- Author: Dan Padavona
Read book online «The Killing Moon by Dan Padavona (books to read for 13 year olds .TXT) 📕». Author - Dan Padavona
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I’m a pretty nice guy once you look past the grisly images in my head. Most of all, I love connecting with awesome readers like you.
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“He’s coming for you, Barton Falls. Nobody escapes the Halloween Man.”
Fourteen-year-old Scout Mourning pushed her wheelchair toward her desk and turned the volume up on the computer speakers. She’d grown addicted to Violet Lyon’s live streaming podcast. Not that she took the macabre Violet seriously. Every night for the past week, Violet had talked about the Halloween Man, a mythical killer who emerged on the holiday to murder new victims. A fan of horror and thriller movies, Scout couldn’t get enough of Violet Lyons, as cheesy as the show had become. Thousands agreed, judging by the number of listeners tuning in tonight.
“He wears an orange pumpkin mask, and he carries a butcher’s knife. Locked doors can’t stop him. Even Harmon Sanitarium couldn’t prevent him from breaking free. He planned this night for years. Now he wants revenge on the society that locked him away. He’s coming for you, Barton Falls. He’s coming home.”
Scout giggled. Yeah, a little too cheesy. It seemed Violet had merged John Carpenter’s Halloween with Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, all classic horror movies from the seventies and eighties.
Scout paged through her trigonometry notes and scribbled an equation. Down the hall, her mother, Naomi, clicked off the television. Mom ran operations for Sheriff Thomas Shepherd’s company, Shepherd Systems, and needed to wake up early for work. Scout’s next door neighbor, the sheriff, wasn’t cut out for corporate work. After he inherited the business from his father, he hired Naomi. The floor squeaked outside Scout’s bedroom door. She muted the volume when her mother knocked.
“I’m headed to bed, Scout. Don’t stay up late.”
“I won’t, Mom. Love you.”
“Love you too, hon.”
When Mom’s bedroom door closed, Scout inched the volume higher. Violet was still rattling on about the Halloween Man and the impending slaughter of Barton Falls, a little town that sat fifteen miles outside Wolf Lake. Through the window, moonlight sparkled off the black water. During the day, the lake appeared blue and vibrant, a reflection of the sky. At night, it was depthless, secretive.
The wheel snagged on the carpet as Scout swiveled back to the computer. She muscled the wheels until the chair moved again. Two years ago, while her father still lived with them in Ithaca, a tractor trailer struck their vehicle from behind, crushing Scout in the backseat. She was lucky to be alive, though the accident stole her ability to walk. Her parents separated after her father blamed himself for the accident and crawled into a hole of self-pity.
While Violet scared her listeners, Scout called up a second browser tab and checked the Virtual Searchers forum. Unable to take part in sports, Scout had fallen in love with amateur sleuthing. Virtual Searchers was a place for teen sleuths to congregate and solve mysteries and cold case crimes from across the world. She’d used the website to help catch Jeremy Hyde, a serial killer living in nearby Harmon. Her research attracted the murderer. Then the killer masqueraded as a teen girl on the Virtual Searchers forum and befriended Scout. She shivered, remembering how close the killer had come to catching her. Now she cast a wary eye at new forum members. A healthy dose of skepticism kept her alive.
“Fifteen years ago, he murdered his parents, then butchered eight teenagers on Halloween night before the authorities finally caught him. Now, you might wonder why you never heard about the murders. Elementary, dear listeners. The Nightshade County Sheriff’s Department, which has jurisdiction over Barton Falls, buried the story. Can you appreciate how far property values would fall if the truth got out? Barton Falls isn’t a safe place to live. It’s not Mayberry. You can’t trust your neighbor or leave your doors unlocked at night. Not with the Halloween Man loose.”
Scout closed the sleuthing forum with a huff. No fresh cases to keep her busy. The weather had taken a turn for the worse in the upstate New York village of Wolf Lake. Today had been cloudy and sullen with a wind that cut through her bones as she pushed herself from the school to the bus. The forecast predicted snow showers by Monday. It was too early for winter. But there were no guarantees of a pleasant autumn this far north.
“There isn’t a horror movie I haven’t watched. I don’t scare easily. But I have to admit, I’m terrified. You see, I’m the person talking about the Halloween Man every night. He knows who I am.” After a dramatic pause that pulled Scout’s attention to the computer screen, Violet Lyon continued. “I wasn’t going to tell you, but I received a gift from the Halloween Man this morning. As I stumbled down the porch steps, already late for the bus, I saw something shiny beneath the shrubberies. It was a butcher’s knife. No blood, no proof that the Halloween Man had already claimed a victim. He was sending a message. If I continue this podcast, I’ll be his next target.”
“Yeah, right,” Scout snorted. “You need new material, Violet.”
“So I come to you tonight at great personal risk. The danger is real, and I need to inform everyone listening so you can take protective measures.”
Scout checked her phone and sent a text to LeVar Hopkins. The former Harmon Kings gang member lived in Thomas Shepherd’s guest house. He’d reformed his