Life on Base: Quantico Cave

Life on Base: Quantico Cave

by Thomas P. Wise

ISBN: 9781633931381

Publisher Koehler Books

Published in Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Teens/Mysteries, Mystery & Thrillers, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


For Stephen, his life on base is much the same as most other children’s. The difference is in the details. Look both ways before crossing a tank path and be sure to check if the spent bullet casings you find in the long-abandoned trenches are actually empty. Sports stop at the sound of the evening trumpet call as he and his friends stand at attention while the flag is retired. Quantico Cave is a story of friendship and competition, and when Stephen meets up with a friend he once knew at a previous home station, the contest hits a whole new level that places everyone at risk.

Sample Chapter

Stephen walked along the cracked sidewalk, lost in thought, kicking at the loose chips as he wandered slowly towards Will’s housing unit.

“Stephen, hey,” he heard Rick shout from across the street. “Come here.”

“Hey, Rick.” Stephen looked over. Rick was seated on an old bike, one foot propped on a pedal, the butt of his BB gun planted on the seat, the muzzle pointed toward the sky.

“Come here.” It was a command.

“Can’t." Stephen shook his head. "I gotta get over to Will’s.”

Rick leveled the muzzle and sighted down the barrel toward Stephen.

“Hey, don’t.” Stephen raised his hands as if under arrest as Rick popped off a couple of rounds. “Don’t.” He winced as the shots smacked his shirt and bounced off. Ha, he'd short pumped the rifle. Stephen smiled uneasily. What was all this about?

“Get over here.” Rick bared his teeth in a cold smile and began to pump the charging handle on his rifle again. He pumped and pumped, overcharging it to get more velocity in the BB’s.

Crap, they were going to sting. “You jerk.” Stephen backed away.

“Jerk? I’m a jerk?”

Stephen bolted as Rick leveled the BB gun in his direction. He heard the pop, pop of the gun and quickly changed direction. He can’t run me down on the grass. He veered right and raced between the housing units. “Oh, crap.” As he emerged from between the houses, he caught a glimpse of Rick rounding the corner, his head down and butt in the air, pumping the pedals as hard as he could.

“I’m coming, Stevey,” Rick shouted as Stephen charged ahead, crossing the street as Rick buzzed past his heels and slammed on the brakes, wrenched the bike around in a tight, sliding arc and raised the rifle to fire a couple rounds that ricocheted off the side of the house.

Stephen kept running, darting between the two housing units. “You’re a jerk, Rick," he yelled over his shoulder, but finally stopped, out of breath, and waited.Was he coming on foot? He'd never beat him to Will’s. He walked slowly back to the corner of the house and peeked around it. No Rick. He looked left, then right, and waited for his breathing to return to normal. He could double back and lose him. He darted across the street and between the houses and stopped again. It looked as if he was gone.

Stephen poked his head around the corner. No one. He glanced back to his right just in time to see Rick barreling down the street toward him.

“You’re mine,” Stephen heard Rick yell.

"Jerk!" Stephen broke into a run. Stephen ran, his arms pumping, his breath ripping at his lungs as he turned down the sidewalk toward home. He glanced over his shoulder to see Rick, his bike leaning low into the turn. Go for the woods. He can’t catch you in the woods.

“In the woods,” he heard someone shout as he burst from between the two housing units and up the steep cutaway behind the homes. He lunged his way up the slope, grabbing large handfuls of grass to gain purchase. Stephen looked left to see Rick riding fast toward the slope. Oh, crap. He was gonna try to ride it?

Rick hit the slope fast, coasting halfway up and stopped, braking hard to hold his position.

Stephen scrambled to the top and bolted into the woods, gasping for air. He ran a short distance and stopped, leaning heavily against a tree.

“This ain’t over, Stevey. You hear me?”

“Oh, snap,” Stephen said out loud as he headed toward home at a jog. For whatever reason, he sure was in Rick's sites right now. He heard Rick still shouting and shook his head as he dropped into the creek bed. “Jerk.” Probably shouldn’t have said that, huh Stevey?


Excerpted from "Life on Base: Quantico Cave" by Thomas P. Wise. Copyright © 2015 by Thomas P. Wise. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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