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In the section below, you will see a sample chapter from Song of the Forest. Note that the chapter will always be subject to construction and updating, as my Great Science Fiction Masterpiece is a work in progress. So, dear visitors, read, enjoy, and send me comments if you wish.

Anne Gilbert

The    Skull    in    the    Forest

The day Kel Kebara and his best friend Jeremiah "Moo" Grant decided to explore the edge of Bigtree Forest was not a day for trouble. Quite the opposite: It was President's Day and very springlike, although the winter itself had been very mild that year.

Kel and Moo were twelve years old. They had been best friends since they were eight, and the Grants, like many weary urban yuppies, had moved to Bightree. They wanted to live in the country, nevermind that it took Gene Grant an hour and a half to commute each way to and from Seattle. Never mind that the majority of Bigtree's inhabitants were loggers and millworkers who were either out of work, underemployed, or had to spend much of the year in Alaska to make ends meet and feed their families. The yuppies didn't have much in common with them.

What the Grants didn't know was that the Kebaras were neither yuppies nor loggers. Kel and Moo remained best friends, despite the increasing temptations of middle school and the wider world just beginning to open up around them.

For one thing, they loved baseball and soccer. They were on the Bigtree Junior Soccer team, where they made a formidable combination. They had played littl league baseball when they were younger, and Kel had earned a well-deserved reputation as the best catcher the Bigtree Little League had ever had. And they'd always loved the out of doors. Almost from the moment they met, they explored the countryside. Even the edges of the forest, which threatened to spill into the town.

Moo quickly discovered that Kel knew much about the wild plants and animals to be found around Bigree. Kel, on the other hand, relied on Moo's, enthusiasm for adventure, which sometimes led them far afield. But not too far; despite the worrying of both sets of parents, particularly Moo's anxious mother, they always seemed to arrive home safely and in time for dinner.

So, freed from school and eager to enjoy the mild sunshine, Kel and Moo set out for their destination, which could be reached by following an abandoned logging road on the edge of town

To get there, one had to walk up a long, but not too steep hil. If one climbed to the top, the view of Bigtree was picturesque, especially on a fine day like this. But Kel and Moo had other things on their minds. Kel claimed to have seen wolftracks not too far inside the forest. Moo didn't exactly believe him. Still, he was curious, so when Kel called and offered to show him the wolf tracks, Moo readily agreed to accompany him.

Having reached the trailhead, they walked in silence for a time. Moo was glad he wore the walking boots he'd gotten for his birthday, for the track was still quite muddy.

"Hey, Kel, are you sure you saw those wolf tracks?," he finally asked.

"Yeah. I did. I'm looking for them. They were right here". He stopped and peered down. "I saw them yesterday. I swear."

"Aww, you just saw coyote paws. Or a dog."

"No I didn't. They were way too big for a coyote. Besides, they were in a straight line. Dogs walk all over the place if they're not on a leash."

Moo still wasn't convinced. "I don't see anything," he said.

Kel couldn't find the tracks either, but he knew that wenever the weather was the least bit dry, many hikers used the trails near the town, especially now that Bigtree Forest had begun to get into the five o'clock TV news.

"I told you I saw the tracks yesterday morning. You didn't see them because you had to help your mom and dad plant their garden. I came home around noon, and who knows how many hikers have been tramping around here between then and now?"