We’re on day five of our 10 Days of Halloween event, and today, we’re welcoming author Lee Roberts! He’s sharing an excerpt of his YA book, Elvis Blue! Be sure to read through to the end. There just might, there definitely will be, a giveaway at the end!
Elvis enjoyed a relaxing Sunday dinner with his family, the first one he could remember. It had been years since all of the Blue family had sat around the table together talking and eating and chatting about things. It was nice. He was hoping it was the start of a new routine.
His mother and father had shared a few knowing glances and off-hand smiles. It was obvious they had reconnected again. Everyone could feel the new sense of love and support that had been missing for a long time. Even Sherlock showed a boundless energy and enthusiasm that revealed itself in typical puppy antics. Everyone in the Blue family seemed happy for a change.
The early afternoon meal finally came to an end and they each went their separate ways. Gary and Giselle cleaned up the kitchen together and flirted with each other. Elvis could hear them talking and laughing like teenagers even after he left the room. He could hear C.J. in her bedroom listening to music and dancing by herself. It was a wonderful new beginning for all of them.
Elvis took Sherlock into the living room for a while. They surfed the television channels but didn’t find anything interesting to watch. He laid on the sofa and wondered what Maria was doing. He decided to go and find out.
Elvis went out the back door and dashed over to the old van – his old van now. Sherlock trotted along behind and hopped up into the passenger seat beside him. He put the keys into the ignition and cranked it up. The engine was a bit reluctant to start, but it sounded like music to his ears when it finally did turn over.
The rain was still coming down so Elvis switched on the windshield wipers and eased carefully into the road. He drove the short distance to the Palmero house, and he pulled in the driveway. Maria must have been looking out the window and saw him arrive. She came running out of the house and squeezed into the passenger seat with Sherlock. The puppy licked her face and plopped contentedly onto her lap.
“Hey there,” Elvis said cheerfully.
“Hey yourself,” Maria replied. “Are you going someplace in particular or just out joyriding in your new van?”
“No place in particular, just riding around.”
“Cool! Let’s go then.”
They glanced at the house and saw Maria’s father peering through window. He didn’t look happy. Maria smiled and waved at him.
“Quick! Get moving before my father comes out here and stops us.”
Elvis shifted into reverse and backed out of the driveway. Then he turned around and started down the road. They glanced back and saw Maria’s father come out onto the front porch. He watched them drive away.
“So where are we going?” she asked.
Elvis shrugged. “I don’t know. You got any ideas?”
They both thought about it for a minute.
“How about the Simmons place?” Maria suggested.
Elvis looked surprised. “The Simmons place? Right now?”
“Sure, why not? It’s still daylight outside, and we don’t have anything else to do.”
“Yeah, but your father told us to stay away from there.”
“He was talking to the whole group. It’s only the two of us today, so it’s not the same thing. We won’t tell the others. Let’s just stop by for a few minutes.”
“Well . . . okay.” Elvis was not going to refuse. He would take her anywhere she wanted to go. He would have taken Maria to the moon if she had asked.
They drove there in less than twenty minutes. Elvis guided the van down the ruts of the old driveway and then slowly around to the back of the house. Even though it was late afternoon, the gloomy weather and dreary atmosphere made the house seem dark and depressing. He started having second thoughts.
“Are you sure that you want to go inside?” Elvis asked.
“Yeah, we might as well go in and look around a little,” said Maria. “Do you have any equipment with you?”
Elvis glanced in the back of the van and nodded.
“Yep, I had already loaded most of it in case we went out with the other guys this week. I hadn’t planned on coming here again so soon though.”
Maria climbed out of the front seat and began scrounging around in the back of the truck. She came up with a couple of things.
“Let’s take some flashlights and a recorder. Maybe we’ll hear something.”
“How about the video camera, too? As long as we’re going in, we may as well set it up to film while we’re walking around.”
They grabbed the equipment and carried it to the back door. Sherlock trotted at their heels. The pane of glass that Derek had broken had still not been replaced, so Elvis reached in and unlocked the door. They tromped through the kitchen and made their way slowly to the big central room in the middle of the house. The hardwood floor was now surprisingly clean and swept. It was apparent that someone else had been there recently and tidied up the place.
“Look,” Maria observed. “No footprints.”
Elvis shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe a building inspector or appraiser? I guess somebody is interested in this place. Maybe they finally found the owners, or they are going to sell it.”
Maria helped Elvis set up the video camera in one corner of the room and get it rolling. Then they switched on the digital recorder and started wandering around. A few minutes of that yielded nothing. The little puppy explored, sniffing all of the unfamiliar scents, but he quickly got bored as well. Elvis nodded toward the cellar door.
“You want to go downstairs for a while?”
Maria followed him down to the basement, moving slowly and cautiously down the rickety wooden stairs. Sherlock sat at the top of the steps and refused to come down. They reached the bottom and panned their flashlights around. Several holes were dug in the dirt floor, but they couldn’t remember which ones had been there before.
Despite the summer heat outside and the humidity of the rain storm, the air in the basement remained cool and dank. Elvis checked the recorder again to make sure it was working. Then he placed his flashlight on the ground, switched it off, and backed away a few steps. He glanced over at Maria.
