My daughter is entering a short story contest held by Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool curriculum. Here is her work. Thank you for reading and God bless!!
Case of the Creepy, Crooked, Crumbling House
Grabbing her fancy new shoes, she slipped them on, threw her jacket over her shoulders, and ran to her friend, Sadie’s, car.
“Hurry up, Sadie. We’re going to be late for the party!” said Casey Shamrock.
Casey is seventeen years old, and very smart. She hates when things are settled unfairly, and usually helps her schoolmates with problems. She has light brown hair and grey eyes. Sadie was picking up Casey and their other friend Piper. The three of them were going to a party that one of their classmates, Haley, was throwing for her seventeenth birthday. The invitation said it was a formal party. There would be fancy food and games. Sadie and Casey arrived at Piper’s house. Piper walked to the car. She was thin but fit-looking. She had black hair which was never put up in a braid or head band, she just let it hang down her head all the way past her elbows.
“Hi, Piper! I can’t wait to be at Haley’s party. There’s going to be SO much fancy stuff since her family is wealthy. I’m going to practice how I’ll greet her parents. Maybe they’ll give me an easy test if I’m really nice!”
“Pff, yeah. Haley sure gets an easy test,” replied Piper jealously.
The three of them arrived at the party just in time. Casey knocked on the door and was greeted by a girl who looked about seventeen years old. She was pretty, and had red hair. She wore a sparkly pink dress and shoes that looked like they cost $150.
“Hello, Haley! We made it just in time. Where do we leave the gifts?” Casey greeted her.
“Over there,” Haley pointed to a beautifully decorated table. “And wipe your feet before you guys come in,” she said and rolled her eyes. The three always forget to wipe their feet.
Haley’s parents owned the school they all went to, so she got easy tests. Being the daughter of the owners, she was the most popular girl. They went inside and were delighted at the beautiful decorations. There was a chandelier, flower wall decorations, fancy tables and chairs, and the latest TV. Haley invited all her guests up to her room to play video games. Casey, Piper, Sadie, Haley, and two more girls took turns beating each other’s scores. After a while they got bored and Haley suggested sneaking out to the old, crumbling house down the street.
“Come on, it won’t take long. It’s not like that house is forbidden, and I have flashlights.” Haley tried to encourage her guests. Casey and Piper thought it would be fun to check out the old house, but the other girls, Sadie, Millie, and Anna, were scared.
“Well, I guess I’ll go if you two are,” said Sadie to Casey and Piper.
The other girls stayed behind. They said the house was haunted, and the wood was rotted, but Piper, being logical, thought the idea of the uninhabited house being haunted was ridiculous. The four girls went to the backyard and, with some difficulty because of their dresses, climbed over the wall and into the backyard of the creepy old house. Three of them were giggling with the thought that they sneaked into the house, but Sadie had a frown on her face. Casey got worried and asked, “Are you okay, Sadie?”
“No! I’m scared. When I take a walk, I would walk by this house. Every time I would hear a piano play and then I would see a… a princess! Even though she was always on the roof of the house and I couldn’t hear her, she seemed to cry and act so sad. Then a guy- about the same age as the princess- would suddenly appear out of nowhere and comfort her. Then, all of the sudden, they’re gone! Just like that,” explained Sadie.
Casey told Piper what Sadie said, but she just seemed more eager to check out the house. The four went into the house through a hole in one of the walls. Inside it looked like someone lived there but left abruptly, not taking anything with them. There was a dusty old couch, broken chairs, stained windows, and an old dining table. There was also a musty smell.
“Hey, look at this old fridge,” Piper called and opened the fridge. “I can tell from these stains that this thing must have had a lot of sauces, soups and other kinds of messy food… Ewww! And some of the food is still in it!”
Sadie and Casey ran over to see the moldy food, but, to their surprise, the food wasn’t moldy! It was fresh and edible, and actually looked tasty. They were all confused.
