14-year-old Stevie Reese and her policeman father have been on their own since her mother's death, with Stevie mostly looking after her dad. They've just moved to Little Bay, New Jersey. Stevie doesn't quite fit in at school, considers herself artist enough to tackle painting a mural on one wall of her room, and has made an interesting discovery-she and her father aren't the only inhabitants in their new home! There's also a mischievous ghost-cat named Chattanooga, and Casino-the ghost of a homeless, but charming and intelligent man who was murdered. His ghostly brother, Cyrus, has a habit of dropping in unexpectedly too, and he's not quite as nice as his brother. In discovering Casino's murderer, Stevie does a bit of growing up and learning about herself and those closest to her. It's funny, and touching and sometimes ghostly!
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Connie Keenan, who also writes under the pen name of Consuelo Vazquez, is the author of nine published novels and over eighty short stories.She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Bill, and their two teenaged sons, Joey and Brandon. Both boys were just little guys when Suburban Vampires was first created—and told to them as a series-style bedtime story. It’s Connie’s hope that those fun-loving vampires, Dylan and Jesse, will find their place in the hearts of other kids, too . . . and kids at heart!
"Girls--especially ages 10-14--would enjoy this story (I did and I'm much older!) with its elements of trying to fit in, loss of a parent, strange goings-on that only she can see (for awhile anyway), a boy, Ricky, who really likes her, has his own problems with his father. In this book, past and present are equally important, with surprises at every turn."Sherry Ferkey, author of Tricky Frog's Race, Whose Tail? -- Desert Nights
SOMEWHERE, there's a place like it. It can't exist only in my mind. A long, wide, dark tunnel with train tracks running through it. To get to the entrance, you would have to hop over the wire fence that somebody knocked down. There are pieces of broken glass and bricks all over the ground. I was little when I first went there, probably about six, but even now I see it so clearly that it couldn't be a dream. The problem is, it couldn't be real, either.
I'm not even sure what I was doing there, but one thing was certain: I didn't belong there. That day, the ground was wet with rain. A shiny, silver train roared into there, so fast, all the cars didn't even seem to separate. Just one long steel stream, in a hurry to get in and out of the tunnel.
People lived there. I passed them as I walked further in, almost getting swallowed by it. They lived in dirty tents and in boxes. Some lived up on the sides, where they used blankets for walls. None of them talked to me, but I had to look away from them. They had no faces. Only eyes that stared at me as I passed them, daring me to come closer.
I know it couldn't have been real, because I wouldn't have stayed there. Still, I remembered walking a little faster, yet more carefully. A few rats ran along the tracks. They were normal-size at first, but then they seemed to be growing until their tails grew as thick as pieces of brown rope, and their teeth were lived curved, white nails.
So it couldn't have been real! It had to have been a dream, or maybe even a movie I had seen as a little kid that had scared me.
But I see it now, too, the way I saw it then, somewhere in the tunnel. Maybe it was the middle, but then when I looked, where was the middle? The tunnel went on forever. High above -- the ceiling was high, who knows how many stories high -- there was the sound of cars passing on a highway.
I felt so alone, looking up at it. It looked like a house growing out of the wall, whatever it was. Made of stone, with stone steps leading up to it and a door, but no windows.
I didn't belong there. I shouldn't have been there. But I started climbing up the steps of it anyway.
It had to be a dream! So why could I hear the door opening up so clearly? I stopped halfway up the steps, frozen in place, holding onto the wall because there was no banister.
A man with a beard appeared in the doorway, but all I can remember is the beard, not really the rest of his face. And his voice, I remember the words, I remember the water dripping down like a cascade from the ceiling....
"Welcome to... yourself," he said, sadly.
At once, I heard a crash. As I threw my head back, I saw part of the ceiling breaking into chunks of cement. A flood of water was coming down, throwing me into deep, deep water, filling that giant tunnel and--
That is where the picture ends.
As I said, it must have been a dream or something, and it stayed in my mind since I was little. Yet it was so real while it was happening, with the sounds and the smells and the dull colors so real. The tunnel in my mind was alive, but I always knew it never really happened, but then I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure, and I never understood it.
Not until much later.