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ISBN-10: 1-55404-184-8
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
eBook Length: 72 Pages
Published: October 2004

From inside the flap

Exploring Sapper’s Bog brings Michael and his friends upon the strange tree where dozens of shoes and boots have been nailed to its trunk. A sudden movement in the nearby bushes and the appearance of a strange creature drives them screaming home in fright. Their experience becomes important when suddenly there are thefts in their town, and health concerns over an epidemic downstream, which leads them into searching for the truth about Sapper’s Bog and the time of the First Word War. The exploration of an underground labyrinth of tunnels and its sudden flooding leaves Michael trapped as the water rises and threaten to drown him. Alone and nearly in total darkness his only hope is that his friends can get help and somehow rescue him before it’s too late, when suddenly a cold hand touches his shoulder and he discovers he is not alone.



"Do you think the monsters will ever return?" questioned Alex several months later as they had adapted to their role as city saviours.

"I don?t know," said Richard, "stranger things could happen. We should always be on the lookout for something strange."

"Did you see the article in yesterday’s paper about the zombie?" Michael asked.

"The one in Sapper’s Bog?" replied David.

Alex looked startled and began to cry. "Michael, you?re going to get us in trouble again. I just know it. Didn?t I tell you not to go into the haunted house. Now you want to find a zombie. That’s it, I?m going home. I don?t care whether I?m a city saviour or not; I don?t want to find a zombie in Sapper’s Bog or in any other place."

The article that Michael had seen in yesterday’s paper reported on the strange babbling from a farmer whose back pasture was next to the bog. He was reported to have gone along a bog path at night with a lantern to look for a prize steer that had not returned with the other cattle. He had never ventured into the bog before. When asked by the reporter why he hadn?t done so before, he said that people who lived around there had seen strange lights flickering in the bog and, besides, most had had never ventured there for fear of getting trapped in the quicksand that permeated the dank and swampy terrain.

It seemed that on the night in question he had wandered deep into the bog. He said he could hear the tinkling of the cowbell that he had placed around the neck of his prize steer. Each time he approached the sound of the bell it became more distant and he was forced to follow the retreating sound deeper into the bog. It was an exceptionally dark night and he couldn?t see very far ahead.

Suddenly, he broke through into an space that was all smoothed down. He found his steer tethered to a stake in the centre of the clearing. Someone had led his steer there, deep in the bog. He said at that moment he could feel the shivers go up his spine as a warning that he was in danger. What he saw next made him lose his nerve.

There in front of him was an apelike creature with a white face that gleamed at him. Its eyes were large saucers in a glowing face with a gaping leer of a mouth.

He had screamed in fright, as the shivers played a scale up and down his spine. The scream had only seemed to make the creature’s face brighter. He could hear mad laughter echoing and re-echoing after him as he ran in panic away from the clearing, leaving the luckless steer to its own fate.

"Are you going riding at Hacett’s riding school?" David asked.

"Yes," Richard replied. " My lesson is this afternoon. You guys can come along if you want to watch."

Michael whistled with delight. "Hacett’s Riding School is right next to old Coot’s farm. He’s the one who saw the creature in Sapper’s Bog."

"Do you really think there is anything to the newspaper story?" questioned Rebecca.

"That’s what we want to find out," Michael chimed in.

"Coot is a little strange but he’s always liked children. What do you say we ask him?"

The others thought that it might be all right to ask, so David, Rebecca and Michael would meet up with Richard at the riding school. After that it was just a short walk to the old ramshackle farmhouse of Jeb Coot, an old farmer who lived alone.

Harvey Lee, a young reporter at the Windslow Times, was the one who wrote the story about old Coot and the zombie in Sapper’s Bog. He had done it more as a joke than for any other purpose. But by the time the phone rang the 32nd time, he knew that his story raised concerns with many of the paper’s subscribers. The time of the insect creatures that had terrorized the Spoonerville district was too recent for most of the callers. They wanted him to explain himself. Some wanted him to write the truth in a retraction. While others wanted to know if the insect creatures had returned.

Old Coot had acted as drunk as a skunk when he told him his sorry tale. He had rambled on and on about a white-faced zombie, who looked like a dead creature but laughed like a mad monster, and scared him out of the bog.

It was hard to make sense out of all this muttering, but Harvey put the story together as best he could. Thursday was always a slow newsday, so he had found no difficulty in convincing the editor that a local interest story could help fill the empty columns.

"Now look what I?ve done," he cried as he spilled his fourth coffee." I wish I had never written that garbage.

Zombies! Who believes in zombies?" he shouted.

The rest of the journal’s small staff looked up in surprise and Lee shook his head in frustration. A cardinal rule a reporter has to learn is that insignificant news can often, by circumstance, grow to unrealistic proportions. The phone on Harvey Lee’s desk demanded his attention. Harvey spent the next two days trying to soothe the fears of his many callers.