Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2008
Middle School Winners

Third Place

Our third place middle school entry was written by seventh grader Emily McKeon who attends the Helen Keller Middle School in Easton, CT.

Margaret Joans and the Mystery of the Thief

Emily McKeon

My name is Margaret Joans. We just moved into an old mansion, were spider webs cling to the old fashioned fountain, and the grass is brown and dead. If you ever saw the outside of our house, you would smirk in disgust and wonder why anyone would want to live in a house like that. We used to live in Pennsylvania, but my Father’s work brought us here. I wonder why we had to move though, we barley see him, he is always on a business meeting or something of the sort. He thought we should move here because the education is good, the house was cheap, and we could fix the outside of the house together. My father loves to landscape, since he is cooped up all day in an office. However, even though the house on the outside is a disaster, on the inside, it is my castle. The marble floor shines so beautifully, it is to nerve racking to step on it, and if there is a smudge, it is cleaned up right away by the maid Elsa. The chandelier sparkles with pride, even though we never use it. My favorite part of the house isn’t the elegant furniture, the spiral hand carved banister, or the warm kitchen. It is the library; there are so many books, and two fat leather couches, perfect for curling up next to the grand fireplace, with a cup of warm apple cider on a chilly cold winter day. Inside the library, it smells like smoke from the fire place and dust from all f the old books. So far, I have read every one of them. My life might seem like pure joy, it is except…I only have one friend. Her name is Amy, and she is a very nice person. She has long blonde hair that gently touches her shoulders, and her eyes are as blue as the sky on a warm summer day. Her smile is a perfect grin, and her laugh is as sweet as warm chocolate-chip cookies right out of the oven. I really quite don’t know why she would want to be my friend, (it must be her loving heart). Let’s just say, that I am not pretty, at all. I have hair that is brown and short, just below my ear, and my eyes are the color of dirt. No one at school cared about me and Amy, until one day.

It was a beautiful Thursday May morning when I woke up from my deep slumber. The birds chirped a song on the old oak tree, the only living thing in our yard. However, instead of feeling nice and warm and cozy under my covers, I was chilly and my nose was freezing. I sat up and saw that my window was open! I walked up to it and shut with all my might; it creaked and moaned like nails on a chalkboard. I stepped back in curiosity, why would Mother leave my window open I thought. My mother says that I could catch a cold if I left my window open. I went to my closet to get dressed, only to find that all of my clothes were gone! What were only left were my white blouse, and my summer yellow plaid skirt. I was shocked and concerned. How were all of my clothes gone?!

Usually, my mother sends my clothes into the tailor, she usually sends half my wardrobe, but all of it? Although I could always get more clothes, this was very unusual. I put on my clothes very slowly as questions buzzed around my head like flies near a dumpster. What is happening? I kept thinking. Then I heard a shriek sounding like nails on a chalk board coming from my mother’s room. I rushed to her room to see what the matter was. I ran into my mother’s room to see my mother sitting in a chair looking paler than her snow white night gown.

“My clothes, my jewelry, my perfume, STOLEN!” she screeched. I peered around in her room to see that her jewelry box and her perfume on her bureau were gone.

“I’m calling Ms. Roseline!” my Mother croaked.

“Not Ms. Roseline!” I moaned. Ms. Roseline was our old next door neighbor. She had a shriveled up body and was only skins and bones. Her voice was high pitched and irritating. She always had a sour look on her face and she hates me and other children too. I know hate is a strong word, but she does! She used to be married, but her husband died of a heart attack. My father used to be best friends with Mr. Roseline.

“Caroline is that you? Come over immediately, I have an emergency!” My mother yelled into the phone and hanged up. “I need my mourning tea,” she moaned. She stood up rubbing her head and walked gracefully down the stairs. I love my mother very much, she is very beautiful and graceful, but she can also overreact, a lot. As I headed towards the kitchen where breakfast was waiting, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to find Ms. Roseline in her pink nightgown looking like a ghost. When she realized that I had opened the door, she gave me a smirk and walked by me into the kitchen. I slammed the door, disgusted by her manners and stomped to the kitchen, only to find Ms. Roseline EATING MY BREAKFAST! I wanted to scream at her but Elsa our maid who I am friends with gave me another plate of scrambled eggs for breakfast. I ate my eggs in silent as my mother told how everything was missing to Ms. Roseline and Elsa.

