THE BATTLE OF WONDERLAND GARDENS
Ellis Brown is a good kid with a big problem, a rivalry that drives him absolutely crazy. He wants to finally beat this rival, Alicia Swanson, at something—even the smallest of victories will do. He sets his sights on winning their youth theater ticket sales contest by selling to the residents of the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Community. His hopes are dashed when he finds Alicia beat him to the punch and sold her tickets to the residents.
But Alicia has problems of her own. The nursing home is haunted by a demon possessing the retirement community’s beloved owner and dance instructor. The fiendish spirit needs a new, younger body—and Alicia is the perfect candidate. When Ellis discovers his archenemy has been kidnapped by the evil spirit, he knows he must help rescue Alicia and lead the oddball elderly residents to save their home from the fiend and its raven minions.
Ellis Brown could not believe what he just heard. The air seeped from his balloon of hope and instantly ruined his once-promising Saturday morning. “You mean a girl has already been here selling these tickets?”
Mr. and Mrs. McGregor, the Wonderland Gardens Retirement Center’s hosts, sat in the lobby’s red velvet armchairs smiling. Mr. McGregor returned the tickets that Ellis just tried to sell them and said, “Yes, she came about an hour ago. Still in the building, I believe.”
Mrs. McGregor beamed. “Such an angel, blonde hair, blue eyes, and beaming with joy.”
Yep, that’s Alicia. What a fake. Ellis forced a smile as the anxiety bubbled in the pit of his stomach. “And I suppose she sold you tickets to our show?”
“As a matter of fact, she did," Mr. McGregor said. “Such a sweet young lady. She did mention that a friend of hers, a boy, may stop by later, and here you are.”
Sweet? Maybe, if rattlesnake’s venom is sweet. “She does have a way,” Ellis said.
Ellis was good kid, but he had one big problem, Alicia Swanson. She had been a thorn in his side all throughout middle school. She beat him at everything and, to make matters worse, she had a habit of broadcasting it to everyone.
Ellis planned to beat Alicia by selling more Alice in Wonderland show tickets than her and was banking on the retirement home’s residents. Not anymore. He felt the satisfaction of his victory slip painfully through his fingers.