The Critches are out for revenge and with Jess Hubbard to help them, they are sure to succeed unless Paul, Billy and Argo can come up with something fast. The Revenge of the Critches, sequel to The Golden Mushroom by John Paulits. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at:
Things did not stay peaceful long in Shumbus after Paul and Billy’s summer adventure there. The Critches are out for revenge. The Golden Mushroom is in danger and so is the very city where the Shumians have lived forever. With Jess Hubbard planning to help the Critches, they are sure to succeed unless Paul, Billy, and Argo can come up with something fast!
Word Count: 19100
Pages to Print: 76 in PDF
EXCERPT: Chapter One
“Did you fellows hear anything odd last night after you went to bed?” Grandfather Drummond said to his grandson Paul and Paul’s best friend, Billy Sparks.
“Like what, Grandfather?” Paul replied, not much interested.
“Like someone banging things around. I could swear I heard something in the middle of the night.”
“It wasn’t us,” Paul said. “We were asleep.”
“I know it wasn’t you. It seemed to come from across the street.”
Paul and Billy exchanged looks, now very interested.
“You mean your friend’s house?” Paul asked.
“As a matter of fact, yes, but it couldn’t have come from there, could it? Jess Hubbard has been gone all summer, and you say he’s not coming back.”
“That’s what he told us, Mr. Drummond,” Billy chimed in.
“I might have even heard it the night before too, but I was half asleep. I don’t know. If I hear anything tonight, I may just go across the street and have a look. I checked this morning before you two woke up, but nothing’s changed over there. Finish your breakfasts. I’m going out for groceries, and when I get back, we’ll go down to the beach.” Grandfather ruffled his grandson’s hair. “It won’t be long now until your mom comes to pick you up and ships you off to fifth grade.”
Paul and Bill ate quietly, and as soon as Grandfather disappeared, they carried their cereal bowls to the sink.
“We better go look,” Billy suggested.
“My grandfather said he already looked.”
“He doesn’t know what to look for. We do.”
“Of course we do. Let’s go. Don’t waste time. Get the flashlight.”
Paul Drummond and Billy Sparks were spending the summer with Paul’s grandfather at his seashore house in Seaview. An extraordinary adventure had kept the boys busy during the first week of their visit. When Grandfather Drummond’s neighbor and best friend Jess Hubbard disappeared, the boys traced him to an unimaginable place called Shumbus. They had traveled to Shumbus by accidentally tumbling down a mudslide hidden under Jess’s house. The boys had heard nothing of Shumbus; nothing from either Argo, the Shumian they had helped to rescue the Golden Mushroom from the horrible Critches, or from Mr. Hubbard since their return to Seaview.
The boys crossed the street to Jess’s house and went around to the back door. Billy put his hand through the empty window he had broken nearly two months earlier and opened the door.
Paul got a solid kitchen knife from a drawer and knelt in the corner next to the trapdoor which led to the mudslide to Shumbus. He tried to pry the door open, but couldn’t lift it.
“Help me,” he said to Billy.
“What for? You know even if we open it, it’s blocked off with another piece of floor.”
“I’m checking. Get another knife.”
Billy got another knife and tried to help, but the door wouldn’t budge.
“This lifted up last time,” said Paul. “Somebody locked it up good since then.”
“Let’s go out and look underneath,” Billy suggested.
“Wait, Billy, look. The kitchen floor’s way more scratched up than before.”
“What made those scrape marks, you think?” Billy asked softly.
Billy turned to his friend. “Oh, really? Something?”
“Like what kind of something?”
“How do I know? But something.”
“Something. Great. We gotta look underneath. Maybe we’ll see something.”
A space barely large enough for a person to crawl through separated the kitchen floor from the damp ground beneath it.
One small window, also broken by Billy on their first visit, looked into this space.
“Shine the light,” said Billy as both boys knelt and peered into the dark.
Paul aimed the light at the far corner. The muddy hole they’d slid down before looked undisturbed, but the yucky, oozy mud under the house made it hard to tell whether anyone had been there lately or not.
“Look here,” said Paul. He pointed to dried mud stuck to the window frame. Paul touched the mud, and it dropped off in little flakes. “Is this still here from the beginning of summer?”
“I don’t know. That’s a long time ago. The trapdoor wasn’t locked before. Somebody had to be here to lock it. You think maybe somebody held on here to slide himself out from under the house? You think somebody came up from . . .” Billy couldn’t finish his sentence. He and Paul had tried many times to talk about their adventure, but since Argo gave them the special tea to drink, they could say nothing of what happened during those three days in Shumbus, and they could say nothing now.
“I know what you mean,” said Paul. “Let me knock all the mud off.” Paul ran his shirt tail across the edge of the window frame. “If there’s mud here again, we’ll know it happened after today.”
“Good idea. You think maybe Mr. Hubbard came back?” Billy asked.
“I don’t know. If he did, why would he have to sneak around? He could start living in his house again and make some excuse about being away all this time.”
“I guess. Then it has to be someone else.”
“Yeah, but who?”
The boys’ eyes met, but neither had an answer.
“We can’t let your grandfather find out about this,” Billy warned.
“Suppose he hears noises again tonight? He’ll come look, he said. Wait, what’s that?” Paul shone the light on a large, square piece of wooden flooring tossed into a corner of the muddy space beneath the house.
“It looks like the underneath part that blocked the trap door opening before,” Billy cried.
On their first visit at the beginning of the summer, they managed to pull open the trapdoor in the kitchen only to reveal another piece of wooden floor beneath it blocking their way—the piece they now shone their light on.
“Shall we go under?” Billy asked.
“No, we’ll get muddy, and my grandfather’ll want to know how. What if we try to stay awake tonight as long as we can and watch this house?”
“Yeah! We’ll keep watch. We might see . . . something.” Billy cast a nervous glance at his friend. “Let’s get back before your grandfather gets home and asks us where we’ve been.”