Young Adult Novella
DOG HEAD CODE
Released 14th December 2010!
Buy Link: http://www.wildchildpublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=72&products_id=333&zenid=912e57251880e3bc8dde9d20ad3bc0bb
Blurb: After inheriting an old book containing a map from his Great Uncle Jake, Joe Jones travels to Dog Head Island, keen to find buried treasure. But in this isolated, inhospitable place, nothing is as it seems. Nothing, but the snakes that inhabited it. And Jake has a strong aversion to snakes!
Author Website: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com/
Fatty Graham bailed me up on my way out the door. “What’s that you got,
Jones?” He reached for the book. Fatty was strong, but slow on his feet.
“Nothing you’d be interested in.” I danced around him, ducking and weaving, just out of reach of his sausage-like, groping fingers.
“Charlton? Hurry up. We’re late for your orthodontist appointment.”
I breathed a sigh of relief to see Fatty’s mother at the gate with her hands on
“I’ll get you, Jones,” Fatty called. He lumbered off across the playground.
Annie walked in while I unchained my bike in the bike shed. I decided to
throw caution to the winds. “Annie! You riding home? I’ll ride part of the way
with you.” To my relief, she smiled and nodded.
We set off, needing all our breath to get to the top of Chromer Hill, then
coasted down, coming to a screeching halt at the bottom, laughing and gasping.
Annie’s big brown eyes shone. “What was that strange book I saw you put in
My face grew hot. I hauled the book from my backpack then dropped it, just
missing a muddy puddle. Bending to pick it up, my face flamed like a beacon. I
dusted the book off and handed it to her. While she looked through it, I
explained how I came by it.
Annie stroked the gemstones with awe. “It’s amazing,” she said in a hushed
voice. She handed it back to me. I replaced it in my bag.
Piles of dead leaves had gathered in the gutters beneath the trees. We took
off again and I rode through the drifts, scattering them about with Annie right
“Uncle Jake lived to be one hundred and ten.” I told her when we’d pulled to
a stop at the corner.
“Wow! Did he live on the island until he died?”
I felt ashamed not to know. “I’ll have to ask my mom.”
Annie looked at her watch, an urgent note creeping into her voice. “I must
“Would it matter if you’re a few minutes late?”
“I have to do my chores before my step-dad gets home.”
I swallowed. “Do you think you could give me your phone number? I’ll ring
you if I find out anything more,” I tucked my gum into my cheek and smiled,
but she looked away down the street. “You know, about the book?” I added
She hesitated. “I suppose that’d be all right. Give me yours too.”
“See you Monday, then,” I called, placing her phone number in the secret
compartment of my wallet, as if it was a hundred-dollar note. Annie waved and
took off, cycling fast. I watched until she disappeared around the corner then
headed for the local newsagents.
When I arrived home, I grabbed a slab of carrot cake and pulled the book
from my bag. Taking a large bite of cake, I held my new magnifying glass up to
its cover, coughing and spluttering when the engraving of a large snake
emerged, its mouth open baring its fangs, its red stone eyes glittering. The
snake curled around the central milky blue-green stone, as if protecting it.
Feathered patterning had been engraved into the leather, thicker around the
snake’s tail, making it difficult to decipher the snake from the background.
A creeping sensation crawled up my spine and the hairs stood to attention on
the back of my neck. I’d once believed a snake bit me when I was a little kid. It
had turned out to be a lizard, but I’ve never lost my fear of snakes.