JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.
Continued from Installment 7
“You won the Pryer’s Best Herb Tip Contest.” He looked at her. “Nessa Owens, right?”
Her jaw tightened as if she wanted to deny it, but she said, “So you found out my name.”
“Mrs. Kuhn told me.” He liked the way her eyes glinted in the morning sunlight. They were brown, the same as his. The same as Maria’s. He handed her the envelope. “I guess you read the gossip rag I work for.”
Her face flushed. She fingered the envelope, and said, “I read anything I can find about herbs.”
“You must know a lot about them.”
“That’s our business. My sister and I grow them, dry them and make wreaths out of them.” She frowned at him. “Thanks for the check. Goodbye.” She glanced around, looking for the rabbit.
He said, “There’s something else—”
“I knew it.” She whirled, cutting him off. Her furious gaze snapped to his face. “You’re here about Bradley, aren’t you? Well, you can forget you ever heard his name. You’re not getting the story from me.”
What story? Who was Bradley? He’d only intended to tell her about the Fountain of Youth and the trouble he feared would be coming her way.
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. He stared at Jack, his small eyes dark and glittering. His whiskers trembled, and his mouth opened, revealing a wicked, curving tooth.
During his six weeks at the Pryer, Jack had grown used to people having temper tantrums when he 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. Glancing at Nessa, Jack said, “You have the wrong idea, mi hermanita. I’m not here about Bradley, whoever he is. I’m here about the Fountain of Youth.”
“That’s a good line.” She stuck the 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.” Nessa sank onto the porch steps, looking at him in disbelief. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Jack. 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, like she thought he was crazy. He probably sounded crazy. He said, “I know it’s a funny story. But my editor is convinced it’ll sell papers. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I think you ought to know other people may come searching, too.”
She stared at him for a long moment before sending a glance over his shoulder. “Is this one of those other people?”
***** 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?