“Hey, Haley, come see this!” called Piper, but Haley didn’t show up. Piper called again, but nothing happened. The three of them panicked. They split up and went to search for Haley, and after ten minutes, Casey found her staring up at the ceiling, all pale and shaking. Casey wasn’t sure what to do, so she tiptoed quietly up to the frightened girl and tapped her on the shoulder.
“Aaahhh!!!” Haley shrieked in a high voice. She whipped around to face Casey. When she realized it was her friend, Haley grabbed Casey’s arm and, with a shaking hand, pointed to the ceiling.
“I-I…It w-was there! I saw it!” Haley choked out.
“Easy, easy, calm down and then tell us what happened,” soothed Casey.
Sadie and Piper were coming to see why Haley screamed. Haley explained that while she wandered away to explore the house, the lights went out in the room she was in. When the lights went back on she noticed that her flashlight was missing. Then, she heard strange piano music playing. It was playing a beautiful but sad tune.
“I heard the piano playing above me. I was so scared that I thought there was a piano directly above me. I guess it didn’t occur to me that a piano might have been in a room on the second floor. I quickly jerked my head up and guess what I saw! I saw a princess! She was crying. She looked down over the railing and saw me. She stretched her hand out and said, “Help me,” in the saddest voice I ever heard. She stayed there looking at me and crying for a few seconds, then she walked away and now the music stopped,” Haley explained.
“Well, now that I think about it, I did hear faint, musical sounds coming from this room,” remarked Sadie.
The four girls went back to the party and pretended nothing happened. They wanted to keep it a secret that there was a strange girl living in the house. Casey, Piper, Haley, Sadie, Millie, and Anna had fun playing party games, video games, and eating the fancy food. Haley had a chocolate fountain, and everyone took some fruit and dipped them in the chocolate. Every now and then Piper would dip her finger in the chocolate. One time Casey caught her red-handed. After everyone ate the fancy appetizers, fancy cake, and not-so-fancy-but-delicious pizza, Haley was going to open her presents. She got a makeup kit from Sadie, a new video game for her PS4 from Piper, a pair of shoes from Casey, a gumball machine from goofy Millie, and a gift card from Anna.
When Casey, Piper, and Sadie left, they went to Casey’s house to discuss what to do.
“We should investigate! I’ve never been on a real adventure before,” Piper said.
“Yeah, we’ll be detectives and find out what’s going on. Also find Haley’s missing flashlight,” Casey agreed.
“Well, I don’t know. It sound dangerous, how will we do it anyway?” Sadie timidly asked.
“Well, first we go back to the house and inspect it. We might find things that explain where this ‘princess’ is coming from. We’ll start on Saturday,” answered Casey.
Piper checked the message she got on her phone. “I have to go now, bye guys,” she said.
The next day at school, the students were given a very hard test. The mean teacher made the test unfair. It had questions about things the students didn’t learn yet. She said that the students should have studied harder, but actually they studied as hard as they could. The teacher was just very mean and unfair. She seemed to like seeing her students fail.
After school, Casey went for a walk to the creepy old house. She heard sobbing in its backyard. Alarmed, she scaled the wall, jumped down into the backyard, and hid inside a bush. The sobbing sounded closer. Casey peeked out of the bush and saw a girl about seventeen. She had shiny brown hair in a pretty fish-tail braid. She was wearing a purple ankle-length tulle dress, and had white glittery flats. She did look like a princess. She stopped crying and just sat there. Casey didn’t know what to do, but then the “princess” got up and walked back to the house. Suddenly, for no reason, Casey had an instinct to follow her. Quietly but quickly she followed the girl into the house. Before Casey could sprint into the house, the door closed.
