Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou

Colorful Pirates, SuRana, a shape-shifting puma, and an old Cajun guide named Mud Bug, join Cynthia and Gus, in Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou.
By Mary Cunningham

The twelve-year-old best friends travel through the magic trunk in Cynthia's attic to a 1914 Louisiana bayou searching for Cynthia's great-grandfather, Beau Connor. Discovering a connection between Beau and Buzzard Jack LaBuse, the meanest, orneriest pirate this side of the Mississippi, leads to a heart-stopping confrontation to recover a long-lost treasure and lift a family curse.



Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou
Excerpt from Chapter Nine:


"How do you reckon they got here, son?"
"Like I told you, Ma, I found them here in the hayloft, all nestled down like they were fixin' to take a nap."
"Well, what do you suppose we should do? Wake them, or let them sleep? I hate to disturb those angelic faces…oh, my heavens! Jay! You don't think they're dead, do you?"
I heard the word, dead, and sat straight up. "No! We're not dead, and who are you?"
"Now, listen here. I'll do the talking if you don't mind."
A tall, thin young man in overalls, resting one arm on a pitchfork, looked down at us. With that deadly weapon in his grasp, I decided to shut my mouth…for the moment.
"What? Where are we?" Cynthia regained consciousness and did a double-take.
A plump, older woman in a huge white apron answered, "You're on the Conner farm, dearie. I'm Samantha Conner and this is my son, Jay.
No wonder Cynthia was speechless. I wasn't too familiar with her mother's family, but their name was Conner, and I'd heard mention of Samantha, Cynthia's great-grandmother. Her grandfather was nicknamed Jay by his dad who thought that 'John Joseph' was too showy for a farmer's son. This might also explain why the man we were looking for, her great-grandfather, Aloysius Beauregard Conner, went by Beau.
"So?" Jay leaned forward, still holding the pitchfork. "We're waiting for an answer."
My mind raced. I could tell we weren't going to lie our way out of this one. Not easily.
"We got separated from our family, sir," Cynthia, over her momentary shock, said smoothly. "We were traveling west, and our wagon…uh, our covered wagon…"
I nodded. So, she did pay attention in history class. "
"…became stuck in a muddy creek bank. My sister, Gus, er, uh…I mean Augusta, and I left to find help and got hopelessly lost."
"Oh, dear!" Samantha threw her hands in the air. "Your poor parents! They must be frantic! Jay, we must help them find their family!" She ran in circles, almost tripping on her long apron, crying…"Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
I knew better than to look at Cynthia because we'd both burst out laughing. Great Grandma Sam, was quite a sight. At least her antics took the heat off of us because Jay had to all but tackle his mother.
"Ma. Stop running! We'll find their family, but we need more information."
He must've had a lot of practice calming her down, because the sternness in his voice stopped her hysterics on the spot. "You're right, son. Oh, I'm sorry, girls. I can't imagine the horror of losing any of my beautiful children."
Jay smirked. "Yeah, but Ma, with twelve kids, it might be awhile before you'd know any of us were missing."
She sent a withering look. "Oh, you two dearies. Don't pay any attention to him. Jay, here, is 21, and the baby of the family. But, just because his brothers and sisters are grown, with families of their own, I still fret about every single one of my brood."
Standing behind his mother, Jay smiled and winked. "Now, that Ma has sworn her undying love for all her children, let's get back to you girls."
Shoot! I had hoped we were off the hook. No such luck.

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