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The Lux Proofs Laird Foster The Lux Campfire Chronicles Book One

ADVANCED READING PREVIEW, SELECTED PORTRAITS, AND THE LUX QUIZ

Hardcopy/eBook Release

May 3, 2011


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Visit The Lux Proofs on the Web! www.lairdfoster.com Copyright © 2011 by David Foster Batchelder All rights reserved. First Hardcopy Edition May 2011 This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to business establishments or actual events or locales or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. Printed in the United States by GEYSER BOOKS, LLC, Missoula, MT. www.geyserbooks.com GEYSER BOOKS and the associated buffalo colophon are trademarks of GEYSER BOOKS. Cover art copyright © 2011 by Matthew Batchelder Library of Congress Control Number: 2010927214 hISBN 978-0-9826708-0-4 eISBN 978-0-9826708-2-8 pISBN 978-0-9826708-1-1

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Copyrighted Material


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To Bridget Angus Ella Will and Hattie Mae

10⁵⁰⁰ . . . hhhhhhmmmmmm.

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Contents

Prologue…………………..………………………………….……1 Part 1……………………………….………………………………3 1 Tryptophan (Pazia)………………...…………………………5 2 A Black Hearse……………………….………………….....19 3 Cumulonimbus (Clerk)………………...…………….……23 4 Methylglyoxal (Gabby)…………………………………30 5 Bludgmal………………………………………………….…40 6 Solanum Lycopersicum (Jake)……………….…..……43 7 Karman Vortex Street (Pazia)……..……………….…52 8 Spooky Action at a Distance (Lucy)……………..…57 9 Orthoptera (Ed)……………………........…………………63 10 Edge Habitat………………………………………………70 Part II.………………………………………………….…………73 11 First Blood………………………………………..….………75 12 Parabola…………………………………………….………80 13 The Path.……………………….……………………….……89 14 Equus Ferus Caballus………………………….….........91 15 Cow Muck and Smoke………………..………………....93 16 A Grace to Reason……………..…………….…….........97 Part III…………………………………………………….….…109 17 Mini…….………………………………….………………….…111 18 Empty Swing…………………………………………….....120 19 Equidae and Canidae………………..…………….……123 20 A Big Apple…………………………………….….………125 Copyrighted Material


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21 Tacos de Pescado……………………….……………….132 22 Big Rock Building……………………………….…….…134 23 Chuck’s Castle………………..………………….………144 24 Romanticism………………………………………………154 25 Fraxinus Americana…………...………………………157 26 Yawn……………………………………………………...…161 27 Petri Dish………………………….………………….……164 28 Love Ya.……………………………………………………170 29 Until We Meet Again………...................……….……172 30 Ta-ta………………………………………….……….……176 31 Fleeing the Castle….……………………………………179 32 A Canoe and a Bear………..………………….………184 33 81st Street Subway…………………………….….……189 34 Dolni Vestonice……………………………….…………193 35 Blue Shift………………………..………………….……204 36 A Family Portrait………….…………………….……207 37 Seventy-Four……………….…………………….………213 38 Fragmented………………………………………..………221 39 S-S-Sorry……………………………………….…………223 40 Grub…………………………………………….….…..……231 41 Mud Cocoon…………….……………………….….……241 42 Headlines…………………………………………………239 Part IV…………………………………………………………263 43 Keys………………...………………………………………265 44 Twins……………………………………………….………276 45 An Old Viking…………………..…..…………...………284 46 Ursus Arctos Horribilis………………….…………297 47 Al’s Not So Real Paradox………………..…..………311 48 Splash…………………………….……………..…………324 Epilogue…………………………………………….….………339 Copyrighted Material


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Prologue

D

epending on where you stand, the world may spin on its axis quite fast or it may turn very slowly. If you want to eat lunch

at the North Pole, you’d be rotating near the same speed as a snail crawls. But if you’d rather chew on a sandwich where the earth twirls at over 1,000 miles per hour, then you’d be happy at the equator. And if you were a thirteen-year-old boy named Clerk, or an elevenyear-old girl named Pazia, or a nine-year-old boy named Ed, or a

seven-year-old girl named Lucy, you’d already know that you are constantly spinning about the Earth’s axis at a speed of 733.9768 miles per hour on Wild Wind Farm in Baryon, Maine. Every day. All year. All the time. Sometimes when picking his crazy dad’s tomatoes, Clerk wonders how the world spins. When sitting on the porch eating a bowl of freshly picked blueberries with her mom, Pazia occasionally wonders why the planet keeps whirling. Jumping from the river bank into the water, Ed often ponders what would happen if the world stopped moving about in elliptical orbits. Speeding down the snow-covered hill in February on her flying-saucer sled, Lucy goes round and round and round, knowing that no matter where on earth you eat a sandwich, it doesn’t feel like you’re spinning one bit. It’s all a matter of perspective. Those are some of the things the Field children do and think about on Wild Wind Farm. They also collect bugs, stomp in mud, pick their noses when the time is right, pester one another, build things that explode, and sleep outside on the ground whenever they can. Copyrighted Material


