Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Installment 7

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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 Installment 6

 

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. Wishing he’d brought another cold soda from IDA’S EMPORIUM with him, he dried his damp hand on his jeans and looked around.

A tin-roofed, slope-sided Cracker style cottage wrapped by a shaded porch stood in front of him. 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, and started for the steps leading to the front door.

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

He recognized the voice even before 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 him. She’d changed from dusty jeans into shorts and a flowered blouse. With her long hair caught in a ponytail, she looked even prettier than she had 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. As he’d biked to her house, he’d come up with a way to keep himself from imagining what it would be like if he were free to court her: He’d think of her the way he had his twin sister.

. Like 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 more lethal. He touched his nose.

The thin, short, lethal girl plunked her hands on her hips. “What are you doing here?”

“Making a delivery.” Before she could inflict further damage, 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 at him. “You what?”

*****

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

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their home 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.

The Demise of Fyne Literature. Who killed Fyne Literature? The Fictional Book Investigation Agency is on the case—and the lead investigator is closer to the culprit than he realizes.

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

Walled In. When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

Taxing Pecksniffery. Flying frizzles! The year is 2176, a rebellion is brewing, and the boss wants a recon report. Ichann Count is all wet as a spy, but she plunges into the fray. Will she emerge with her memory banks intact?

*****

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We write. Visit us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

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