Three younsters find themselves involved in a mystery to prevent a murder. The only question is who can they trust to be telling the truth.
The purchase of an object sets into motion an upset customer who threatens revenge. By selling the item, Bik had inadvertently put someone's life in danger.
The nums step in to help. But when the local law won't protect the man's life, Bik, Faun and Gaz take it upon themselves to prevent any wrongdoing.
As facts are uncovered, the three children struggle to determine who is actually in danger and who is the potential victim, while trying not to become the victims themselves.
Bik, Faun and Gaz stood in the doorway of the shop, eyes fixated on the piles of filth and garbage from wall to wall. They had been standing in the same spot for several minutes, partially out of amazement, partially out of fear of stepping into the Captain’s forbidden store, but mostly because of the obnoxious smell and of lingering sandrats holding their ground.
“Welcome to Dare to Trade. Bikkidan Raiserback at the helm,” Bik said with pride.
Gaz held his nose to hold off the odors. “It will take months to clean this entire mess up before you’ll be able to sell anything, assuming there’s any junk under this mess worth selling.”
“Don’t be like that,” Faun said. She was full of curiosity and couldn’t wait to explore. “Bik, how did you become owner of the Captain’s shop?”
“Owwwwnerrr? Noooo,” said a voice from above. A man-sized insect flapped its moth-like wings as it lowered itself to the wooden street where the children stood. Small angled teeth filled its large mouth below the multiple eyes on its face.
Faun turned and instantly pushed her back against the outside of the shop; Gaz fell backwards trying to do the same.
Bik was less dramatic but was just as tense. “Flu’cra, these are my friends. I was just showing them the shop.”
Flu’cra landed. One of his limbs reached out and poked Bik. “Nooo freeee giftsss,” it slurred out.
Bik’s eyes grew large as though he was in trouble for something he hadn’t done. “No. No gifts. I was just showing them the shop.” Nervous about the creature’s limb pressing against his chest, he stepped back slightly to introduce them. “This is Faun and Gaz. They can help me run the shop.”
Faun turned to look at Bik. “Really? We can help run it?”
“Sure, why not. It wouldn’t be the same without you.”
Gaz was still sitting on the street leaning against the wall. “No way,” he said at first but followed it up with a question to the creature. “How much will I get paid?”
“Nothinnng!” Flu’cra spit out with annoyance. “Deal with Bikkkkk. Pay him onnnly. Firrrrst to cleannn. Thennn ten percent of profit on my visitssss to town.”
Bik glanced back inside the shop. “It’s a big job. It will take us at least a week to clean up.”
“Noooo. Leavinnng tonight. Cleannnn by thennn or no funds untilll I returrrrn.”
Bik shrugged his shoulders. “I’ll have to wait until you return to this port. How often will you be back?”
“Evvvery other fullll moon.”
Bik’s eyes widened. “I can’t wait that long. I need to help my mum put food on our table.”
“Thennn you should starrrrt cleaning.” A few flaps of its wings lifted it up off the ground. “I’ll returnnn tonight at sunset.”
Gaz watched the giant insect fly off. “There’s no way, Bik. It would be easier to burn this place down and rebuild it than to try to clean it up.”
Faun placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “What’s going on, Bik?” Her eyes lowered and voice softened. “If you and your mum need some help, I could talk to my folks to see what we can do.”
Bik’s face tightened at the comment. “No!” He drew in a deep breath and slowly released it as he turned and walked back to the shop’s doorway. “I’m going to clean this place before sunset and earn it myself.”
“Good luck,” Gaz said, shaking his head. “No one could clean this place in one day.”
Faun grabbed Gaz by the collar and pulled him to his feet. “But three of us working together have a fighting chance.”
Lips still tight, Bik replied, “This is my responsibility, not yours.”
“Agreed,” she said. “But you’re our friend. And that makes it our responsibility as well.”