Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)
TITLE: Wonder Mummified
By Troy Manning
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The search party never encountered what it initially sought, and only one was to return home that day. The party itself included Eva Belacroix, age 12, Will Denson, age 11, Ginny Ballard, age 13, and Zander Ivens, age 8. As to the object of their expedition, they were attempting to find a vampiresí nest that a classmate assured Eva rested near the top of a tree in Igorís Grove. While Will and Ginny both assumed they were looking for a batís nest, it was Zander who thought to ask why the vampires didnít live in a cave. Eva informed the others that it wasnít vampire bats but vampire people that lived in the tree. Will and Ginny tried to persuade Eva they were on a foolís errand but she would have none of it. Eva even told Ginny that her new best friend would be a vampire if Ginny turned back now.
Will was the first to sight the oblong boxes near the top of one of the oak trees. Zander, who had recently attended the King Tut exhibit said they were clearly mummy sepulchers and not vampire coffins. Will countered that he had recently attended the Count Dracula exhibit and insisted he was mistaken. By this time, Eva had strapped the hooks to her boots that her dad used for climbing telephone poles and was making her ascent. Ginny attached to her wrist one end of a leather strap her mom used to spank their horse. After putting the strap around the tree, she fixed it to her other wrist. She then shimmied up the tree after Eva. Although Will had no such accoutrements, he was quite adept at tree climbing and was readily able to follow Ginny. The caterpillar-like procession upwardly advanced in reverent silence so as not to wake the undead. Zander, having neither the equipment nor skills the others possessed, looked up at them and wept. Hearing his sobs, Ginny appeased him by saying they needed someone to stay below to catch the vampires or mummies when they dropped them.
Zander watched the others until they reached the nest. Beyond this, he was unable to chart their progress. Although there were some scuffling sounds and even what sounded like the cracking of a whip, there were no screams or shouts and all was soon silent. He called out to the others but no reply was forthcoming. He waited for what, to a child anyway, must have seemed an eternity, then shivered and screamed some before starting homeward.
With no bodies having dropped, Zander was uncertain as to whether the cluster of boxes consisted of vampires or mummies. He wondered just what to say to his parents. Since they were not likely to believe him, he decided to tell them he was separated from the others and got lost. Still, he knew there would be many questions from the parents of the other children as well as from police.
He was correct in his assumption that a thorough investigation was to follow. But even beneath the lash of his dadís leather belt, Zander managed to stick with his story. It wasnít long, however, before he sorely regretted taking that stand. For not only did investigators recover the other children relatively unharmed, the nests were found to be replete with mummies.
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