TWEEN MYSTERY SERIES by Lora Richards
Dee Days (Book One)
Finally Saturday came—the day Anita and I were going to explore the arena. I had to admit to being more than a little scared to go inside. Anita managed to get two flashlights from her dad’s workbench. I took two pairs of gloves from a box of winter things we kept on a shelf in the laundry room. It’s probably pretty dirty inside. I grabbed a couple of water bottles and jogged out to meet up with Anita. The pants I got for my birthday came in handy after all.
Anita waited on the corner for me. We left our bikes at home because we didn’t want to leave them outside alone while we were inside. Anita wore overalls at least three or four sizes too big for her. They made her look even more like a boy than she already did with her short mousy brown hair.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“You’re not chicken are you?” Anita punched my arm. “C’mon, don’t be such a fraidy cat!”
“I’m not scared.” I put on a brave face even though my legs trembled more and more the closer we got.
We walked around to the back, in search of the best window to go in through. One of the bottom rows didn’t have a board nailed across it, and all the glass was knocked out. We should be able to squeeze through the empty space, but how are we going to get up there to do it? Anita’d stood on my shoulders last time and barely reached high enough to look inside.
“How about the picnic table?” I suggested. “If we can drag it through these bushes, we can lean it up against the side and climb up to the window.”
Dee.” Anita ran to the picnic table. “C’mon!”
It took some doing to get the table through the bushes. Branches scraped our arms as we pushed and pulled it through the thick foliage. Afterward, we sat with our backs against the wall and gasped to catch our breath.
“Here, drink this.” I handed Anita a bottle of water. “Don’t drink it all. Save some for later.”
A few minutes later, we climbed the table up to the window ledge. Thankfully, the table wasn’t as hard to climb as to move. We stood on the top end of the picnic table, and Anita pulled a flashlight from each of her side pockets and passed one to me. We tuck our heads through the empty space and shone our flashlights into the darkness.
“What do you see?” Anita asked.
“It looks like a hallway of some kind. It looks pretty empty to me.”
“Well, let’s go in then!” Anita already had her body halfway in.
I took a deep breath and followed her lead.
Please don’t let there be any ghosts!
Anita jumped to the floor, and I landed with the same feeling you get when you step in mud. As my feet slid from under me, I reached for the wall to steady myself.
“Ewwww! Yuck!” My hands touched the cold slimy walls “What is this? Gross!”
Anita fell flat on her butt. Totally grossed out, I still couldn’t stop from laughing. She looked hilarious sitting in the middle of all the slime.
“Ha ha, very funny! Are you going to stand there all day laughing at me, or are you helping me up?”
Gloves. I gave her a pair to put on and offered my hand to pull her up. The slimy substance dripped from Anita’s butt. She tried to brush it away but only managed to smear it around. Unable to contain myself one second longer, I doubled over in hysterics.
“You can stop any time, you know!”
“I’m sorry. I guess we better get a move on.” I wiped the tears from my eyes.
Particles of dust and small bugs danced in the rays of our flashlights as we inched our way down the dark hallway. A terrible stench came off the slime-covered walls and floor.
“Which way should we go?” Anita shone her light down one way and up the other.
“Doesn’t look like it much matters. Let’s go in the direction of the front doors.” From outside on the street, I saw they were boarded up pretty tight.
“Okay,” Anita agreed, and we made our way down the hallway, side by side, neither one of us wanting to lose sight of each other.
I gagged as the odor grew more and more disgusting. One thing I knew for sure, I’d never smelled anything like it before. The hall curved. I shone my flashlight up ahead and pointed to what looked to be a doorway. “Wonder where that goes?”
“I don’t know. You want to find out?” Anita shone her light on the door.
“I guess I do.” My pulse raced. Thoughts of ghosts filled my mind. I wished I never asked anybody about the place. What if we go through the door and see a ghost like Kim talked about? I stopped dead in my tracks
Dee! You can’t change your mind now!” Anita begged me to follow her.
As Anita eased the door open, cold air rushed at us from inside. The hairs on my arms stood straight up, and goose bumps covered my body from head to toe—fear paralyzed me. My feet stuck to the floor. I suddenly realized Anita had already ventured inside and forced my feet to move. Anita stood in the middle of the room, her flashlight hung down by her side. I moved slightly to see what scared her.
We stood in what once served as a change room. Lockers lined one wall; all the doors stood open to reveal them empty. On the floor, directly in front of Anita, sat a mattress covered in blankets with a big mound in the middle.
“What is it?” I shone my flashlight on the pile.
“I’m not sure, but I think I saw it move.” Anita reached for my hand. “Maybe we should get out of here.”
“Wait, do you hear something?” I could swear it sounded like crying.
“I don’t hear anything.” Anita looked real scared. Her hand trembled in mine.
I moved toward the makeshift bed, only to have Anita pull me back.