Inspired by an actual B-52 crash site, deep in the Maine woods, author M.D. Lee takes young readers on a thrill-ride mystery adventure.
Once again, in this second series, young Fisher Shoemaker finds himself in situation he can’t explain. Something so strange no one is ever going to believe him.
Camping on the side of Black Creek Mountain, Fisher and his buddy hear eerie screeching sounds coming from the darkness of the woods they can’t explain. They convince themselves it’s nothing. But it’s not. Whatever made the screeching will find them. To escape is critical, but they’ve been left in the Maine woods with no way back.
Here’s the prologue from Fisher’s next adventure, Screeches of Midnight.
The blizzard raged just outside the cockpit windows with the snow sticking to the sides of the glass. So he could at least see the runway Captain Carl Baseworth slid the side window to try and clear some of the snow, but was met with an icy blast of air. It was a useless attempt. He quickly slid the window shut, and looked over at his co-pilot while shaking his head.
Co-pilot Louis DePier, younger of the two and just starting out his military career as a pilot, said into his mic, “Are we really going to do this? This is nuts.”
“We’ve got our orders, kid. Storm or no storm, we gotta fly.”
Just then the controller’s voice crackled in their headsets. “Air transport, niner 062 you are clear to take off.”
“Clear?” Louis DePier said. “Like there is anyone one else crazy enough to be out flying in this weather. I’m pretty certain we are the only idiots out here.” He sighed heavily then took a deep breath.
The captain repeated the orders back to the tower then nodded to his co-pilot. Louis, without any hesitation, pushed the throttles to full as the twin engines began to roar over the noise of the raging snowstorm. The DC-3 started to vibrate as the powerful engines reached their full strength. In the next moment he released the break pedals and the plane lurched forward lumbering down the snow covered runway building speed by the second. As the blinding white snow streaked past the windshield neither of the two could see much of the runway except for the white dashed line they were following like a blind person reading braille. It didn’t take long, even in the strong headwind, for the DC-3 to reach eighty-four knots, take off speed. There was no turning back.
The captain pulled back on the yoke and the plane responded reluctantly by lifting off the runway. They bounced and jerked into the air as it climbed higher. There was no smooth ride for the two pilots. But the DC-3 was a tough and rugged plane and could take almost anything a storm could throw at them.
“I hope they strapped those crates down good,” Louis said into his mic. “Because they are going to get tossed around good on this flight. Hey Cap… what do you suppose is in those crates, anyway?” Louis asked.
“You know as much as I know,” said the captain. “Top secret. If you don’t need to know, the military certainly isn’t going to tell you. All I know, we need to get them to Walker AFB”
The captain had been flying cargo DC-3s for the military for many years. Most times he flew nothing more than ordinary military supplies from food to bullets. He had logged in many flying hours of schlepping crates of military food rations all around the world. There were, however, only a few times when a cargo flight was top secret. He figured this time they were probably hauling nothing more interesting than crates full of documents left over from the war. Almost nothing piqued his curiosity these days.
Forty five minutes into their flight and they still had not flown out of the snowstorm. If anything, they seemed to be flying deeper into the intensity. The plane fought on bucking and bouncing the two pilots and cargo like a dog with a bone in its teeth.
“When can we turn this bird south west and get the heck out of this washing machine?” Louis said into his mic as he fiddled with one of the gadgets.
“Our orders are to keep flying due north for one hundred miles. Check your calculations because we should be able to bank a turn out of here in about ten minutes. God only knows why they want us to fly that route. It makes no sense to me, but then again there isn’t much the military that does ever make sense.”
Suddenly there was a loud popping sound of glass exploding. At first neither realized what happened, but when the captain looked down at his lap he realized he was covered in small shards of glass.
“It’s the altimeter!” Louis said frantically. “It’s exploded!”
The captain looked at the panel where the altimeter was mounted. There was just a hole where it once sat now only a few twisted pieces of aluminum. “That’s the craziest thing I have ever seen. I have never heard of anything like that happening…ever! Instruments just don’t explode”
“Why would it do that?” Louis gasped into his mic.
“I have no idea,” the captain said with a quiver in his voice. “This is about the worst time something like this could have happened. Now flying in this mess is going to be even harder not knowing our altitude. We need to just keep it above the treetops.”
“I’ll radio Brunswick and tell them we are circling back.” Louis said.
“Negative,” the captain said adjusting his mic closer to his mouth. “Without knowing how high we are we’ll never find the runway. We need to break free of this storm for some visibility. Top secret cargo or not, the second we have can see anything on the ground we’ll land at the first runway we come across. Tell Brunswick our plan.”
“Roger that.” Louis keyed in his mic calling Brunswick tower their plan.
The captain remained cool headed, but Louis could tell from the look on his face this had the potential to be a serious situation. In the white out condition they needed every instrument to work properly because simply looking out their window was useless.
With both hands gripping the yoke, the captain eased the DC3 into a slow bank turn towards the west in hopes of flying out of the whiteout. Louis was busy reading the remaining working instruments then looked over the chart to calculate their position. It was a hard task to do with the plane bucking so wildly. It took him longer than normal, but he eventually thought he had a good idea of their location. He radioed it onto Brunswick Naval Air Station and informed them of the situation taking place.
A half hour passed quickly, and their tension was beginning ease. Both agreed they had maintained altitude above the ground so there was no immediate danger. They just needed to break free of the blizzard.
Louis glanced up from his notepad full of calculations and looked out the side window straining his eyes to see anything but white. Nothing. He was about to look back down at his notepad when something darkish flashed past the window. “WHOA!” Louis screamed. His face now pressed up tight to the window. “Something just went past us!”
“What was it?” The captain demanded as he also looked out his side window.
“How the hell should I know?” A split second after the words were out of his mouth they both instantly knew what he had seen.
Tall lodge pole pines instantly appeared all around them and before the captain could pull back on the yoke the left wing was ripped violently from the fuselage. In a flash, pines blanketed the cockpit windows just before the right wing was also sheared off. Only the remaining intact fuselage impacted the deep snow with an explosion of white powder shooting into the air. Just as quickly as it happened, it was over. Only the howling wind made a sound. Nothing moved, there was no explosion, no flames, just debris scattered through a trench of snow.
But slowly, from the cargo bay of the still intact fuselage, came a soft screeching sound.