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Lucky's Mountain

112 pages
The year is 1935 and Maggie Sullivan's world has fallen apart. Maggie has grown up in a close-knit mining community perched atop a mountain in British Columbia. But now her father has been killed in a mine explosion and she is being forced to leave the only home she has ever known. To make matters worse, she must also leave behind her best friend Lucky, the three-legged dog that was a special gift from Pa.
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Lucky’s Mountain
Dîàé MàçôçK
Text copyright ©2007Dianne Maycock
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
Maycock, Dianne
Lucky’s mountain / written by Dianne Maycock.
ISBN 978-1-55143-682-1
I. Title.
PS8626.A932L84 2007 jC813’.6 C2006-907016-4
First published in the United States,2007Library of Congress Control Number:2006940393
Summary: Forced to leave the only home she has ever known, Maggie must also find a good home for her beloved dog, Lucky.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit. Typesetting by Christine Toller Cover artwork by Simon Ng
OrcaBookPublishersOrcaBookPublishers POBox5626,Stn.BPOBox468 Victoria,BCCanadaCuster,WAUSAV8R฀6S4 98240-0468 www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
10 09 08 07 • 4 3 2 1
For Gilly, who led me joyously into the world of children’s books all over again.
Thanks to Ellen Schwartz, who believed in me from the very beginning; my husband John, for his unwavering support; and Sarah Harvey, for guiding me cheerfully and patiently through the process of revision.
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Chapter One
The day the letter finally arrived, Maggie ran all the way home from the post office without stopping once. Not even to gobble a handful of the ripe red huck leberries that dotted the bushes along the trail. She glanced down at the envelope again, wishing desperately that she could just rip it open. But even with Auntie Horse’s frilly handwriting, there was no mistaking Mama’s name—Mrs. Thelma Sullivan. Lucky stopped in his tracks and turned to gaze back at her with a lopsided grin, as if they were playing go-go-stop. It was one of their favorite games, along with hide-and-seek, except that Lucky wasn’t very good at the hiding part. But what he lacked in skill, he more than made up for with boisterous tail-wagging and never ever arguing about the rules.
By the time she joined him on the back porch, they were both panting. “No fair,” Maggie said breath-lessly. “How come you never let me win?” Lucky grinned harder, and his plumy tail swished back and forth against the wood. When he was sitting like that it was impossible to tell that he wasn’t just the same as any other dog. For the hundredth time Maggie wondered—did he know? Deep inside his doggy brain, did he understand? Falling to her knees, she flung her arms around his neck. “Good boy,” she whispered, “you’re a good good boy.” She nuzzled her cheek against his soft golden ear and released him. “You stay here, okay? I’ll be back soon.” Lucky nodded to show that he understood. Hedidnod, all the time, even if Mama and Maggie’s sister Elly refused to believe it. Maggie and Pa were the only ones who had always believed in Lucky’s special gifts. For a precious instant Pa’s face floated in front of her, wearing the expression she loved the very best—that part-sweet, part-wicked smile, matched with a twinkle in the eyes. Blinking the image away, she scrambled to her feet and yanked open the back door. “It’s here, Mama. Can I open it?”
MayI.” Mama corrected Maggie without raising her eyes from the flowered china teacup she was wrap-ping in newsprint. Her face was flushed and her usually spotless apron was streaked with dirt. “Go ahead.” Suddenly Maggie’s heart was thudding against her ribs. This was only the most important letter she was ever going to read! With trembling fingers she ripped at the envelope and unfolded the plain white paper inside. “Well?” Elly said. She was hunched over the oak chest, arranging paper-wrapped bundles into careful piles. Everything Elly did was careful or tidy orsensible, as Mama would say. The exact opposite of Maggie, as Mama said too. “What does she say?” “She says…” Auntie Horse’s writing, crammed onto a single sheet, was difficult to read. “She says ‘No’!” Maggie wailed. “I hate her!” Crumpling the letter in her fist, she hurled it at the floor. “Margaret Sullivan.” Mama’s voice was as hard and sharp as a nail. “Pick…it…up. This instant. And read it aloud. I want to hear what she has to say.” As Maggie fumbled to smooth out the wad of paper, a tear plopped onto her hand. She shook her head angrily. Why did these stupid tears have to keep coming all the time? She was sick of tears.
And stupid old Auntie Horseface wasnotgoing to make her cry. She drew a shuddery breath and let it out slowly. “‘Dear Thelma and children, Given the circumstances, I hope you are keeping as well as can be expected. The weather here has been unseasonably hot, and we could do with a good hard rain. My arthritis is getting worse, making life difficult, and I am looking forward to your help. There will be plenty for the girls to do. Tell Margaret that I am sorry b-but,” Maggie bit savagely on her bottom lip, “there is simply no place for a dog in a city boarding house. A cat might be useful, to help with the loathsome rats that roam everywhere.’” Maggie gazed defiantly at Mama. “She’s the meanest old nag that ever lived. I wish…I wish an old rat would bite her!” Mama frowned at her. Her face, once so soft and pretty, looked almost ugly now. “Enough,” she said sharply. “We have no time for your tantrums.” The tears pricked again, for an instant, before Maggie scowled them away. If Mama could be a nail, shecould be a giant steel spike. For what seemed like an hour, she and Mama locked gazes. Finally Mama heaved a loud sigh. When she spoke, her voice had softened. “I know it’s hard, Maggie, but
your Aunt Hortense is right. We simply can’t take Lucky with us.” Elly stopped working to gaze up at her. “You’ll just have to find him a good home here,” she said matter-of-factly. “Why don’t you ask Mrs. Cameron if you can make an announcement at school?” Leave Lucky behind? Her very best friend in the whole entire world? “I always knew you hated him!” she yelled, flinging the letter at Elly as she stumbled toward the door. And there he was, scrambling to meet her, his big brown eyes melting with concern. And love. He was the only one left who really truly loved her.