“Are any of your belongings missing Margaret?” Elsa asked when my mother was finished.

“All of my clothes are gone except for the pair I’m wearing,” I said. My mother made another ear piercing screech. Ms. Roseline dropped her fork in horror and Elsa rolled her eyes.

“We’re calling the police and your father!” My mother spoke between sips of tea. Her tea and my father are the only things that calm her down.

“Shirley we don’t need the police, and you can’t call Rich, he is on a business trip,” said Ms. Roseline. We all stared at her in shock. Hello Ms. Roseline? Anyone home? We were just robbed! I finished my egg and orange juice and left them to their discussing and arguing. I called Amy on the phone and told her to come to my house pronto.

I sat on the stairs reading a book when there was another knock at the door. I opened it and pulled Amy in by the arm.

“Ow! What was that for?” she yelled rubbing her arm as we dashed off to the library. I opened the large wooden doors to the library and quickly shut them behind me. I turned to Amy who had a puzzled look on her face.

“We got robbed!” I shouted at her. “And Ms. Roseline is here, she looks like a ghost and nearly scared the living daylights out of me when I answered the door, and she ate my breakfast!”

“Oh no she didn’t,” Amy remarked. We giggled and started imitating Ms. Roseline when kids walk on her property. Soon we were rolling on the floor laughing our heads off. When we finished our giggling, we seated ourselves

in the two fat leather couches and got serious.

“Tell me everything that happened,” Amy begged. Amy is in love with mysteries; her favorite series is Nancy Drew, even though she has read them more that three times. I told her everything from waking up to the window open and Ms. Roseline eating my breakfast.

“Very interest-,” Amy started but was cut off by the doors to the library opening and police officers walking in. They must have seen our scared faces and said that they were looking around for clues and anything else that might be stolen.

“Would you ladies be so kind to leave the room?” asked one of the police officers. He didn’t need to say it again because we were out of there in a flash.

“Why are there so many police officers?” I asked my mother out of breath when we found her in the main hall discussing matters to another police officer.

“We calculated all of the missing items, and the amount was worth $500 dollars,” my mother spoke. Amy and I stared at each other in disbelief. $500 dollars!

Thank goodness that it wasn’t $1,000 dollars, but $500 dollars, who ever robbed our house did a good job. We walked outside and sat under the old oak tree. The oak tree was the only living tree in our yard, the rest of the trees were dead so they were going to be cut down, but not this one, and this one was my favorite. Amy started to climb the tree, and I followed her up. We sat on our favorite perch. The leaves were just growing back, so you could see all around the neighborhood. We sat there in silence just staring up at the sky. You could only here a muffle coming from the house; the police were asking questions to my mother. Our silence was soon broken when Ms. Roseline came storming out of our hose in her pink nightgown. She looked up at us and gave us an evil look.

“Children should not climb trees” she barked, “You could fall and hurt yourselves.” Not wanting to start a fight, we obediently climbed down the tree and walked inside. We looked out the window and saw Ms. Roseline staring at the tree, and walking back to her house.

“Amy,” my mother called, a few minutes after Ms. Roseline got to her house, “Your mother wishes you to come home.”

“Okay, thank you Mrs. Joans, bye Magarat,” Amy sighed and walked out the door. For the rest of the day, I sat on the stairs listening to my mother talking to the police officers. After hours of questioning, my father entered through the door looking nervous and tired (probably from seeing all of the police officer vehicles in our drive way).

“Father,” I shouted and ran up to him and jumped into his arms. Although I am thirteen and this would seem very childish, I never get to see my father because of his business.

“Oh,” he moaned, “you are getting so big” he smiled. I smiled back at him and we laughed together.

“Oh Rich,” my mother smiled gently patting the side of her eyes with a handkerchief, “you will make cry”. My father smiled walked over to her and gave her a big kiss and hug. Although some children would be embarrassed, I did not care, they were my parents after all.

