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Authors: Bonnie Bryant

Ghost Rider

BOOK: Ghost Rider
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A SPOOKY SIGHT …

A cloud swept across the sky, obscuring the big, round orange moon. Suddenly there was only darkness. All motion among the horses stopped as abruptly as it had started. After a moment of stillness, there was movement in the center of the herd of wild horses, where a silvery stallion ran in circles and whinnied loudly. There was something about him, something odd. Lisa squinted.

“Did you see that?” She couldn’t believe what her eyes were telling her, but there appeared to be a white-clad figure on the stallion’s back.

“It was a rider,” Kate said breathlessly, sitting forward in her saddle for a clearer view of the now almost invisible herd.

“Don’t be silly—” Carole said, dismissing the claim.

“Pure silvery white, just like the horse,” Lisa said.…

Read all the Saddle Club books!

Horse Crazy

Horse Shy

Horse Sense

Horse Power

Trail Mates

Dude Ranch

Horse Play

Horse Show

Hoof Beat

Riding Camp

Horse Wise

Rodeo Rider

Starlight Christmas

Sea Horse

Team Play

Horse Games

Horsenapped

Pack Trip

Star Rider

Snow Ride

Racehorse

Fox Hunt

Horse Trouble

Ghost Rider

Copyright © 1992 by Bonnie Bryant Hiller
Cover art copyright © 1992 by Garin Baker

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

“The Saddle Club” is a registered trademark of Bonnie Bryant Hiller.

“USPC” and “Pony Club” are registered trademarks of the United States Pony Clubs, Inc., at The Kentucky Horse Park, 4071 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, KY 40511-8462.

Visit us on the Web!
randomhouse.com/kids
Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
RHTeachersLibrarians.com

eISBN: 978-0-307-82505-6
Originally published by Bantam Skylark in October 1992
First Delacorte Ebook Edition 2012

v3.1_r1

With special thanks for inspiration to the Usual Suspects: Nicole and Marilyn

M
USIC SWELLED TO
a crescendo, overwhelming the persistent flow of water. There was a flicker of light, barely perceptible through the cheap shower curtain. The bathroom door opened. And closed
.

Swish! The shower curtain was thrust aside and in its stead appeared the long carving knife, which struck its target again and again. Dull, dark blood flowed mercilessly down the drain
.

“I
T

S ONLY CHOCOLATE
syrup, Dad!” Carole Hanson reminded her father as she sat down in the chair next to his.

“That may be, but it’s
scary
chocolate syrup,” Colonel
Hanson said to her. He hefted a handful of popcorn from the bowl and munched happily, his eyes glued to the television.

Carole and her father were deeply involved in one of their favorite activities: watching an old movie together. This time, since it was almost Halloween, their choice was the Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller,
Psycho
. Carole had read all about how the “murder” in the old black-and-white movie had been staged by dripping chocolate syrup, instead of blood, into the shower. But, knowing that didn’t take away from the tension, even for Carole, who closed her eyes. Her father was right: It
was
scary chocolate syrup.

The phone rang.

Carole was so startled by the interruption that she jumped. Then she laughed and so did her father.

“It’s got to be a wrong number,” he said. “Nobody who knows us would consider calling when
Psycho
is on television.”

The ringing continued. “I’ll get it,” Carole volunteered. “I can’t see this part anyway. My eyes are shut too tightly.”

Colonel Hanson barely seemed to notice Carole’s departure. She picked up the phone in the kitchen and said, “Hello.”

“Carole, we need your help!” a familiar voice greeted her over the phone. It took Carole a few seconds to recognize the voice of her friend, Kate Devine. Kate and her family ran a dude ranch in the Southwest, two thousand miles from the suburb of Washington, D.C., where Carole and her father lived. It was hard to imagine what help Carole could be expected to give from such a distance.

“Sure,” Carole agreed. “What can I do?”

“Well, it mostly has to do with my mother,” Kate began. She was talking very fast because she was very excited. And because Carole was being flooded with information, it took her a few minutes to get the drift of it all, but when she did, she was so excited that
she
began speaking very fast, too.

