Friday, May 1, 2015
Excerpt - Kitty Hawk and the Curse of Yukon Gold
PROLOGUE - PART TWO
The Arctic Trails Have Their Secret Tales
By the dancing dim light of the campfire, the group of men surrounding me looked demonic—light and shadow played off their features and made their faces seem lopsided and horrifically deformed. In such light every scene appears monochromatic, with every detail rendered in shades of only black and orange. True colors are sucked away, and objects are repainted in a hellish tint that makes every face look like a jack-o-lantern and the world look like something out of Dante's Inferno.
"There you go again," the little voice inside my head nagged. "Always making comparisons to books that you've never read."
"Shut up," I told myself. "This is hardly the time to be criticizing my choice of literary references."
Besides, Dante was writing about hell, wasn't he? And the situation that I found myself in was surely the closest thing to hell that I could possibly imagine.
The tallest one of the group walked over to get a better look at me. As he leaned in close, some dark shadows flickered hideously across his face and eyes and caused me to pull away in terror. I tried to push myself backward away from him, but it was difficult, considering that I was sitting on the ground and my hands were bound tightly behind my back. Every move that I made only pulled the binding tighter and made my wrists scream in agony as the wire cut painfully into the skin.
"I never should have come out here," I told myself as the tall one stood up again and continued pacing back and forth, trying to figure out what to do with me. How could I have been so stupid? What had I been thinking, hiking around a deserted ghost town from the Yukon Gold Rush in the middle of the night?
What made me even stupider was the fact that ever since I had first set off on my foolish quest, I'd felt a heavy, dark blackness filling every pore of the landscape. But instead of turning back and going home, I had stubbornly dismissed it as merely the dark shadow of the suffering and death that had occurred here so long ago, when thousands of souls had passed through on their way to the empty dreams of the Klondike gold fields. How many of those greedy fools had died chasing after those empty dreams?
"I am no better than them," I thought. I was just as stubborn and foolish as they had been, and now I was paying the price for it.
"I hate to say that I told you so," the little voice in my head said.
"Yes, you did," I agreed. "But right now, that isn't helping. Right now we have to figure out how to get out of here, because these guys are a bunch of greedy fools just like the rest of them, and who knows how far they'll go to protect the secret of their gold."
"What are we going to do with her?" the man with dark blonde hair asked the tall one, who was apparently their leader. The tall one thought about this for a moment, and there was a long silence, broken only by the crackle of the nearby campfire. My fear of his answer made my heart pound faster and faster.
"There's only one thing we can do with her," he said slowly and deliberately, his voice ice cold and emotionless.
I was terrified of what that meant, and as they continued to discuss my fate among themselves, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and my breathing becoming shallower and faster with every passing second.
"I promise not to tell anyone," I thought, feeling completely helpless and considering the option of begging them to let me go. "I will promise not to go to the police if you just let me go free."
"Don't be crazy," the little voice in my head scolded. "They aren't stupid. You discovered their secret! You know about their stolen gold!"
I remembered a line from a poem that I'd learned back in high school—a poem about the Klondike Gold Rush and the lengths that men were driven to by their greed and lust for gold.
"The Arctic trails have their secret tales," the poem had said. "That would make your blood run cold."
That was exactly how I felt at that moment—as though my blood was running cold. I had discovered the secret tale that these men had tried to keep hidden, and now they had no other choice. They couldn't just let me go. They couldn't trust me to keep their secret. And now they had to deal with it. And that was the part that terrified me.
The men continued their discussion, and a sudden outburst from the tall one broke my train of thought. The discussion had grown quite heated, and he'd finally put an end to it by holding up his palm and cutting off the blonde one in mid-sentence.
"There's no other way," the tall one said simply.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.
After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.
There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone.
“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”
For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/
About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.
Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to: