Chapter 1

Sunday Night. In the Meadow.

Mitch shut his tired eyes and curled his long fingers over his sheets. The day’s obituaries crinkled under his pillow. “I hate my life.”

DEAD: Mitchell Thomas Burke: Loser, Age 13

The clock clicked to 11:59 P.M. and he inhaled. On his exhale he whispered, “Dear God, please take care of Dad.”

One one thousand, two one thousand…

“And, please let me dream about the meadow.”

…three one thousand, four one thousand…

“I can do what I want there.”

…five one thousand, six one thousand…

At 12:01 A.M., he fell into a deep sleep, which lifted him to the middle of a sparkling summer meadow.

“Mitchey, Mitchey-boy! Do you see fit to play? Do you want to play a new game?”

Mitch opened his eyes.

The creek on the edge of the field gurgled, and a tall woman wearing a grey linen skirt to her ankles gathered sticks under a towering black ash tree.

A comfortable heat rolled over Mitch’s lanky body as the sun swirled in the sky. He ran all ten fingers through his dark brown hair. The meadow was perfect. No rain, no poison ivy, and no mosquitoes. To Mitch, it smelled like his mother’s favorite bubble bath.

“Come along, boy. Time’s a wasting,” the woman called from across the meadow.

Mitch sat up and watched her stroll from the tree, through the tall sweeping grass, to a thick jumble of thorny bushes that lined the woods. She was a large woman with a fair, but ruddy, complexion, blue-black hair, and strong shoulders and hands. Mitch guessed her to be in her fifties or sixties.

“Hello, Patty!” he called.

She whistled through her fingers and Josiah appeared. Creeping out of the dense woods and sticky brambles, Josiah went to Patty’s side. The cocoa-skinned boy came no higher than her waist and wore a beige muslin shirt and loose pants, which were probably made from a flour sack. His soft brown curls carpeted his head like moss on a river stone.

Excerpt © 2010 Monica S. Baker

About the book:

It’s the 21st century, but 13 year-old Mitchell Brooks has a 19th century problem.  The notorious Patty Cannon – 1820’s ruthless kidnapper, murderess, and tavern keeper — is stalking him in his dreams.

A thriller for young readers, join Mitchell as he stumbles into a dream portal that transports him to the 1820s, where he faces the terrors of Patty Cannon. Mitch tries to lead a normal life, but his nights are interrupted by the adventures in his dreams and mysterious connections between Patty Cannon and his family. Learn how Mitch builds a stronger bond with this father, a reservist on active duty in the Middle East; resolves conflict; and learns the truth about slaves crossing to freedom in Pennsylvania before the Civil War. Ages 9-14 years.

Released: July 2010 by Schiffer Publishing

About the author:

Monica S. Baker was born in the San Francisco, California, Bay Area, lived and studied in sunny South America and in the frigid, but stunning upper midwest. She now works out of her home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which she shares with her husband, three rambunctious teenagers, a hairy dog, a lazy cat, and anything else the cat brings home. In 2005, Monica decided it was time to get serious about a book she started, so put her marketing consulting cap in the closet in order to concentrate – FOCUS – work on – procrastinate on — FOCUS – work on – does the dog need to go out? – FOCUS – work on – finish – Freestyle, her first novel. She also started and now writes issues for Science Weekly, the award-winning publication that is read and used in schools across the United States.