Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Curiosity Killed the Cat (10/10/13)
TITLE: The Mysterious Neighbors
By Leola Ogle
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I am a voracious reader – I learn big words from reading. Someday I’ll be a famous writer. I love Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Cat’s the sleuth. I told her sleuth sounds better than detective. For our summer adventure before we start sixth grade, we’ve been looking for a mystery to solve.
It shouldn’t be hard since we’re both curious. For instance, Cat’s real name is Catalina. Her mom says it’s because she was conceived on Catalina Island. Conceived sounded ominous, so we sneaked out Mom’s medical dictionary to look up conceived. I certainly wished we hadn’t. The pictures we saw made Cat cry. She said it looks like she was a salamander in a bean pod when her parents found her. As a writer, I told her books can be wrong all the time.
Our curiosity would be best used to solve mysteries. We looked for weeks and couldn’t find a single mystery – unless you count why boys haven’t gotten any smarter after completing fifth grade. Now that’s a real mystery I wish someone would solve.
Then we discovered what we should’ve noticed all along. There’s a mystery right next door – Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein. They’re ancient. Cat’s says they’re just old and hates when I use big words. Daddy says they’re special people because they escaped Hitler and came to America. That’s enough to make them mysterious.
Mr. Goldstein is mean, and we’re afraid of him. He has beautiful roses growing in his front yard and yells when kids get too close or accidentally throw a ball in the rosebushes. Personally, I believe it’s no accident with some of the boys.
Mrs. Goldstein is very nice. She gives me and Cat scrumptious homemade cookies. And that’s the mystery. We haven’t seen her for weeks, only Mr. Goldstein, and he looks even meaner.
“Bet he killed her and buried her in the backyard,” Cat whispered.
“He’s mean, but I don’t think he’s a killer, Cat. Daddy says he looks mean because of war atrocities.”
“Annie, quit using words I don’t understand. I don’t know about atrocities, but war is killing. If he didn’t kill her, maybe he has her locked up.”
I knew right then we had a bona fide mystery to solve, and a good story to write. Cat got some film for her Brownie camera because she said, “We’ll need pictures as proof.”
The first week we peeked into windows, and looked in the backyard for a freshly dug grave. Nothing! We even knocked on the door one morning. When Mr. Goldstein answered, Cat blurted out, “We’re wondering if Mrs. Goldstein has any cookies like she usually gives us?”
He scowled and grunted, “There’ll be no more cookies from my wife.”
Cat and I ran like the devil was after us. Our hearts were pounding, but we chortled in delight. We knew we were on the right track. Mr. Goldstein had done something to Mrs. Goldstein.
I borrowed Daddy’s binoculars and Cat and I spied through his windows. Several times a day, he carries a tray upstairs. Looks like food, but there’s a needle, too – the kind doctors use to give shots.
“He’s drugging her,” Cat whispered. “Probably keeping her a prisoner upstairs. Let’s get closer so I can take pictures.”
So that’s what we did. The next day Cat decides to climb the tree to see where upstairs Mrs. Goldstein is. Once up the tree, she aims her camera. I’m not sure what happened. One minute she’s in the tree, then she’s on the ground screaming like a banshee. She screamed louder when Mr. Goldstein came running outside.
“Get her mother,” he yelled at me, but Cat screamed, “Don’t leave me, Annie.” All that caterwauling brought Mom running outside to see what happened.
While Cat gets a cast on her broken arm, I got the scoop from Mom. Seems Mrs. Goldstein has cancer, is very sick, and wants to be at home. Mr. Goldstein used to be a doctor, so he takes care of her. “They love each other, Annie. We should pray for them.”
I felt so sad, I cried. I’m dedicating my story, “Curiosity Didn’t Kill Cat,” to the Goldsteins.
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