“I’m just glad everyone is okay,” my father sighed. After our kisses, (not to police officers), they went back to serious matters. I however went back to my room to read my book, now that my father was here; I knew everything would be alright. Soon it was dinner time, and the officers left, letting us know that they would drive by tonight. We sat down at the dinner table, in the dinning room, while Elsa made us dinner in the kitchen.

We sat their in silence, thinking about what to say. My father broke the silence by asking me about school. We were soon talking together as a family, as if nothing had happened.

“Here we go,” said Elsa, as she placed down the steaming plates of breaded chicken and much more. The yams were brown and crispy on the outside, but warm and fluffy orange on the inside. The green beans were fresh picked and boiled, not to much, and not to little. Elsa knows that this is our favorite meal.

“Should I eat in the kitchen?” asked Elsa. Elsa usually eats with us since my father is never home, but when my father is home, she will eat in the kitchen.

“Of course you can sit with us Elsa,” my mother answered pulling out a chair for here. Once we finished our meals and our dessert, chocolate ice-cream, my favorite, I said good night and went to upstairs to go to bed. I put my nightgown on and curled up in my bed. I slowly drifted off to sleep, thinking about the crazy day I had. I was soon fast asleep.

The next mourning I woke up late to hear conversation downstairs. I slid out of bed to see that my window was open again! I got a sickening feeling like the time when I went on Twirl-A-World, and I felt like my stomach had been turned inside out. I raced downstairs to find the police officers asking my mother and father questions.

“Mother Father!” I shouted as I race down to them.

“What happened?” I asked them, they both had worried looks on their faces.

“We were robbed again,” my father spoke up. I looked at my mother and she nodded taking big gulps from her tea.

“How much did they take this time?” I asked.

“Around $1,000 dollars,” my mother cringed, clenching her tea cup. $1,000 dollars! How could this happen. I slumped into the kitchen were Elsa was preparing coffee for all of the officers and my breakfast waiting to be eaten. This time it was French toast. The thick warm pieces rested on my plate. Butter was slapped on and the warm maple syrup dribbled down the sides. Powered sugar was sprinkled on like snow in a meadow. I ate quickly as police officers piled in to get there coffee. When I finished my breakfast, I went upstairs to get dress only to find my wardrobe completely empty, no underwear, bras, socks, or my last out fit that I was planning to wear again.

However, there were two nightgowns left. I saw that my jewelry was turned over, I turned it right side up to find that my gold necklace that used to be my great-grandmothers was missing! I also saw that my best friend necklace that Amy gave to me was smashed to itty-bitty pieces. That did it! I was now furious, who ever this thief was, and I hated their rotten guts. No one can smash my best friend necklace or my great-grandmother necklace. I called Amy again and tolled her to come over immediately.

Soon enough Amy was at my door. I opened the door and we sprinted to the library. When we entered trough the large wooden doors, we sat in the large leather chairs. This time, Amy new what was wrong.

“How much did they steal this time?” asked Amy.

“$1,000 dollars” I screamed, “Are they going to come back tonight? When is this going to stop? Will we go bankrupt? Who is the thief?!

“Well” Amy said, “My guess is that the thief isn’t going to come back tonight since the police are going to keep an eye out, and your mother probably isn’t going to get any sleep.” She had a point, Amy is good at these kinds of situations, and she loves a good mystery. We kept on talking, but we tried to change the subject and talk about the March break we were having. Soon it was time for dinner and Amy had to go home. We ate dinner in silence, jumping at the slightest sound. When I went to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep; I kept wondering if the thief would come back or not. I soon fell asleep and started to dream that Amy and I caught the thief. But when we caught the thief, the face was blurry and no one could see who the thief was.

“No!!” I screamed. I jerked awake to see that it was morning, and that my window was open!

“No!!!” I screamed again. I raced into my parent’s room crying and told them that the thief was here again. Through tears, I saw that my parent’s valuable painting was missing, that was worth another 1,000 dollars! I started to cry even harder. This was just to over whelming; we were being robbed for the third time. When was this going to stop! My mother cradled me in her arms while my father went to look to see what was missing.

