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When young Jerry Ingram began digging in the field on the family’s South Dakota sunflower seed farm, he was hoping to find an Indian burial mound. There was a large circle there that was always warmer than the surrounding land, a fact noted by several generations of Ingrams. His dad had given him a spear point he’d received from his grandfather, dug up around 1900 from the circle. It was an odd design and made of an unusual metal that looked an aluminum color. Jerry had visions of finding evidence of a new people, what with the odd spear point design.

Until he found the two skeletons.

Superficially resembling human, the skulls were narrower and the hands had three fingers and a thumb. It soon crossed his mind that he’d found a flying saucer.

Further digging found a flat surface, eventually uncovering a port clogged with mud. Jerry gradually cleared out the mud and dropped into a chamber, finding a second port with a rachet which he proceeded to work back and forth. There was an air of decay to the mechanism and he had a lot of trouble getting it open. When he slipped through, he found a sloping corridor winding around a huge central tube going deep into the earth.

Returning home to arm himself with a few supplies(flashlight and rope), and not telling his parents, he returns to begin exploring(the digging had gone on for weeks, with his father’s permission, in every spare moment he could get from school and farm work, and every one he could sneak). Ladders were built into the walls of the cylinder going far deeper than his five-cell flash could reach.

Jerry didn’t intend to go further at this time. Then a cave in blocked his way out, also blocking air from coming in. He seemed to have no choice but to go down. He HAD felt a slight breeze coming up before the cave-in. Immediately he noticed something odd, his stomach fluttering as he climbed down. He seemed to be getting lighter, more pronounced the deeper he went. Until it was suddenly zero gravity. The ladder continued down so he continued working along, only now he seemed to be climbing, the weight returning.

Eventually he seemed to be right where he started. Returning to the port, it was no longer blocked, though the door was closed. He worke the rachet enough to climb out and the first thing he saw was the red sun.

He was no longer on Earth.

The surrounding area was desert-like.

He goes exploring, eventually meeting the zebramen, as he dubbed them, huge(seven feet and four hundred odd pounds) and covered in dark stripes. Not to mention the Kree, a large flying, intelligent predator named for the sound they make.

Back on Earth, Jerry is missed(he never made school0 and the family starts looking, including the neighboring uncle and his family. They know Jerry is still alive(the Ingram family, the blood members, are partial telepaths; no mind reading but they can sense each other) and the trail leads them to the pit and what lays in it’s depths.

Melton uses the nifty device of a short paragraph under each chapter title to acquaint us with the back story. At first titled The History of The Ancient Bak Empire, it soon turns to The Kree Invasion. And now that the portal to Earth has been reopened, those Kree intend to claim a new food source so that they can expand.

There’s all sorts of secrets here that we gradually learn. Why is Jerry’s father’s portion of the family estate so much smaller than his brother’s? Why don’t they have more to do with each other? Why is Jerry’s dad’s right hand missing the four fingers? Why does Sheriff Musgrave hate Jerry’s father? Jerry had seen the hate-filled looks shot at both him and his dad.

I really enjoyed this one. It was part of a deal Henry Melton offered where you got free downloads of a book of time travel short stories and the novel of your choice as a Christmas promotion. All his books seem available as ebooks or regular books. He has a nice sight HERE. There’s lots of free stuff to read as well as information on ordering his books.

Worth checking out. He’s hooked me.

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