The following is an excerpt from my MG novel, The Legend of Feather Lake
As the members of Walnut Cabin settled in their beds, the pitter-patter of tiny droplets of rain fell on the tin roof. Harder and harder they fell, sounding almost like sleet. The noise became tremendous, exciting, and rhythmic, with the rat-at-tat-tat of a snare drum.
“It’s the noisiest rain I’ve ever heard,” Sandy said at one point. There was no wind, thunder or lightning. Just the lonely, yet comforting sound of the rain.
Suddenly there was a thud beneath the floor.
“Do you think it’s thunder?”
“Maybe . . . shhh . . .”
Sandy sat up. “Something’s under the cabin!”
“It’s the mystery!” Kim gasped.
Their counselor, Darlene, jumped out of bed. “Nobody panic–I’ll get help.”
Jan, their other counselor, stood in front of the door. “You can’t go out! It’s pouring, and you don’t know what might be under there!”
“You’re right. As long as it stays underneath the cabin, we’re okay. We’ll have to wait ’til morning–then I’ll run to the directors’ office and have them call Mr. Kidd at the stables. There’s nothing we can do tonight.”
“But who can sleep?” Sandy said, realizing the thought of a huge creature combined with the noisy rain would keep her awake.
Jan hesitated for a moment. “Okay, just this once, we’ll have a powwow until things calm down. Deal?”
It was the slumber party of parties when everyone forgot their fears and developed a case of the giggles. Darlene and Jan constantly reminded the girls to keep their voices down.
“I’ll bet it’s a mountain lion!” said Trish.
“A wolf!” added Mia.
“Not around here,” Jan said. “Anyway, let’s not think about it. I haven’t heard it in awhile–maybe it’s gone.”
Trish’s mouth curved into a mischievous grin. “All right, then—I want to ask a question. Do you have a boyfriend at home, Jan?”
The twenty-year-old took a deep breath before answering. “Kind of.”
“What does that mean?” Sandy asked.
“It means I’ve been dating someone, but we’re taking a break.”
“Is that why you’re here?” Kim said.
“I wanted to come, and when George and I started having problems, I decided it would be the perfect time for a little separation.”
“I’ll be he writes every day,” Trish crooned
Jan smiled sheepishly. “Not every day, but about twice a week.”
Sandy slid into her sleeping bag. “Do you miss him?”
“A little. His letters are really sweet, and I look forward to seeing him.”
Kim’s eyes brightened. “What does he look like?”
Jan leaned back on her pillows. “He has black hair and periwinkle eyes.”
Trish sat up straight. “Periwinkle? What’s that?”
“Light blue with a touch of lavender,” Jan smiled. “My favorite color.”
Sandy asked, “What about you, Darlene?”
The counselor had been half-hiding in her bed. “I’m not dating anyone. I broke up with my boyfriend recently.”
Darlene’s eyes were a little red, so Sandy decided not to force the issue. Jan must have noticed too, since she sat up straight. “I haven’t heard any bumping in awhile. Maybe whatever it was is gone.”
Darlene seemed relieved. “Time for bed, everyone. We’ll investigate around the cabin tomorrow.”
“And the rain has let up,” Darlene said, seeming relieved. “Time for bed, everyone. We’ll investigate around the cabin tomorrow.”
Sandy felt uneasy as she slid into her sleeping bag. What was making the noise? Would the creature try to come inside? Several scenarios invaded her mind, and she scrunched farther into her sleeping bag as if to hide from them. Forcing these thoughts into the night, she fell asleep, waking with the sun as Darlene sneaked out the door.
She’s going to get Mr. Kidd.
Soon the stable man’s husky voice pierced the early morning silence, and Sandy peeked out as he approached the large crawl space under the cabin. “Nope–nothing there. And the pine straw kept it from leaving any tracks. It’s my guess that some critter used the space as shelter from the rain.”
“It’s okay,” Darlene sang as she came inside. “Whatever it was is gone.” She tried to sound confident.
“Let’s just be extra careful today,” Jan said.
Sandy dressed for breakfast as usual, but not with the same carefree attitude. Something came uncomfortably close to them the night before, and it could be lurking nearby.