Exciting news for all you readers! Book three in the ‘Other Side of Magic’ series—’Out of the Frying Pan’, is on the shelves! Look for it here on my Website and in bookstores near you. Ask for it at the library or at your favourite bookstore. If they don’t have it, ask them to contact me.
Lyle was the first to open his eyes. Looking up he saw a light so brilliant he closed them again. He lay for a while trying to think of who he was and where he was, and then he dozed off again. As he was sliding deeper into sleep an odd chuffing sound interfered with his dreams, a sound he had not heard before and his eyes popped open again.
Now fully awake, he sat up, to find himself staring down the slope into the face of a large—a very large—grizzly bear. At Lyle’s movement the bear rose to his full height once more, the chuffing becoming a low growl. Lyle, in all his ten years, had never seen a live grizzly, only the ones in picture books. His hair stood straight up and skin prickling, he made ready to leap to his feet and run for his life. But on turning his head he saw Lynn, his twin sister, and Mr. Peter, and then Rob, lying unconscious amid the rocks—are they asleep? Beulah and Pugly are there, the dogs’ eyes tightly closed.
Where is Fé? No time to think about the cat; what to do?
The bear had dropped on all fours and is swinging its great head as it lopes toward them. Lyle crawled over to Mr. Peter and shook him. “Mr. Peter! Mr. Peter!” he whispered. “Wake up! Please wake up!” Groggily, Mr. Peter—Quebecois, naturalist explorer, friend and mentor to the children—opened his eyes. Everything is out of focus. He turned his head and sees Lyle pointing a shaky finger at the large brown blob coming toward them.
“Lie down Lyle, cover your head!” he whispered back. “You do not outrun the grizzly! Play dead, he may be only curious. Where is Lynn?” Seeing her lying, eyes closed, beside Lyle, he crawled to her and put himself between her and the bear, motioning for Lyle to get down behind him. He noticed something was missing from Lyle’s back, something important. What was it? Frowning, he hunkered down and cuddling the children, covered his head.
What was it? A chilling thought arose—there is another child…Robert! Where is Robert? Lifting himself he could see him lying nearby, but too far away to reach before the bear reached them. He covered Lynn with his body, prayed and waited, Lyle shivering beside him. A sharp bark made him lift his head again. Beulah, Mr. Peter’s big yellow lab, awakened by the smell of bear, was on her feet in an instant and barking furiously. Pugly also awoke to the racket, but being a small pug he could only stand beside Beulah and try to make his barks sound like a Great Dane.
The powerful bear odour was now only a few meters away…
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Book Four—Into the Fire
Consulting the car’s on-board map, Mr. Peter decided to take Highway Three, through Manning Park to Osoyoos and Trail and then head for the Crow’s Nest Pass. He had traveled across Canada before, many years before, though by train. It was the only way to travel in those early days. Roads were still pretty primitive and automobiles—except for the most expensive ones—hard on the bones. Later on he had enjoyed taking road journeys in his days as a naturalist-explorer, driving his old Bentley, before the Second World War once again interrupted that idyllic existence. Too old to join the army he went to France and joined the French resistance. Those were terrible times, nor had he expected to be involved in another war, least of all to come home with a witch on his tail; but now he hoped this trip wouldn’t be too eventful, except in a good way for the youngsters.
His stomach was beginning to rumble, and after all the excitement he was tired. He could see the boys in the rear view mirror nodding their heads and Lynn too was fighting to keep her eyes open. Finally leaving the city, the fields and farms of the Fraser Valley flew by.
“We will stop in Hope for the supper and the bed, eh, mes amis?”
“Oh yeah, Mr. Peter,” yawned Lyle, “I could sleep for a week!”
“Me too,” muttered Rob, though he wasn’t so sure about the week part. Solvieg, the name they would always know her by, or otherwise Evaline —evil twin sister to their friend and saviour, Elvira Pinkley—might catch up with them by then, even if she was a snake! Or she might change her shape and fool them again. He’d had more than enough of her, but he also had a sneaking feeling she wasn’t out of their lives quite yet. He didn’t mention this to the others, but if he’d done so he might have found they were feeling much the same way. The more space they put between them and Solvieg the better!
The mention of supper made them all hungry, and both they and the dogs needed to relieve themselves. Lynn had felt the restless stirrings of Fe’ when they left Vancouver. Now when food was mentioned he started up again. One would have thought he wouldn’t still want to fill his non-existent stomach! The signs for the town of Hope finally came into view and Mr. Peter turned off the highway, looking for a restaurant and motel. As they entered the town the young people pointed excitedly at the wonderfully carved wood sculptures of animals that adorned the main street.
“Can we get out and look at them, Mr. Peter?” asked Lynn. “They’re so beautiful!”
“Yeah, they’re really cool! Can we, Mr. Peter?” Lyle begged.
By this time Riquet had awakened. He peered out the window at the carvings, but all he could say was, “Ooooo!”
“Okay,” Mr. Peter replied, “but you four stay together, oui? See that restaurant down the street? I will go to look for the place to sleep and then meet you there in the few minute. But do not wander, I do not want to lose you before we even get start!” He let them and the dogs out of the car and went to look for a motel…
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