When Alex met Daisy for the first time, his face immediately felt warm and his heart began to race. It was the typical uneasy feeling of when a boy develops a crush on a girl. Although it took some time, Alex accepted that feeling and understood why he acted in such an awkward way around her. However, on the road that afternoon, as Alex and Daisy focused their attention on an eerie figure ahead them, the uneasy feelings were changed.
The awkward chills became tremors.
The warmth on his face turned to fire.
The beating of his heart now pounded through his chest.
“Do you think it’s her?” Daisy whispered, pulling her bike over to the side of the road.
“It’s got to be her.” Alex wasn’t sure what else to say. He wasn’t sure what to do. His mind was blank. He looked over to Daisy, whose face was filled with excitement and curiosity. She reached for Alex’s hand and pulled him down toward the ditch.
The dark figure remained still in the middle of the road.
“What are you doing?” Alex crawled in the grass behind her.
“I’m going in for a closer look. Maybe we can talk to it.”
Alex wasn’t quite as motivated. Despite being curious, he felt the need to wait. He was never the aggressive type anyway. “Just wait for a minute. Let’s see what it does first.”
“Okay. That makes sense. Good idea.”
The two crouched down in the grass and watched from a distance, making sure not to make any sudden movements. Alex figured the last thing they wanted to do was to make it uncomfortable, especially when they had no idea what ‘it’ was.
“Get out your phone. We need to get this on video.” She brushed her hair away from her face. “This is exciting, don’t you think? I can’t decide whether I’m nervous, or really, really scared.” Her eyes widened, flicking about, scanning the area.
“I don’t want to waste the batteries, what if we need it later? Use your phone.”
“What are you talking about? This is later. I want you to do it. Get me in the shot. We need to document everything,” Daisy demanded, whispering as loudly as she could.
“What are we documenting? What are you planning on doing?” Alex glanced over to the figure and ducked down into the ditch. His initial game plan was to simply visit the house and see if he could get a glimpse of the so-called ghost and then get out of there, hopefully in one piece. In fact, potentially witnessing the ghost sitting in the middle of the road fifty feet away was almost good enough, in his opinion.
“Okay, I’ll do it. But then we should get out of here,” he replied.
“No, we need to follow it. We need to see what it does.”
Alex had never seen Daisy so intense. She crouched, hovering over the long thick blades of grass.
“Okay, I’m recording.” Alex watched through the screen on his phone. Maybe he would only have a couple bad dreams. Maybe he would be home in time for dinner, safe in his house. However, somehow, he knew it wasn’t going to be a quick visit. He knew Daisy wanted to dig a little deeper. He understood. But maybe he should have told her about the article.
Maybe, maybe it was too late.
“Good.” Daisy’s body posed like a tiger waiting to pounce. “Come on, this is taking too long. Follow me.”
Daisy edged forward along the grass.
“No, wait. Seriously.”
Daisy didn’t listen. She continued to creep forward, as Alex unwillingly followed. His stomach stirred as his body trembled. For a moment, Kaylee’s voice rang inside Alex’s head. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.
But Alex couldn’t stop either. He found himself pulled by Daisy’s intense energy. As each knee touched the earth below him, the air cooled. Too afraid to look up, he watched the back of Daisy’s feet progressing forward in front of him, along the thick grass. He didn’t want to see how close he was getting to the black figure on the road.
You shouldn’t be here.
Alex’s pulse sped as his blood thundered in his ears.
You shouldn’t be here.
They were getting close.
Kaylee Cooper is certain that Alex will become friends with a ghost this year. Alex thinks that he is far too old to be listening to a first grader and encourages Kaylee to stop jeopardizing his important sixth grade social life. Kaylee doesn’t listen and finds awkward ways to spend as much time with Alex as possible, even if it means following him into the boy’s washroom.
Fed up, Alex develops a strategic plan to ultimately help him get rid of Kaylee Cooper for good.
However, he soon learns about the mysterious legend of Screaming Ridge that pulls an unlikely group of friends together, including the girl of his dreams, and the school’s meanest bully. When they discover that the legend is real, and that Kaylee Cooper is at the core of the mystery, Alex stares death in the face and helps save her from an eternal life of misery and confusion.
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CHRISTOPHER FRANCIS Born in Brisbane, Australia, Christopher was accepted at age 19 into Sheridan College’s Animation program before earning a degree in Sociology from McMaster University.
He then enjoyed a two-year adventure overseas working with children, before completing his Bachelor of Education degree at York University. He is now teaching junior and intermediate level students in Burlington, Ontario.
Through Christopher’s experience working with children, he found writing and illustrating to be one of his passions. Currently working on a middle grade series, he recently completed and illustrated the first three books. He has also created seven other children’s picture books and illustrated children’s novels for independent authors
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