Letter from Joel, a Novel Character

Hello to all the Readers of this Blog,

My name is Joel and I’m involved in Christine’s Nano novel, which is supposed to be a mystery for her grandson. We sure hope he likes us. We being my Uncle Aden, his brother Graham, my brother Layne and I. Graham is 16 already; I will be next year. My brother Layne is twelve, kind of the tag-along of our trio but don’t underestimate him. He can be pretty sharp. (And maybe I should tell you that Christine’s grandson gave me and Graham our names, guess he has friends with those names.)

Anyway, this big adventure started when my Uncle Aden bought a farm and we went with him to help clean up his house. According to our cousin Graham, his brother (that’s Uncle Aden) came over one day and was all happy because he’d been talking to a Real estate agent near Evanston and there was this farm for sale, two quarters — that’s 320 acres — for a real bargain price. A terrific opportunity! Graham said Aden was just as happy about this as he was when he told them he was getting married. That was back in fall.

Uncle Aden has been working as a carpenter all winter and we knew he was hoping for a chance to get into farming, but land around here is pretty expensive, Dad says, and it’s pretty hard to start up. So we were all happy when Uncle Aden found this place. And he said there was an old house on it that hasn’t been lived in for a few years, but it could be fixed up for him and Malyssa to live in, at least for a few years until he gets established.

He bought Dad’s tractor (I think Dad gave him a real deal to help him get started) and took it up there at the end of April to work the land. We didn’t complain – after all, we’ve got a new tractor now with more bells & whistles & GPS. Soon as Dad was done with our seeder, Aden took it up, too, and put in his first crop.

He came home again and stayed here until the last day of school. At the picnic he said to me and my brother Layne, “Do you fellows want to come up there with me and help get the house fixed up? Graham is coming and I could use you fellows for a few weeks to help with the renovations to the house. If your Dad says it’s okay.”

Hey, we were right ready to go! We’d never seen the place and were anxious to know what Uncle was getting himself into. So we pleaded with Dad and he said okay. Man, if we HAD known, maybe we wouldn’t have been in such a rush!

Since it was okay with Dad we went up there with Uncle Aden right away and started helping him with the house. But before we even saw the place we heard about some trouble brewing. Farmers in the area were talking, and I gather they were upset with each other about this new Farmers’ Federation that was trying to sign everyone up as members. Uncle hoped that would all blow over and people would settle down and be good neighbours again.

Then we stopped at a gas bar to fill up and this teenage guy running the pumps got to talking with us, found out who we were. He told Graham we sure shouldn’t go to that place, ‘cause it was haunted and strange things happened in that yard. No, Uncle Aden for sure didn’t want to mess with that old house.

When we told Uncle Aden later he laughed at the “haunted” part. A local fellow dropped by and we told him about what that fellow had said. He’d never heard it, but wondered if maybe the local teens wanted us to leave so they could keep on having their parties out here, because the place had been empty so long. But sure enough, one dark night we actually did see a sort-of ghost. And I saw it best of all.

You see, I’ve always been one to watch the birds, so I take my binoculars with me practically everywhere I go. (Except to church on Sunday morning. That would never go over!) So I’d told the others I was going out to check on some barn owls I’d heard the night before. I was up in the barn loft looking out at the trees close and I did see an owl take off, but then I heard this noise. Whooo, ooo, ooo.

Funniest owl I ever heard, so of course I had to look. Uncle, Graham, and Layne heard it, too, and came out of the house. Aden thought it was me and yelled at it, said he was going to catch it. They started running toward it and – well, I tell, you, that ghost could really run!  It hiked up its sheet or whatever and it dashed into the woods. Uncle Aden and the boys, as I said, thought it was me.

I watched it through my binoculars. I saw the sheet come off and the “thing” morphed into a teenage girl. Can you imagine? Someone else met her there in the woods. I’s sneaked out of the barn and followed them through the woods to a lane, saw where they got into a car. But all this while I could hear Uncle back at the yard yelling, “Hey, Game’s Up, Joel. Where are you? Show yourself.”

Took me awhile to get back to the house and by that time everyone was wondering what happened to me. Like maybe I’d gotten wrapped up in that sheet and fallen in a hole somewhere. When I finally got back they were getting flashlights to come look for me. Uncle told me I’d scared him more than the ghost had! I told them about the huge “snowy owl” I’d watched, then we all started wondering what was up and we boys decided we were going to check out the farm to see if we could find anything else unusual.

And boy, did we! A whole cache of stolen electronic equipment. No wonder they were trying to scare us away. But that ghost thing was pretty old, wouldn’t you say?

And that was the beginning of the scariest two weeks of our lives so far, because those thieves were determined that Uncle was NOT going to live there! And Uncle didn’t know if we boys should be there, either, because he didn’t want to put us in danger. Yet we knew he couldn’t afford to lose this place – he’d be in debt for years – and we told him that David didn’t run from Giant Goliath, so maybe we should put our trust in the Lord and go out to face him, too, even if we did only have a slingshot. (And a pair of binoculars.)

Uncle’s still debating; he still doesn’t know if he should pull out and leave the property to these nasties or keep on and hope for better days. Especially if it puts us boys at risk. What would he tell our folks if something happened. And these crooks are determined that if we DON’T leave, we WILL get hurt. You should read what they’ve all tried so far. But we think he shouldn’t run away. Daniel trusted God even when he was thrown in the lion’s den. What would you say Uncle Aden should do?

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2 thoughts on “Letter from Joel, a Novel Character

    • Have you ever read the Hardy Boys mysteries? They do call the police, but then they charge right in and catch the crooks themselves if they can. The police often arrive for the “mop up” operation. But I do have a stake-out planned.

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