Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 9

Jack Cover with border small canvas

JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
ISBN: 978-0-9884095-1-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.

*****

Continued from Audio Installment 8
(New here? Choose an installment or start at the beginning)

 

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 1

***

Read along with us!
Below is the text version of the audio.

A vintage four-door red Chevy stopped in the middle of the clearing and the throbbing engine went silent. A heavy-set driver stepped out.

Sylvester Liaberco. The last person Jack wanted to see. Mr. Newman’s warning about what would happen if the Luminary got the scoop first didn’t worry him. Sly Liaberco’s reputation did. The canny reporter had already shown too much interest in Jack’s background.

Mr. Liaberco closed the door of his antique car and walked toward them. He nudged Jack aside with his elbow and grinned at Nessa. “Ms. Owens? I’m Sylvester Liaberco of the Luminary. I’d like to talk to you.”

“About what?” Nessa raised a hand. “No, wait, don’t tell me. You’re here about the Fountain of Youth, the same as Jack.”

“I sure am.” Mr. Liaberco’s slow smile spread across his pudgy face. “I’d like to interview you. I’ll pay twice what this bozo offered for any information you can give me.”

“Hey!” Jack said.

“He didn’t offer to pay me,” Nessa said. “It wouldn’t matter anyway. The Fountain of Youth is not on our property. Or anywhere else in Florida, for that matter. It’s a legend. It doesn’t exist.”

It does exist. Jack clenched his jaw to keep the words from escaping.

“Well, well.” Mr. Liaberco surveyed the wilderness surrounding the clearing. “On your property, you say.”

“No.” Nessa’s voice was patient. “I didn’t say it was here. I said it doesn’t exist.”

Mr. Liaberco rocked back on his heels. “Sticking to that, are you? Listen, I know Jack wouldn’t be here if it didn’t exist. And the Luminary always gets a story. This one will be big news. I’ll find the Fountain, with or without your help. Why not cooperate, and collect some cash besides?”

“Are you crazy?” Nessa jumped to her feet. “Are you both crazy?”

“Of course not.” Mr. Liaberco’s tone was insulted.

“Then I must be. Because it seems I’m the only one who knows there is no Fountain of Youth. It does not exist!”

“You are not crazy,” Jack said.

She huffed out a breath. “So you’re admitting you are?”

“I’m picking up a photographer in a couple of hours,” Mr. Liaberco said. “Help me out and you could be famous as well as rich, Ms. Owens. All you have to do is give the Luminary the story.”

“I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want your money either.” Nessa crossed her arms. “I want you to go away.”

“Hear that?” Jack balled his hands into fists and took a step toward Mr. Liaberco. “She does not want you hanging around. Take a hike.”

“Whatsa matter, Jack? Afraid I’m going to get the story first, just like Bigfoot?” Mr. Liaberco flipped his pudgy fingers as if shooing away a fly. “You’re making a mistake, Ms. Owens. This kid isn’t half the reporter I am.”

“And you’re trespassing. Unless you’d like to explain yourself to the sheriff, you’d better leave. Now.” Nessa pulled her phone from the holster clipped to the waistband of her shorts and waved it at him.

“All right. No need to call the law.” Mr. Liaberco raised both hands shoulder high, palms outward. “Remember what I said. The story is mine, whether you help me or not.”

“Not,” Nessa said.

“Leave,” Jack said.

“I’m going. But I’ll be back.” Mr. Liaberco scowled at Jack. “And I’ll scoop you again, my young friend. This headline belongs to the Luminary.”

He yanked open the car door, climbed in, and roared away in a cloud of oily fumes.

*****

***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Also by HL Carpenter:

The SkyHorse. Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

*****

Posted in Fiction, Jack Tagged with: , , , ,

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 8

Jack Cover with border small canvas

JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
ISBN: 978-0-9884095-1-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.

*****

Continued from Audio Installment 7
(New here? Choose an installment or start at the beginning)

 

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 8

***

Read along with us!
Below is the text version of the audio.

“You won the Pryer’s Best Herb Tip Contest.” He tapped the envelope. “You are Nessa Owens, right?”

Her lips thinned. “So you found out my name.”

“Mrs. Kuhn told me.”

Her eyes glinted in the morning sunlight. They were brown, the same as his. The same as Maria’s.

Jack handed over the envelope. “I guess you read the gossip rag I work for.”

Her face flushed. “I read anything I can find about herbs.”

“You must know a lot about them, since you won the contest.”

“Herbs are our business. My sister and I grow them, dry them, make wreaths out of them.” She waved the envelope. “Thanks for the check. Goodbye.”

“There’s something else—”

“I knew it.” Her hands tightened into fists, crumpling the envelope. “You’re here about Bradley, aren’t you? Too bad. You can forget you ever heard his name. You’re not getting the story from me.”

What story? Who was Bradley?

“No, that is not why I am here. I just want to warn you.”

Harey the rabbit peeked out from under the porch. One ear — the black one — curled toward Nessa. The other, a blended mix of white and charcoal-colored fur, lay flat against his neck. His small dark eyes glittered. His whiskers trembled and his mouth opened, revealing a wicked curving tooth.

During his six weeks at the Pryer, people had thrown temper tantrums when Jack tried to interview them. He’d been yelled at. He’d been cursed. A farmer had threatened him with a pitchfork.

But he’d never been confronted by a bunny with a tusk.

The rabbit scooted back under the porch.

“Warn me?” Nessa said.

. You have the wrong idea, mi hermanita. I am not here about Bradley, whoever he is. I am here about the Fountain of Youth.”

“That’s a good line.” She stuck the wrinkled envelope in her pocket and crossed her arms. “Why are you calling me your sister? Is this a joke?”

“No.” He only wished it were. “Someone told the Pryer the Fountain is on your property.”

“The Fountain of Youth. On our farm. Imagine that.” Nessa sank onto the porch steps. “I’m sorry to disappoint you. I don’t have a clue where the Fountain is. Of course, ever since Juan Ponce de León came through here in 1513, there have been rumors. I can see how anyone might be taken in.”

She spoke slowly, kindly, as if she thought he was crazy.

“I know it is a funny story. But my editor is convinced it will sell papers. That is what I want to talk to you about. You ought to know other people may come searching too.”

A car engine grumbled behind him.

“Is this one of those other people?” Nessa asked.

*****

***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Also by HL Carpenter:

The SkyHorse. Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

*****

Posted in Fiction, Jack Tagged with: , , ,

Top Drawer News — Your writing is at risk

Risk Image source: openclipart.org

Risk Image source: openclipart.org

We  think that keeping up with changes in the writing world leads to making informed decisions, and in this month’s post on Working Writers and Bloggers we share two trends to consider.

While you’re there, let us know how you think your writing might be at risk.

***

Posted in Top Drawer News Tagged with:

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 7

Jack Cover with border small canvas

JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
ISBN: 978-0-9884095-1-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.

*****

Continued from Audio Installment 6
(New here? Choose an installment or start at the beginning)

 

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 7

***

Read along with us!
Below is the text version of the audio.

Three

Thirty minutes later, still planless, Jack wheeled off the highway onto a twisty, one-lane dirt drive. The leather bicycle seat squeaked as he dodged the branches that had fallen off the trees lining each side of the tire-deep twin ruts. After bumping around the third of three curves, he emerged into a sandy clearing. He stopped, dismounted, and wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. He should have brought another cold soda from IDA’S EMPORIUM with him.

At the edge of the clearing, a tin-roofed, slope-sided Cracker style cottage wrapped by a shaded porch stood in prim white. To the left of the house, an enclosed garage and a separate long low building lined with windows butted a backdrop of dense forest and impenetrable underbrush. The scent of herbs hung on the still, hot air.

The setting matched Mrs. Kuhn’s description perfectly. This had to be the right place. He propped his bike against the porch rail.

“Harey! Get back here, you overgrown furball!”

The mystery girl barreled into view on the heels of a black and white rabbit. The bunny used his split-second lead to dart through a skunk-sized opening in the latticework beneath the porch.

The girl skidded to a halt in front of Jack. She’d changed from dusty jeans into shorts and a flowered blouse. With her long hair caught in a ponytail, she was even prettier than when she’d run him down in the parking lot.

Not that it mattered what she looked like or that his heart stuttered when he saw her. He was not free to court her. So he’d think of her the way he had his twin sister.

. As if that would work. This girl could never be mistaken for Maria. Though she had the same dark hair and quick temper, she was thinner, shorter – and much more lethal. He touched his nose and backed up a step.

The thin short lethal girl scowled. “What are you doing here?”

“Making a delivery.” He yanked the notepad from his back pocket, shuffled through the pages, and pulled out the envelope Mr. Newman had given him. “I brought you a check.”

She shaded her face with one hand and squinted. “You what?”

*****

***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Also by HL Carpenter:

The SkyHorse. Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

*****

Posted in Fiction, Jack Tagged with: , , , ,

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 6

Jack Cover with border small canvas

JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
ISBN: 978-0-9884095-1-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.

*****

Continued from Audio Installment 5
(New here? Choose an installment or start at the beginning)

 

Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 6

***

Read along with us!
Below is the text version of the audio.

Jack watched until the beautiful mystery girl rounded a bend in the road and disappeared from sight. He wished they could have talked more, but he didn’t blame her for getting mad when she learned where he worked. The Pryer had a terrible reputation. A lot of people disliked the paper and the journalists who worked there.

He and Tia Bella would change that, if they decided to buy the paper. They both despised the way the Pryer based sensational stories on the thinnest of facts and the craziest of tips. The same kind of facts and tips that had made Mr. Newman send him on this quest to find the Fountain of Youth.

But none of his previous assignments had left him yearning for things other people took for granted. Like spending time with a girl who made his skin tingle and the air spark with heat.

This one shouldn’t either. Because of the curse of the Fountain of Youth, he and Tia Bella could never lead normal lives. They had no other family besides each other. They both understood the truth, and had for centuries.

They were alone in the world and would be until the end of time.

He turned back to the buildings. The two elderly people had stopped smiling. They studied him like scientists examining a new species of insect.

Maybe they thought he’d insulted the girl on the bike. He’d be mad too, if he thought someone had insulted her. If he were free to court her and protect her — well, he wasn’t. After five hundred years, he’d learned there was no point wanting what could never be.

He straightened his shoulders, clutched his notebook, and headed toward IDA’S EMPORIUM.

*****

***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Also by HL Carpenter:

The SkyHorse. Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

*****

Posted in Fiction, Jack Tagged with: , , , ,

Hi, there!

We're glad you're here! We love readers!

We’re HL Carpenter, a Florida-based mother/daughter duo. We write from our studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue. When we’re not writing, we enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

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The SkyHorse

Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck—
until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

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Carpenter Country Essays

Find out what's going on in our neck of the human experience.

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