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Shallow Grave

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136 pages
When they're hauled into the office in the wake of a stupid prank, schoolmates Elliot and Shannon have no idea that hiding the principal's Smart Car in the woods was the least of their problems. As part of their punishment, the pair is tasked to clean up the school boathouse – the same one that's been shuttered for close to twenty years. Should be an easy enough task, they figure: chuck all the broken stuff, organize whatever still works and get the weekend underway. But when Shannon talks Elliot into making a Ouija board, things take a turn for the horrifying. When the pair accidentally unleashes a dark force, they find themselves caught up in a mystery that must be solved if they are to have any hope of escape.
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SHALLOW GRAVE
ALEX VAN TOL
Shallow Grave
Alex Van Tol
Copyright ©2012Alex Van Tol
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
Van Tol, Alex Shallow grave [electronic resource] / Alex Van Tol. (Orca soundings)
Electronic monograph. Issued also in print format. isbn 9781459802049 (pdf).isbn 9781459802056 (epub)
I. Title. Ii. Series: Orca soundings (Online) ps8643.a63s43 2012jc813’.6 c2012902578x First published in the United States,2012 Library of Congress Control Number:2012938213
Summary: Elliot and Shannon call forth a restless spirit when they are forced to clean up an old boathouse as punishment for a school prank gone wrong.
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.
Cover photography by Dreamstime.com
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria, bcCanadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custerusa, wa 982400468
www.orcabook.com
151413124321
For Mrs. Finch. Your presence makes our lives interesting.
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
—The Eagles, “Hotel California,” 1976
C h a p t e r O n e
“This is awesome,” I say. “Hard-core manual labor is exactly how I planned to spend my Friday after school.” With a loser goth weirdo in tow,I think. But I don’t say that part. “Well, it’s not like I want to be cleaning up the boathouse either,” Shannon shoots back. She claps her mittened hands together as we walk
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along the gravel road leading away from the school. I grunt. Who wears mitts anyway? What is she, îve? I wonder if her palms are pierced too, or if it’s just her cheek, nose, eyebrow, lip and tongue. And god knows what else. I shudder at the thought. “And anyway, I wouldn’t exactly call it hard-core manual labor,” she continues. “So sorting through piles of old life jackets and busted paddles sounds like fun to you?” She shakes her head. “Not fun. But not hard-core either. Hard-core is hiding the principal’s Smart Car in the woods.” “No, that’s what they call stupid,”I say. The late October wind sneaks under the bottom of my hoodie and around my collar, making me shiver. “It wasn’t stupid. At least, it wouldn’t have been if those idiots hadn’t rolled it onto my foot. It would’ve been funny.”
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“Funny for you, maybe,” I say.“Not so much fun for Mr. Harrison.And not funny for me. You should think twice before pulling dumb pranks that get innocent bystanders in trouble.” I can feel Shannon looking at me, but I don’t return her gaze. “Holy,” she laughs. “Ease down there, Mr. Perfect. I already said I was sorry you got caught up in it. It’s not like I planned for them to roll the car onto my foot. And anyway, I never asked you to come crashing through the bushes to save me, scholar boy.” “Scholar boy?” Shannon ignores me. “You were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she says. “And you got in trouble. What’s the big deal?” I look at her in disbelief. “Ever heard the term ‘miscarriage of justice’?” She shrugs. “Life’s unfair,” she says. Then she gives me a sly smile. “Must be
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a hard pill to swallow for a rule follower like yourself.” “Since when is following rules a bad thing? Just because they’re rules?” “Depends on your reasons for following,” she says. “I think you’re one of those people who does what they’re told because they’ve been brainwashed by the establishment.” I stop. “Excuse me?” I’m almost certain I didn’t ask to have my character assaulted. Especially by a freak with purple hair and multiple puncture wounds whose crime I’m about to serve time for. Besides. She doesn’t even know me. “Never mind.” Shannon waves a hand dismissively. She keeps walking. I don’t move. She turns and looks at me, then sighs. “I apologize, okay? For the millionth time.” Her ultrawhite face and red lipstick look stark against the at
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gray sky. She’s dressed in a long black coat. A thick gray scarf winds around her neck. Docs on her feet. Those ugly boots are the only thing that saved her foot. She walked away instead of crawling. Maybe I should’ve let her crawl. “Honestly, Elliot,” she says, “you’re making a huge deal out of this. All we have to do is clean up the boathouse.” “Yeah, and who’s going to clean up my record?” I ask. “I just started at this school two months ago, and alreadyI got a rap.” As soon as I say it, I wish I hadn’t. She’ll just chalk it up to me wanting to impress the authorities. I try a different tack. “Besides, why should those other jerks go free? They ran their little emo asses off when Harrison came. Beat a chickenshit retreat and left you stuck under the car.” I shake my head.
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