JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.
Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Audio Installment 12
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Below is the text version of the audio.
“A break-in happened.”
A prickle of nerves skittered along her spine. She tightened her grip on Harey. He squirmed in protest and she loosened her fingers. The intruder was long gone, and she was sure—almost sure—he wasn’t coming back. Not in the light of day, anyway. Creeps who got their jollies demolishing the property of others preferred darkness, which was why she hadn’t been able to sleep last night.
She nearly leapt out of her sandals when Jack touched her arm.
“You weren’t here, were you, mi hermanita?”
“Why do you keep calling me that?”
He lowered his hand. “No reason.”
He didn’t get splotchy like she did when he told a lie. But he didn’t meet her gaze either, the way he had when he’d answered her question about why he was really here.
“I was at the hospital with Cori Saturday night when this happened. I found the mess when I got back Sunday morning.”
Jack knelt and touched a broken flowerpot. “Did you call the police?”
“I did once I realized it wasn’t damage from Tropical Storm Kyle.” She poked an overturned plant with the toe of her sandal. “Sheriff Garrison came out right away.”
Late Friday, in the hours before the worst of the storm hit, the long tables had been filled with rows of thriving potted herbs. Sometime between then and when she’d come home from the hospital Sunday morning and opened the greenhouse door, nearly every plant had been destroyed.
“What did the police say?” Jack asked.
“The sheriff said it was vandalism.”
“This took some time. Whoever did it must have figured the police would be busy with the storm.” Jack stood up, shards of clay crunching under his sneakers. “They sure destroyed a lot of plants.”
“Over a hundred.” She’d already spent hours salvaging and repotting seedlings, time she could have used to fill orders. “We were fortunate the vandals only broke the herb pots. If they’d smashed the walls…”
Replacing the heavy sheets of corrugated glass would cost a fortune. A fortune she and Cori didn’t have.
“Someone must have known you and Cori went to the hospital Saturday.”
“The only people who knew would not have done this.”
If someone else knew Cori had gone into early labor, did that mean they were being watched? But by who? Having the greenhouse vandalized in the middle of a tropical storm was bad enough without adding a creeper to the mix. Last night, in the darkness, the woods surrounding the house had been full of rustlings and odd noises that she’d never paid attention to before.
She handed Jack the rabbit. “Let’s take care of his tooth.”
“Okay.” He wrapped his hands around Harey’s middle and held the bunny at arm’s length. “That is one scary fang.”
“I should have trimmed it yesterday. But he’s hard to hold, and with Cori gone there’s no one to help.” She walked to the workbench and picked up a pair of nippers.
“Hey!” Jack yelled.
Nessa spun around. Harey had twisted out of Jack’s hands and darted across the room. Jack lunged after him, tripped over a pile of dirt, and upended a workbench. He landed flat on the floor. Potting soil and wilted plants rained down on his head. Harey raced through the doorway at the back of the greenhouse. Jack jumped to his feet and ran after him.
***** 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?