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The

Ruby

Eye












A Trickster Novel





The

Ruby

Eye





A Trickster Novel







L.G. Miles Amy Miles










This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

A SMASHWORDS EDITION

Copyright ©2017 by Amy Miles Books, LLC

ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-1976327568 

ISBN-10:1976327563

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.



Love and Thanks


Thank you to each and every person who has supported L.G. Miles along his journey through comments, emails, texts and book purchases. You have made this second book a special experience for him.






PROLOGUE


Roselake, October


Sam Smith peered down into the hole that his boss just fell into. The carnival music sounded eerie rising from the dark. Goosebumps appeared along his arms as the scent of buttery popcorn and cotton candy wafted from below.

“Joe,” he called. “Are you ok?”

There was no response from the foreman.

The creak of the old demolished house nearby made him nervous. Joe had joked with Sam about being afraid of ghost stories right before he fell. Sam wasn’t the sort to easily be scared, but there was something creepy about this place.

As he leaned in, the ground nearest the hole began to crumble and he leaped back. Turning, he saw the backhoe sitting nearby. He didn’t trust having that much weight too close to the cave in.

“Back ‘er up, Pete then throw a line over here. We have to go in after him,” Sam yelled.

Pete, the backhoe driver, hurried to unhook the tow rope around the large rock he’d been moving. The engine rumbled to life and shifted back a safe distance from the hole. Then Pete jumped down and ran to Sam’s side with the rope and a flashlight.

“You’re going to need to get in and out fast. The rope took a bit of damage from that sharp rock. I don’t trust it.” Looking over the edge, Pete whistled, “How deep do you think it goes?”

Sam shrugged. “I guess I’m going to find out. Lasso that rope around my waist and hoist me down.”

The sound of children laughing grew louder as he slowly sank into the hole. Sam held on tight to the rope as the men lowered him inch by inch. More dirt caved in around the edges and used one arm to cover his head. Then lifting his shirt over his nose, Sam struggled to breathe through the dense air. It tasted of dirt and something foul.

“Joe,” he called again, his voice muffled by the shirt. “Are you hurt? I’m coming down for you.”

There was no response.

When he was about ten feet down, he heard rustling beneath him. Sam tried to see but it was too dark. He flicked on his flashlight. A cloud of dust filled the space, making it hard to see.

“You ok down there, Sam?” Pete grunted from the front of the line of men above. Sam was a pretty big guy. He knew Pete was struggling with his weight.

“Just a little more. I think I’m getting close.”

Shining his light on the tunnel floor, Sam saw splintered boards and Joe’s clipboard. The foreman’s coffee mug was broken into pieces. “I see something.”

The rope suddenly jerked and Sam dropped several feet. He cried out, losing his grip on the flashlight so that he could cling to the rope. Sweat rose on his forehead despite the chilly temperature in the tunnel.

“That was close,” he said and tugged on the rope to make sure it was secure again.

“Sorry about that, Sam,” Pete called down. “You should be good now.”

There wasn’t anything good about dangling in a dark and creepy pit, but Sam knew he didn’t have a choice. Joe needed him.

The flashlight beam below caught his eye. It made a pair of work boots a few feet away shine brightly.

“Joe? Is that you?”

The foreman turned. Sam watched as dusty jeans came into view. Hanging from the rope, he waited as Joe came closer. But there was something wrong. He could see Joe’s eyes without the light. They seemed to be glowing. Peering through the dark, Sam shivered when he realized that Joe’s eyes were all white.

In Joe’s hand was a long staff. Sam squinted against the dim light and made out the shape of a dragon’s head. Where its eyes should have been were two dark holes.

Sam’s mouth opened and closed in a silent scream when a figure appeared over his friend’s shoulder. Its face was painted as white as Joe’s eyes. A red hat sat on his head. He wore an old yellow clown costume with red puffed balls. His smile made chills run down Sam’s spine.

“Get me out of here,” Sam yelled and spun on the rope as Joe reached up for his leg.

