Monday, March 2, 2009

Hiding the Stranger in Hickory Valley, Part One

Hank Rivers drove the old, dented but dependable, blue pick-up truck down Main Street toward St. Francis Hospital. The town was like many other quiet rural communities. It had friendly people and helpful neighbors. They worked hard and supported the local library, hospital and schools. The town still had patches of the leafy, shagbark hickory trees that earned the area its name, Hickory Valley. It was under one of these groups of hickory trees growing in front of the post office that Katie noticed the Chief of Police talking to two men.

“Hey, there’s Chief Benson. After we take our stranger to the see the doctor, maybe we should tell the chief about him. Maybe he can help figure out who he is.”

The light-haired boy looked toward the officer that the younger sister had indicated. Chief Benson had gray streaked hair and a kindly-looking face. A badge was visible above the shirt pocket of his blue uniform. He looked like the type of person who was used to helping others. Then, the teenager noticed the men that were standing next to the police chief. A tall, muscular man was standing on the sidewalk. He had a dark shaggy mustache and raven black hair that curled around the collar of his shirt. A shorter man with a balding head and round glasses that perched on the end of his nose was next to him. They were listening to Chief Benson as he slowly shook his head. When the taller man turned toward the truck, the boy felt a cold shiver run through his body. He gripped Jennifer’s arm and seemed to become even paler.

“Please, no! Don’t stop. Don’t let those men see me,” exclaimed the teen as he slid lower into the back seat.

This excerpt is from a young adult novel by Joan C. Kelly: Hiding the Stranger in Hickory Valley

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