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Camping under the stars, they like to gaze up at the Milky Way and talk and think about mysteries and adventures. Especially mysterious adventures. Wild Wind Farm is a nice size. It’s big, but not too big. Large enough to find a rock or a stump to call your own, but not so vast as to ever feel lost. There are boundaries that make sense. They can be touched and seen. To the south is the Halest River, a good place to be in the thick heat of summer, but not when water is rising fast after heavy rain. To the east is Thobbs Brook. It flows into the Halest. During a dry spell, one can jump over it without getting wet. Otherwise, it’s a nice place to watch wild brook trout dart from rock to rock. To the north is Carson Pond, an old elongated beaver pond with fingers that stick out in all directions. Although at times it gets confusing, it serves its purpose. The pond keeps you out of places you don’t want to go. To the west is a small ridgeline of thick hardwoods that separates the property from the large Plowtis clan. For many different reasons the family doesn’t venture that way often. The driveway leading up to Wild Wind Farm is not straight and level. It is very long and winding with lots of bumps. Clerk, Pazia, Ed, and Lucy like it that way.

-2-

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Part I Small brown Sugar maple twig Bending The bird’s Shifting weight A warm breeze From somewhere The bird whispers Bllp-bllp-bleeezzzz

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1 Tryptophan (Pazia)

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he sunrise that freaky day was a sea of fiery orange. Like the sky

was burning. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. I should

have given everyone some warning—but warning about what? Instead, I giggled and fed the chickens, knowing all the water in the world would never make that distant inferno even flicker, probably just make a spooky hissing sound before sizzling out forever, like a dab of butter in a hot frying pan. When I got back to the house Clerk, Lucy and Ed were in the kitchen. Ed was blabbing about his beach-dream, his thick glasses bouncing up and down on his nose. When Ed has beach-dreams, he sees the past and remembers the future, then he spits chunks of gooey blood into a glass jar beside his bed. Kinda weird. That’s Ed. A blue and white van. A tall, skinny kid sticking out of blue clothes too small for him. Scared of his own shadow. And Amala didn’t just die—she was murdered! The murderer is still alive and looking for us . . . I saw a creepy shadow. Later that afternoon, long after the sunrise, I was swinging under our ancient crabapple tree, thinking about Ed’s beach-dream. About Amala and the skitzo skinny dude. Amala means Grandma. My Amala I never met. My Amala who died seventeen years ago, way before I was even born. My Amala from a parallel universe called Copyrighted Material


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The Lux Proofs

Lux. My Amala who was murdered and we find out about it from Ed! Why didn’t Mom or Dad ever say anything? It made no sense. I was scheming how to find Amala’s murderer before it was too late when I noticed a blue and white van winding its way up our long dirt driveway! The driver skidded to a halt in front of our old yellow farmhouse. He looked like a SHIPPIT delivery dude, but young. No way could he be old enough to drive. The boy nodded to me on the swing before disappearing behind the front seat. He stumbled back out, startled and empty-handed, looking at me, then slowly back toward the house, in a real cagey way. Already, I didn’t trust him. Under different circumstances he might have enjoyed the wild beauty of our place. The old post and beam farmhouse surrounded by acres and acres of barely tame fruit trees, herb and vegetable gardens galore, and the gnarly old sugar maple trees almost always aroused a sense of touchy-feely in visitors to Wild Wind Farm. Even kids—but not this kid. Not on this day. No way. His mind was elsewhere. He glanced around before hurrying behind the van. I leaped off the swing and noiselessly ran across the lawn to the stranger, feeling my braided blonde hair bounce as I zipped along. He was standing over a wooden crate about the size of a small toy chest. My tight, cynical scowl stretched like salt water taffy into a wide grin. Just like in Ed’s beach-dream he was tall and skinny, dressed in a blue uniform, his

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trousers too short, and his cap crushed awkwardly on his spheroid of a head. I’m sneaky because I’m a freak—I change into an animal, or I will soon. I have one green eyeball and one blue eyeball. I’m a Morpher. Probably an American Cave Lion Morpher—a megafauna lion from way back. Panthera leo atrox is what Mom thinks. She’s a Morpher too. A grizzly bear thing—just like Amala. I find out for sure what kind of Morpher I am in three days when I turn the big thirteen. I’ll cough up giant hairballs and get all squirmy. It will feel like my guts are turning inside out and I’ll stink like crazy. I’ll growl and the world will look a whole lot different through my cat-like eyeballs. It will be cool to puke hairballs. Lucky me. Anyway, that’s why I’m sneaky like a cat. “TRYPTOPHAN!” I shouted. The boy jumped. “Tr-Tr-Trypto—what?” He swiveled his head around, staring at me, then back at the empty swing. Blip, our big white dog, rushed over from the barn. She yipped before sitting next to me. “TRYPTOPHAN!” I yelled again, maintaining my stern face. “Essential or non-essential?” I closed my green eyeball and stared at him with my big blue one. “W-W-What are you talking about?” He teetered back a step, looking at Blip, his voice all scratchy.