From above, Sam could hear the men grunting as they tried to pull him up. The rope jerked and he looked up to see that one of the weak spots damaged from moving the large stone had begun to fray.

He kicked out at Joe as the foreman tried to grab his foot again. “Hurry up. Pull faster.”

The twang of the rope sent Sam’s heart racing. He could feel the tension fading and knew it was only a matter of time before he fell. Working at the knot around his waist, he dropped and knocked the foreman to the ground.

The sound of the clown’s laugh echoed in Sam’s ears as he scrambled to his feet. He rushed over to his flashlight and turned back to see Joe rising. The ghost figure behind him hovered several inches off the ground. He could see straight through the ghost now.

“Sam?” Pete yelled down into the hole. “What happened?”

“Call for help.” Sam backed away as Joe moved toward him.

As he turned and ran, he felt the icy touch of the clown ghost on his neck and prayed that he could find another way out.






ONE


Turning thirteen on Saturday meant Tommy Hickelson would officially be a teenager. He would get to stay up later, watch PG-13 movies and he might even get to have a bigger allowance. It also meant in three years’ time he’d be cruising around town in something way cooler than his beat up old bike.

School was still just ok. He got by, did his homework and whatnot, but his favorite part of the day was having lunch with his two best friends, Jack and Becky. They were still twelve but he didn’t hold that against them.

The three of them were closer than ever. When you went through something crazy like running from a clown ghost, it just made you realize how important friends were. Especially when they were the only ones who believed what you saw.

He didn’t blame his mom and dad for thinking he was making it all up. He probably would have thought the same thing. Of course, them thinking it was all a lie meant he ended up grounded for nearly a month. That was harsh. But he did his time and kept his head down during the summer.

That’s when the club house became the hub for their mystery solving adventure. Becky poured over the diaries while Jack kept his nose in his iPad, checking the news to make sure nothing weird happened. And Tommy...well, he was the brains behind the operation.

But the start of school came and went without a peep from that old creepy ghost. Becky continued to dig through the journals. He was pretty sure by the time October rolled around that she had the whole thing memorized. Even still, they were no closer to figuring out why the Trickster ghost was tied to the staff or how it managed to possess people.

“Did you guys see the article on the front page of the newspaper this morning?” Becky asked, dropping her lunch tray on the table so loudly that it shook Tommy from his thoughts.

She threw her leg over the bench seat and sat down next to Jack across the table. Tommy noticed she’d been sitting by Jack more than him recently. He wondered why. Maybe he smelled. He tried to get a whiff of his pits without her noticing but when she snorted, he knew he’d been had.

“You’d better not be talking about the one with those two missing construction workers,” Jack shook his finger at her, ignoring Tommy’s blush.

Jack’s glasses had slid down his nose again. They were new, a replacement for the ones he used to wear. This pair was no longer held together with tape, but it was only a matter of time before he broke these too.

When Tommy sat upright suddenly, he sent his pudding spoon flying. It did a full circle before smacking Skinny Steven McGriddle in the back of the head. Of course, Steven wasn’t so skinny anymore. After that dog chewed on his butt last year during his paper route, he decided to spend his time indoors instead watching T.V. where it was safe. Apparently, he’d had one too many treats over the summer.

“Sorry, that’s on me,” Tommy waved a hand of apology at the pudding smeared boy and then ducked back down with his friends. “What’s this about missing workers?”

Becky shoved the paper across the table. She pointed at the big picture of a back hoe sitting beside a hole. Directly behind it was a massive pile of broken boards. The place looked familiar. “Don’t you ever read?”

“Only when I have to.” Tommy leaned in over the article. “Hey, this says the photo was taken out by the old Witherspoon house.”

“Duh,” Jack said. Tommy turned to look at him. The tips of Jack’s ears turned red with embarrassment. “I’m just saying, all we ever talk about is that stupid old ghost. Why can’t we talk about video games or movies or about something that doesn’t give me the heebie jeebies?”

