Santa's Claws & Steven, Space Stowaway
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Summary

Santa's Claws – When troublemaker Ryan concocts a plan to get into Santa's magic sack, things doesn't work out quite as he expected.
Steven, Space Stowaway - When Steven's Mom leaves for a mission to Mars, he's determined to come along. Even if he has to sneak onboard.

Includes a 5 chapter preview of Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb.
Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb - When life gives you lemons, kill zombies — turns out lemon juice neutralizes the undead.
After a failed attempt at running away, former best friends Nathan and Misty return home expecting to face angry parents. Instead, they discover the military has destroyed the bridges out of their rural town and everyone's fled—except a small horde of the living dead. The stress of flesh-eating zombies may be more than their already strained relationship can handle.
Even with the help of the town geek and lemonade-powered Super-Soakers, there's not enough time to squeeze their way out of this sticky mess. Unless the trio eradicates the zombie infestation, while avoiding the deadly zombie snot, the military will blow the town, and them, to pulp.
Their only shot is something with a lot more punch. Something like the Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb. But even if their friendship survives, there's another problem: Someone has to lure the undead into the trap.

Published: MJ Ware on

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Santa's Claws & Steven, Space Stowaway - MJ Ware

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*

Santa's Claws

"What is that? Alyssa said, looking down at Ryan’s paper. What are you drawing?"

Huh? Ryan, hadn’t even realized he was drawing anything except bored scribbles. But sure enough, sprawled across the paper, lying on his back with a pained, pitiful expression was Santa.

Why would you want Santa to die? Alyssa ripped the paper out from under him. She shook her head as she tired to make it out, her eyes searching like a detective.

What? No, he’s not dead. It’s just a dumb picture, anyway.

Ryan, you even drew black X’s over his eyes.

I told you he’s not dead, just… resting.

You are sick Ryan Lynch. I’m not going to let you get away with trying to take out Santa.

Okay, sure I'm out to get Santa—believe whatever you want. Crumpling the paper, he threw it into the trash.

Since it’s the last day of school before Christmas break, Miss Solano said, you can be dismissed five minutes early. But don’t disrupt the other classes. That means you, Ryan Lynch. She eyed him, like she was deciding whether to make him stay behind.

Before she could change her mind Ryan jumped from his seat and bounded out the door, knocking down Stacy Lee in the process.

Ryan sat on a big, gnarly, half-buried root under the naked oak tree that stood in front of school. When his bus pulled up, he didn’t try to make eye contact with anyone; he knew the other kids were too afraid to look his way.

A long haired boy from the sixth grade made the mistake of sitting in the seat in front of him. Ryan kept pulling stray hairs from the back of his head, only stopping when tears streamed down the boy’s face. It was his own fault for having a mullet, Ryan told himself.

He got off the bus and waited for Alyssa Abbot. She’d made him swear not to speak to her until the bus was out of sight. Ryan knew she wouldn’t even walk home with him if her parents didn’t force her to.

I guess you’re not going to bother writing a letter to Santa. Seeing how you want him dead and all, Alyssa said, eyes fixed ahead on the black smoke billowing from the underside of the bus.

You’re the only dork in our class still writing letters to Santa.

Ryan D. Lynch, I know you believe in Santa Claus. You told me last year he came into your room.

It was just a dream; it had to be a dream. Santa doesn’t threaten kids.

Only one’s as nasty as you. Out of the corner of his eye Ryan saw Alyssa pause to see if her jab had stung; he kept his face stone hard. Besides, she continued, he told you to stop being so naughty, or else. That really isn’t much of a threat.

It was probably just Dad in a suit.

We both know it hasn’t been your parents putting coal in your stocking for the last three years.

Dad would. Ryan knotted the straps that hung off his backpack, pulling them so tight his mom would never get them out.

Where would they even find coal? Isn’t it an illegal pollutant or something?

Ryan shrugged.

As he turned to head to his house, Alyssa suddenly grabbed his arm. I’ve got it, she said, What you need is… a plan.

A plan? What sort of plan?

"Something to get back on Santa’s good side. It’s way too late for this year; you’ve been suspended twice for fighting. But next year—we'll make a plan to keep you out of trouble and you're sure to get something next Christmas, besides coal, I mean."

Yeah, great Idea, Dufus, Ryan replied.

While other kids were enjoying their Christmas break: sledding with friends, playing football in the snow, having sleepovers, Ryan couldn’t even use his computer. His mom had locked it up last month when she found out he’d used her credit card to buy $200 worth of game-points in Warlords Revenge. So he just sat around the house, all day, every day, thinking about Alyssa’s advice: What you need is a plan.

Slowly he turned it over in his mind and somehow quite unexpectedly a plan did began to form. As he laid out each step, his stomach twisted and rolled as if it were tumbling with lumps of coal.

The week before Christmas he finalized the last details. He’d come up with the finest, most irritate, most ingenious plan ever devised. But not one Alyssa would approve of—he was going to get his presents and he was going to get them this year.

*

Ryan’s mother was volunteering at the food bank, helping pass out Christmas baskets, so Ryan had to spend the day at Alyssa’s. He’d never