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Medusa's Scream

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136 pages
Medusa's Scream is a thrill-ride that hurtles a train through an out-of-service gold mine in the Fraser Valley. Chase can't believe his luck when he lands a summer job in the food truck outside the ride's entrance. But then he notices strange things happening at the old mine. Chase starts to piece things together, and soon his life is threatened by a villain even scarier than the snake-headed Medusa of myth.
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Melanie Jackson
Medus
a ' sScream
MedusasSc r e a m
Melanie Jackson
Copyright ©2017Melanie Jackson
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Jackson, Melanie,1956, author Medusa’s Scream / Melanie Jackson. (Orca currents)
Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 978-1-4598-1441-7 (softcover).—isbn 978-1-4598-1442-4 (pdf).— isbn 978-1-4598-1443-1(epub)
I. Title. II. Series: Orca currents ps8569.a265m43 2017jc813'.6 c2017-900868-4 c2017-900869-2
First published in the United States,2017 Library of Congress Control Number:2017933021
Summary:In this highinterest novel for middle readers, Chase gets a job at an abandoned gold mine that has been converted into an amusement ride.
FPO
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has ® printed this book on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts,and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Edited by Tanya Trafford Cover photography by Shutterstock.com Author photo by Bart Jackson
orca book publishers www.orcabook.com
Printed and bound in Canada.
20 19 18 17 • 4 3 2 1
In memory of my mother, who gave me my love for history. And to our ancestors, who were irresistibly adventurous (if impractical) enough to îght on Charlie’s side lo thesefour centuries ago. —MJ
Down, too fast, into darkness. The chill air whipped at my face, jammed the 3-D glasses against my eyeballs. I gripped the sides of the car.It wasn’t the drop that scared me.I’d been on thrill rides before. It was not being able to see. The train wrenched to the left. Even safety-clamped to my seat I lurched sideways. A loud, shrill scream rang out. Its echo was even more agonizing— a howling like the cries of the dead.I pressed my hands over my ears. A huge green head blazed out of the darkness. It was a woman with snakes writhing from her scalp. Her slithery head loomed larger, closer. The snakes lunged at me. Blood dripped from their fangs. It was all a cartoon. I knew that. All the same, I started sweating. The woman opened her mouth.I braced for another loud, shrill—
C h a p t e r O n e
Scre-e-e-e-am! The train barreled straight at me. It was the train’s piercing whistle that made the screaming noise. The whistle shrieked at me now like an accusation. I was at the edge ofthe platform. I stood on the other side of the painted safety line, the one you weren’t supposed to cross.
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I had tried out the ride a few days earlier. I wasn’t going on it a second time. The darkness, the screams, that cries-of-the-dead echo—once was enough. Besides, this was another type of thrill—to miss getting hit by inches. The gush of air from the speeding train felt good. We were in a two-month drought that showed no sign of breaking. The white sun blazed on the metal shield of the approaching locomotive. From the shield’s center, the woman withthe snaky hair glared out. Medusa. In Greek mythology, Athena, goddess of war, carried Medusa’s head around to scare off enemies. Yeah, I could see how that would work. The train ride, called Medusa’s Scream, was the new tourist attraction in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. The locomotive ran on autopilot. It wrenched nine open-air cars on a twisty,
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Melanie Jack son
plunging ride through an old converted gold mine. I was here to see the manager about a job. I was early. I could have waited in the lobby, but I was the restless type. More fun to pass the time standing almost in the path of a zooming train. The ad had readCook needed at Medusa’s Scream food truck. Summer position. Just starting out? No problem! Being in high school, I was more like pre-starting out. I’d gotten into cooking after Mom died. Dad didn’t like cooking, and the taste of takeout lost its appeal after a while. So I threw on an apron. Eventually I’d zeroed in on pie making. Not dessert pies. Savory pies that we could have for dinner. Meat, îsh, veggie—you name it. I realized I could combine all the Canada Food Guide requirements under one roof— that is, one crust. The all-in-one meal.
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And a great way to keep the dish-washing to a minimum. I’d also discovered I enjoyed it.I liked trying out ingredients, seeing how they worked with each other. It was like being a combination of artist and mad scientist. And now I needed to înd a job. So here I was, waiting for an interview. I didn’t seriously think I had a chance at the cook’s job. More likely I’d get some part-time shifts Lipping burgers at McDonald’s. If I was lucky. But anything was worth a try. The train slowed. I got a look at the shield close up before the locomo-tive slid by. Medusa’s mouth was set in midscream. Who could blame her with a hairdo like that? In the myth, Medusa and her slithery scalp could turn people to stone. But I wasn’t worried about getting a stone makeover.
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It was the guy jumping from the still-moving train who had me concerned.
He hit the platform awkwardly and crashed to the ground. I ran up to him. He was about my age, dark-haired, pale and dripping with sweat. I helped him stand. “Wow, not even waiting until the train stopped! The ride must have really got to you.” He pulled away, tried to stand on his own. Winced. I caught him by the arm. “I’m calling an ambulance. You might have broken that ankle.” The train stopped. People started climbing out of the cars. Some were laughing. A few looked shell-shocked. Pressing a hand over her mouth, one woman staggered to the washroom.
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