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Young Adult Fiction Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural

Study in Aether, A

by (author) Éric Desmarais

Renaissance Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2016
Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural, General, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Recommended Age
12 to 16
Recommended Grade
7 to 11
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2016
    List Price

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Elizabeth Coderre has always known that there was something strange about her home town, Baker Ontario, but it isn't until her English teacher disappears that she starts to find out how strange. Getting through classes, killer kitten swarms, and bullies are going to be the easy parts of surviving at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle High. Elizabeth and her best friends, Jackie and Angela, are up to the challenge... they hope.

About the author

Éric has had an eclectic career which ranges from casino dealer to canal boat captain to radio station DJ. Since 2009, he's worked as a layout artist and desktop publisher for the federal government. During his off time he works as a freelance layout artist for various Canadian-based authors and publishers, roasts gourmet flavoured coffee, runs several pen-and-paper role-playing games, writes, and helps run (Home of the

He lives in Ottawa, Ontario with his wife, daughter, and son. Visit him at

Éric Desmarais' profile page

Excerpt: Study in Aether, A (by (author) Éric Desmarais)

There were still some secretaries and janitors working. The three of them did their best to be quiet. They tiptoed around to the back exit of the school. They snuck through the construction equipment to the doors of the old cafeteria. They didn't bother trying to reach the cafeteria from inside the school: they had seen during the day that the hallway entrance was boarded up.

All the windows of the cafeteria had heavy plastic over them. It looked like there was no glass left in any of them. The roof seemed to be completely intact. Elizabeth motioned to the roof. "There's no sign of fire, explosion, or wreckage of any kind. Other than the windows, it looks like nothing happened."

Walking along the wall of the cafeteria, Elizabeth looked for anything that could indicate what had happened. The only odd thing she could see was the grass. It was growing everywhere but next to the building. There were large semicircular dead spots in front of each window.

When she mentioned it to the others, Angela suggested, "Maybe it was some sort of chemical explosion."

The outside entrance to the cafeteria had a large sign saying, 'Caution: Do not enter.' It was a big heavy metal door which swung into the building. Looking at the handle, Elizabeth could tell that it had been replaced recently: it wasn't as tarnished as the rest of the door.

Moving away from the door, Elizabeth took her backpack off and took out a notepad. She ripped a piece of paper out of it and made herself a mental note to get some plastic gloves for future use.

Using the paper as a barrier between her and the door handle, she opened the door. She had expected it to be locked, but it slowly swung open.

The cafeteria was massive and dark, with limited light filtering through the plastic on the windows. They took out their phones and used the camera flash as flashlights. The room would have easily housed the population of the school. They could see that the cafeteria had a skylight that had been covered in an orange tarp.

Standing at the entrance looking in, they could see a thick layer of dusty grime on the floor. There were no tables or chairs in the cafeteria, only shards of glass and the strange grime.

"I wonder what this is," Jackie bent down to touch the grime on the floor. Both girls grabbed his arm to stop him.

"Whatever this is could be toxic." Elizabeth didn't need to explain. As the girls grabbed his arm he had turned his head to one of the windows that was on the other side of the cafeteria. The plastic had a small hole in it. Underneath that window were two squirrel bodies. Standing up straight and looking a little pale, he pointed to the window.

"Yuck, those poor squirrels!" Angela looked ready to cry.

Nodding, Jackie added, "Definitely toxic."

"It kind of looks like a gel or something. I wish there was some way to find out what that stuff is," Elizabeth wished aloud.

"If it's toxic, are we going to be okay?" Jackie asked wide eyed.

"We should be. It wasn't flying around. Just make sure to clean your hands and probably your shoes when you get home." Angela had gotten over her disgust. "Elizabeth, if I get a sample of it, I can probably figure out what it is."

"You can do that?" Elizabeth asked.

When Angela nodded, Elizabeth pulled out her pencil case. She took her sharpener, which had its own enclosure, a zip-close plastic bag, and a plastic spoon from her lunch. She emptied the pencil shavings and wiped it down with her coat. She opened the door and scooped up a little of the stuff with the spoon into the sharpener. She closed it, and put both the sharpener and the spoon into the zip bag.

"Will that do?" Elizabeth asked proudly. Jackie and Angela looked at her admiringly.

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