The Beast of Black Pond - Nancy Gray

"Mrs. Snider,” Duane asked. “Do you know anything about Black Pond?”
“There isn’t some monster drowning children. It’s a dangerous, polluted pond,” she said.
But there is a monster that lurks silently in the water, watching and waiting; hungry for its next meal. Duane has seen THE BEAST OF BLACK POND, and the beast has his scent.  The beast hunts him from the pond, to the lake by the dam, even to his own swimming pool. Duane will need all his wits, and the help of his friends if he wants to avoid being pulled under to a watery grave.
A fascinating childrens' story revolving around a mythical being called 'Kelpie'. I've never found a Kelpie feature in a story. This is very interesting actually.
It has all the elements to make it a great bedtime read.
It has big sisters/ brothers/ bullies/friends/ and even a teeny tiny bit of crush. What more can a person need?
Besides the courage and bravery shown by these small children is truly exceptional and noteworthy. It also has a lesson for the adults, which says to be more attentive to their children.
Chapter 1 – Monster in the Pool
Duane floated on his back enjoying the warm water surrounding him and the moonlight shining through the glass above. Even though he would have to go inside soon, he almost felt as though he could fall asleep in the pool. Besides the night air would be cool in October, and he wasn’t looking forward to the walk back to the house.
His sister called out, “Hey, Loser, we need to go back inside soon.”
Duane pretended not to hear her and swam on his back into the middle of the deep end. He closed his eyes and turned away from the sound of her voice. As he drifted peacefully around his sister was quiet. Maybe she had decided to go back to the house. He hoped so.
Suddenly she shouted, “DUANE! Oh God, what is that? DUANE, GET OUT NOW!”
Duane stopped floating and turned just in time to see a dark shape swimming beneath the water towards him.
“Anna, help!”
In a panic he swam towards the ladder, but he wasn’t fast enough. Duane glanced down just in time to see a webbed hand with sharp claws wrap around his ankle as it pulled him under. He instinctually gasped and water rushed down his throat, making his chest stretch uncomfortably on the inside. Everything was blurry. All he could see was that the creature had bulging eyes and a long snout. He could feel it pulling him to the deepest part of the pool. Duane kicked at the creature’s face and reached desperately for the surface.
He thought, “This can’t be real! This has to be a dream. But it isn’t a dream, I really can’t breathe! I’m drowning! I’m going to die! Anna, where are you? Somebody help!”
Suddenly, the creature let go of his ankle. Duane pushed off of the bottom of the deep end and rocketed towards the surface. He grabbed the ladder and pulled himself out, shaking and coughing, finally collapsing onto his knees. And then the creature surfaced behind him.
Its face looked like almost like a combination of a lizard and a horse. Its skin was smooth and black, and the mouth was a maw of crooked teeth and thick jelly-like drool. Duane froze in place, his feet suddenly feeling leaden. He didn’t recognize the scream that came from his own throat. It sounded more like a scream from one of the girls at school when they were threatened with a bug. Then, he heard her laughter and the terror that liquefied his legs turned quickly into fury that boiled his blood.
Chapter 2 – Surprise!
He felt his hands balling into fists. “STUPID JERK! STUPID JERK! STUPID JERRRRK!”
His sister pulled the mask off her face, still cackling. “You should’ve seen your face! Did you wet yourself, cry baby?”
Duane ran a shaky hand across his face. He hadn’t noticed his tears for the water dripping into his eyes.
“I’m eleven. I’m not a baby, and I’m crying because I’m mad. I’m not scared. You should keep it on, buttface. It makes you look way prettier. Your real face is scarier anyway.”
“Well if my mask scared you, dweeb, it should be enough to scare the little freaks you call friends too.”
“Don’t talk about my friends like that! I hate you, Anna! I’m telling mom.”
Anna rolled her eyes. “Yeah, run and tell mom and dad. That’s what you’re good at. You little ratfink, go on and see what happens. We were supposed to be inside an hour ago. Besides, I’ll tell them that you imagined it.”
“You set this up so I couldn’t tell on you or else I would get in trouble too? What is wrong with you?”
“It’s payback for when you got Greg in trouble.”
Duane snapped, “You and your dumb boyfriend ruined my sleepover, and then you let him hit me.”
“You earned it, dweeb. You were being obnoxious. It was just a little prank, but you got me grounded.”
“I already got most of my comics taken away, what else do you want? Did you want to kill me? I almost drowned!”
“You’re such a baby. It’s not my fault you were so scared that you couldn’t even hold your breath for a few measly seconds.”
Duane picked up a swimming mask and threw it at her. She laughed even harder.
He turned to leave. “Just leave me alone, Manna.”
“Oooo…clever, nos.”
Duane paused and turned, flinching at the insult. Nosferatu was one of the names the bullies called him at school. He was always too skinny, with pale skin and black hair that made the other kids think he was creepy. Everyone made fun of his sister for the same thing when she was his age, but everyone thought she was so pretty now.
“Don’t call me that.”
She frowned and climbed up the ladder and out of the pool. “I’m sorry, okay? Anyway, it was just a joke. Let’s go, little brother.”
She tossed him the mask she was wearing and walked to the shallow end, picking up her cell phone from a lounge chair.
She grinned and pressed a button on the phone and a recording of her voice screamed, “DUANE! Oh God, what is that? DUANE GET OUT NOW!”
“I’ll get you,” He murmured under his breath, but he knew it was an idle threat.
The score was Anna one, Duane zero. As he walked back to the house, Duane examined the monster drool on the mask. It had a very medicinal smell that he recognized.
“Aloe rub for sun burns squirted into the mask’s mouth. And she glued round goggles into the eye slots so she could see. Then she tucked it into the neck of the wet suit. I hate to admit it, she’s good.”
Duane tried to dissect the trick in his mind, looking around the pool house.
“She left the cell phone in the last place that I saw her and then put on the wet suit when I wasn’t looking. I probably had my eyes closed for nearly ten minutes. I should’ve known better than to ignore her.”
When he got into the house he glanced at the hallway, thinking of running into his parents’ room and pretending to still be scared to get Anna in trouble. But, she was right. He couldn’t tell his parents, not when he was late getting to bed. Anna would at least probably have to take the blame for that since she was watching him, but he would get in trouble too. He sighed and flopped down onto his bed. His hand brushed up against something he didn’t expect beneath his covers. It was a huge stack of comic books, the ones that his parents had taken away. He glanced in the direction of the hallway and saw his sister grinning at him from the shadows.
“You brought back my comics? Anna, I’m sorry.”
“Whatever, dweeb.”
He grinned. “Stupid jerk,” And then curled up in bed.


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