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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: Gracie Jane, the Finder-Outer
By Sally Hanan
04/12/07


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Gracie Jane stood in her room staring at the mussed-up duvet. Her purse, the one with a whole dollar in it, was missing!

“Moooommmmy,” she yelled around the corner, through the living-room and into the kitchen.

“Gracie Jane! How many times have I told you not to shout at me from your bedroom?” Her mom still had a dishcloth in her hand, and that line that showed up sometimes between her mom’s eyes was deep and twitching.

“But Mom….”

“And don’t ‘but Mom’ me, little girl. Whining will get you in the naughty spot. This is your last warning: no shouting and no whining.” The door clunked shut behind her.

Gracie Jane could feel the angry monster climbing up inside her tummy, and she ran to her pillow to scream into it until the monster in her went away. The pillow felt wet when she lifted her head off it, and when she wiped her eyes, they felt wet too.

“Hmph.” She didn’t care, because she was going to find out who took her purse, and then she knew that her mom would be sorry and say sorry. “Hmph!”

She could hear the TV playing through the door – Jack, her twin brother, was watching Blue’s Clues again. She wanted to go and watch it with him, but she had more important clues to find…

She closed her eyes to see if she could remember if her bedroom door was open or closed when she ran in. In her brain she saw the door handle pushed against her closet. It had been open. But Gracie Jane had closed the door the last time she had left her bedroom!

She tried to think about who could have taken it. She didn’t want to ask her mom, because she was probably still mad. She looked at the bedroom floor. One of Jack’s cars was lying in its side.

“Hmph,” said Gracie Jane.

She crept out into the hallway and snuck into Jack’s room. It was hard to walk in there, because Jack’s floor was very very messy.

She lifted up Jack’s car box. Her purse was not there.

She threw back Jack’s duvet and lifted up his pillow. It was not there either.

She looked in his closet. Her purse was not there either.

Gracie Jane went back into her bedroom and knelt by her bed. “Dear Jesus. You ‘member that story ‘bout the lady that looked an’ looked all over her house to find her money and then you helped her find it an’ she was very happy? I need help like that. Amen.” Then Gracie Jane walked right into the living-room and sat down with her brother.

“Jack, did you see my purse with the whole dollar in it?”

“Yes,” said Jack. It’s on the sofa.” He jerked his head back to where Gracie Jane’s pink purse sat on a cushion.

“My purse!” said Gracie Jane, and she pushed the purse into her chest and kept it there as she smiled. Then her smile disappeared. “Hey, Jack! How come my purse was in here, when I ‘member putting it on my bed?”

Jack lifted his shoulders up and down and smiled. Suspicious, Gracie Jane opened up her purse to find it empty!

“Mooommm!”

***

Jack had had a nice crinkly feeling in his jeans’ pocket, but now the stolen dollar sat there like a big stone. He heard a noise on the carpet. Mom’s feet were planted beside his knee. He looked up. Mom’s line between her eyebrows was deeper than he had ever seen it before.

“Jack. You and I need to have a little chat.” Suddenly the spit wouldn’t go down Jack’s throat, no matter how many times he tried to swallow it.

***

Gracie Jane spread herself out on the floor to watch the rest of the show. Blues’ clues were too easy for a clever finder - outer like her and a helper like Jesus!


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This article has been read 898 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/12/07
Cute title, and very realistic writing of a young child's thoughts and words. Sweet story!
Anita Neuman04/13/07
Very cute story. Delightful voice!
Debbie OConnor04/13/07
Adorable! A perfect children's mystery with realistic characters and behavior. Excellent work and a great title too.
Sara Harricharan 04/13/07
This an adorable story! I love the inner dialouge and espeically dear Gracie. She's a miniature sherlock in the making. Especially like the bit with the story from the woman and the missing coin. ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/16/07
I loved the story--best of all--the child's faith.
Cheri Hardaway 04/17/07
Whining will get you in the naughty spot. Don't I know it! God doesn't like whiners. I loved that line.

You did a beautiful job of capturing the innocence and not-so-innocence of childhood with this 'mystery' of Gracie Jane's. Nice work.

Blessings, Cheri
Jacquelyn Horne04/17/07
Cute! And you even brought Jesus into this crime solving.
Rita Garcia04/17/07
Precious, delightful and an all around great story!
Joanne Sher 04/18/07
What an absolutely wonderful job of characterization on Gracie Jane. This story was absolutely delightful.
Catrina Bradley 04/18/07
What a wonderful job of writing from a little girl's POV! I like the part about the "angry monster" - I'm familiar with it too. :)
Julie Arduini04/18/07
The Finder-Outer, that is classic. This was a fun read and very well done. I could see this as a pre Nancy Drew series for a younger set, like my sleuthing kids!