IRONCLAD. When Emilio is denied an odd piece of jewelry promised to him by his late uncle, he rightfully suspects there is more to the iron box and his broken family’s poverty than his mother wants him to know. He sets out to uncover his family’s secret, even if it means disturbing a grave.
Supernatural adventure IRONCLAD
I had been warned. And I listened—until I turned thirteen.
Now I am tired of listening.
My uncle’s grave holds the answers to what my family hides—the answers I seek.
Something significant was concealed in that strangely shaped box—something that Mamá hoped to eliminate forever—and putting it six feet under with Uncle Patricio’s body seemed like a sure-fire way to make it disappear for good.
I’m here to find it. Read “The Kite-Shaped Box”
3 — The Secret Key
I lift the lid of the coffin, which is not much more than a bare wooden crate, and retch. The smell of decomposition is horrific.
… lingering darkness spares me from viewing the details. I’d rather remember Uncle Patricio as a living man. Read “The Secret Key”
4 — Journey to Skull Mountain
Uncle Patricio had a shady past—if you believe Mamá, Father Juan Pablo, or most of the folks in town. My time with him was closely monitored, lest something unsavory should rub off on me.
“Who else can see you?” I ask.
“Only those who need me, and those who believe in me.” His grin fades away. “Prob’ly only you.”
The train’s been cleared for departure. Before it gathers speed, I jump on and climb the metal ladder to the top of the car, where I flatten myself to become one with the paint, holding on to whatever I can. I have no idea where Uncle Patricio is, but I have faith he is taking this journey with me. Read “Journey to Skull Mountain”
5 — Into the Mineshaft
“I really could use your help here.” I wipe sweat from my upper lip and catch my breath. “You should’ve put off dying until after we did this.”
Uncle Patricio snorts. “That was the original plan.”
I stop and stare through him. “Seriously?”
“But, you know, the Man upstairs had other ideas.” My uncle’s ghostly finger points to the sky as his form retreats to hover just off the edge of the socket’s ledge. “Still, it’s probably safer this way. C’mon, chico, get in there.”
One more heave of the door and the space is wide enough—for me, at least, but not a fully grown man. This gives me an unexpected rush of comfort.
“After you,” I say.
Mi tío, a vapor, streams in. With one final glance at the desert, I toss my bundle of supplies into the blackness of the mine and duck in behind it.
* * *
We move abreast, Uncle Patricio and I, but only I set years of dust and grit to swirling … Read “Into the Mineshaft”