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The Hippie House

244 pages
The "summer of love" is a time of idealistic freedom and experimentation for Emma, her cousin Megan, and the young people of Pike Creek. While her brother Eric's band practices in what Uncle Pat has dubbed the Hippie House, the girls suntan on their small lake and hitchhike into town to hang around the Drop-In Center. They find the growing crowd of long-haired musicians and hangers-on that begin to show up at the farm both enticing and a bit scary. The beginning of the school year brings excitement and change for Emma. But when eighteen-year-old Katie Russell disappears, her teenage sense of immortality is suddenly shattered. A month later, when Eric discovers Katie's body in the Hippie House, the entire community is thrown into turmoil. There are plenty of suspects in the brutal murder, but for months the case remains unsolved. And while others speculate, Eric agonizes that the killer may have been one of the many drifters who passed through the Hippie House during the summer.
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The Hippie House
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The Hippie House
Text copyright ©  Katherine Holubitsky
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.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data
Holubitsky, Katherine, -Ÿe hippie house / Katherine Holubitsky.
PS8565.O645H66 2004
ISBN ---
I. Title.
Library of Congress Control Number: 
Summary:Summer . When a local girl is found murdered, the freedom and innocence of “youth” are forgotten and, for fourteen-year-old Emma, things will never be the same.
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 (BPIDP), the Canada Council for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council. Design and typesetting: Lynn O’Rourke Cover Artwork: Karel Doruyter Printed and bound in Canada
Orca Book Publishers  North Park Street Victoria, BC Canada VT C
Orca Book Publishers PO Box  Custer, WA USA -
08 07 06 05 04 • 6 5 4 3 2 1
Dedicated to Mike with affection. And to the memory of my grandparents, Frank and Mary James.
—Katherine Holubitsky
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NGf , the dusty old shed that sat o in the Y THE SPRI B  woods down by Fiddlehead Creek was known as the Hippie House. My father built it when we first moved to Ruddy Duck Farm seven years before. At that time he claimed it was to “duck out of the sun” when he was working in the fields. But as I grew older and began to notice that the only time he didn’t use it was when he was working in the fields, I came to suspect that this had not been the truth at all. For one thing, the shed was not even close to the fields where he worked. It stood at the southwest corner of the farm, closer to Uncle Pat’s property line, and although it was in the woods, it was most easily reached from the main road. No, my brother Eric and I decided, it had nothing to do with getting out of the sun. Our father had built it to get away from Mom and her “blessed cigarettes.” Ÿis was not an unreasonable assumption because our mother spent the better part of each day parked in a brocade chair, inhaling murder mysteries as greedily as Pall Malls. Eric and I were convinced that one day we would step from the school bus
KĀÉïÉ HÔÛïŚ
to see—not our familiar old farmhouse at the end of the long lane, but a giant pile of ash, as if God had been smoking an enor-mous cigarette and carelessly, in passing, dropped the butt over our tiny piece of the world. Ÿe truth was, Mom did not like large animals or mucky open spaces. In fact, she had never liked the out-of-doors at all. It was all too messy with variables beyond her control. Mom liked order; she liked polished silverware, precisely set tables and neat, well-behaved children. I knew she loved Eric and me. But I often wondered if she would have loved us even better if we could have been starched, folded and tucked into a drawer. So it was with some persuasion that she had agreed to sell our comfortable home in Toronto and move to the country when Dad retired at forty-six. Ÿe sale of his busy hardware stores, along with a large inheritance left to him by my grandfather, had allowed him to do this. But Mom knew how my father loved the country. As they toured Ruddy Duck Farm, she’d watched his face shed ten years as he imagined the possibilities: the pond he would stock with rainbow trout, the large workshop, and the perfect field for a hangar and airstrip—for Dad was an expert pilot. And so she had agreed to the move. For his part, if Mom was generous enough to let him spend his days with his ducks and geese and woodworking projects and farm machinery, he could certainly handle a bit of smoke. My mother and father had an accommodating relationship and although they bargained a lot, they rarely argued. Ÿe shed became the Hippie House the spring Eric turned seventeen and converted it into a studio for his rock band. My father had more or less abandoned it at that point and was only too happy to turn it over to Ÿe Rectifiers, to get Eric and his guitar out of the house and into the farthest corner of the farm where even a rutting moose could not be heard. Not that he wanted to discourage Eric from playing. Dad didn’t discourage
Th e H ippie H o use
any activity if he detected a budding passion. But that particular one, he confided in me, needed a lot of growing room. So at the end of April, every day after school for a week, and with our dog Halley bounding alongside, Eric and I hopped on the tractor and drove up the gravel lane that wound around the barn past the airplane hangar. We continued down the soft slope past the duck house and through the gate into the cool woods where patches of snow still clung stubbornly to the hollows in the ground. Gravel turned to dirt, and after turning a bend at the end of the lane, we splashed across the creek by way of a concrete sluiceway to reach the Hippie House on the other side. After parking the tractor, we unloaded brooms and paint from the trailer and pushed open the sagging door. Dad had not used the shed for some time, but it still smelled like him; an earthy blend of sawdust, machine oil and old metal tools. We began the task of cleaning up by packing the tools in boxes and stacking them beneath the workbench. We swept down cobwebs, and while I fed stacks of tattered yellowed news-papers into the stove, Eric began painting the walls purple with red trim. I pretended to be annoyed at having to help him. Ÿis was, after all, Ÿe Rectifiers project, not mine. But at almost fourteen, I was secretly delighted to have any connection with a rock band. Even if it was only my brother and his friends. As we began our work, Eric told me about the amazing guitar player he had seen at an outdoor rock festival the year before. “He was so cool, Emma, he blew everyone away. He talks with his guitar. It’s like his voice. All you have to hear is one note and you know it’s Buddy Guy.” “Is that what you want to do?” Ÿe fire snapped as I fed it another stack of papers. “Talk with your guitar?” My brother thought about this. “I want people to listen to what I have to say.”