TITLE: To The Bones
GENRE: Middle-Grade Historical
When an angry 13 year old Harper Puckett sets out to prove he can make it on his own, he gets caught up in the Dinosaur Bone Wars of 1881 as a spy, and then a double spy. His situation becomes more dangerous than he ever imagined, and if his cheating ways are discovered, he risks losing his family, himself, and the only life he's ever known.
My grandpa used to always say, "Harper, sometimes you have to jump off the train before it even gets to the station." Here at Como Bluff that meant beating the sun, and the weather, with a fully loaded pack train. I knew he'd be proud to see me now, working the rounds all on my own.
We hiked the rocky path along the bottom of the tall, multicolored bluff, with me whistling and the mules plodding to the beat. "I think Ma's gonna like our new plan," I said to Boomerang. He snorted.
I turned my head to make out the sounds coming at us. The rhythmic clank of pick on stone settled in my ears like a miniature hailstorm in the sun. That would be Mr. Reed. I quickened my pace just a bit, the mules coming right along with me.
This was the strangest mining operation I'd ever seen, digging up monster bones, but Grandpa had taught me not to judge. He said to respect any hard working man, so that's what I did. If they really were mining old monsters, how did those bones get themselves embedded in solid rock in the first place? Didn't make much sense to me, but it didn't really matter. Even this type of mining camp needed supplies. "Good morning, Mr. Reed," I hollered as we rounded the rock jutted bend. He spun toward me, pick in hand. His eyes blazed for a moment, brighter than the morning, his bushy brown moustache a straight line.