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I folded my arms. “Leave the property if you don’t know the answer. TRYPTOPHAN! Is it an essential or non-essential amino acid?” I closed my blue eyeball and stared at him with my green one. “L-L-Like a magic word or something?” “No. Like an AMINO ACID! The little thingies that stick together and make proteins—the cool building blocks of life. Blah, blah, blah. TRYPTOPHAN! An essential or non-essential amino acid?” I stared at him with both eyes. The kid grabbed at his small hat, looking around the farm. He puffed up his cheeks then blew out air. “Umm, that would be, umm, e-e-essential.” “And that would be a lucky guess!” I groaned, disappointed not to kick his skinny butt off our property. “Th-Th-That’s quite a greeting you have.” “And that’s an interesting delivery you have.” I eyed him carefully. “Y-Y-Yeah. If you o-o-only knew.” His eyes shifted back to the crate. “It’s for Ms. Gabriella Del Soto. P-Please tell me this is the r-rright place.” “BINGO! Gabby’s my mom.” “G-G-Good.” He adjusted his stupid cap. “I’m Pazia Field. Pazia like Fantasia. But people call me, Paz— rhymes with jazz.” I eyed him head to toe. “How old are you?” He cleared his throat. “Old enough.” “Whatever,” I sighed. No way was he old enough to be Amala’s murderer. But he really was sticking out of his blue clothes, he did

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seem scared of his own shadow and he was driving a blue and white van. But the crate? Ed hadn’t mentioned a crate from his beach-dream. It must have something to do with Amala. The earthy, cool, exotic crate next to the crisp, silly, polyester uniform of the kid struck me as out of wack. They were of two different universes. The weathered old wood was rich brown wrapped with wide braided metal straps. It looked like it belonged in a museum, like it had a story to tell. And the kid’s polyester pants seemed oily and slick. Hurried and cheap, like no one gave a hoot. “It’s all yours!” He hopped into the van, his face all pasty. “B-But listen. C-C-Come here.” His long spaghetti arm hung loosely out the van window, banging on the side. He glanced down the long winding driveway. I stepped closer to the van, but not too close. “I’m weird. I know that. Always have been. B-But not always this weird.” His eyes were large and disc-like, his fingers tapping quickly on the van door. His voice sounded like the larynx thing in his throat was wrapped in sandpaper. “The crates make me crazy! This one comes and goes.” He gestured toward the crate on the ground. “Sometimes it was in the back of the van and other times, it was g-g-gone! N-N-No trace of it. Then boom!” He snapped his long fingers. “It shows up again and it feels like someone is spying on me.” Icky beads of sweat covered his face.

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“I’d already been driving for three days when this morning I notice a g-g-ghoulish black hearse tr-tr-trailing me. It had r-r-red sheets hanging up in the windows. L-L-Lost it an hour ago. I’ve never been followed before.” I thought, I’ve never been a fan of hearses. The guys who drive them make me nervous. They cruise around with stiff-as-a-board dead bodies all day and get paid by people who cry. Who would want to do that? And what kid says ‘ghoulish’ anymore? He jabbed his finger at the crate. “When I first picked them up four days ago, your mother’s felt like a box of feathers but it got heavier on the trip. When I pulled in here, the crate had vanished again! Not behind my seat where I had seen it two minutes earlier. Gone! I walked around the van. There it was sitting on the ground, nice and neat and right-side-up. And now I can’t even lift it!” His large eyes looked like he needed some serious sleep. He was totally zombified. “Keep an eye out for that black hearse r-r-rolling up the driveway with who-knows-wh-wh-what inside.” I looked down the driveway and gulped. “Hearse as in funeral hearse, right? Like something mean people would drive?” I thought of Amala’s killer. “Th-Th-That’s what I mean.” His hand banged the door as he backed-up the van, turning it around. “G-G-Go get your parents and watch that crate! One down, one to go!” Speeding away like he just learned to drive, his long arm bounced like a wet noodle out the