“Are we going to call the police?” I asked between sniffles.

“I do not think so,” my mother sighed, “The only reasons they seem to be coming over is because we are giving them your father’s good coffee.” We laughed together, it felt good to laugh.

My mother and I walked down the stairs together in our nightgowns since all of her clothes were gone too. When we entered the kitchen, Elsa was there making breakfast, but this time it was cold cereal. My mother just had her toast and tea. When my father joined us, he said that the thief stole another $1,000 dollars again. Everyone in the kitchen moaned again. I finished my breakfast and went into the library. I picked out my favorite book, Annie May; she is a make believe explorer who travels all over the world. She would always find trouble, but she would some how find the answer. The one I was reading was called Annie May and the Jungle Fever, in this book she travels to the jungle with her friend Emily, only Emily gets attacked by a poisons snake. Emily only has three days to live and needs a special medicine plant in the heart of the jungle, but a giant panther protects it, so everyone is afraid to find it.

But Annie tries to find it, and when she does, she has a huge fight with the panther. Annie finally outsmarts the panther and wins the medicine plant. Right before Emily dies; Annie saves her with the special medicine plant. I wish I could be as smart as Annie, and I wish I could also find the answers to problems. I finished and placed the book back in its shelf. I walked out of the library and right into Elsa.

“Sorry Elsa,” I said, regaining my balance.

“That’s all right,” Elsa smiled, “I was just looking for you. Amy called and said that she would be right over.” Elsa and I walked to the door and sat on the stairs, waiting for Amy. We started to talk about the thief when we heard a knock on the door. I opened it expecting to find Amy when Ms. Roseline stepped in.

“Oh, hello,” she snarled at me, and nodded to Elsa. She scurried into the kitchen were my mother and father were eating.

“Did mother call Ms. Roseline?” I asked Elsa when Ms. Roseline was out of ear shot.

“Not that I know of,” Elsa answered. We heard another knock at the door. I opened it hoping it was Amy, when I came face to face with a short fat police officer.

“Good morning,” he said tipping his hat showing his bald scalp. “May I come in?” he asked after a long silence.

“Oh…of course,” I said letting him in. “My parents are in the kitchen,” I pointed to him. When he was out of ear shot, I asked Elsa if my parents called the police.

“No,” she said. Hmm, that was peculiar, oh well. There was another knock at the door. This time when I opened it, Amy was there. I pulled her in and we raced upstairs to my room. When we entered into my room, we plopped down on my bed. I was folded nice and neatly, Elsa must have made it for me. Amy opened her mouth, but I finished her sentence.

“Another 1,000 dollars was stolen,” I moaned. We fell back on the bed when my mother called me downstairs. Amy and I ran down the stairs to find my mother standing next to the police officer, with a hand on his shoulder, and the police officer was blushing. My mother told us that the police officer ‘Robert’ was going to be spending the night with us. With the police car in the driveway, and a police officer in the house, the thief wouldn’t dare take a step in our house. We saw Ms. Roseline walk up next to my mother.

“Mrs. Joans is right girls,” said Ms. Roseline. Then Ms. Roseline walked out of the house and slammed the door behind her. Mother rubbed her head; she can not stand hearing doors slam.

“May I stay over too please,” Amy begged.

“Of course,” my mother answered walking up the stairs to show ‘Robert’ his room.

“Yes!” Amy and I cheered together.

“Wait”, said Amy, “I do not have any of my stuff”.

“Do not worry Amy, you can borrow my stuff, you can even sleep in my bed with me”, I said, “Minus using my toothbrush”. We laughed together and went upstairs to plan our fun night.

“Okay here is the plan,” Amy explained, “The reason I wanted to stay over was because one, you are my best friend, and two, we are going to catch that thief”.

“What!!” I yelled at her. “Have you gone out of your mind? What if the thief has a gun? Or will hurt us if we try to stop him? Hoe do you know this thief is going to come back?”