She tried the door knob, but it was locked. She heard that strange piano music again, then, she saw the girl up on the roof. Casey thought that if she could get up onto the roof there might be a trap door that leads from the roof into the house. She looked for something that she could use to climb up the house. She found over-grown vines and decided to use those. She climbed up halfway when she ran out of vines. Bracing her left foot on a nail, and grabbing onto the window pane with her right hand, she pulled herself up onto a misplaced wooden board. She was just a few inches away from the top!
Finally, she got to the roof. Casey was shocked. The beautiful girl held a cat in her lap and was talking to it. Even though the wind was blowing, Casey could hear her say a few sentences:
“Oh, Plushy, I wish I…“ “It isn’t fair! I can’t keep spying on…”
Casey tried to hear more, but the rest was lost in the wind. She decided to wait until the girl left to look around the house. Five minutes later the girl left, and Casey walked around the roof. Just like she thought, there was a trap door to come on and off the roof. She slipped down into the house. It looked deserted, but then she saw the girl down stairs. Until the girl would come up again, Casey decided to look around. She saw, in one room, a piano. It was directly above where she found Haley. She walked closer to it, and decided it was a real piano that someone had to learn to actually play a nice song. Casey started walking through the hall, but she heard footsteps. The girl was coming up the steps! Casey couldn’t go down the stairs, or back through the trap door. She couldn’t risk being seen by the princess-like girl. The only way Casey could escape was to find a window and hope there were some vines or anything she could use to climb down.
All the doors to the rooms were locked, but there was one window at the end of the hall. She quickly, but softly, tiptoed towards the window and peered out. There was nothing she could climb on directly under the window, but, a foot to the left, there were some vines. Sitting on the window sill, Casey stretched her hand out. She could almost reach it, but not quite. She stretched farther, but lost her balance! She fell off the window sill, but, thanks to her quick reflexes, grabbed hold of the vines. She safely climbed down and went home. The next a few days later it became Saturday. Casey, Sadie, and Piper met, to Sadie’s delight, at the local Mall. Casey and Piper were not surprised to find Sadie with at least five shopping bags, each one from a different girl’s store. Sadie loves anything fashion-makeup-related. She is always the best dressed one of the three of them. She always wears just the right amount of makeup, and has her shiny, blonde hair in a braid.
Piper is the total opposite. Her daily outfits are faded jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt with either famous quotes or a picture of a dancing kitten. She doesn’t find an interest in girly-girl stuff. She’s more of a geek. She never goes anywhere without her smart phone and tablet. She just wears her hair down. It’s a black matte color.
Casey explained what happened to her in the creepy house a couple of days ago. Both her friends were surprised and alarmed, and decided to check out the house more thoroughly. Just then, Casey got a text from Haley. The text read:
“Casey, I was on my way to the store, and decided to look around that creepy, old house again. I had ten dollars in my wallet. After I was finished looking around the house, I noticed my purse, with the ten dollars in it, was gone! I think someone is living in the house, and whoever it is, they stole my wallet. The only suspicious thing I noticed was that there was a person, all dressed in black, walking behind me and then disappear around the corner. I didn’t get a good look at him or her, so I can’t tell you if it’s a man or woman.”
Casey read the text message out loud to her friends, and they went to the creepy, crooked, crumbling house. Haley was waiting for them, and when she saw them, she exclaimed:
“Casey! The creep finally did something serious! My mom and dad went to call the police, and they searched the whole house but didn’t find anything,”
“Did they find the piano?” Casey asked.
“No, It’s like everything in the house just vanished! The furniture was gone, like they weren’t even there in the first place,” answered Haley.
“Let’s go and search this house for secret passages,” Piper suggested.
Everyone looked at like she was crazy, but she explained that if everything, even the furniture, disappeared, then the only logical reason was that they were hidden in a secret passage.
Haley, Casey, Sadie and Piper looked for any hidden buttons, springs, or levers. They felt along the walls, and knocked on them to see if they were hollow, but they didn’t find anything. After a while Haley said she needed to go home and do piano lessons. Her teacher was the same one as Casey, Piper, and Sadie’s class teacher. The three stayed at the old house and continued inspecting the floor. Sadie was walking in the old living-room, and then she screamed and fell through a hole. Fortunately she landed on something soft and cushiony, it was a couch!