“If anyone is here with us, we’re sorry to disturb you and mean you no harm. We only want to communicate with you and help you if we can. Please switch on the light to let us know you are here.”
After a few seconds, the flashlight came on. Maria gasped and grabbed Elvis by the arm. He could feel her trembling with excitement. He tried to stay calm.
“Thank you. Can you switch it off again?”
The flashlight on the ground went dark. Elvis could feel Maria’s body pressing up closer against him, but he tried to focus on the task at hand.
“We would like to know who we are talking to. If you can speak or make some kind of sound, maybe we can capture it on this recorder.”
Elvis placed the electronic device on the ground next to the flashlight. They both waited a few minutes but didn’t hear anything.
“Are you Josiah Simmons or a member of his family?” said Elvis. “If you are, please switch on the light again.”
“Are you one of the people who died here?” Maria asked timidly.
The flashlight came on.
“Oh my goodness!” Maria exclaimed. She turned and darted up the steps. Elvis scooped up the flashlight and recorder and scrambled up the stairs behind her. Sherlock started barking and running around in small circles. They stopped in the big central room again to catch their breath.
Maria hugged Elvis and buried her face in his chest. He put his arms around her and held her close. Standing in the middle of the room didn’t feel safe, so Elvis guided them over to one side and put his back up against the wall. The large staircase leading upstairs was immediately behind him, so he could see the entire room from there.
“It’s okay,” he whispered. “Don’t be scared. I won’t let anything hurt you. I’m right here. It’s nothing but electrical energy.”
She relaxed a little. “That was spooky. Did you hear anything?”
“No, but we might have caught something on the recorder.”
Elvis pushed a couple of buttons to replay the last few minutes. Both of them listened closely. They could just barely hear a faint whisper.
“What do you think it says?” Maria whispered.
“I don’t know. It’s not very clear. Under the stars maybe? Something like that?”
She nodded. “That’s what I hear, too. Under the stars. I wonder what it means.”
He shrugged. “Who knows?”
Maria looked into his eyes and time seemed to stand still for a moment. Elvis had one arm still wrapped around her. He could feel her chest pressed tightly against his. She inched a little closer and leaned forward to kiss him.
Elvis wasn’t sure if it was adrenaline or hormones, but some kind of hot chemical reaction seemed to take place deep inside them both. Maria pushed forward even harder, slamming her body into his and pressing their lips together. He held her tighter and then let himself fall back hard against the wall.
Suddenly there was a sound of splintering wood and the wall cracked open behind him. They both tumbled through the narrow opening and onto the dirty floor of a hidden closet. A cloud of dust swirled all around them making them cough and rub their eyes. When the swirling dust finally cleared, they found themselves sitting on top of some old wooden planks.
“Wow, that was weird,” Elvis remarked. “I think we broke something.”
“On you or the house?” asked Maria, brushing off her jeans.
“The house,” he said. “I’m fine. Looks like we found an old closet. You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
They both looked around. Maria found one of the flashlights and shined it around the tiny space. It appeared to be a small storage room built right under the stairs.
“I wonder why we never noticed this before?” she asked.
“It was probably a hidden door or sealed shut,” said Elvis. “We only found it by accident. We may be the first ones in here for forty years.”
She shined her flashlight down on the floor.
“What are these planks? There are big gaps between them, and they’re all loose. I can feel air coming up from underneath.”
They scooted over to one side and Elvis began lifting the boards up and moving them over. Maria shined the light down into the opening beneath.
“It looks like a tunnel!” she said excitedly. “Let’s see where it goes!”
About Elvis Blue:
Elvis Blue just turned sixteen and struggles with the challenges of becoming a man. In the small town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for young kids who come from the wrong side of the tracks. He is also dealing with the unfamiliar emotions that go with finding his first love in neighborhood girl Maria. Together with his best friend Monk and loyal puppy Sherlock, Elvis decides to embark on a ghost-hunting adventure to find his fame and fortune.
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About Lee Roberts:
I was born and raised in the southern United States, but I have traveled to many other places in the world. I find the different people and cultures fascinating. My education and work experience began with accounting and finance. But as with everything else, it has gradually evolved more and more to computers and information technology. Our lives today are centered on talking with each other through the flows of bits and bytes.
More than twenty years ago, I started writing stories to capture all of the interesting thoughts and impressions lurking in my imagination. These stories became an important part of my life and I decided to share this by creating fictitious people and places in my mind. These people could say and do anything that I had ever seen or thought about. They are all very real to me with their own unique personalities, motivations, and quirks. They live in my head every day, and through the magic of books, I can share all of it with you.
Today, I am the luckiest man on the planet. I am married to a beautiful lady from Colombia and I’m the proud father of some wonderful children. I love animals, mysteries, and salsa music. Life is a very precious thing. Take time to ride a Harley, smoke a pipe, eat a taco, cuddle with a cat, or drink a cup of tea. Enjoy every moment of it with me.
Check out Lee’s website and Amazon Author page!