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A weekâ€™s camping trip for ten eighth-grade boys turns into a struggle to survive, not only the elements of nature but each other as well.
And what of the ancient bones they found? Will these bones come to life under the light of the blood-red moon as the old storyteller said?
"Hi, Raith, weâ€™re glad youâ€™re okay.â€ It was his friend, Dickey McKee.
Raith gave a timid head nod. "Whereâ€™s Liam... and Jesus... didnâ€™t you find them?â€
The answer was no, and it came without words.
"Look, look!â€ cried Pudger through smudged face; it had been so dirty even the gentle rain had trouble cleaning it. He pointed to the valley below. Eight sets of eyes faced the bottom of the cliff that had once been B Valley.
The torrents of water had scoured the clearing, the clearing that some team of developers had leveled with their big bladed tractors, their giant graders, after unrolling large white plans and spreading them across the hoods of their white pickup trucks. They had planned, staked the ground, and cut and graded B Valley from the virgin forest to make the athletic field and recreation ground where thousands of youngsters could come and live in the forest.
In Cabin Twelve.
At Camp Sinagua Ranchero.
And have a real life experience.
But the flood had exposed a terrible secret, a secret the developers didnâ€™t discover... or did they?
There below, through the beginning fog that comes from warm earth when cool rain falls, eight youngsters thought they could see the exposed, white bleached bones of hundreds of skeletons all across the land. Skulls and ribs and thighs and... bones, for sure... from hands and feet and arms and legs... It had to be, they thought, the bones of the children littering B Valley below.
The raging water had exposed a giant burial ground... a graveyard as large and as great as the entire valley cleared by the developers. These had to be the bones of the children of Sinagua.
"Oh my aching gonads,â€ called Pudger, who had asked the dumb question to Ms. Canter, "would you look at that! Remember the night of the old storyteller? Itâ€™s true. Thatâ€™s not B Valley. Thatâ€™s the Valley of the Bones!â€
The eight huddled together high atop Lookout point.
"Look,â€ someone pointed. "Look down there!â€
"Holy ghost and jumping catfish! Who is that? How could anybody still be alive after that horrible flood?â€ It was Daniel who questioned what he saw.
The eight crept to the very edge of the cliff. A gentle humming sailed on the northbound breeze catching their ears. But it wasnâ€™t a hum, it was a chant, an ancient chant... a chant from long, long ago... an ancient chant of mourning... it was a lament for the children of the bones.
Far to the south, at the very edge of the forest, looking tiny and unassuming in the great distance, stood the old storyteller in his concho-banded hat. When the eight looked closely, they could see a fluttering around his head and shoulders. The woodpecker, with white splotches on its black wings and with red on its crest, circled the old manâ€™s head.
But the clouds were thinner now; the rain had ceased; and the waning light of a fading day began to struggle through the overcast. No thunder talked through the canyons; no lightning bolts illuminated the evening, just a soft and gentle breeze with the slim fingers of caress pushed to the north.
Below, the rhythmic chant floated through the forest like greenstick campfire smoke, stroking the trees on its way to Lookout Point, and then...
The bones began to move.
Eight sets of young eyes morphed into magnets, and eight mouths hung aghast. The children of the bones rose to the mourning song of the ancient Sinagua.
Them bones, them bones gonna walk around. Them bones, them bones gonna walk around. Them bones, them bones gonna walk around. Now hear the word of the Lord, and in the back of their minds, eight boys remembered Ms. Danniterâ€™s music class.
"Look!â€ cried Pudger, as several of the boys dropped to their knees or leaned on each other or sat on the slick rocks where Jesus Rodriquez had watched the tiny haints swirl and disappear in a massing vortex across the valley below. "The bones... theyâ€™re moving! Theyâ€™re walking around!â€
Jim has been an educator and coach in the Arizona schools for over forty years. He is an avid sportsman who loves to explore on foot and on horseback the deserts and the mountains of the Southwest.
The Shadow Walkers is Jimâ€™s newest young adult novel from Wings ePress, Inc. Night Whisperâ€¦ A Basketball Story has been honored with the prestigious Golden Wings Award. Children Of The Bones will be forthcoming in March.
"This adventure is more than a NIGHT WHISPER. It is a standing ovation for young people who overcome odds. The conversation sparkles; the mystical thread is superb!" -- Phil Mandel, English Chair, Phoenix schools
Night Whisper: "This book has a mystical voice with its lyrical style that weaves a strong mood." -- The Jokker's Lair Studios, literary component
Night Whisper: "Southwest flavor unleashes adventure. What a great sports story about teens... but it is much, much more." -- Jamie Cundiff, agent
The Ghost Dancer, Jim Greenâ€™s best yet, and Iâ€™ve read them all, takes you inside the mind and heart of a young boy and into the mind and heart of the Arizona high country. Itâ€™s an unforgettable tale of courage and just plain pluck. Youâ€™ll find open graves, a Chindii, a bone awl, ancient skulls, bad animals, bad people, bad spirits. Itâ€™s spooky, thrilling, and told by a compelling narrator, young Skeeter Irons, a boy I couldnâ€™t help but love. Jimâ€™s is a voice that makes Arizonans proud. -- Toby Heathcotte, Author and President, Arizona Authors Association
The Ghost Dancer: A five record selection: Another great narrative by an outstanding story teller. This book, written for young adults, will be enjoyed by all readers who love adventure, suspense, and unforgettable encounters. The words of fifteen-year-old Skeeter Irons, the main character, are at times pure poetry. -- The Jokerrâ€™s Lair Studios
Skeeter and Old John in Jim Greenâ€™s newest novel, The Ghost Dancer, might remind one at times of two other famous adventurers. The Grand Canyon to Skeeter is much like the Mississippi River to Huck Finn, and Old John and Ms. Watsonâ€™s Jim both become mentors and father figures along the way. The setting is intriguing, the plot intricate, and the characters unforgettable. -- J. L. Cundiff, Literary Agent
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 182
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