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The Mystery of the Ballerina’s Tear
VOLUME 20
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-347-6
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
eBook Length: 58 Pages
Published: February 2006



From inside the flap

While waiting to attend a summer ballet dance school in Long Island, New York, Georgina and Meghan two 16-year olds help their uncle in an archaeological dig on one of America’s wonders of the ancient world where a city of 20,000 people rivaled anything in Europe in the 12th century. There they work on beautiful artifacts and discover a love stone, a tear that joined two people together even in death. A break-in into the tent storing the artifacts becomes one of many robberies in the archaeological world. Back at their summer dance school one of the student instructors is wearing a small necklace that holds an Indian artifact and it leads the girls into a ring of thieves who are responsible for many similar robberies of priceless records of man’s history in America.

The Mystery of the Ballerina’s Tear (Excerpt)


PRELUDE

No birds were singing. No hum of insects gave resonance to the air. Nothing moved. Everything was quiet. Too quiet.

It was as if life itself had stopped breathing and was holding its breath, in fear. The sound of his heart was too loud. Its beating filled his ears; its rapid racing recording his panic. He knew the significance of the silence. His pursuers were nearby. All his attempts to throw them off his trail, by making false trails, by walking up the creeks, by climbing trees and overhanging branches to swing out and away from the trail, had been for naught. It had only delayed them. His breath now came in gasps. He was frightened. He had been running for hours. Paskwa had made his escape three days before. By his efforts to escape he had forfeited his life. Anyone could kill him and get the reward of praise from the Almighty One. Only once, in his memory had someone tried to escape. That man was brought back to die, to be killed! Every slave was made to watch or to participate in the punishment of the poor wretched creature. All knew what their fate would be if they chose to run.

Why had he run? What reason could be so powerful that he would lose his life if he were caught? Where could he go? His master was very cruel. He was harsh and took pleasure in inflicting pain. He seemed to take a special dislike to Paskwa, more so than to any of the other slaves. Paskwa knew that this man had beaten his mother. She had endured it to protect her son from further beating when he was just a small boy. Their master would start beating him and his mother would cry out and the man would turn on her.

Now that his mother had died, it was as if all the resentment that had built up in this man was taken out on Paskwa at the slightest excuse. Whenever he had not finished his assigned task he was struck or beaten. That was what happened to slaves. Paskwa knew that and lived within that set of rules, but he also knew that his master hated him. He had seen Swetka’s eyes when he beat him with the braided whip. He saw the pleasure it gave him. Paskwa stayed cool and indifferent to the blows and that infuriated his owner. Paskwa never uttered a cry or showed his pain. Someday, he told himself, he would have an opportunity to show his true feelings.

His mother had been captured when a raiding party took her. She gave birth to him seven months after she became a slave. She had taught him her language in secret, but now there was no chance to use it. Maybe it was wrong to rebel, but he could not understand why he was less of a person than the people of the Iskqi. His mother had called him a prince of the Cahokia tribe. She died nearly two years ago. Her death brought her peace. The life as a slave had robbed her of her spirit and her dignity. The abuse she endured from this man Swetka, their master, and the work of a slave had exhausted her body and her mind. Paskwa had her look, distinct from the Iskqi. He was taller and was in his full prowess of youth. The Iskqi young men teased him but they respected his strength. He had endured beatings because of his forceful reactions to their taunting. He never let a slur go by without a fight. Finally they knew it was unwise to tease him or degrade him as a Cahokian. For the most part, the Iskqi ignored him, unless something was not done to their liking. It was primarily his own master, Swetka, the man that had placed the slave tags around his neck, who abused him and tried to humble him at every opportunity. He knew from his mother that her race, his race, was proud and intelligent. It had a class structure that respected the quality of the leaders. It was based on a culture of the land, connected to the planting of corn and yams. Its kingdom occupied a large territory that was many days of travel beyond the evergreen forests. She had told him about the huge place called the City of the Sun where thousands of his people lived. Maybe his interest in discovering his own culture and returning to his people had been the prime reason for his escaping. Yet, it was more than that. Too, it was the heartache he was suffering because he had fallen in love with Cineta, a young woman of the Iskqi.She was young and beautiful and true in heart. As a slave, he never would be allowed to marry her or stand by her side.