Contemporary ~ Historical ~ Paranormal ~ Young Adult
A hapless surfer, restless spirit and Native Son dig up some controversy when they unearth a National Treasure buried at the Jersey Shore.
Cocky surfer Alex only cares about the future. Who cares about the things of the past like an old house or an old friend? But one February night as he recklessly takes to the road during a snowstorm, he discovers that the past may have some plans for him. When his life is saved by the troubled spirit of a local youth who perished during the historic “Blizzard of 1888,” he agrees to rescue a house from the hands of a greedy land developer. But when he enlists the help of some forgiving friends, they dig up a National Treasure… and some controversy.
With assistance from a “hottie” of an Historian and a colorful antiquities dealer, Alex hopes to ride a wave of redemption. Can he rescue a piece of local and national history, reunite his boyhood friend with his native roots and regain the respect of friends and family?
It was eight o’clock already. No time to waste. Alex pulled on a ski parka, a pair of gloves, and a knit hat.
Going out to the garage, he picked up a shiny new shovel that had never touched snow. He made a few uninspired shoveling motions, then he slumped into the driver’s seat of the Jeep, considering his options. For a moment, he even thought about making a fast buck, shoveling through the night. What he had told Denis earlier was true. He really was tired of his old life. In May, he would be eighteen. Why did everyone treat him like a stupid kid? And, most importantly, what good was a Jeep if you couldn’t use it?
In anger, Denis had compared him to a rabbit.Well, if I’m a rabbit, this bunny’s gonna spring its hutch, Alex declared to himself.
He climbed into the Jeep. But in the driver’s seat, he sat still, like a rabbit too frightened to flee from the hunter. The only thing separating the mind-numbing comfort of his suburban home from the rebellious ride of his life was the garage door, which was rattling in the wind.
He would go to the party, make an appearance, and return the Jeep safely home. Let it storm. With the snowfall they were predicting, Mother Nature would cover his tracks, just as she had the bloodshed by his best – and possibly former – friend.
Alex put the key in the ignition and pressed the button of the garage-door opener. As the door rose, he was met by a great wall of white. Undaunted, he started the engine and rolled out into the falling snow. No sweat, he told himself.
When Alex regained consciousness, pinned between the driver’s seat and the dashboard now compressed within two inches of his chest, he had no way of knowing how long he had been stuck in the motionless Jeep. He tried to rub his aching head, but any attempt at movement shot a bolt of pain through every inch of his body.
Where’s my cell phone?
He pictured it lying useless, somewhere in the back of the jeep. Then, as if on cue, it began to ring and ring and ring, haunting and taunting him with a steady chorus of Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.
Alex felt victimized. He wouldn’t have ended up in this situation if his parents hadn’t grounded him, or if Denis hadn’t argued with him – or if that fool hadn’t run right in front of his car!
But, no matter whose fault it was, Alex knew that he couldn’t talk his way out of this one. The Jeep had been an early high school graduation gift from his parents, given with reluctance, accompanied by a list of rules and driving restrictions that he had spent the past hour disregarding. In that short time, the Jeep had gone from sporting a slight ding to being totally destroyed. Nothing in Denis’s toolbox was going to be able to fix this mess.
“Help!” Alex called, but it came out sounding weak. Maybe someone up on the road would hear him, if he could just shout louder. Clearing his throat, he tried again.“I’m down here!”
Fear began to color his anger. What if he couldn’t make anybody hear him?
Then he heard a noise, just inches from his face.
For a scary moment, Alex couldn’t place the sound. Then, like the whack of a snow shovel across his head, it hit him: someone was clearing his windshield!
“Hello?” he called with renewed energy.
Through a snowy film, Alex made out the silhouette of a young man wearing a weird-looking hat. It looked out of place. Alex remembered seeing hats like that in old Charlie Chaplin movies, or maybe in a museum. Whoever was out there held a peculiar lantern that looked like the oil-burning one his great-grandfather had owned. It cast an unearthly light on the interior of the car.
“Nice hat, dude,” Alex mumbled, then regretted it, since it wasn’t a good idea to insult his potential rescuer.
But the person outside didn’t seem to have heard. He just stood like a statue, holding the lantern close to the cleared windshield.
Lisa Begin-Kruysman lives in Ocean County, New Jersey, with her husband Rich and Portuguese water dog, Hooper. Her short fiction has garnered national recognition in writing competitions sponsored by Calliope Writers and Writer’s Digest Magazine.
Her highly-acclaimed, Something’s Lost and Must be Found was released in the summer of 2011 to glowing reviews. A collection of seven short inspirational stories, the book was inspired by her blog site established two years ago to promote the mission of National Dog Week and her biography of its Founder, Will Judy.
Currently, she is working on a sequel to Something’s Lost and Must be Found and her second Young Adult Novel.