-10-

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window, waving good riddance to the vanishing crate and me, the sneaky Morpher girl who greets strangers with TRYPTOPHAN! “My parents aren’t here,” I muttered to myself, watching the blue and white van wobble out of sight. “Just me and Clerk.” I pictured a black hearse with some freak guy driving slowly toward me with a dead dude in back, eyeballs half open. Before I ran to the house to call Dad and clue in Clerk, who was behind the house building cannons, I stood over the crate examining it. On the top, painted in decorative sky-blue lettering it simply read: PROOFS I took a deep breath. It hardly seemed scary. Not even. It was inviting. Like a magnet, it pulled me closer. A breeze from the west brushed my cheeks. I scanned around from the barn to the greenhouse to the woodshed to the porch, down the driveway, then back at the crate. No stupid hearse in sight and Ed’s beach-dream, nervous-wreck kid was long gone. Bending down I ran my fingers over the painted letters. The paint felt deliciously fancy. Like ribbon candy, it was grainy and slightly textured. I ran my palm across the entire surface. Smooth like glass. The braided metal strapping around the corners displayed tiny engraved flowers, leaves, fat bees, volcanoes, vines, and birds. On the edge of the strapping I noticed smaller lizards, planets, dinosaurs, monkeys, apes, whales, and some bizarre looking critters I didn’t recognize. Morphers maybe. In the upper left corner of the crate was the return address carved with smoky black letters: -11-

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A. R. W. Del Soto Lux, Montana Lux and Uncle Alphonse! It suddenly made sense that the crate would be freaky since it came from my cool, way-out-there from a parallel universe Uncle. A chill ran down my back. I spun around to catch someone behind me, but it was only Blip panting away and a pesky old Brown-headed Cowbird perched in a maple sapling on the edge of the lawn. I wedged both hands under the crate and lifted. It hardly budged. Maybe the murderer was in the crate. Another shiver bolted down my spine as I ran toward the house to call Dad. Someone was watching me. I could feel it! *** “Where are ya, Dad?” I panted. “Hey, Paz. I’m at Granic’s getting chicken feed and more lighter fluid for Clerk’s cannons. What’s up?” Dad hates talking on the phone. “You gotta come home! That skinny kid from Ed’s beach-dream showed up, dropped off a disappearing crate from Uncle Alphonse and then blasted away in a blue and white van. He looked my age. Seriously. Said he was being followed by a black hearse. And the crate feels like a ton of lead but it started out as a box of feathers. I can’t even lift it. Maybe the murderer you and Mom never told us about is in the crate! And someone is watching me. I feel eyes burning into my back.” “Slow down, Paz. A crate from Alphonse?”

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“Yeah. It’s old fashioned and fancy looking. The address just says PROOFS, all in real pretty, swirly blue writing and it’s not from the Ranch. It’s from Lux!” “Lux?” “Yup.” “I’m leaving now. Don’t mess with the crate.” “Any clue what or should I say who is in it?” “See ya in ten minutes. Don’t touch the crate! Oh, and check on my tomatoes. Over and out.” He’s nutso about his tomatoes. And how dorky is over and out? He always says that. I looked out at the patio. There was Clerk in his t-shirt and old jeans, wrapping aluminum foil and electrical tape around the ends of tin cans. His black curly hair stuck out like jellyfish tendrils from under his baseball hat. A plastic pipe cannon, shorter than me, leaned against the stone patio wall. I crept out the back door and snuck-up beside him. “PHENYLALANINE!” “Essential, Paz. Another stupid essential amino acid. I’ve heard it a million times.” He didn’t flinch. “Hey, those look bombproof.” I admired his handiwork, not letting on that I was scared. “Ya think? The PVC cannon should be awesome. But Dad’s excited about this tin one. That’s how he made them as a kid.” Clerk flashed his new green braces. It looked like he had romaine lettuce stuck to his teeth. Sweat dripped down from his M-Theory hat.

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“Did you order any parts for these?” I folded my arms, baiting him. “Aahh . . . parts? You know I didn’t. Hand me some of that electrical tape, would ya?” I tossed him the tape in front of my toes. “A kid just dropped off a delivery. I thought it might be for you.” “Try reading the label. That’s usually a good place to start.” “There’s not much of a label on it, but the kid said it was for Mom.” He wrapped tape around the cannon. “Sooo, it’s for Mom, but you thought it was for me. That doesn’t make sense.” Twirling my hair, I sighed loudly. “You don’t have to be a jerk.” “C’mon. A package for Mom arrives and you wonder if it’s for me. That’s stupid.” “It’s not a package. It’s a crate.” “Oh. It’s a crate. Now, I get it. You’re right. I am a jerk.” “It’s from Uncle Alphonse.” Clerk stopped with the electrical tape, looking up at me. “Serious?” His eyes squinted in the sun. “Mom’s name isn’t even on the crate—just the word PROOFS.” “Proofs as in deductive reasoning proofs?” “Proofs as in P-R-O-O-F-S! I dunno if Uncle Alphonse means proof without a doubt or visual proof or some secret clues about Amala. All I know is the crate says PROOFS in pretty blue writing.” Clerk stood up placing the tin cannon next to the plastic one. “Where is it?” -14-

