Written circa 2006.
One morning, Marie Kaline woke up to her mother shaking her. “Marie! Wake up! Mitchell disappeared last night!” Mitchell was their next door neighbor. It was only eight o’clock in the morning and already the day was disastrous. Marie gasped. “What happened?” she asked. “Do you know?” “No,” her mother replied, “but he was kidnapped…His mother just phoned. She wants us to go to their house. Now hurry and get dressed.” In a few minutes, Marie and Mrs. Kaline were on their way. Mitchell’s mother met them at the door. Her black hair, normally neat, was uncombed. Her cheerful face was now white with worry. Marie, who loved and was good at riddles and puzzles, immediately asked Mitchell’s sorrowful mother what had happened. She replied, “The police are searching his room. They haven’t found any signs that anyone besides Mitchell was even in the room, but they did find a wet capsule, about half the size of your little finger. The window was open, but that wasn’t strange since it was hot last night.”
“Why is the capsule wet?” Marie asked.
“It was in his water glass.”
“I wonder why…” mused Marie. She figured the capsule must hold the answer, but she still didn’t know how it would help the kidnapper, or what the capsule did.
A few days later, alarming news came from the police station. The capsule, the key to the mystery, had been stolen! The police concluded that the kidnapper must have stolen it back, afraid that the police might discover its secret. That night, Marie decided to hide secretly in the police station. She crept into the station before it was locked. She hid behind the front desk, facing the door and the safe where the capsule had been kept. Two hours later, Marie was asleep. She was awakened by the sound of a door creaking.
She saw a figure come in the door and start toward the safe. Marie was terrified. Her fear quickly turned into anger. Who was this intruder who had stolen away her friend? He had no right to be in the station! She leapt on him screaming, “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MITCHELL, YOU ROTTEN KIDNAPPER!?”
They fell on the ground with a loud thump. The “intruder” twisted away and looked at Marie. He and Marie were both surprised to see that they both were about the same age. “I’m not a kidnapper!” he protested.
“Well, that’s obvious now!” Marie snapped. “Who are you anyway, and why are you in the police station at two o’clock in the morning?”
“I could ask you the same thing!” he retorted. Marie told him her story briefly. “And you?” she asked. “Why are you here?”
“All right, I’ll tell you,” he responded, “but not here. If we’re caught, we’ll get in big trouble.”
They left the station and hid in the edge of a small forest nearby. He began,” My name is James Arnae. I live in a neighborhood two blocks away from where that kid was kidnapped. I’m pretty good at science and stuff, so I asked the police if I could see it. They wouldn’t let me. I was desperate. I stole it!
“I came back tonight to return the capsule. I found out what the capsule did, but not why it would help the kidnapper…. the capsule was filled with a substance which, when exposed to water, would produce large quantities of smoke.”
Marie thought about it for a while, and then began, “I think that I may have the answer… I’m not sure, but I think that the smoke would set off the alarm. Then Mitchell would think that there was a fire, so he’d go out the window and, apparently, right into the kidnapper’s arms.”
“That makes perfect sense!” James exclaimed. “And there’s only one criminal clever enough to do that…”
The children looked at each other and exclaimed, “Will Hawkeye!”
Will Hawkeye owned millions of dollars; both stolen and in ransom money. His real name was William Parker, but few knew this outside of the police. He gained the nickname “Hawkeye” because you would need a hawk’s eye to catch him in the act of committing his crimes. He was well known for being the cleverest criminal to steal a dime.
The police were completely baffled the next morning when the stolen capsule appeared the next morning in the locked safe. They checked it for prints, but James had covered his tracks well.
James and Marie visited the library and asked for books on Hawkeye and newspaper articles on Mitchell being kidnapped. After they left, the librarian, having an idea of what the two children were after, watched them from the window. Marie and James searched for a trail by the window of Mitchell’s room. Faint signs may have led to the forest or the creek but nothing was clear. They searched the creek for most of the day and they did not find anything.
Later that evening Marie and James searched the forest. They were on their way back, when Marie tripped and fell to the ground. After checking to make sure Marie was all right, James checked the ground to see what she had tripped on. He saw a bit of an old handle, cleverly concealed in the mossy ground. He cleared away the dirt and pulled the handle. An old wooden trap door opened to reveal a dark passageway.
Slowly and carefully they started down. They came into a rather large chamber lit with kerosene lamps. They saw Mitchell tied up in the corner. They started towards him. They froze when they heard footsteps coming towards them. They spun around recognized their worst fear: Will Hawkeye. Surprise flickered across his face for a brief instant before a smile slowly replaced it.
“Why, thank you for coming! Now I have three little birds in my nest,” he gloated. Marie and James stared at him in horror. Then James lunged at him. Marie watched in terror as Hawkeye easily stepped aside and threw James against the wall. Then Hawkeye turned and swung at her. Before she lost consciousness, she saw Hawkeye whirl around and give a brief shout of surprise before running away. After that, everything went black.
Marie woke up in the hospital. Her head ached as she turned and saw James in the bed next to her. Mitchell was on her other side. Mrs. Kaline rose from her chair to Marie’s side. “What happened?” asked Marie groggily.
Mrs. Kaline responded, “Everything is all right. Mr. Hawkeye has been arrested.”
“But how did the police know where to find us?” Marie asked.
“The librarian was watching you through her window, and when she saw you go through the trapdoor she called the police.”
The librarian, Marie, and James were given awards for rescuing Mitchell and helping to capture a wanted criminal.
It was eight o’clock and all was well.
Like “The Ghost Ship,” this was written in 5th/6th grade in response to a simple prompt. The other was a scary story, and this was a mystery — what do you think of it?