The Return of Skeleton Man

The Return of Skeleton Man


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In this sequel to the middle grade modern horror classic Skeleton Man, Joseph Bruchac revisits his most terrifying villain yet. "Will surely keep readers turning pages," proclaimed Publishers Weekly.

Molly thought she’d put her traumatic past behind her when she escaped from Skeleton Man last year. She rescued her parents and tried to get her life back to normal. She thought her family would finally be able to live happily ever after.

She thought wrong. Skeleton Man is back for revenge—but this time Molly is ready.

Don't miss The Legend of Skeleton Man: a spine-tingling collection of The Return of Skeleton Man and the original Skeleton Man story!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060580926
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/2008
Series: Skeleton Man Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 516,317
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Joseph Bruchac is the author of Skeleton Man, The Return of Skeleton Man, Bearwalker, The Dark Pond, and Whisper in the Dark, as well as numerous other critically acclaimed novels, poems, and stories, many drawing on his Abenaki heritage. Mr. Bruchac and his wife, Carol, live in upstate New York, in the same house where he was raised by his grandparents. You can visit him online at

Sally Wern Comport has been making pictures professionally since the age of sixteen. Her images have been seen in the editorial, advertising, and publishing markets worldwide, and her work includes the picture book Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure, by Robert D. San Souci. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her studio partner — husband and their two daughters, Taylor and Olivia, and she recently completed her graduate education at Syracuse University to further her passion for the art of illustration.

Read an Excerpt

The Return of Skeleton Man

Chapter One


"Look up there, Molly. That's Sky Top Tower."

I shift my gaze up, way up. There, far in the distance, at the top of a huge cliff, is a tall stone tower. I can hardly believe it. Here we are, on a late-autumn day, speeding along the New York State Thruway in the midst of a twenty-first-century seventy-mile-per-hour stream of traffic, dodging Winnebagos (the trucks, not the Indians) and people more interested in their cell phone conversations than in staying in their own lane, and I'm staring at something that looks like it belongs in a Dracula movie.

"Wow," I gasp. Then, just to show my parents how articulate I am, I say it again. "Wow!"

But I'm not the only one awed by the sight.

"Is that really where we're going?" my mom asks in a tone that indicates she hopes the answer is yes.

In the rearview mirror I can see the big grin that spreads over my father's face. He'd always loved to surprise us in the past, but over the last year or so, he's been avoiding springing things on Mom and me unexpectedly, which is understandable considering the recent events we barely survived. I haven't seen that wide a smile on his face for months. It makes me so happy that I wiggle in my seat like a puppy.

"Uh-huh," Dad says in that slow, confident voice of his. "That's where the conference is taking place." He carefully checks his mirrors and puts on his blinker to move into the exit lane for New Paltz. "Well, not exactly in that tower. There's a huge old Victorian hotel on that mountaintop, just below the tower, with 251 rooms."

"Cool," I say.

Dad nods. "Way cool, indeed,Molly girl. It's called the Mohonk Mountain House, and when you are up there you feel like there's no place else in the world. Totally isolated in the middle of a vast forest preserve."

"Mohonk?" my mother asks. "Isn't that where they had the Friends of the Indian conferences back in the 1880s, honey?"

I lean back to listen. It's going to be one of those discussions between my mom and dad that's as much a seminar as a conversation. Some people might find it boring, but my dad is a natural storyteller and my mom has this way of explaining historical events that just makes them come alive for me.

I hug myself as I listen and look out the window. My dad explains that two brothers, the Smileys, started building the Mohonk Moun-tain House back in 1869. It began as one building, but wings got added on and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. All kinds of major events have taken place at Mohonk, starting at the end of the nineteenth century with the Friends of the Indian—who did do a lot to make things better for native people—right up to the present day. In recent years the Smiley family has added many modern facilities, from videoconferencing rooms to an Olympic-size ice-skating rink. The Mountain House restaurants are famous, and people come to the hotel from all over the world for weekend getaways. It's also a favorite place for business conferences like the seminars my father's bank is sending him to. This is his second visit but the first time we are joining him.

Their discussion pauses only when we go through the tollbooth; then we are off the thruway. The tower is out of sight now. We're heading into the town of New Paltz, one of those places that used to be surrounded by farms but is gradually sprawling out with development. There are the usual fast-food places and chain stores, but when we drive into the town itself it gets better.

"Ambience," Mom says.

I know what she means. The buildings are old and the storefronts are all different here. They reflect the kind of stuff you see in places dominated by a big university like New Paltz—trendy little ethnic restaurants, colorful hand-painted signs, and small, unique stores.

"Walking and shopping later this weekend?" Mom says, turning back for a moment to look at me, her own smile almost as big as my dad's was.

"Def!" I say. I can already picture Mom and me strolling down the streets, the warm autumn sun shining as we window-shop or have tea at that little place there, or check out that bookstore on the corner here.

It all seems too good to be true.

We're through the town now, passing over a bridge across a little river and taking a winding road that leads up the mountain. The Smileys, whose descendants still run the place, loved nature. So they bought up thousands of acres of the Shawangunk Mountain range just to keep it wild. Then, in 1969, they turned sixty-four hundred acres of their land into the Mohonk Preserve—which surrounds the Mountain House—the biggest private nature preserve in all of New York State.

"Wow!" is going through my head again. The glaciers that sculpted the Shawangunk range made spectacular cliffs everywhere. The narrow road we're following is winding back and forth like a snake along the tops of those sheer drops. I catch a couple of glimpses of the town and the roads below, but most of the time all I can see is an endless expanse of evergreen forest. Hemlock and pine and cedar and spruce.

"Like going back into the past, isn't it?" my dad says to us. He doesn't take his eyes off the road. My dad is Mr. Safe Driver. Both hands on the wheel. "Except for this little highway, it's kind of what it was like a thousand years ago when it was just our people and the land here."

"Not our people," my mom says with a little smile. History being her thing, she can't resist the opportunity to correct him. "This area was Lenape land, not Mohawk."

The Return of Skeleton Man. Copyright (c) by Joseph Bruchac . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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