“Oh my gosh! Guys, I found the furniture!” Sadie yelled.
The two other girls rushed over and pulled their friend out of the hole. Casey declared that she was going to explore that passage and see where it leads. Piper went with her, but Sadie said it would be smart if someone kept watch. Piper and Casey hopped down onto the old couch and cautiously walked into the darkness. Casey tripped over something. It was hard but small. It was Haley’s flashlight! Casey picked it up and used it to light the way.
They neared the end of the passage, but it didn’t lead anywhere. It was just a wall at the end, but there was a bed too. The two girls were scared, and Piper started to run back to the entrance, but Casey caught her and put her finger to her lips in the universal sign: Shh! It wasn’t the bed that freaked out Piper, it was who was on the bed that scared her. It was the girl Casey saw crying in the backyard. She was sleeping, but obviously having a bad dream. She tossed and turned. She mumbled in her sleep.
“Don’t do this… Let me go…!” was what she was mumbling.
Piper and Casey made their way back to the hole where they entered the tunnel. They heard footsteps. They looked up and saw someone. From the figure and the way the person walked, Casey decided it was a woman. The woman was at the entrance hole, so the two girls couldn’t escape. The woman motioned like she was about to jump down into the tunnel, and if she did, she would surely see Casey and Piper. Their only hope was to crawl under the furniture, and into the darkness as much as possible, if they wanted to remain out of sight. They crawled under a sofa, but because of its musty smell, and the damp earth floor, it wasn’t pleasant.
Then, a thought struck the two nervous girls like lightning. They turned to face each other, and both knew they were thinking the same thing.
“What happened to Sadie?” Piper mouthed frantically.
Casey wanted to jump out of the tunnel and scream for Sadie, but she knew even a five-year-old was smarter than that. They were waiting for the lady to leave, and it seemed like they would be waiting for a long time. Piper and Casey thought they might pick up a clue if they listened really hard and try to make out what the mysterious woman was saying.
“…And make sure you take notes this time! I need every, single detail. I have to do a job, so I’ll see you in an hour,” the woman said.
The lady went out of the hole followed by the princess-like girl, but this time the girl was wearing normal street clothes. Casey checked her watch, it said 10:00. She wanted to tell Haley that she found her flashlight, but she had piano lessons. Instead, Casey went to follow the girl. It wasn’t hard because there were lots of people out that day, so she didn’t suspect anyone was following her. Casey followed her all the way to a house. It wasn’t crumbly like the other one, it was intact.
The house was located on a huge lot. There were trees, grass, and horses. It looked like a farm house. The girl went inside, and two male voices greeted her. Casey got close enough and looked through a window. There was a boy the same age as the girl, but the other one was a lot older. He looked like a typical criminal. He had black hair slicked back, a mustache, a dark coat, and small, beady eyes. The three talked, and the young one addressed the girl as Angela. Casey now knew her name, it was Angela.
After a while, nothing worth staying there happened, but, just as Casey was about to leave, the three of them pulled out a bag. Casey was immediately intrigued. She watched in shock as they pulled valuable jewelry out of the bag. She wanted to call the police, but then she remembered that there could be a million reasons why they have a bag of jewelry.
Meanwhile, Piper had found Sadie. She explained to Piper that while they were down in the hole she saw the lady, but because there wasn’t much light, she couldn’t make out any features. She went and hid so the woman wouldn’t see her.
Suddenly, Sadie and Piper saw a man. He had black hair slicked back, a mustache, a dark jacket, and small, beady eyes! Just then, Casey came running up to them.
“Watch that man, and don’t let him out of your sight. I figured out the girl’s name-it’s Angela. I have a plan,” she gushed, and then she sprinted away.
