TITLE: Ratman's Revenge
GENRE: middle grade urban fantasy
I jerked to a stop in the middle of the dog park and stared at the woods. The trees huddled in the distance like giant green aliens. Their branches swayed in the breeze, motioning me over. The leaves flickered in the sun as if a million green fingers were reaching out, begging me to come inside.
Whoa. That’s freaky weird.
Oh man, my friends would be stinking jealous if I went exploring in the woods without them. Sure, they were probably swimming in that freeze-your-toes-off lake at camp right now—lucky turds. The only water I’d get to swim in this summer was in the bathtub. But maybe this time, I’d have the best story to tell when they got back.
Sweat dripped down my face and I wiped it with my t-shirt. I shaded my eyes with my hands and stared at the creepy-cool woods.
Mom’s warning blared in my head. I mean it, Cody, she’d said a bazillion times. It’s too dangerous. Gangs and drug addicts hang out in those woods. You’re never to go in there. Understand? Never. Promise me, Cody.
Yeah, I’d promised, but that was ages ago. I’m almost a teenager now. That’s different.
Sandy, my golden retriever, ran up with a tennis ball clamped in her mouth. I grabbed the slimy ball and pitched it across the park. “Go get it!” She raced off with her tongue flapping.
I turned back toward the woods. A green and brown blur darted through the shadows at the tree line then disappeared.