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The Shade Riders and the Dreadful Ghosts

BOOK: The Shade Riders and the Dreadful Ghosts
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The Shade Riders and the Dreadful

Copyright © 2015 by Beth Zurkowski Bxerk

All rights reserved. This book or any portion

May not be reproduced or used in any manner

Without the express written permission of the

Except for the use of brief quotations in a
book review.


Printed in United States of America


First Printing 2015


ISBN 978-131-10584-6-1


Beth Zurkowski

P.O. Box 342

Brodhead, Wi, 53520





I want to thank my editor Dave King. I want to thank
my writer’s groups I had in the past, for their insight and
knowledge. And I have a wonderful writer’s group now. I also had
great beta readers, Mary Farley and Andy Oliver, who taught me a
thing or two about writing. I like to think that each novel is a
collaborative effort. And one needs to accept all the help they can
get unless it gets too confusing or mean. I received help from
Professor Judith Olmsted from Gateway Technical College on matters
of science. She is a wonderful fountain of knowledge. I approached
Professor Clint Sprott from the UW-Madison about Plasma. He gave me
great information about electric fields. I used the Critters
Writers Workshop and received very good suggestions. I had help
from Jacqueline Jaeger Houtman, Ingrid Kallick, Kate Blackwell and
Ronnie Hess. My writer’s group today has Beverly Stowe McClure,
Cheryl C. Malandrinos, and Gail DeLaney. All who have made writing
so exciting and wonderful. I know I have forgotten some critique
people, I hope they forgive me.




Chapter 1
Shiver Me Timbers

Chapter 2 The

Chapter 3
Spirit Myths

Chapter 4
Taking a Powder

Chapter 5
Prism Colors

Chapter 6

Chapter 7
Threats to Science

Chapter 8

Chapter 9
Shade’s Freedom

Chapter 10

Chapter 11
Science Fair

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14
Nocturnal Ned

Chapter 15

Chapter 16
Nova’s Secret

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20
The Fort

Chapter 21
Part Neanderthal

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24
Trails and Trials

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27
Home and Hosed

About the



To my son.


The Shade Riders and the Dreadful Ghosts




March 15, 2046
Bardsville, Wisconsin
Chapter 1 Shiver Me Timbers

When eleven-year-old Nova
strolled through the doorway of Bardsville Middle School, the hair
on the back of her neck immediately stood at attention. And that
was before the spring wind blew the door shut behind her. Cold
raced through her bones, and her breakfast threatened to come up.
She clutched her stomach and took deep breaths.

She heard an evil laugh and looked up. A gray
transparent human silhouette flashed before her eyes and vanished
with a crackling sound.

Nova jumped back. Stupid ghosts! For the last
month and a half, they’d been infesting the school like mice in a
corn crib. It was hard enough to get through the school day without
worrying about being overwhelmed by a sense of dread. It was worst
during gym.

Well, she was finally going to do something
about it. And if it meant taking out someone’s ancestors, so be

The school bell rang out startling her again.
Nova ran down the hallway, skidding around the corner to the north
wing and her first class- English with Ms. Chilldress. The room
smelled of hand lotion, stinky feet, and old books. Nova was still
trying to shake the dread, taking some deep breaths when she
remembered that there was a spelling test this morning. She gritted
her teeth. The dread had nothing to do with the ghost. Not this
time anyway.

Later in the Auditorium for lunch, Nova
scanned the room until she spotted Takeesha at a table in the
corner with Max Kim and Benny. The chairs from one side of the
table had been shoved into the aisle to make room for Benny’s
wheelchair. Nova jostled through kids near the auditorium’s dark
stage and shuffled past the vending machines that made squeaking
noises when she came near them. The machines hid the old kitchen
that wasn't used anymore. She sat down with the others at a rickety
corner table.

“You guys, I had another sighting this

“The pirate?” Benny asked.

“It happened so fast I’m not sure.” Nova
opened up her brown lunch bag. “I don’t know about you guys, but I
want them gone. Thing is, I’m not sure I can fight them alone.”

Takeesha nodded biting into her ham sandwich
that dripped mayonnaise. “Something happened with a pirate ghost
this morning.”

Nova noticed that Max Kim’s eyes were wide as
he gulped his chocolate milk. Benny and Max Kim were good buds and
usually made fun of the girls. If he was taking Takeesha seriously,
then it had to be bad.

“What?” she said. “What happened?”

“Do you remember Dayton? The science kid? His
hat made him look bald with three

eyes---?” Takeesha scratched between her

“Yeah, I remember him,” Nova said. “Was he
doing anything with science? The ghosts really don’t like

Takeesha continued to stuff her sandwich in
her mouth.

“Mufflrrr.” She gestured ‘give me a minute’
with her finger. Nova sat back. Someone dropped their chair, and
everyone jumped. Nova looked around the room for a ghost but didn’t
see or sense one. These ghosts really had everyone on edge.

Benny couldn’t wait for Takeesha any longer.
“Dayton was carrying a chemistry book from Ms. Chilldress. Anyway,
he opened his locker, and there was this big bloody arm hanging
from handcuffs inside.”

“Hey,” Takeesha spluttered her white milk and
wiped her chin with a napkin. “Nova’s my friend. I should tell her.
You know what I mean?”

"Well hurry up and get to the good part."
Benny shoved at his white blond combed-over hair.

Nova elbowed her. “Yeah, Takeesha get to the
good part.”

“When Dayton tried to touch the ghost arm, it
reached out to grab him.” Takeesha drank some more milk.

