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The Secret of Baileys Chase

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When Grey Bailey’s parents are suddenly swept away in a flash flood, making her an instant orphan, she is sent halfway across the country to live with relatives in a town called Bailey’s Chase.

Fortunately, her new family includes a girl just her age, Sparky. It doesn’t take the ten-year-old cousins long to become friends, even though they find each other a bit strange.

But strange doesn’t begin to explain the magical and mysterious events that happen from the moment the girls meet, nothing making sense until they meet a Gypsy woman. She warns them to only use their power for good, swears them to secrecy, and warns them of evil forces that will be their enemies. Armed with only a charm to protect them, they settle into a life of adventure, mystery, and danger in the small Midwestern town.

“A fun-filled adventure. Magic, mystery, and a bit of mayhem. A fantastic read!”

~Okeechobee Book Review~

~*~

“Marlis Day offers a wonderful journey into the imaginative mind of the preteen child. … well written and should appeal to both girls and boys in the upper elementary years. I applause Ms. Day who pulls together a delightful adventure story which stimulates the young reader.”

~Readers Favorites~

The Secret of Bailey’s Chase Excerpt

Prologue

A very long time ago, right in the middle of our country there lived an old woman named Granny Bailey. I’m quite sure she had another, more proper name, but everyone in her river town called her Granny Bailey. Some people said she had unusual abilities, some people said she had mysterious gifts, and some people said nothing at all, thinking her quite normal.

But nobody ever said she was a witch, because she was so very kind and gentle.

People didn’t know where Granny had come from, but everyone seemed to know she had been born with snow-white hair and piercing azure eyes that changed shades of blue like a kaleidoscope. They knew she had nearly always walked with a limp. As a young girl she was struck by lightning one day as she played in the woods. After that, the stories said she slightly glowed in the dark and her white hair seemed to radiate from her head like sunrays, but some claimed it was just static electricity.

Everyone knew she lived in a cabin at the edge of the big woods. And everyone remembered, or knew someone who remembered, running up the long, grassy path to Granny’s door when they were children. There used to be a sign, the people recalled. A sign showing the way. ‘Bailey’s Chase’, it said, because in the old days ‘chase’ meant a country path to somebody’s house. It was a friendly cabin, lopsided with windows in strange places, some too high to see into, with others knee-level, which made you stoop over to peek in. The townspeople liked to go there because they could always count on a cup of herbal tea and a muffin, as well as an interesting story when they visited Granny.

Some said that Granny could always tell when something bad was going to happen, like a skunk falling down someone’s well or a bear eating an innocent blackberry picker as she filled her basket. Others called it coincidence.

Most folks agreed Granny had a way of seeing right through people, and always knew when someone was being dishonest or deceitful. Everyone agreed she could draw fire from a burn, wish warts away, and always choose exactly the right spot to dig a well.

It was a common fact she kept wild birds for pets and spent a lot of time in the woods talking to the animals and collecting roots and leaves for her homemade medicines. According to the stories, many parents visited her cabin in the middle of the night to get medicine for a sick child. She always seemed to know they were coming and was ready with just the right medicine.

A few people still left around believed the old tales about fires that started just because Granny stared long and hard at someone’s woodpile, or that she could tell what the animals said as she walked past them on her daily strolls through the little town on the river.

Granny Bailey was so special in the hearts of the people that when they decided to rename their town due to it outgrowing its boundaries and lapping over onto other small towns, they named it Bailey’s Chase in her honor. They didn’t think their town would ever see anybody with Granny’s special gift again. They thought the gift died when she did and was buried with her.

People didn’t realize Granny’s special gift didn’t get passed on to anybody in particular because that lightning strike split her genes and chromosomes in half and jumbled them every which way. So her special gift didn’t pass on to one certain relative, to be noticed and discussed by everyone. Instead, it broke into two neat parcels, bounced around hither and yon, skipped several generations, and finally landed inside two great-great-great-grandchildren.

Those lucky two recipients, unfortunately, could do nothing with half of a gift. In fact, they didn’t even have a clue that they had a gift. A half gift is actually like having no gift.

One-half of the special gift belonged to Alexandria Greyling Bailey. Her parents lived in a big city and had some difficulty deciding what to name their only child. After fretting and fussing over it for a while, they gave her the first name of one grandmother and the second name of the other grandmother and that was that. Since she turned out to be a dark and brooding child, they called her Grey. Although she didn’t say a lot, fantastic thoughts raced through her head most of the time. Talking took her away from the wild and wonderful scenes that played in the daydream theater of her mind.

The other half of the special gift ended up inside of Grey’s distant cousin, a lively girl named Amaryllis Bailey. Since she had been able to sit up, her family had nicknamed her Sparky, because she was so energetic and bouncy.

Sparky had loved to talk and make people laugh ever since she noticed people’s responses when she made raspberry noises as a baby. By the time she started the second grade, everybody thought Sparky would surely grow up to become either president or one of those people who climb mountains, just to prove they can, because nothing else she could do would use up all that energy.

Even though Grey and Sparky were cousins they really didn’t know each other. This is not a surprising fact, since Sparky lived in the middle of the country and Grey lived way off near the ocean. Their parents brought them together at a family reunion as infants, but of course, neither of them could remember it. Later, when they were around three, someone photographed them together at a family wedding, but they only had vague memories of that event.

Then, in a terrible accident, a flash flood swept Grey’s parents away. Suddenly an orphan, Grey was forced to choose between a boarding school run by people named ‘Mrs. Hardwick’ and ‘Dr. Zoofram,’ or a trial stay with distant relatives. Grey chose to try a stay with the relatives, knowing where the other story was likely to lead, because she had read so many books about orphans who went to boarding schools and regretted it. So the girl cousins, these almost-strangers now going on eleven, would soon live together like sisters. Soon the two halves of Granny Bailey’s unusual gift would finally come together.

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Hi! I'm Marlis.

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