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“In the driveway. It’s too heavy to pick up. Like there’s a body inside or something. Maybe Amala’s killer!” Clerk shot me a look with his gray, magnetic eyes, and started walking around the house. I trailed after him, smelling his disgusting cloud of sulfur burps. He belches sulfur stuff when he’s excited or nervous. It’s the worst. “The kid said three days ago the crate was like a box of feathers. Now it’s like a box of rocks.” Clerk’s pace quickened. I caught up to him. “The boy that dropped it off was skinny as a rail and his van was blue and white.” “You’re full of it!” Clerk looked at me with his romaine lettuce grin. “Like Ed’s beacher?” “KA-CHING! And the dude was scared. Said he was being followed by a black hearse!” “Niiiicccce!” Clerk walked faster. “Maybe it is clues about Amala.” “I called Dad. He’s coming to check it out. Said we can’t mess with it. He got all excited when I told him it was from Lux.” Clerk stopped in his tracks, staring at me. “Lux?” he whispered. “It’s not from the Ranch? I assumed—” “Lux is the return address.” “Sweeeeeet!” Sprinting toward the crate, his flip-flops slapped his heels. *** Thud, thud, thud. Thud, thud, thud. His pounding hands moved all over the surface. “Dense.” -15-

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“Dense isn’t the right word. Try lifting it.” Squatting next to the crate, he grasped it and lifted. It barely moved. He tried again. It lifted a few inches off the ground before he dropped it. “I can’t believe Uncle Alphonse sent this from Lux.” Clerk glanced down the driveway. Dad’s old red truck with side-boards sped toward us. His arm was waving out the window. The truck rolled to a stop. He jumped out, glanced over his shoulders at his beloved tomatoes, striding with his mile-long gait to the crate. Like his gardens, his curly, golden brown hair was wild and overgrown—his deranged poet-gardener look. He smelled like a chicken coop in his bluegrass t-shirt and faded jeans. “So Paz, this is it, huh?” Pointing with his steely eyes to the crate. “PROOFS? What is it?” He yanked something out of his thick beard and ate it. “Don’t ask me. It’s not like the SHIPPIT kid was in a mood to hang out and chat. He dumped it and split. He guessed right on Tryptophan, though.” I smiled. Dad tapped the braided strapping. Long and hard, he stared at the metal straps. “How about opening it?” Clerk scratched his head. “Mom would flip. And if it’s the kind of crate I think it is, we can’t open it. Not without Mom’s buzzle honey.” He pulled at his beard. “Buzzle honey for this?” I asked. Buzzles are like really fat bees from Lux. We use the honey for medicine and glue and a ton of stuff.

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Dad nodded his head yes, pointing to the gathering dark clouds. “We should bring it inside, before this storm nails us.” The wind made Dad’s hair look like he’d been electrocuted. “It’s all yours, Dad. That thing weighs a ton.” Clerk wiped weird white goobers from the corners of his dry mouth. “That’s what I hear.” Dad’s big arms wrapped around the crate. “Uuummpph!” He waddled to the porch. Clerk held the door as Dad stumbled into the sunroom, setting it down with a groan. “Mom wasn’t expecting this.” He tugged at his beard, searching for another snack. Dad started dinner while we waited for Mom, Lucy and Ed. As soon as Ed described his beach-dream in the morning, Mom avoided my Amala questions by taking the twins berry picking. She was all moody when they left. The rain started right before the pizzas were done. “This whole day is spooky-strange.” I folded my arms, looking with my green eyeball at Dad. “Ed’s beach-dream, the hearse, the skinny kid, the crate, Amala’s murderer thingy, Mom being grouchy. It’s all so creepy.” “Yup. Real creepy.” Dad had a dishtowel thrown over his shoulder. Flour peppered his beard. He turned and looked in the sunroom toward the sound of running feet. “But now maybe Mom can shed some light on the crate.” Ed, with his blond tussock of hair, bolted around the corner. He wore denim overalls and nothing else. No shirt, no socks, just a tanned face and a red, red, wild strawberry smile. His thick glasses were wet from the rain. -17-

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“Smells like pizza, Padre!” “Hey, Ed! Guess what skinny dude I met today driving a blue and white van?” I blurted. But before I could spit out another word, in marched Lucy, yelling about food. Yellow tank top, cut-off shorts, yellow sneakers, black hair. “I’m starving!” “Hola,” called Mom from the sunroom. “Smells great! We’re famished. Hhhhmmmm. A crate from Alphonse? What the . . . and from, from L-L-Lux?” She waltzed into the kitchen. “Mom!” I gasped. Clerk belched big time. Dad stared speechless, munching pizza dough. Lucy was clueless. Ed looked over the top of his wet glasses. Cradled in both arms like a load of fire wood, Mom effortlessly carried the crate into the room. “What? You all look scared to death—but I know how you feel. I just passed the scariest car. Made the hair stand up on my neck. A horrifying black hearse!” I thought I was going to puke.

