In no time at all, Michael and John have their shoes and hats on. Their lunches are packed, and they’re out the door. It’s a long walk to Steven’s house. They only have one peddle bike between the two of them, so they opt to leave it behind. Some people call it the boonies, some call it redneck hills, and some the Sticks. To the Hounds and the other twenty or so families that live in this spaced-out little farming community, it’s home. It’s an adventurous place with lots to explore and get into.
Mrs. Hounds was gone most of the time while the boys were growing up. She worked long hours as a nurse at the little clinic at the edge of town. She decided they were old enough at 11 and 12 to get through the summers without a babysitter, given they would check in at the neighbors at least once a day. It was a hard decision for her, but she really couldn’t afford to pay for childcare. Especially with the price of heat and food, they struggled enough as it was.
So, at only 11 and 12, Michael and John had the freedom that most kids their age only dreamed of. They caused a lot of trouble and learned to take care of themselves. It paid off in the long run, as now they’re not only taking care of themselves, but their mother too.
“We have to stop and see if Chloe changed her mind,” says Michael.
Chloe lives a half a mile in the opposite direction from Steven’s house. Obviously, John isn’t happy about the idea.
“Hell no! We’re not going to get your stupid girlfriend. She doesn’t even like Steven and she already said ‘there was no way in hell she was walking half a day to meet up with some dumb kid with a big mouth,’ remember?”
John actually likes Chloe, and he knows how mad Michael gets when he labels her with the girlfriend title. Right now, he doesn’t care.
“Well, you do whatever you want, but I’m going to get her.”
Michael doesn’t do much without Chloe. He takes off toward her house, knowing that John won’t argue with him much further. Being the younger of the two doesn’t stop Michael from getting his point across by any means. John rolls his eyes and follows with his head dropped to his chest. There’s no point in fighting about it. Kicking rocks along the way, John keeps a close distance in the rear.
It only takes about ten minutes before they’re knocking on the giant wooden door to the front entrance of Chloe’s house. It swings open with a woosh, and there she stands. Her long, bleached from the sun, blonde hair is pulled into a ponytail that falls into the middle of her back. She’s wearing a light pink tank top with matching shoes. Chloe is short and slim with an hourglass shape. At first glance one could easily think her to be the proper, private school type… until she talks.
“What in Sam’s hell are you two dirtbags doin’ at my house so early in the mornin’? I thought you were goin’ to hang out with that pig you call a friend.” She grips a hand on her hip. “If you think your gunna’ guilt me into walkin’ all the way to his cow shit smellin’ crap-hole just because you came out of your way to get me. You must be slow in the head.”
Chloe doesn’t have much of a filter in what she says, never has. And, she sure doesn’t have the time or desire to be proper. She rolls her eyes at the two filthy Hounds boys standing on her giant porch filled with flowers and wicker decor. She quickly decides that she’d rather go on an adventure and play in the mud at some point, than sit at home with her parents’ maid. Her parents travel on business most of the summers and leave her alone with a jolly, oversized woman who speaks little English. Living in a depression makes no difference to the Mead family. They have ‘old money’ and aren’t afraid to show it.
Despite their efforts to make Chloe a snob much like them, she put her foot down at a very early age. Chloe refused private school and has a mind of her own. Eventually they gave up and let her do her own thing, turning a blind eye to her in the process.
“I’ll be back by dark!” Chloe yells into the house.
She slams the door, stomps past them onto the road, and takes the lead to their ‘stupid friend’s house’.
When local girl Misty is found dead in an underground bunker, the town is thrown into a whirlwind of panic and speculation. Times are tough, but the spaced-out farmer community pull together as one, trying to uncover who’s guilty.
Thrown smack in the middle of the chaos is a group of teens: local troublemakers, but with good hearts. Although they’re innocent, the local law enforcers believe otherwise, and the true killer is lurking far too close for comfort.
Will the four be able to uncover the truth before one of them pays the price for Misty’s death?