by Cody B. Stewart, Mark Rogers,
and Adam Rocke
Genre: Middle Grade
Date of Publication: October 5th 2016
Publisher: Common Deer Press
Cover Artist: Common Deer Press, Ellie Sipal
When eleven-year-old TJ finds a weird looking egg in the Florida Everglades after a tropical storm rips through, naturally he takes it home for identification. It could be the egg of a mutant duck or something, which would be awesome.
Problem is, the egg doesn’t look like it came from a mallard, even a mutated one—it’s too big and heavy and…strange. So he hides it away in his closet and continues on with his life as usual, doing his best to ignore the creepy men constantly banging at his front door and the significant rise in military helicopter sightings in his typically quiet neighbourhood. Then one day he comes home from school and it’s as though a cyclone has gone through his bedroom.
Suddenly, TJ knows he’s dealing with something a little more interesting—and a little more deadly—than a duck.
TJ and Sam stood silent and still, too afraid to move or make a sound. “Wait a second,” TJ finally said. “Mess downstairs? We weren’t downstairs.”
Their eyes met and they shared the same thought. They darted into TJ’s room, emerging a moment later, sufficiently rearmed with the slingshot and bat. Then, they snuck downstairs to assess the damage.
When TJ saw the extent of the wreckage, he almost let another marble rip. His heart sank when he spotted the demolished cherry pie.
“Hell-o Kitty,” Sam uttered, marveling at the mess. “I think your house is haunted, TJ. You have one of those polter-geese.”
“Geist,” TJ corrected. “Poltergeist. Do you think a ghost hatched out of that egg?”
“I don’t know what it was that came out of that thing, but I know it’s a huge pain in my butt. Since you found it, I’ve almost been eaten by an alligator, shot by a swamp cowboy, and now I’m stuck cleaning up its mess.”
Sam and TJ grumbled at each other, and ghosts, and the whole world as they scrubbed the floors, wiped the counters, and picked up bits of broken plate and other unidentifiable things. Once the kitchen sparkled, Sam threw her dirty rag at TJ.
“Not that this wasn’t a fun night or anything, but I’m going home before the ground splits open and we get attacked by mole people.”
“You’re leaving?” TJ shrieked. “While there’s still a possible ghost goblin poltergeist thingy stalking around my house?”
Sam shrugged. “Ghost goblin poltergeist thingies got nothing on my dad when I miss curfew. Call me if something tries to eat you.”
***** ***** *****
Fatigue hit TJ hard. He yawned and didn’t stop yawning until he reached his bedroom door. His mind raced in circles. He couldn’t focus on any one thing long enough to even care about poltergeists or alligators or whatever. All he wanted to do was go to sleep with the hope that he’d wake up in the morning with all of his limbs still attached.
Luckily, TJ’s reflexes were working just fine despite his mostly asleep brain. He opened the door and ducked just in time to avoid getting hit square in the face with a flying sneaker. He dropped to the floor and covered his head with his arms. He peeked up when he was sure the other sneaker wasn’t going to follow. He instantly wished he had his helmet—and the swamp cowboy—because standing on his bed was the thing that had destroyed his room and the kitchen…
A one-foot tall Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Cody B. Stewart was born in the Adirondacks, in Upstate New York. His love of stories began in those mountains as he vanquished trolls, fought in the American Revolution and discovered his latent mutant powers. Stories have continued to consume his life, but he now plucks them out of his head and puts them down on paper in the form of novels and comic books. He left the Adirondacks to grow into a man, did so, and has since returned with a wonderfully supportive wife and two sons.
Mark Rogers’ career as a travel journalist has brought him to 56 countries and counting. These trips have fed his imagination while at the same time provided authentic experiences and sensory detail that find their way into his novels and screenplays. Mark’s won multiple awards for his travel writing, including an award for his Hurricane Ivan coverage in Jamaica. His work regularly appears in USA Todayand other media outlets. Mark lives in Baja California with his Sinaloa-born wife, Sophy, where they recently built a rock house overlooking the sea.
Adam Rocke never met an adventure he didn’t love. From swimming with great white sharks without a cage, to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, Adam’s adrenaline junkie tendencies play a major role in his writing.Throw in a secondary degree in CryptoZoology, and it’s anyone’s guess where Adam’s literary travels will take him.