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2 A Black Hearse

S

sssssssssssss. You missssed her, you fool! Thhatt wassss her!” In the middle of the wet road the black hearse screeched to a

halt. The driver and passenger lurched forward. The driver jammed the car in reverse, cranked the steering wheel to the right, and pressed hard on the gas pedal, his stringy white hair sticking to his pale oily face. “Quick idiottt!” The passenger’s claw-like hands pounded the dashboard. The driver slammed the car into first gear, yanking the steering wheel to the left. The hearse raced forward, flying back down the road toward the old jeep. A minute earlier, when the two vehicles had passed heading in opposite directions, the woman with dark hair had looked long and hard at the strange black hearse, but the passenger was sure her shocked look was due to the ominous vehicle and not what was inside it. “Fasssster!” rasped the passenger. “Fasssssssterrrr you half-witt!” The driver hammered the gas pedal to the floor. The jeep was in view. A boy and a girl sat in back. The girl was all yellow with dark hair. The boy had blond hair, wearing overalls. Driving the jeep, long black hair blowing in the wind, was her. She wore a blue tank top. “Ssssshhee’s the one!” The passenger’s menacing grin revealed sharp, yellow-stained teeth. His head tilted against the windshield. -19-

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Long dark braided rows of hair hung across his white face. He filled the hearse with deep, guttural breathing. Long, strands of saliva pooled on the scratched dashboard. The passenger sensed the black hearse was still undetected. The woman had not yet noticed the horrific car had turned around and was within seconds of overtaking her slow-moving jeep. Foul breath steamed out of the passenger’s cavernous mouth. His teeth continued dripping black tinted spit, while his large, deep-set eyes scanned the road. He sniffed the air deeply out the window, smelling his quarry. “Run her offf the roadddd! You take care of the young onessss. I willll get her and find the pppaperssssss!” Suddenly the jeep’s left turn signal blinked. Its brake lights flashed. The passenger and driver glanced to the left. A long winding driveway curved up through dense forest. The jeep turned. “Sttttttooooopppppp!” the passenger roared. An enormous moose with wide antlers and gray in its coat appeared in the middle of the road. The driver turned the wheels sharply to the right, pumping the brakes. The old vehicle skidded within an arm’s length of the stalwart animal. The hearse careened off the road, down a long steep hill, slamming into a stream bank. Steam from the hood hissed loudly into the air, drowning out the passenger’s hateful cry. Turning into the driveway, the woman looked in her rearview mirror. She grinned. Stopping, she turned around, pointing at the moose.

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The large bull moose was looking down the steep hill that led to Thobbs Brook. Slowly, he turned his massive head, gazing intently at the woman and two children. He looked back down the steep hill, then back at the jeep. He moved two long steps toward the woman before trotting off into the woods away from the stream. The woman was struck by his familiar stance, his stern look, and his royal posture. He looked familiar. She felt like he wanted to talk to her. Proceeding up the driveway through the woods with the jeep full of fresh wild strawberries the woman was happy to be home just ahead of the darkening storm. Light rain splattered her face as she wondered about the moose. *** Down over the bank, the driver and passenger scrambled out of the wrecked vehicle. The passenger lunged toward the driver, ready to pounce, but thought better of it. The driver would be punished later. Now was not the time. “We mussssttt get her! She will lead us to the pppaperssssss and the other one. Hurry, you fffool! Hurrrryyyy!� The driver cowered, looking away from the passenger. Under blackening skies the two ran through the thicket, scrambling up the steep hill. Reaching the dirt road they crouched low, staying back in the brush shielded from view by their dark robes. The road was now empty. No jeep. No moose. Through the trees, they saw the red glow of taillights. With a growl and a snarl, they scampered across the road, following the long winding driveway. Underneath black robes, long blowguns made from ancient bones jostled on their sides. Long, dark tails swayed -21-

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The Lux Proofs

slowly back and forth, brushing the wet ground, leaving tracks never seen before along the banks of Thobbs Brook.

Thanks for previewing! The Lux Proofs www.lairdfoster.com Hardcopy / eBook Release May 3, 2011

Enjoy the following portraits of Pazia, Clerk, and a Fetch! Be sure to peruse The Lux Quiz and enter to win a $1,000 gift certificate to your favorite books store!

