TITLE: The Gulf of New Mexico
GENRE: Middle Grades
Addison spit blood on the rocks. He struggled to his feet and then swayed backward before he righted the weight of his top-heavy, red backpack. All around Addison were boulders the size of small cars, and the lake water lapped against them. He squinted and looked up to the rock ledge, the one that he was pushed off. Addison couldn't hear any voices, and the silence crawled over him like spiders.
For the past ten days this small Canadian island on Lake Horntide was alive with the laughter and shouts of 36 middle school boys. Now nothing.
Addison Willows knew about islands in a way that most boys know how to retrieve a stray ball from behind a locked gate. He lived with his grandparents on a small island in a vast Kentucky lake. Living on a private island didn't mean he was wealthy. There was nothing envious about Sleek Tartan Island. It was more of an accidental island with no trees and lousy soil that was good for two things: growing cacti and making concrete. About sixty years ago someone said that to his grandfather as a saw-toothed joke, but Addison's grandfather was not a humorist. He accepted it as the practical advice that it was. So that's what he did for a living: grew cacti and made concrete statues.
On all fours, Addison climbed a steep rock and reached a scraggly dirt trail that snaked across the island and back toward the campsite.