Excerpt from upcoming book, Rosco the Rascal's Ghost Town Adventure

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I’m getting very excited to publish my new book, so I thought I’d share a short excerpt from it. (My teenaged daughter did the black-and-white illustrations for this book.) Cover reveal coming soon. Look for it in February 2020!

Excerpt from Chapter 15, The Miners, Rosco the Rascal’s Ghost Town Adventure

Copyright © 2020 by Shana Gorian. All Rights Reserved.

“Wait,” James interrupted. “Do you hear that?”

Mandy looked up. She was surprised to hear the sharp clank of metal hitting rock. “Yeah. Where’s it coming from?”

James lowered his voice, looking around.  “I don’t know.”

“Let’s go see.” Mandy stepped quietly, running her hand along Rosco’s head.

The noises seemed to be coming from the hallway that led to the left. Tabby moved on again, in the direction of the noise, and the group followed.

Soon, the noises grew louder.

Reaching another doorframe, the kids peered around it, careful not to make any noise of their own. Inside, they saw several lanterns hung from posts, which shed a low light on the space. The kids inched further into the doorway to get a better look.

A wheelbarrow stood just inside the door. Silver ore sparkled from the earthen walls.  The clanking noises were much louder inside—and there were people.

It was a busy place. James counted five men hammering at the walls with pickaxes. He counted two men loading ore onto a mine cart, which sat on metal tracks that disappeared down a narrow tunnel.

Two other men were shoveling dirt into buckets, and another rested an arm on his shovel, seemingly taking a break. They were ten men in dusty pants, shirts, and boots, some with suspenders, some with wide-brimmed hats—all of them looking tired and ragged.  

“They’re mining!” said James, “Aren’t they? And it looks so real!”

The mine room was large, and the men were making a lot of noise, so Rosco and the kids hadn’t yet been noticed.

“Yeah, this looks just like the displays on the tour path,” whispered Mandy. “They’re even wearing the same clothes! And hey, I think that’s the guy we saw in the hallway!” She nodded in his direction.

James glanced at the man. “Yeah, it looks like him, all right.”

“They must be practicing for a show or something. Don’t you think?” asked Mandy.

Rosco scanned the room. Something seemed strange about this place. Why were these men working so deep inside the mine? And it didn’t look like practice to him—it looked real. Moreover, he wasn’t so sure that he and the kids and the cats should be here. The Danger signs had already made him nervous, and this only made it worse.

“Let’s see if anyone will talk to us,” said James. He approached the man standing with the shovel. Mandy followed. “Excuse me, sir, is this part of a special tour? It’s so cool.”

The man turned around, caught off guard. “What?” Then he shot them a hard look. “Where’d you kids come from? How’d you get in here?”

He stared at James and then at Mandy. Then he glanced down and saw the large dog, which had come to stand protectively beside the kids, and his expression changed to anger.

James wasn’t sure what to say.

“Hey, boy,” the miner went on, pointing at James, “you’d better take yer dog and— who’s this, yer little sister? You’d better take them both and git outta here!” He pointed at the doorway. “Yer not supposed to be down here! No one’s supposed to be down here!”

James and Mandy were shocked. It seemed strange that anyone in Silverhollow would treat visitors so rudely, so James didn’t know how to respond. “Uh…I’m sorry?”

“Didn’t you see all the signs? You heard me, now, son—git outta here!”

Just then, the earth rumbled again. A quiet thunder echoed off the walls of the mine room. James and Mandy turned to each other with a look of panic. The mysterious stranger who’d passed them in the dark hallway looked over. “Hey, who’s there, Wallace? This ain’t the time for visitors!”

Wallace answered him. “A couple of kids! I told them it’s time to go.”

Another bit of thunder rumbled.

The man from the hallway shook his head. “I saw those kids earlier today!” He hollered to James and Mandy. “You heard him—now git out!”

The rumbling stopped again and Wallace relaxed for a moment, then turned back to James. “Unless you want trouble, son?”

“Uh…” said James.

Mandy’s face went pale.

James cleared his throat. “Uh, no, we don’t want any trouble, sir. Come on, Mandy.” Taking Mandy by the elbow, he hurried toward the doorway. Calico and Tabby were waiting for them in the shadows and raced out ahead of the group.

Rosco turned back to snarl at the man, but, with a frightening glare, Wallace waved the shovel. “Go on, now, you too—git out, you old mutt!”

Rosco shrank back, then thought better of it and bared his sharp teeth, glaring at the man. Should he teach this man a lesson? Was it worth it?

From the tunnel outside the room, Rosco heard James calling urgently. “Come on, Rosco! Come on, boy!”

Rosco growled and lowered his gaze. No, it wasn’t worth it—not this time. It was better, for now, just to leave. He ran to catch up to the kids.

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Look for the book in February 2020!

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