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The Lux Proofs The Lux Campfire Chronicles - Book One Laird Foster www.lairdfoster.com -23-

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The Lux Proofs

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A Fetch (Kind of like a tooth fairy) The Lux Proofs The Lux Campfire Chronicles - Book One Laird Foster www.lairdfoster.com -25-

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The Lux Quiz -A different kind of contest1st place -

$1,000.00

Gift Certificate to Your Favorite Bookstore!

January 1, 2011 – May 27, 2011 NO—YOU DON’T NEED TO PURCHASE THE BOOK.


The Lux Proofs

The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

The Lux Proofs Laird Foster

The Lux Campfire Chronicles Book One Preview the Book HARDCOPY($17.99) and EBOOK ($2.99) May 3, 2011 RELEASE

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

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The Lux Quiz and Entry Form Quizzes must be received no later than May 27, 2011. No purchase necessary to enter. Entrants must be less than 17 (seventeen) years old as of May 27, 2011. 1st Place –A $1,000.00 USD (one-thousand dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 first place winner); 2nd Place –A $500.00 USD (five-hundred dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 second place winner); 3 rd Place –A $300.00 USD (three-hundred dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 third place winner); and 4th Place –A $100.00 USD (one-hundred dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 fourth place winner). Entrant’s name (printed):____________________________ Age:______ Birth Date_______________ Parent/Guardian (printed):_________________________Email:______________________________ Parent/Guardian (signature):___________________________________________________________ Parent/Guardian zip code:________________ Parent/Guardian phone:________________________ Parent/Guardian Signature: Your signature verifies that the above-named child has your permission to enter this contest per the rules in this document. You agree on behalf of the child, that GEYSER BOOKS may reproduce her/his entry without payment to the child, other than any prize(s) he/she may be awarded. You verify that the submitted entry is the original work of your child. All entries require Parent/Guardian signature. Of course, you the entrant can do research. Feel free to engage other folks in conversation and discussion about the quiz but you must use your own words to answer/address all three Topics. It’s that simple. Be creative. Spell correctly. Use proper grammar. Have fun. Good luck! Electronic entries are preferred! Please be sure to scan and attach Parent/Guardian signature with all electronic PDF entries and send to: theluxquiz@geyserbooks.com. Send completed hardcopy entries along with Parent/Guardian signature to: GEYSER BOOKS, Attn: Lux Quiz, 400 W. Broadway, Suite 101-338, Missoula, MT 59802.

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

Name:______________________

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TOPIC # 1

FREAKY (Remember you may want to do a little research: The Lux Quiz Study Guide ) In the box below please answer the following questions: a) Which is freakier, quantum physics or a haunted house? Why? b) What does quantum physics make you wonder about?

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

Name:______________________

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TOPIC # 2

OFFICIAL POET (Remember you may want to do a little research: The Lux Quiz Study Guide) You are an official poet. Really! Write any kind of poem about anything you want in the box below. Please note: the words “polar ice caps” need to be in the poem at least once. Go nuts!

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

Name:______________________

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TOPIC # 3

VERY SHORT-SHORT STORY (Remember you may want to do a little research: The Lux Quiz Study Guide) In the two boxes below, write a very short-short story concerning a ping-pong match between Marie Curie and Albert Einstein. Marie and Albert have agreed to meet in Svalbard, Norway, inside the Global Seed Vault for the match. The year is 2020. Marie and Albert are both twelve years old. Go figure. Please give your very short-short story a title.

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

Name:______________________

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TOPIC # 3 (continued)

VERY SHORT-SHORT STORY (Remember you may want to do a little research: The Lux Quiz Study Guide)

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

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CONTEST RULES

All entries require Parent/Guardian permission signature.

Entrants must answer/address all three quiz Topics.

Entrants must be under the age of 17 years old (seventeen) as of May 27, 2011.

No purchase is necessary.

Entries must be original and previously unpublished.

Any failure to adhere to these Contest Rules may result in disqualification from the contest.

In the upper left hand corner of each Topic page the name of entrant must be entered.

Entries must be received by midnight, Mountain Standard Time, May 27, 2011.

Entries will not be returned. It is important that you maintain a copy for your files.

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded within 30 days of close of contest.

Specific information about the awards will be made public on Laird Foster’s website (www.lairdfoster.com) on June 21, 2011.

All decisions of the judges are final.

Entries must be written in English.

No more than two entries per entrant are allowed.

Children of employees of GEYSER BOOKS and/or contest judges are not eligible.

Prize value is in United States Dollars.

Entrants may discuss quiz Topics with Parent/Guardian or anyone else but entrants must answer/address all three quiz Topics in her/his own words.