“Because video games didn’t try to attack us a few months ago. That’s why,” Becky said.

Jack didn’t want to think about that. He still had nightmares about clown ghosts and dark tunnels. Not to mention that old night guard with the white glowing eyes. He’s mentioned his dreams to his friends but they just passed it off as normal. But normal or not, he has zero intention of being dragged back into that mess again.

Tommy grinned. “Don’t worry about it, Jacky boy. That old ghost is buried under all that rubble. See. They tore the whole place down. No way that ghost is getting out of there.”

“You seem to be forgetting that ghosts can go through walls.” Jack rubbed at his arms like he was suddenly cold. Tommy was well aware of how ghosts worked. He was just trying to minimize the obvious creep factor.

“It’s been quiet all summer. Not a single weird thing has happened...unless you consider Mr. Peters next door mowing his yard in a bright pink bathrobe and bunny slippers.” Tommy shuddered at the memory. “It could just be nothing.”

Jack didn’t look convinced.

Becky rubbed at her neck and then turned the article to face her. “I’m not so sure about that, Tommy. This says that the two men went missing. Just like that night guard. It’s been several months and he still hasn’t turned up. That’s got to mean something, right?”

Jack groaned and lowered his head onto his arms. “I know where this is going. No way. I’m not going back to that place ever again.”

“Come on,” Tommy leaned in and held out his fist to his friend. “We started this together. You can’t bail out on us now. Team Trickster, remember?”

Jack refused to complete the fist bump. Team Trickster was a terrible name. It was Tommy’s idea, of course.

“Who said anything about bailing?” Jack looked at his friends. “I’m talking about being smart. Like not walking into another trap. Becky almost died last time.”

Becky rolled her eyes. “Don’t start using me as an excuse for why you’re scared.”

“It’s not an excuse.” Jack raised his head. “And it’s not because I’m scared. I have homework and...and stuff.”

Tommy laughed. “Homework? You probably finished all of your homework in the first period.”

Jack was the nerdy one of the three, but Becky and Tommy loved him for it. He was also super easy to scare. One little spider crawling across his hand could send him cowering in the corner. Sneak up on him in the dark and you could usually get him to wet himself. Tommy did that just last weekend for a laugh. For some reason, Jack didn’t find it very funny.

“Maybe I did.” Jack winced. “Don’t forget about the stuff too. It’s super important.”

“But it’s my birthday this weekend.” Tommy knew Jack would have to cave if he pulled out the big guns.

“That’s not fair,” Jack huffed.

Becky threw her arm around Jack’s shoulder. “You can’t go back on a birthday wish. It’s against the rules.”

“Whose rules?” Jack asked.

Tommy pretended to be offended. “Everyone knows that the birthday boy or girl gets whatever they want on their day and tomorrow is mine. So I’m pulling rank and we are heading back to the Witherspoon house first thing after school.”

“But it’s a Friday,” Jack’s face turned sour at the idea. It was obvious he didn’t want to die before he even got a chance to enjoy the weekend. “Just wait until it’s my birthday. I’m going to make you wear a pink tutu for the whole day.”

Becky snickered but Tommy just shrugged it off. “If that’s what it takes to get you out there, I’ll do it.”

“To school? All day?” Jack asked.

Tommy grinned. “I’ll even throw in a tiara on top.”

Jack’s face crumbled. He’d really been hoping to come up with something bad enough to scare Tommy away. He should have known better. Tommy was up for anything to have a good time. But chasing after that ghost again was not Jack’s idea of a good time.

“Fine, but I’m bringing Whiskers with me this time,” Jack said.

Becky coughed and spit out a bit of her sandwich. “I’m sorry but are you talking about the cat that’s so fat it drags its belly across the floor? It can’t even walk down the stairs, Jack. It has to roll. What do you think Whiskers is going to do to protect you? Sit on the ghost?”

Jack looked at her like she was missing the whole point. “Animals have a sixth sense when it comes to ghosts. Trust me. Whiskers will tell us when we need to run.”


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