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Authors: Bryce Clark

Red Shirt Kids

BOOK: Red Shirt Kids
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R
ED
S
HIRT
K
IDS
R
ED
S
HIRT
K
IDS
Bryce Clark
Kim B. Clark

Copyright © 2013, Bryce Clark. All rights reserved.

Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher; exceptions are made for brief excerpts in published reviews.

Sourced Media Books
29 Via Regalo
San Clemente, CA 92673
www.sourcedmediabooks.com

ISBN–13: 978–1–937458–57–7

Printed in China.

This publication is designed to provide entertainment value and is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice of any kind. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

—From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a
Committee of the American Bar Association and a
Committee of Publishers and Associations

For Steph and
our
Red Shirt Kids:
Spenser, Madison, Parker, Olivia, and Max

F
OREWORD

Kim B. Clark

WHEN SUE AND I
started our family, we decided that I would begin my workday early so that I could be home at night. When our children were young, the evening hours were precious. We had dinner together, wrestled with homework, took baths, read scriptures, said prayers, and had story time before the children went to sleep. By default, I was left in charge of the stories.

When I first started to tell the children stories, I used stories that were familiar to me. I have been an avid reader of books from the time I was old enough to read. I knew a lot of stories, so this worked fine for a while. However, I needed a story every night. I soon realized I would need to make up the stories.

One night, I got the idea to create a story series built around the adventures of children just like ours. I wanted the stories to capture their interest, and be fun and exciting, but also teach them important principles. I began that first story with the children exploring the dark and dusty attic in their grandparents’ house. I had the children find an old chest. They opened it, looked inside, and saw … what? In that moment, I just said out loud, “red shirts.” Then, I thought of having one of the children in the story take a shirt out of the chest, put it on, and promptly disappear.

That is how the Red Shirt Kids stories were born. Of course, I had to create lots of adventures where the kids and their shirts saved the day. But that moment in the attic was the beginning.

That first story really worked. The children loved the shirts, being invisible, and having adventures. They wanted a Red Shirt Kids story every night. They looked forward to those stories even more than TV shows or most movies.

I was happy the children liked the stories, but it meant I had to come up with a lot of them. The children would not let me do re-runs; they wanted fresh material every night. So, in addition to my main job, I had a new part-time storytelling job—and, in some ways, this new part-time job was more challenging!

As long as I was going to tell all of these stories, I decided to try to teach the children important principles. I tried to weave into the stories principles like being a good friend, helping other people, being a good brother or sister, telling the truth, obeying the law, and having courage, patience, and kindness.

As the children got older, they often challenged me with demands for more action, or more powers. They also peppered me with questions, like why can’t they fly? This was my answer: The Red Shirt Kids had the power to be invisible, and they needed to use that power to do good things. If they could have any power they wanted, it would not be much of a challenge for them. This way, they have to use their minds to solve the problems.

The children grew up, and I retired from my storytelling job. But the Red Shirt Kids lived on. Our grandchildren started hearing some of those stories from our children. And then Bryce, who had begun to write screenplays, made the Red Shirt Kids really come alive for his children and their cousins.

Bryce took the basic idea and created a whole new world with additional powers and a mythological back-story. He wrote a screenplay called
Red Shirt Kids.
He shared it with the family, and all the grandchildren who read it loved it. Many of his professional colleagues had the same reaction: this would make a great book for kids. Bryce turned that screenplay into this book.

I never imagined that those stories I made up long ago would inspire Bryce to write this book. To the parents who read this book: You may not know exactly what the time you spend with your kids will bring, but it is always time well spent—and sharing stories is a great way to spend it. To the young people who read this book: Listen to what your parents say. You never know just how useful it might be someday. Who knows? Maybe you’ll grow up and write a book of your own!


Kim B. Clark

PROLOGUE

THE NIGHT THE
children were taken was not like other nights.

The roads were deserted, and all the stores on Main Street were closed, including a family-owned hardware store, which displayed a modest neon sign:
Hardy’s Hardware.
There was not a Home Depot or Wal-Mart to be seen on this Main Street, in this town.

The special aspect of this night was that the carnival had arrived. All but the infirm and truly anti-social were there; and in Falton, New Hampshire, the list of infirm and anti-social was a short one.

The town welcomed the traveling carnival as the signature event for three days every summer. The rides and games, as well as the tattooed and pierced workers, were things the town enjoyed, but not something they would have desired year-round. Falton, New Hampshire, was the kind of town where parents let their children play outside after dark, and locked doors were optional.

A Ferris wheel, placed in the exact center of a park at the edge of town, loomed high over Falton. The park was a community gathering place with lots of green grass surrounded on three sides by dense forest. In the center of the park stood a bronze statue of Ulysses Falton, a Civil War soldier and one of the town’s founders. It was the only manmade thing in the park, which made it even more … noticeable.