GEYSER BOOKS shall verify the age of all winning entrants. ENTRIES AND PARENT/GUARDIAN SIGNATURES

Please send electronic PDF Entry Form and scanned Parent/Guardian signature via e-mail to: theluxquiz@geyserbooks.com. If you don’t have access to email and/or a scanner please submit your hardcopy entries together with Parent/Guardian signature to: GEYSER BOOKS, Attn: Lux Quiz, 400 W. Broadway, Suite 101-338, Missoula, MT 59802. SUBMITTED ENTRIES

Each entry must include the signed Parent/Guardian Entry Form confirming that the entry is original, and granting certain rights to the entry materials. Topic submissions are required and must answer/address all three Topics.

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

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JUDGING, AWARDS AND NOTIFICATION Entries will be judged on originality, creative expression, storytelling and integration of subject matter. Decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal or review. Winners will be notified in June, 2011. Each winner’s quiz will be posted on www.lairdfoster.com by June 21, 2011. Prizes include: 1st Place –A $1,000.00 USD (one-thousand dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 first place winner); 2nd Place –A $500.00 USD (five-hundred dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 second place winner); 3rd Place –A $300.00 USD (three-hundred dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 third place winner); and 4th Place –A $100.00 USD (one-hundred dollars) gift certificate to your favorite bookstore (1 fourth place winner). NO RETURN OF ENTRIES GEYSER BOOKS will not return entries and is not responsible for late, lost, stolen, misdirected, damaged, mutilated, incomplete or illegible entries, or postage-due mail. RIGHTS ASSOCIATED WITH CONTEST Submission of the Entry Form and associated quiz Topics constitutes permission for GEYSER BOOKS to use the entrant’s name and submitted material in advertising and promotion without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law. All entries, and any copyrights therein, become the sole property of GEYSER BOOKS. By entering, each entrant and Parent/Guardian agrees to abide by the above stated rules, and warrant that the submitted entry is entrant’s original work and does not infringe upon or violate rights of any third party, and grant to GEYSER BOOKS the right to edit, publish, promote, and otherwise use submitted materials without permission, notice or compensation. No royalties will be paid at this or any time. By entering this contest each entrant and Parent/Guardian assigns all right, title, and interest in and to The Lux Quiz (Entry Form and Topic submissions) to GEYSER BOOKS and warrants that the entrant and Parent/Guardian have the authority to assign such right, title, and interest. In the event that any applicable law requires certain formalities to be fulfilled to effectuate such grant of rights, each entrant and Parent/Guardian agrees to cooperate with GEYSER BOOKS to achieve fulfillment of such formalities. By submitting an Entry Form and Topic submissions, each entrant and Parent/Guardian agrees to be bound by these Contest Rules. Each entrant and Parent/Guardian agrees to release and hold GEYSER BOOKS and their employees, members, agents, representatives, subsidiaries, or other affiliated companies harmless from any and all damages, losses, claims and liabilities arising out of participation in the contest or resulting from acceptance or claiming of any prize hereunder. GEYSER BOOKS reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to terminate, suspend or otherwise cancel the contest at any time. Income and all other taxes are the responsibility of the prize recipient. GEYSER BOOKS is not responsible for any expenses incurred in connection with participation in the contest. THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Please address any question(s) to: luxquiz@geyserbooks.com or GEYSER BOOKS, Attn: Lux Quiz, 400 W. Broadway, Suite 101-338, Missoula, MT 59802.

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FAQ

How many times can I enter The Lux Quiz? Two times—no more than twice. I don’t know anything about quantum physics or the global seed vault in Norway. Isn’t this way over my head? Of course not. You’re a kid and your imagination is incredible, more so than most adults. Don’t take this too seriously—just have fun. I live in a country other than the United States. May I still enter the quiz? Yes, as long as the laws of your country don’t prohibit you from doing so. Do I have to use The Lux Quiz Study Guide for the quiz?

No. It’s simply a guide to point entrants in the right direction. If it’s helpful, use it—if not, then ignore it. Can I get ideas from other people about the quiz? YES! That would be great. Communicate with anyone you’d like about the quiz, just make sure you address all three Topics with your own words. How do I save the quiz on my computer and email it back to Geyser Books? Easy. Right click on the quiz and save it your computer BEFORE you start addressing the three Topics. Work on the saved file at your leisure and always make sure you save your work. It would be great if you saved the quiz with your name in the file path, such as “theluxquiz.yourname.pdf”. When you’re done simply attach it to an email and send it to theluxquiz@geyserbooks.com by May 27, 2011, along with the signed scanned or hardcopy Parent/Guardian form. Can I send in a hardcopy of the quiz instead of emailing it? Yes, although electronic submissions are preferred. Please mail hardcopy entries to GEYSER BOOKS, Attn: Lux Quiz, 400 W. Broadway, Suite 101-338, Missoula, MT 59802 and make sure it is received by May 27, 2011. How do I print the quiz? Right click on the quiz and click print. Will this quiz be fun? Absolutely.

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The Lux Campfire Chronicles Quiz #1

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