Piper and Sadie watched the man. They watched him walk into a bank, and back out again. Piper declared that she was bored, but Sadie felt that something wasn’t right. The man was sitting on a park bench, and Sadie saw a big, bulky bag next to him. It was slightly open, but she could see a yellow-gold glimmer. She gasped and tugged on Piper’s arm. Piper saw the glimmer and immediately guessed what Sadie was thinking. Acting on instinct, the two girls casually walked into the bank to pick up any clues about the mean-looking man. One banker in there looked frightened. He was all pale and shaking.
The two girls walked a little close, trying not to seem as if they were snooping around looking for clues. Nobody seemed to notice. Piper looked into a trash can to see if there were any threatening notes, but didn’t see any. She looked into the frightened banker’s trash can, and found a crudely written note. It read:
Get me three gold bars. If you don’t, harm will come to you and your family. Don’t call the police, or else!
Piper motioned for her and Sadie to leave the bank. She read the note to Sadie, and she looked shocked. Piper wanted to call the police, but they had no proof that the mustache man wrote it. They couldn’t even prove there were gold bars in his bag. They could have been anything.
While Piper and Sadie were debating on what to do with the note, Casey was busy making a booby trap for the mustache guy and his “friends”. She went into the creepy, crooked, crumbling house and set the trap up with two simple things: a rope, and a lure. She planned for the unsuspecting thief to come in, take the roll of fake money, and fall into the hole. It wasn’t a deep hole that someone would get hurt, it just deep enough so that the victim can’t get out. After a few minutes, Angela came in. Instead of looking sad, she looked angry.
“That must be the money they forgot to bring,” she mumbled. She snatched on the money so hard she didn’t notice the resistance from the rope. The rope was attached to the money, and ran along under the floor. The other end of the rope was tied to lose boards that would cave into the hole with just a little tug.
Angela fell into the hole with a shriek. Then, the boy who was with her and the mustache guy when they looked at the necklaces, came and found her in the hole. He had red hair, and freckles. He called to Angela.
“What are you doing there?” he asked.
“Jimmy! Get me out of here!” the other snapped.
Casey thought that was weird. Usually, Angela was either sad, or daydreaming. Now she was edgy, and unhappy. Jimmy helped her out, and Angela asked what he was doing. He said he didn’t leave the money at the house after all. Then all of Angela’s crankiness went away and they hugged each other. Jimmy sighed. Inhaling steadily, Angela said:
“Don’t worry, no matter what they say, we will call the police when our parents come home,”
They turned to leave, but Casey was sure these teenagers needed help. She jumped out of her hiding place and shouted:
“Hey! You stole my friend’s flashlight!”
Jimmy screamed a high-pitched scream and ran up the stairs. Angela, relieved that it was only a girl of her own age, called Jimmy back down the stairs.
“Is everything okay? You’re the girl who keeps pretending to be a ghost!” accused Casey.
“Yes, I have to if I want to keep people away from this house, but I don’t want to! We need help, please help us!” after saying that, Angela burst into sobs.
Jimmy explained that two adults came to his house one day, and robbed it. He couldn’t do anything because they tied him up. When they asked where his parents were, he said that they were out of town with Angela’s parents for a few days because of their jobs. When the two adults heard that there was another unoccupied house, they went there too, but Angela was there. Jimmy said that one was a woman and the other was a man with black hair, a mustache, a dark coat, and small, beady eyes. Casey immediately knew who he was talking about. He said he doesn’t know what the woman looks like because she always wears a mask when she’s around them. She captured them, and if they tried to escape, she would painfully punish them. If they called the police, she would harm them and their families.