“Remember yesterday when everyone thought that the thief was not going to come and he did? Well I think he is going to come since no one else does. Anyway if he does try to hurt us, we can always get ‘Robert’” remarked Amy. She did have a point oh well. We were going to catch a thief tonight.

When we ate dinner and got dressed in our most comfy nightgowns, we planned our strategy.

“Since the thief always comes through your window, we will wait here and pretend to be asleep. When the thief enters the room, we will wait for it to walk out of your room. When the thief gets what it needs, we will be waiting by your door. Now when the thief goes to enter the room, we will trip it, fall on it, which will create a loud noise, ‘Robert’ and your parents will run into your room, to find us on top of the thief,” Amy smiled.

“Could you repeat that one more time,” I joked at her. Amy laughed and through her pillow at me. We laughed and told each other stories until it was time to for to bed. My mother walked in to say good night to both of us.

“Do not worry girls about the thief” she sighed, “If only I knew how the thief was getting in our house.” Amy and I exchanged a quick glance and told my mother that we would be all right. When my mother turned off the lights and left the room. Amy poked me at the side.

“I have an idea” Amy said,” When the thief comes, I will poke you, because I am a light sleeper, but when you wake up, carefully roll over and look me in the eyes, I will carefully point in the direction were the thief is located. Then close your eyes and roll in that direction, then ever so slowly, open your eyes into very tiny slits. Then when the thief leaves the room, slide out of the bed and wait by the door, when the thief walks back, I will give you the signal, slide your foot out and when you trip the thief, pounce on him and scream with all your bloody might. Okay?”

“Yeah okay,” I answered and rolled back to sleep.

I was fast asleep when I felt a short pain in my ribcage. I was about to roll over and shout at Amy when I remembered our plan. I felt my heart beat fast and loud. I was so nervous that the thief would here me. I could feel the sweat drip down my face; my comfy nightgown became dreadfully uncomfortable. I felt another sharp pain and rolled over in Amy’s direction. I slowly opened my eyes, and my eyes locked with Amy’s blue eyes. She quietly lifted her hand and pointed in front of my bed. I closed my eyes and slowly turned in that direction. I carefully and slowly opened my eyes into tiny slits. I saw that the thief was looking in my box at the end of my bed that had my piggy bank in it! I saw the thief pick it up, shut the door and stared right at us. Oh no! I thought to myself, the thief is going to kill me, I am going to die!!!!!! The thief kept on staring at us.

It slowly came up to the side of my bed. I slowly closed my tiny slits, and pretended that I was asleep. I heard the thief searching around in my side table draw. I heard a faint pop, and I felt something smooth tickle above my lip. I wanted to scratch at it, but I did not dare. I heard the thief chuckle and walked out of my room. I slide out of my bed and followed Amy to the door. We heard only silence, until we faintly heard the steps of the thief. Amy motioned one, two, three with her fingers and we both slide our legs out. We heard the thief and I felt it touch my leg, then the thief slowly fell to the ground.

“NOW!!!” screamed Amy. We pounced on the thief. The thief kicked and tied to shake us off. The thief wriggled like a fish out of water. I saw a hand and bit it. I heard a howl from Amy and bit the next hand I saw; I heard a howl from the thief. I sunk my teeth into the hand until I could feel the bone. Before I knew it, I felt a kick in the chest and my wind was blown out. This time it was my turn to howl in pain, but I kept my teeth sunken into the hand.

POW. I felt another kick in the chest, and another, and another. I wanted to let go and cry but I knew I couldn’t. I bit harder as tears streamed down my face and the kicks kept flying. One kick slid up and hit me in the nose, then the eye. Tears started to pour out of my eyes as blood flooded down my nose and my eye started to inflate. Just before I was going to let go, ‘Robert’ and my parents rushed in. Robert grabbed the wriggling thief, while my parents grabbed me and Amy. The thief was all dressed in black, wearing a mask that covered every inch of the head, except for two eye holes.

“Yes we caught the thief,” Amy yelled, blood oozing out of her hand, the one I bit on accident.

“Well who is the thief?” my father asked sleepily.

