Chapter one of HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS: a book in The Havelock Emerald series:
The Emerald took up the entire block at the center of Havelock Avenue. The Irish pub, with its white stucco walls and ancient oak beams, was a legendary steakhouse there in the small suburb, known for its fine Nebraska beef and home-brewed, heartland ale. At lunchtime, patrons included a rough crowd of Irish railroaders from the Burlington yards. At dinner time, a tamer crowd of locals frequented the place. On weekends, the Emerald became a hot spot for dozens of biker clubs fund-raising with Poker runs for one good cause or another.
As 12-year-old Lucas Holland approached the pub now bathed in silver moonlight, his eyes were drawn to the huge stained-glass window that dominated its front wall. The window, a central focal point there along the five-block business district, depicted a black dragon, wings spread wide in flight, flames erupting from his mouth. The beast also clutched a bright green emerald within his talons.
Lucas narrowed his eyes for he could have sworn the red flames slowly unfurled as he drew closer to the building, and if he squinted just right, he detected a slight flutter of the dragon’s wings. He froze there on the sidewalk, creeped out by the emerald pulsating with an eerie green light within the six-by-six foot circular window.
Dressed all in black, he imagined himself a Ninja Pirate, and as he tucked wild strands of his blond hair beneath his black bandana, he scanned the avenue, both to the right and the left. At 2 AM, there were no cars in sight. Detaching himself from the shadows, he stealthily raised the wooden baseball bat he carried and took a few practice swings, hefting it with his skinny arms. He moved back ten feet from the colored window to the edge of the sidewalk, giving himself plenty of room for what he planned to do.
Old man Billy Connors should have never interfered in Den business. By doing so, the old Irishman, owner of the Emerald, had rudely insulted Stone Holland, Lucas’s father and president of the Elder’s Den biker club. Billy and Stone had a tiff over a dogfight. Old Billy had involved the Outlaws, a rival club, and Stone Holland had lost face over the deal. Lucas was determined to get even with the old Irishman for making his dad look bad.
He dug down inside his jean pockets for one of the slick black rocks he’d stuffed them with earlier on his way down to the Avenue. He plucked out one sleek, black stone, tossing it up into the air a few times. Remembering what his Uncle Nate had said about putting a bullet from his .357 directly through Billy’s prized window, Lucas determined he would beat his uncle to it. He thought about stealing Nate’s big pistol, but he knew he’d probably get caught and throttled by his dad or his uncle for such an infraction, so he resorted to the next best thing besides bullets: Rocks.
Satisfied that the one he’d selected would do, Lucas tossed it up into the air, latched onto the bat handle with both hands, and swung at the falling rock with all his might.
Thock! The satisfying sound echoed up and down the Avenue, bringing a smirk to Lucas’s face, and his powerful swing of the bat sent the rock flying directly at the illuminated window.
Prrrrrrfht! was the sound that came from the panes of the colored window as the rock struck it. Where Lucas expected shattering glass and a domino-effect of complete destruction, figuring the entire window would cave in, he blinked in astonishment. The rock struck the glass and was literally sucked inside the stained-glass window.
“What the holy hell!” Lucas gasped, staring at the ripples that passed through the entire creation. In the aftermath of what he expected to be a satisfying crash, he stood there watching the dragon shudder as the warbled, rippling effect flowed over him.
Lucas tried another rock. He tossed it high in the air, swung the bat two-handed, and Thock! sent another sleek, black rock at the stained-glass window of the Emerald. Phhhhrrfring! echoed shrilly in his ears. He blinked again, shaking his head as this rock, too, simply vanished within the deep greens of the emerald clutched in the dragon’s talons. The same ripples spread swiftly across the face of the backlit window. This time when they reached the dragon’s flames, there came an airy Poof! And the flames flickered as if they had been splattered by cold water.
“No way!” Lucas growled. “No way in hell!”
He gripped the baseball bat in both hands, swung it back and over his shoulder, and charged at the window, determined to shatter it to smithereens. The bat struck the glass with considerable force, passed completely through the window, and the momentum of his charge carried Lucas forward and on into the pub.
. . . Do you want to read more? Sorry, that is why this is called a Teaser!!
You’ll have to wait until it is published.