Meanwhile, Piper and Sadie were figuring out how to get a sample of the mustache guy’s handwriting and compare it to the note since there were no fingerprints. Then, by luck, they saw him writing something. They needed to get it, so Sadie had an idea. She strolled over to where mustache guy was sitting, and pretended to trip and fall. He looked up from his writing, and saw Sadie. He seemed to notice her charm, and, putting his paper on the bench, helped her up. That was Piper’s chance! She dashed over there and took a picture of the two notes together. Mustache guy was so interested in helping pretty Sadie up, that he completely missed Piper.
Once that was over, the two girls rushed over to find Casey. To their surprise, they found her chatting with Angela and Jimmy. Quick introductions and explanations were made. Then, the door to the house opened, and mustache guy came in. Casey, Piper, and Sadie hid in some clutter. He grabbed Angela and Jimmy by their arms and scolded them for staying there and dawdling. Angela looked back at Casey, who gestured for her to relax. Once they were gone, Piper and the other two looked at the picture taken with her smart phone, which was the latest version. They all looked at the same time, and gasped at the same time. All the words were written in the same handwriting!
“We need to call the police!” Sadie exclaimed.
“Yeah, but we don’t know where the two crooks are,” Piper replied.
“Yes, but I know where they might be,” Casey said, determinedly.
The three girls rushed to the farm house, and the thieves were there. Actually, only mustache guy was there. Angela and Jimmy were tied up to chairs, gagged, and struggling. Then, mustache guy must have seen them! He crept out of the house right up behind Casey and knocked her out. The next thing she knew, she was bound and gagged along with Angela and Jimmy. She had to escape before mustache guy realized Piper called the police. She saw Sadie and Piper hide in some bushes, but he would find them in a short time. Suddenly, a light bulb turned on in her Casey’s head. She could move her fingers! Inching her way towards Angela, she started to untie the knot.
While that was happening, Piper and Sadie had called the police. They had to get mustache guy off their scent. Sadie had an idea. She took a stone and threw it as far as she could. Mustache guy walked over to the place where the stone landed to inspect it. It had been five minutes, and sweat ran down Casey’s head as she slowly but surely untied the knot. Another five minutes passed and finally the knot came loose! Angela untied Casey and Jimmy, and the three took off their gags.
Meanwhile, mustache guy gave up looking for the other two girls and went back inside. When he saw his prisoners had escaped, he locked the doors before they could get out of the house. Even though it was one against three, mustache guy won. He tied them up better this time, and got a huge pot of boiling water. He was going to pour the scorching water on them! The three captives were hopeless. A tear trickled out of Casey’s eye as she thought of being kidnapped and feeling the terrible water. Just as the crook lifted up the pot to pour it on them, the door burst open. Policemen came in followed by Piper and Sadie.
Mustache guy was so startled that he dropped the boiling pot on his bare feet! The three teens were untied, and Angela and Jimmy told their whole story to the police from the beginning. The police questioned mustache guy, but he would only give away his name, which was Alvin Weed.
“So you’re Alvin Weed. The police have records of you, you mostly pickpocket people. You’re going to jail, Mr. Weed,” said a policeman. Alvin only grunted in response.
“We don’t know where his accomplice is, but we will be on the lookout,” one of the policewomen, who’s nametag read Alice, remarked.
“Hmm, I might know where she is!” Casey exclaimed, and everyone followed her to Haley’s house.
It was ten o’clock, and Haley was having her piano lesson.
“There she is! She’s posing as a teacher!” accused Piper.
The fake teacher heard this, and made a beeline for the door, but the police overpowered her. She scowled but said nothing. Jimmy and Angela were very grateful to Casey and her friends for rescuing them.
“Thank you SO much, Casey!” Angela gushed, and gave them each a hug.
“Yeah, just wait ‘til my mom hears about this! We could be interviewed on TV,” said Jimmy excitedly.
“You solved the Case of the Creepy, Crooked, Crumbling House, Casey. Say that five times!” Piper congratulated.
Sadie said, “’That five times’,” and elbowed her friend.
They all laughed, ordered pizza, and enjoyed the rest of the day.