Books & Beyond

Steps Into Darkness (A Shakertown Adventure) by Ben Woodard @benswoodard #excerpt #YA

Posted on: February 14, 2014

Tom pushed open the screen door of Glancy’s grocery. He carried a bag of food and was embarrassed to be here. Boys didn’t shop. But Aunt Bessie told him if he wanted her to cook food, he had to go buy it. She didn’t have time to kill and pluck a chicken.

The rickety door slammed behind him and he nearly ran into Junior Baker. Beside him stood Alrik Olsen. Both boys were fifteen, a year older than Tom. He tensed.

“Watch where you’re going, little boy,” said Junior. He pointed to the shopping bag and grinned at Alrik. “Lookie here. The shrimp is doing the shopping. What happened, shrimp? Did your Uncle Davis found out that you couldn’t lift a fork of hay and made you do woman’s work?”

“Get lost, Junior,” said Tom.

He stepped away and headed home. Junior rushed him and jammed his shoulder into Tom’s back. Tom crashed to the ground, the groceries spilling into the dirt. A fresh chicken wrapped in brown paper scooted across the dust. Junior stomped it.

Tom’s face reddened. He raised up, driving his head into Junior’s stomach and swinging with his right hand. His fist clipped Junior’s ear and the larger boy fell backward. As Tom charged him, Alrik grabbed Tom’s arm and spun him around. Tom saw the big fist coming and ducked, but the knuckles caught him under his left eye and he went down again. Junior stood over him, fists ready when the screen door opened and Mr. Glancy rushed out holding a baseball bat.

“I won’t have fighting around my store,” the gray haired man said. Junior and Alrik scurried away.

“Who started it?” said Mr. Glancy.

Tom struggled to his feet rubbing his face. “Doesn’t make any difference. Looks like I’ll need another chicken.”

Mr. Glancy nodded and went back in the store as Tom picked up the groceries. He brushed the dirt off of everything except the smashed chicken. Mr. Glancy brought him another wrapped in brown paper. At the end of the month, Aunt Bessie would question why her bill listed two chickens when she only got one. Tom planned to lie. He couldn’t tell her the truth. She didn’t want him fighting and watched over him like a mother hen.

He dropped off the groceries in the kitchen of the West Lot house, dodged Aunt Bessie, and hustled out to the well pump. Will peered at him from the upstairs window, and before Tom finished, Will joined him. He touched Tom’s swollen cheek.

“Spit it out. What happened?”

“Junior and Alrik jumped me. I could handle Junior, but Alrik throws a mean punch.”

“We’ll get them back,” said Will.

“I don’t care. I won’t be around anyway.”

“You’ll have a black eye for the picnic tomorrow. The girls’ll fawn over you like a newborn kitten. They’ll persuade you not to leave town.”

“Nope, I’m going.”

“Good food, sunshine, good-looking girls and explosions. What else could you want in life?”

Tom laughed. The picnic might be fun and he always liked being around Helen, but nothing could happen at a picnic to keep him from leaving.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA/Mystery

Rating – PG – 13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Ben Woodard on Facebook and Twitter



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