The Ellsworth Express…..

26 Apr

Today on the GSP Wee Folk Promo we welcome John C. Elliot.


Dr. Elliott worked for the U.S. State Department from 1966 to 2008, conducting international operations, and concurrently for Mossad in Israel from 1985 to 2010. While engaged with his work, he has been shot on four separate occasions, stabbed three different times, run down by automobiles twice and blown up twice. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, an MBA and a Juris Doctorate degree. He is a public and motivational speaker and conducts safety and crime-avoidance seminars nationwide. He is fluent in English, Gaelic, Hebrew and Hungarian, and can speak conversationally in Italian and French. He’s an on-air contributor for the BBC in London and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is also an editorial writer and the author of eleven books, with several more on the way. His first book was penned aboard a charter flight across the Pacific Ocean in 1969. By the time he reached Travis Air Force Base in California, it was complete.

His book we are highlighting today is The Ellsworth Express


The story takes place in Columbia Falls, Maine, a sleepy coastal village, and involves a strange sea fog that creeps in from the ocean every few months, a Civil War ghost train, and five friends who attend the small elementary school in town. One of the friends, Tobias Franklin, has a mysterious past, and together they go about attempting to solve the village’s recurring mystery where people occasionally disappear, never to be seen again. The book is intended for children in grades two through six.


Every night I lie in my bed,
Cold and afraid of the nightmare to come. Scared of the screaming and running in my dreams. That face, a horrible face. The face I see before waking up screaming. The woods, the branches clawing at me like knives. Stumbling over roots and unstable ground. Afraid to look back at the dark face trying to catch me. He tries to grab at my hair missing by just inches. Everything so real. I trip knowing that he’s inches away. All I can do is scream. I wake up screaming only to realize it’s only a dream.
~Francesca Paul


No one in the village saw it coming, because it came in the middle of the darkest night anyone could ever remember. No one heard it coming, because most people were asleep as it crept steadily forward. Those very few people who were awakened when it came felt their ears popping and they felt very, very afraid! Mrs. Emma Hewitt, the elderly lady who lived in the small one bedroom apartment above the tiny pottery shop, was one of those unfortunate few. She just happened to be returning to bed with a warm glass of milk when she looked out of her bedroom window. She gasped in horror and stepped back from the window in fright, the glass of warm milk falling from her hands and breaking into hundreds of tiny fragments on the cold, hardwood floor at her feet. “Oh no,” she murmured to herself. “Please, not again.”

But it had returned, and it was right outside of her window. She looked again and saw that it was growing stronger and getting closer. It looked as if it was alive, a terrifying living beast, so enormously huge. The colors were so odd, so strange, and so disturbingly vibrant; and she knew right then and there that lives would be taken that night, people would be changed forever, and her small village would be thrown into chaos once again. Just then, she remembered her window had remained wide open, because she liked the cool ocean breezes while she slept at night. She quickly lurched forward to slam it shut against the oncoming horror, cutting her foot on the broken glass, her blood mixing freely with the warm milk on the floor. She was just in time! It would move on tonight, taking someone else away, never to be seen again. But it would return; it always did.

Chapter One
Two Weeks Later

It was late in August in Columbia Falls, Maine, and for the students of the tiny Columbia Falls Elementary School it would soon be the start of the new school year.

Columbia Falls was a small village, and everyone seemed to know everyone else. The summer had been long and hot, and many of the students had spent those long hot summer days at Jasper Beach, where they collected buckets full of green and red jasper stones; the beach at Rogue Bluffs, where they happily swam in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean and explored the miles of rocky coastline.

But all that was soon coming to an end, and some of their parents had driven the forty-two miles into Ellsworth to buy new school clothing for their children at the department stores there, an hour away. Others would even drive an extra half hour, all the way to Bangor, to shop. And while most of the children were looking forward to the new school year, some were sad to know summer was almost over.

This new school year was a little different, however, because four new students would be attending classes in Columbia Falls. Two of those new students were the twin brothers, Jeffery and James Carlisle. They were identical twins, and it was sometimes difficult to tell who was who. Occasionally, even their parents had a hard time telling them apart. Their father was a technician for the Air Force, attending to the enormous radar installations at the Columbia Falls Air Force Base several miles away. It was located at the top of one of the largest hills in this part of Maine, and from the top of those barrens, that’s what the local people called the tops of those hills, one could see for miles. Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle fell in love with the beautiful scenery in Columbia Falls, and when they found out about the job at the air force base, Mr. Carlisle applied for the position right away.

Another new student was Jack Higgins. Jack had bright red hair and hundreds of freckles all over his face. All three boys were twelve years old, but Jack was quite short for his age, and was sometimes embarrassed because he thought that the others would make fun of him when he attended the new school. He had been made fun of before, back in his old school in Rhode Island, where some of the students called him Peewee and Midget. One of the students in Rhode Island had even called him a dwarf right to his face. So for Jack, the thought of attending this new school was somewhat frightening. Jack’s parents were doctors at the Machias Hospital, about twelve miles away, and they were hoping the students attending Columbia Falls Elementary School would be a lot kinder to Jack than the boys and girls back in Rhode island.

The fourth new student was someone hardly anyone knew anything about at all. He was a tall, skinny boy, who called himself Tobias. Tobias was actually Tobias Franklin, and the only person who seemed to know anything about him was George Morris, an old farmer. Mr. Morris was the person who registered Tobias for school, and some people thought Tobias lived above Mr. Morris’ enormous old barn. There was a small room up on the third level of the old, hay-filled barn, and some of the boys and girls in the village had seen Tobias walking into that barn through the huge double doors more than once.

Tobias always wore the same old-fashioned looking clothes. He had a pair of dirty, mud-streaked work boots, gray-colored coveralls, and a long-sleeved shirt best described as red with a checkered pattern. He had been seen only for the last two weeks in the village, and no one seemed to know where in the world he came from. No one saw Tobias’ parents, nor had anyone seen him riding in a car. If you happened to see Tobias at all, you only saw him walking quickly with his head down and his hands thrust deeply into the pockets of those gray coveralls.

The most striking feature about Tobias, however, was the color of his unruly mop of hair. It was a thick head of hair, but it was stark white. No one had ever seen a twelve-year-old boy with that color of hair before. Not even old Mr. Morris had that much white in his hair. Oh sure, Mr. Morris had gray hair, but not the snow-colored white Tobias had. Tobias was a complete mystery, and some of the boys and girls sitting on the rocks of Jasper Beach that day were talking about him, wondering how he got to Columbia Falls in the first place, and why his hair was so very white.



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