“Yeah, then the arm changed into a pirate,”
Max Kim said with wide eyes. Takeesha glared at Max Kim, and he
looked down at his lap.

“Then what happened?” Nova smoothed her curly
auburn hair back careful not to expose her small brow ridge.

“The ghost growled and banged on lockers,”
Takeesha said. “It chased Dayton down the hallway. Kids scattered,
even the ones who said they were used to seeing the ghosts.”

Benny pulled himself straight in his chair.
“I believe it's my turn now.”

“Fine," Takeesha said.

Then it dawned on Nova that this was the
first time Benny had seen a ghost. Usually he argued against
sightings, saying there is no such thing as the paranormal. Maybe
now, he’s changed his tune.

“The pirate ghost caught up with Dayton,”
Benny said. “It grabbed him and said, ‘By all that’s unholy, I’ll
keelhaul you by pulling you from one end of my ship to the other,
a- long-ways.’ Dayton’s eyes rolled up in his head. He fell
backward and hit his head. I heard a crack.” Benny winced. “Then
the ghost laughed and vanished. A whole bunch of kids gathered
around Dayton's body. A kid in a red jacket ran down the hall to
get the coach. Mr. Hartzle tried to revive him and told a kid to
run to the nurse and call for an ambulance. He wasn’t

Takeesha elbowed Benny in the chest. She had
got up on the table and now laid across it in front of Benny and
his wheelchair, careful not to lay in his food. “Benny, now it’s my
turn." Benny scrunched up his face and stuck out his tongue. Nova
and Max Kim grinned. That was Takeesha for you, always wanting

“Coach was giving mouth to mouth when the
paramedics showed up,” Takeesha said. “You should have seen how his
body jumped when they used those electric paddles. Dayton awoke
screaming. The paramedics put him on a stretcher and took him away
to the hospital. So what do you think?”

“Wow I hope that kid will be okay. Takeesha,
that’s probably the same ghost I saw. Benny, you actually believe
you saw something?”

“Yes, but it could most likely be

“Aw, come on Benny. You know they exist now,”
Takeesha said getting off the table.

“I don’t want to discuss it.” He put his
chair in reverse, backed up, and started rolling toward the garbage

The rest of the kids picked up their garbage,
throwing it away, and then strolled into the gym and outside
through a side door for recess. Nova and Takeesha skipped to the
hopscotch area away from Benny and Max Kim, who tossed a red rubber
ball back and forth. When the sun stayed out from behind the
clouds, Nova turned her face up to the warmth. She loved spring. It
felt soooo good after the winter snows. The March winds buffeted
her body, and her hair got tangled.

“Hey, Takeesha do you want to see if
Chocolate had her foal yet?”

“Yeah, that would be clash. How about after
school? I’ll call my Ma from the pay phone.”

“Clash! I can’t wait.” They played jump rope
and hopscotch enjoying the warmer day. Suddenly, Takeesha grabbed
Nova's arm and pulled her behind a maple tree. "I still want to do
the séance in the library."

"Even after seeing that pirate ghost?"

"I can handle myself. I'm a shaman." Takeesha
held up her African medallion necklace she kept hidden under her
shirt. “A shaman is a spirit guide, healer, and psychic.”

"Well, I want to try out my psychic powers

"So, let's do it. Maybe we can tell the
ghosts to stop. You know what I mean? "

"It'll be dangerous."

"So? Besides, so far, they haven’t hurt

"What about Dayton?”

“No one died that I know of.”


"Meet me at the school Library at about five
after two.”

After recess, in the south school hallway,
Nova still smelled the fresh aroma of spring, like she was bringing
it indoors with her. The kids coming inside were putting their
balls on the rack to the right adding a whiff of rubber to the
smell of the outdoors.

After getting her books from her locker, she
ambled down to the far end of the east corridor to math class.
Takeesha got her art supplies and appeared to float down the north
corridor to art class. But Nova was having a hard time
concentrating on square roots.

She was going to defend herself against
ghosts using her unproven psychic powers once and for all. Benny
had said that psychic powers were another proof that we evolved.
Maybe if she had the powers, she could fight the ghosts. She shook
in anticipation.

Halfway through math class, a heavy spring
storm began to lash against the School. Cold sleet and rain pelted
the windows making it sound as if they might break. Thunder boomed,
and Nova could feel the cement floor shake, causing kids to jump
away from their desks and either yell or point out the window. Nova
shuddered. Riding home on a bicycle was going to be a

With just one more class period left in the
day, Nova sighed heavily as she rubbed the small brow ridge hidden
under her bangs. That was a bad habit she really should break, but
it did help calm her down when she was nervous. Finally, the bell
rang, and she made the slow walk from math class that was in the
east wing and headed south with her library pass. Students were
allowed to go to the library instead of the study hall.

Squeaks from her holey old sneakers echoed
off the brick walls as she meandered down the hall and to the
library. She noticed a new red banner stretched across the
corridor. Bardsville Bandicoots Bite Back 2046.

Another sign had been put up reminding
everyone about the visit by the Great Nocturnal Ned on Friday in
the auditorium. The psychic had red hair done up in a pompadour
style. The picture was created to look mysterious and a little
spooky, representing Ned’s supernatural power. Nocturnal Ned could
speak with dead people and validate that they were there, watching
over us, or so the poster proclaimed. Nova felt uncomfortable with
the idea that she was being watched over, especially when she went
to the bathroom. She hoped the dead had the common courtesy not to
look, but what if they were perverts?

BOOK: The Shade Riders and the Dreadful Ghosts
12.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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