Blog a Book: Chapter Four

A Musical Mystery

“Well, what is it?” Mrs. Quibble asked, trying to see inside the package and subsequently dripping dishwater all over the floor. Frowning, she began to wipe it up.

“A . . . box?” Elora said as she peered inside the package. “Why would someone give me a box?” she asked, puzzled. She pulled the box out and turned it over in her hands, studying each side. It was made of dark polished wood. On one side was a carved picture of a cat, sitting serenely; on the other was a dog, standing regally. She opened the top — immediately a soft melody began to play over and over and over again.

But while Elora and her father stared at the box, a shadow fell over Mrs. Quibble’s face. For as soon as she had seen the box, her eyes went from a look of shock and recognition to one of deep sadness. Codger noticed the change and sidled over to lick her hand.

“Oh, wait, there’s more,” said Elora peering at the bottom of the box. Carved into the wood at the bottom were nine quarter notes. But they were completely without musical context except to rise and fall, giving a very raw notion as to the melody.

“The kittens!” Elora suddenly cried remembering last night’s downpour, “what if they were swept away in a flash flood? I’ve got to go to the mansion and check on the new litter. Be right back!”

“Wait, Bricky,” began her father, “I’ll go with y . . . .” But it was too late. Elora was already out the door and racing to her bike. In just a few minutes she pulled up to the Drindle mansion, dropped her bike, and ran to the porch, not even thinking about the strange green slime and weird footsteps from last night. She crawled slowly under the porch and looked hard at the back crevice where the kittens were. There was enough light to just make out a few tiny forms in the darkness.

“Whew . . . still there.” She sighed with relief and turned around to crawl back out. But something startled her. There was a sound — like a door opening and closing softly near her. But it wasn’t coming from above on the porch. It was coming from inside or perhaps under the house. She stopped and listened. There was a loud *scccrrraaapppeee* that made her heart jump. What on earth was going on?

Then, the music began — slow, other worldly music that sounded oddly familiar. Chord built on chord until the entire mansion seemed to shake. But Elora wasted no time trying to figure out what it was or where it was coming from. She gave a mighty heave and slid through the mud to the porch opening, ready to dart to the road. But just then, the front door swung open behind her. “Hello, Elora,” said the voice, “I’ve been expecting you.”

To be continued . . . .

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