I’m super excited to announce that Book 3 in the Harbor Secret Series, Leviathan, is now available!  It’s based on a series of newspaper articles published between 1895 and 1930 reporting sea serpent sightings in Little Traverse Bay.  I even put the articles in the book and cited them so you can enjoy them!  Available now on Kindle.  Paperback copies will be available in a couple of weeks.  I’ve attached the prologue below for your enjoyment.

leviathan_Amazon

Leviathan

Prologue

In the late 1800s, giggles and squeals could be heard inside houses as the children of the Holy Childhood orphanage chased the children attending catechism in a friendly game of tag. There were girls in white dresses, black stockings, and large bows in their hair and boys in white shirts and dark pants held up by suspenders.

“We’ve almost got them,” Janey Pontiac giggled loudly to Mitchell Ching-kah, who was running right in front of her.

“You’re fast for a girl,” he panted.

“They went over there,” Janey said as she held up a finger to point slightly to her left.

Mitchell slowed his pace, and Janey easily sped by him. “Come on, we’ve got them,” she called.

“Stop, Janey,” he warned, his sprint turning into a trot and, finally, a walk.

She slowed and looked over her shoulder. “Why? We’ve got them.”

Mitchell grabbed her sleeve and stepped towards the gnarled trees that the girls had disappeared into. “See that?” he asked, pointing to a large pond at the base of Harbor Point.

“Yes,” she said, lowering her voice.

“It’s Devil’s Pond.”

Janey’s eyes widened. “What is Devil’s Pond?” she asked, looking behind her to see the other Native American children of the orphanage and school standing back cautiously.

“Didn’t your mother tell you the story?” he asked.

She shook her head.

He held his hand up and gestured to the entire base of the small peninsula. “This place is haunted.”

“Haunted?” Her eyes grew wider.

“Yes. It is not safe here.”

“But what about Mildred and Ruthie?”

“They do not know. It is a truth known among the Odawa.”

“But why is it called Devil’s Pond?” the little girl asked.

His eyes moved back to the deep pond. “It is very deep. There is a woman trapped at the bottom of it, and she calls to someone to help her get out.”

“Who does she call to?” Janey asked.

He shrugged. “Either her father, who put her there, or her husband, who must fill in the pond if he is to rescue her.” He looked around nervously. “Some say his spirit still lives here, trying to fill in the pond.”[1]

“Her father put her there?”

“Yes.” His nervous expression persisted, and he put a hand on her back. “Come, let’s go back to the play yard. I will tell you the story later.”

“So Mildred and Ruthie will just get away from us and win?” she asked stubbornly. She looked at the pond and gnarled trees before her. “I’m not afraid of a spirit if it’s in the pond, Mitchell. I will just run around the pond.” She started off towards the forbidden land again.

“Wait!” he called after her. When Janey didn’t stop, he continued. “There is more.”

Janey slowed her pace before putting her small hands on her hips and asking, “What is it now, Mitchell? More spirits?”

“No. This is real,” Mitchell told her without budging from his spot.

“So tell me.”

He looked around nervously. “I do not want to shout it.” He lowered his voice and gestured to her, “Come back.”

Janey let out an exasperated sigh before stomping back to Mitchell. Giving a foot a final stomp, she crossed her arms and asked, “What is it?”

Mitchell leaned in and said in a loud whisper, “The Mishipeshu has been known to frequent that pond.”

Janey didn’t look intimidated. “Who is Mishipeshu?”

“The underwater panther,” Mitchell continued. “He has been seen there many times. He either swims to it from the lake, or he takes an underground passage from the lake to the pond.”

Janey’s unconvinced look changed to a look of interest. “What does the Mishipeshu look like?”

Mitchell looked around nervously again as the lowering sun caused the gnarled trees to cast eerie shadows. “It is not safe here. I will tell you about the Mishipeshu back at the school.”

Janey stomped her foot. “I want to know now.”

Mitchell shook his head, backing up. “It is not safe here, Janey. I’m leaving.” With that, Mitchell turned and ran back to the group of children watching them.

Janey kept her eyes on the pond as she backed slowly away from it before turning to run back to the safety of the schoolyard.

——————————–

Over one hundred years later, six-year-old Kiley sat in the back seat of the Dodge Dart as it started to leave Petoskey, Michigan, the trunk loaded with groceries. She looked out the window at the bright blue water of the bay. “What’s that, Aunt Judy?” she asked, pointing a finger across the bay to a billowing smokestack.

Judy glanced into the rearview mirror to see her niece before coming to a slow halt at a stop sign. Looking out the driver’s-side window, she followed the child’s pointing finger. “Across the bay? Is that where you’re looking?”

“Yes,” Kylie continued to point. “Where the smoke is.”

“That’s the cement plant.”

“They make cement there?” Kylie confirmed, still gazing at the factory on the water’s edge.

“Yes, ma’am, they do.” Judy started to drive again, pulling onto the main road along the bay.

Kylie thought a moment as she continued to look out the window. “Do they make cement out of Petoskey stones? Is that why they chose to put it there?”

Judy let out a snort. “I don’t think so, honey. I think they grind up limestone to make cement.” She thought a moment as she drove along the steep cliff overlooking the Petoskey Tot Park they’d just left. It was Kylie’s reward for being a patient grocery shopper. “However, the beaches near the plant are some of the best places to find Petoskey stones, in my experience.”

Kylie glanced out the window again at the disappearing view. “Why?”

Judy smiled. “Word is, the bay has a steep drop-off not far from the cement plant. I would imagine that might create a prehistoric setting for the coral to grow that forms the Petoskey stones.”

“Prehistoric? So dinosaurs lived down there by the coral?”

Judy continued her smile, enjoying the child’s curiosity. “Maybe.”

Kylie looked at her shiny black Mary Janes that barely reached the edge of the car seat. “How deep is the drop-off, Aunt Judy?”

“I’m not sure, Kylie.”

Kylie absently picked a scab on her knee that peeked out from the skirt of her plaid dress. “Like, a mile?”

Judy glanced in the rearview mirror again before answering. “I think there are holes out there that are so deep that no one has found the bottom.”

“Not even scuba divers?”

“Nope. Remember, the springs coming up here make the water very cold. The deeper you go, the colder it gets.”

“Why?”

“Because the sun’s rays can’t warm it when it’s that deep.”

“So no people can go down there because it’s so cold?”

“Well, they wouldn’t be able to stay down for long if they did.”

Kylie quietly picked the scab as minutes of silence ticked by. “So there could be dinosaurs living down there, but no one would know it?”

Judy let out a snort. “Oh, I’m pretty sure people would know it if there were dinosaurs in the bay.”

Kylie used the skirt of her dress to daub at the blood that oozed from a deep part of her scab before folding her hands on her lap and staring at her shoes. “But there could be dinosaurs,” she said softly. “There could be.”

[1] The Crooked Tree, Wright, John C., 1917, Pages 146-148.

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