“You mean you want us to come out there?” she asked. “To help your mother give a party? Of course, it’s for a good cause.…”

It turned out that Kate’s mother, Phyllis, had volunteered to be in charge of a Halloween Fair for all the children of Two Mile Creek—the town where The Bar None Dude Ranch was located—and the money the party made was going to be used to help create an after-school program for the Native American children who went to the local reservation school.

“There was a great activity center there,” Kate explained,
“but it burned down over the summer. The kids don’t have any place to go. They’ve had to cancel the whole program. The trouble is that Mom doesn’t know the first thing about running something like that. Then when I told her how The Saddle Club had helped Stevie run her school fair, well, she just about insisted.…”

Carole smiled, remembering. The Saddle Club was made up of Carole and her best friends—Stevie Lake and Lisa Atwood—but it also had some out-of-town members. Kate and her friend Christine Lonetree were two of them. The club had two requirements: The members had to be horse crazy, and they had to be willing to help one another whenever they needed it. Sometimes the help had to do with horses and horseback riding. Sometimes it had to do with schoolwork. Sometimes it even had to do with running school fairs. Now it appeared it was going to have to do with Halloween.

Stevie, Lisa, and Carole had visited the Devines’ dude ranch several times. Kate’s father, Frank, had been in the Marine Corps with Carole’s father, and he was a pilot who occasionally flew a private plane. Whenever he came through Washington, he liked to combine the trip with a visit for his daughter and her friends. This time, Kate explained, her mom was planning to send him to pick up the girls.

“Wow. She
really
needs help, doesn’t she?” Carole asked, now laughing at the thought that somebody as capable as Phyllis needed The Saddle Club to come to her aid. “You can count on us, you know.”

“Oh, I know,” Kate said. She paused, then added, “There’s something else.…”

“What?” Carole asked, immediately feeling curious.

But Kate wasn’t about to reveal anything. “I’ll tell you about it when you get here,” she replied.

Now Carole was even more curious, but she could tell that Kate was going to make her wait. She just had to find out what was going on, and that meant she was just going to have to convince her father, as well as Stevie’s and Lisa’s parents, to let them all go. They would have to miss three days of school; that would take some real convincing. Carole’s mind raced. She’d found that spending time with Stevie meant she was learning to be a little bit devious, just as Stevie was. She had an idea.

“Hmm, school,” Carole said. “I think your mother will be more convincing than I will be. Why don’t we put her on the phone with my dad and let her do the work?”

“Great idea,” Kate said. “I’ll get her now.”

“Hold it,” said Carole. “On second thought, we’d better wait until
after
Dad finishes watching the movie that’s on. I’ll have him call back, okay?”

Kate understood. “I saw that
Psycho
is on television tonight. But it’s not on until later here. If I’d known …”

Carole laughed. Her father was famous for his passion for old movies. “Don’t worry. We’ll call.”

Carole finished her conversation with Kate and returned to the living room, where her father was gripping the arms of his chair as tightly as he had been when she’d left. She smiled to herself, even more certain that she’d done the right thing by not interrupting the movie. Idly Colonel Hanson passed the popcorn to his daughter, and they finished watching
Psycho
together.

As soon as it was over, however, she explained the situation.

“Three days of school?” her father said when she finished. “You’d need to miss three whole days?”

“But, Dad, it’s for a good cause,” Carole reminded him. She liked the sound of the phrase. It was true, and she felt it would be persuasive. “And remember, I have to do a certain number of hours of community service for school anyway. And, besides, one of those days is a teacher convention, so it’s only two days that I would miss. Also, as you know, I’ve already finished my term project, due at the end of that week, and the class is bound to be spending a lot of time on that, so school would just be a waste of time for me anyway.”
She paused to take a breath. “But if you are still worried about my missing the days, remember that we’re studying immigration in the U.S. this year and the effect it’s had on the land. You can’t deny that what’s happened to the Native Americans is related to that, so I’ll have the chance to study the whole time I’m at The Bar None.”

BOOK: Ghost Rider
11.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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