“Well let’s find out,” said Robert. We heard a scream as Robert pulled off the mask coming from the thief. Robert pulled the hat off so slowly, the temptation was killing me.

“It is” said Robert. “Ms. Roseline!” everybody yelled except Amy.

“Why Caroline?” my mother asked.

“Because I couldn’t stand your family,” Ms. Roseline screeched, while rubbing her hand, the one I bit on purpose which was no bleeding too.

“What’s so wrong with us?” asked Elsa as she stepped in my room.

“You always bragged about your things Julie” she pointed at my mother, “Rich, you do not know how to treat a woman” my father’s head sagged.

“And you” Ms. Roseline pointed at me, “You are the most disgusting, annoying brat on this entire planet,” she yelled, her blood veins popping out of her neck.

“Where did you hide our stuff?” My father yelled at her.

“She smiled and evil grin, “I will never tell you,” she cackled.

“Do not worry, you do not have to” Amy smirked at Ms. Roseline, “I know where it is”. Ms. Roseline dropped her mouth and started to babble like an idiot.

“Show us,” informed Robert. All of us followed Amy down the stairs out of the house and right in front of the old oak tree. Amy walked around the tree, and started to feel the bark until she pulled the bark off and opened the tree. We all stared at her as she showed us all of the missing belongings placed carefully and neatly inside of the tree.

“But how?” my father asked in amazement.

“Simple” Amy said, “Well, I first noticed that Ms. Roseline wasn’t interested when you always talked to her Mrs. Joans. I can tell by someone’s body language. When Margaret and I climbed the tree, she came out and started to scream at us as if climbing a tree is as dangerous as playing with fire. When we went in side, she looked at the tree awkwardly and touched it from behind. Then when she came over again, when you were robed the third time, no one called her, and no one called the police.”

“But Ms. Roseline told me that Margaret called her and the police,” my mother asked with a confused look on her face.

“But when you called me” Robert interrupted, “Mrs. Joans called me and said she needed a handsome, strong police officer”. This time Robert blushed again, but in embarrassment.

“That’s right” Amy said, “Ms. Roseline called the police and just invited her self over.”

“But why would she call me in particular?” Robert asked. “I got a special phone call just for me; I was the only one to come over?”

“I called you because you are insipid,” she screamed at him. Robert just rolled his eyes and held Ms. Roseline tighter.

“Yeah, and your beautiful,” he mocked.

“But how did she get in?” my father asked.

“Through my window,” I said sadly. My parents stared in shock at me.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” my mother asked in concern.

“I don’t know,” I said and shrugged my shoulders.

“But how did she get up on the roof?” my mother asked.

“I can answer that” said my father, “Before Mr. Roseline died, we had a secret passage were we walked through a secret tunnel, and would meet each other. It was on the side of the house on the roof right next to Margaret’s room. That was why I cleaned the gutters so much, it was an excuse to see Mr. Roseline.”

“But how were you able to open my window with out making that piercing sound, and when the police kept on driving by, hoe did they not see you?” I asked Ms. Roseline.

“Well duh” Amy answered, “Ms. Roseline used oil, so the window would open with out that noise, and the secret passage way is on the south side of the house.”

“But why would she hide our belongings in the tree?” my mother asked.

“Because she couldn’t hide it in her house, the police might decide to look around. She hid it in the oak tree, because since that was the only living tree, it wasn’t going to get cut down. And if the police found it, she wouldn’t be suspected.”

“Well that settles it” said Robert throwing handcuffs on Ms. Roseline, “You’re going to jail.” Robert and Ms. Roseline got in the police car and drove off in to the night. I told you Amy was good at this mystery stuff.

“Let us fix those wounds,” my mother said trying to smile.

“I completely forgot about them, but when I remembered, they started to hurt all over again. We went into the kitchen and we got bandages and medicine. When my parents were finished healing us, everyone went back to sleep.

When I fell asleep, a feeling of relief washed over me because I knew I could sleep that night knowing that the thief was behind bars and our belongings were safe and back were they belonged.

Continue to the 2nd place story

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