind him.
* * * *
Jack swallowed. But, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get the beach ball-sized lump out of his throat. “I didn’t mean it, Dad.”
Something banged against the porch, scraping along the boards. Jack jumped and listened. Was someone calling for help? Yanking the front door open, he stepped outside.
“Dad?” His voice was lost in the storm.
He strained to hear, something—anything. The boards of the long walkway leading into the water creaked and groaned. Someone was on the dock.
Ducking back inside the door, he grabbed his yellow slicker off the hook, slipped it on, and charged down the steps. A gust of wind shoved him back. Clenching his teeth with determination, he leaned against it, forcing his eyes to stay focused on the wild ocean. Dad would need his help getting the boat secured in this storm.
Jack staggered down the sloppy trail leading to the dock. The storm howled in his ears. A heavy sheet of rain tore loose from the sky. Dime-sized raindrops pelted his body, plastering his hair against his scalp. He pulled his hood up over his head and clutched it tight with one hand, but the wind tore it off again.
Bracing himself on one leg, Jack leaned over the railing and stared down the long wooden walkway bouncing on the water. Dad’s green runabout was nowhere to be seen. He scanned the choppy waves beyond the pier. Nothing. No one.
Jack shuddered and gazed back at the house; the run-down beach house they’d moved into two months ago.
Had it only been two months? It felt like two years.
Dad spent every free minute cleaning and fixing it up, even drafting Jack to help paint it, though Jack couldn’t seem to do anything right by his standards. Slowly, it had started looking like a normal house. Now, boarded up it looked haunted…like Tyler Johnson said it was.
Jack huffed, a sour taste filling his mouth. That was stupid. Tyler was stupid.
Jack closed his eyes. For a moment he was back in Ohio. In Ohio he had friends. He was on the baseball team, lead archer in boy scouts, and point leader in math wars at school. Here, there was no math wars, no boy scouts, and no teammates. No one wanted to be his friend. Tyler had made sure of that. No one wanted to get close to the kid who lived in the creepy old Ellis place.
The sound of splintering wood crashed behind him. Jack jolted and turned around. Waves heaved the wooden pier upward; smashing it into a hundred pieces.
Something moved alongside the detached garage at the far edge of the yard, sliding past the darkened yard-light. The light’s rusted frame hung in a half salute, a dejected soldier of metal. Jack blinked against the rain as a light-brown figure crept slowly, deliberately following the slope that led to the bluff at the back of the building. It stopped and opened it black mouth, a sad howl drifting on the wind. It was a dog. A Mastiff. Like the one he’d seen at the baseball field in Ohio last summer.
Jack stared. What was a dog doing out in the hurricane? He glanced around the large yard, expecting the dog’s master to appear. But, there was no one.
How could anyone leave a dog out in this?
The Mastiff turned and loped up a trail leading to the top of the bluff, his v-shaped ears flopping, long tan tail swinging.
Where was the dog going?
Jack gazed up at the vine-covered ridge and swiped at the water smearing his face. The bluff wasn’t really that high. Not a mile high cliff or anything. Why was Dad so worked up over it? Jack bit his lip. He knew why.
The Mastiff stopped midway up and looked back, his black eyes drilling into Jack’s. With a quick shake, the dog charged again to the top.Jack felt dwarfed by the ridge. At the top a massive dead oak towered into the sky. A white sentry; its brittle, leafless branches reached so high they seemed to spear the dark clouds. Since Kimmy’s fall, Dad had forbidden him from ever going up there again. His stomach knotted.
The book was very enjoyable, a middle school level read. It’s a real treat. NIGHT OWL REVIEWS...READ FULL REVIEW
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Customer Reviews:suepernz (Sunday, 29 January 2012)
MarvaD (Sunday, 16 October 2011)
SWillett (Friday, 30 September 2011)
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