On this night that was not like other nights, kids screamed while riding the Tilt-a-Whirl and lost their money at various hit-this-win-that games in pursuit of stuffed animals. Parents sat at picnic tables eating fried dough while a few policemen stood by to keep order.

All was as it should be in Falton, New Hampshire.

Diane Miller stared up at the Ferris wheel. Her brother, Darren, had dared her to go on the ride, and she’d said yes. But now, here, staring up at tons of steel and plastic, she had doubts. In fact, she’d changed her mind. No way was she getting up on that thing.

“It’s not upside down or anything. Come on, don’t be a baby,” said Darren, a lanky eleven-year-old with cropped hair and a Red Sox T-shirt.

“Shut up. I’m not a baby. You go,” Diane retorted.

“Mom said I can’t leave you,” said Darren.

Diane smiled. “Who’s the baby now?”

“Fine,” he sighed. “I’ll go by myself.” Darren got in line and handed his orange ticket to the attendant in a torn AC/DC T-shirt.

“Buckle up, little man,” said the attendant.

Darren rolled his eyes and got in the cart alone.

Diane watched as the Ferris wheel began to move. Darren waved at her, and she waved back. She breathed in deep, relieved not to be up there with him. She was only nine, after all.

Diane turned at the sound of rustling leaves behind her. She was standing near the edge of the forest, but she couldn’t see anything in the dense foliage to account for the sound.
Probably just the wind,
she thought. She looked back up at the Ferris wheel, trying to locate Darren, but his cart had disappeared from view. She took a few steps back, trying to see how high he was.

Darren sighed as the wheel stopped to let more riders on. His cart was near the top, and he had a great view of the whole town laid out before him. He could see his school and his house. They seemed much closer than he had thought. He ran his hands over his hair and then looked down to find Diane. To wave to her. To show her it was no big deal to ride the Ferris wheel, even at the very top.

He didn’t see her right away, so he turned to the other side, thinking that she’d moved to get a better look. But she wasn’t there, either. Darren looked left, then right, trying to get his eyes on his sister. His throat began to clench when he couldn’t see her. Then he looked in the distance and shuddered at what he saw.

Diane was holding hands with a tall man in a dark overcoat with a hood. The man was leading Diane away from the carnival, towards the woods at the back edge of the park. The Ferris wheel began to move again. “Let me off! Let me off!” Darren screamed, twisting, trying to get the attendant’s attention.

The attendant heard the commotion and stopped the wheel at Darren’s cart. “Are you all right?” the attendant asked.

Without answering, Darren took off, racing after Diane and the mysterious man. He flew past the picnic tables and game booths, knocking a few kids aside and spilling more than one tub of popcorn. He streaked past the Tilt-a-Whirl, his eyes trying to find Diane and the man.

Darren saw them heading towards the carnival’s trucks and trailers parked on the grass at the edge of the forest. Darren slipped as he turned the corner around a large trailer. He looked up and saw Diane and the man holding hands, facing away from Darren. They stood before two trees that bent into each other, forming a natural entry into the dark forest.

The man did not turn as he spoke. “Hello, Darren.” His raspy voice sent horrible chills through Darren’s body.

Darren approached slowly, surprised that the man knew his name.

“I won’t hurt her if you come with me. I promise.” The man’s voice was calm, yet frightening.

Diane turned slowly, and Darren saw that she’d been crying. A glowing, amber rope encircled Diane’s wrist and extended all the way up the man’s long, black sleeve. As strange as it seemed, the glowing rope appeared to be made from tree sap. He could smell the maple.

The man turned, the hood still concealing his face. “Come closer, Darren. Don’t try anything. I know you want to. I know what you think you can do. But don’t. Come closer. Closer.”

Darren inched forward, focusing on Diane.

“Good. Good. Come closer.” The man reached out his long, pale fingers and revealed a hand with broken, scarred flesh—disfigured as if by fire. There were no fingernails.

Darren froze. His repulsion quickly gave way to fear as a glowing amber substance began to drip from the man’s exposed fingertips. Darren stared in horror as the glowing, saplike liquid formed a line streaming from the man’s fingers and floated through the air toward Darren.

Darren stepped back, stumbling. The man skulked closer, the liquid amber flowing toward Darren like a snake stalking its prey.

“Don’t be afraid,” said the man.

But Darren was afraid. Diane stared at him, frozen. The man glided closer, his dark hood slipping away from his face, revealing a horrific mass of mangled flesh. His lidless eyes bulged in their sockets, and his mouth without lips looked ghoulish in the moonlight.

The man didn’t look like a man at all.

And Darren screamed.

BOOK: Red Shirt Kids
12.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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