Matt and Scott were spending the night in Ghost Mansion. The haunted mansion was famous and many a boy was dared to spend the night inside the mansion if he was brave enough to do it. Matt and Scott had often scoffed at the rumor of the mansion being haunted and so their friends dared them to spend the night inside.
It was midnight, the bewitching hour, when they heard a loud thump.
“Did you hear that?” asked Matt.
“I was hoping that you hadn’t,” replied Scott. “What do you think it was?”
“Let me see, I’ll just look into my crystal ball and see what I can see,” teased Matt.
“It’s not a laughing matter,” said Scott. “Do you think it was the ghost?
“There is only one way to find out,” declared Matt. “Come on, let’s go!”
Matt grabbed his best friend’s arm and started dragging him towards the stairs. Scott pulled his arm away.
“Are you crazy? I don’t know about you old buddy but I am not anxious to meet any ghosts!”
“I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts.”
“I didn’t then, but I might now. Listen Matt, maybe we should just go home!”
“What ‘” and have everyone call us a chicken?” yelled Matt.
“Shh! It might hear you!”
Matt stared at his best friend and then started laughing. “Listen to yourself. Before you bragged about how you would not be afraid of a ghost and now you are petrified.”
“That was before we were spending the night in this creepy old mansion. You know the stories of other boys who have spent the night here and were never seen again. I don’t want that to happen to me, to us I mean.”
Matt stared at his friend. He was surprised. He never would have guessed that his best friend was afraid of ghosts.
“Listen Scott, we both know there are no such things as ghosts. This place is falling down and probably something just fell off the wall. Let’s go see what it was, okay?”
Scott smiled at his friend. “You’re right. There is no such thing as a ghost.” He paused a minute and then asked, “You don’t think that there is someone else in the mansion with us, do you?”
“If there is it is probably Marc and Brad. It would be like them to dare us to spend the night here and then try and scare us.”
Laughing Scott said, “I bet you are right. Let’s go look, but you go first, okay?”
Matt did not wait to see if Scott was following him. He headed for the dark stairs.
Ghost mansion sits on top of a hill surrounded by overgrown shrubs and trees. It was built in 1705 by Baron Van Snyder. It is rumored that lights shine in the windows at night and that smoke comes out of the fireplaces on cold nights. No one has lived in the old mansion for over fifty years except the ghosts, that is. Parents who have misbehaving boys tell them that the ghosts of Ghost Mansion will get them if they do not behave. Even the bravest boy, who did not believe in ghosts, would behave better for a little while after being threatened with the Ghost Mansion’s ghosts.
The mansion has had several owners, five of whom were murdered in the mansion. There are rumors that many people had entered the mansion during the past three hundred years and were never seen again. All this added to the mystery of the mansion and explained why many a boy wanted to investigate what really went on in the mansion.
As they were climbing the stairs Scott grabbed Matt by the back of his shirt. “You don’t think it’s true do you?” asked Scott.
Matt had to think fast. “You mean about the five men who owned the mansion being murdered inside the mansion; or the rumor of people entering the mansion and never being seen again?”
“Both!” whispered Scott.
“We know that the five owners were killed inside the mansion, there is proof of that, but the rest is pure fairytales used to scare children. Now be quiet and hurry up!”
The two boys reached the second floor of the mansion and searched all the rooms. They did not find anything suspicious.
“Guess we go on to the third floor,” said Matt.
“Can’t we just call the police?” asked Scott.
Matt ignored him and started climbing the stairs. When they reached the third floor, still they found nothing.
“Guess we go on to the attic,” said Matt.
“I was afraid you were going to say that,” declared Scott.
“You can stay here if you are afraid,” Matt told Scott.
Scott thought for a minute and said, “No, no, I think we should stay together.” The thought of staying alone petrified Scott.
The two boys opened the attic door which squeaked loudly. Slowly they ascended the rickety old stairs. The windows in the attic cast an eerie glow on the stairs. When they reached the top they paused.
Matt shined his flashlight around the large open room. It was empty except for a trunk in the middle of the floor. Slowly the boys walked over to it. As they got closer the lid of the trunk slowly started to open. Scott screamed and ran to the stairs and continued down them. Matt stood still, keeping his flashlight aimed on the trunk. He was mesmerized by what he was seeing.
The trunk lid was opened all the way by a white hand until it dropped with a bang against the side of the trunk. Slowly a ghostly white figure started to rise from inside the trunk. Matt was fascinated. When the figure’s face came into view Matt started laughing.
“Very funny Brad, you scarred Scott half to death. Where is Marc?”
Marc too was in the trunk. Suddenly they heard Scott scream.
The three friends ran down three flights of stairs and found Scott in what they thought was the master bedroom. Scott was staring at a dead body in the middle of the floor. He was as white as a sheet.
Matt quickly walked over to the body and felt for a pulse. There was none but the body was still warm.
“Be careful guys. He’s dead but his body is still warm so the killer must be around here somewhere.”
Matt pulled out his cell phone and called the police. After reporting the dead body he and his friends went to look around. Someone else had to be in the mansion. As the boys were searching they heard the sirens and went outside to meet the police officers.
“Is one of you the boy who called about a dead body?”
“Yes officer, I called you. Follow me,” requested Matt.
Several officers followed the boys to the master bedroom. “The body is in there sir,” explained Matt.
Three officers entered the room and quickly returned. “Is this some kind of a joke?” asked an officer.
Matt looked at the man and said, “I don’t think sir that being dead is a laughing matter.”
The officer grabbed Matt by the hand and dragged him into the room. “What dead body?” he asked.
Matt and his friends looked around in astonishment.
“I swear officer, there was a dead body right here!” exclaimed Matt pointing to the floor.
“That’s right officer, we all saw it,” said Scott coming to Matt’s defense. “I-I found it!”
The officers looked at each other. The boys knew they were in trouble.
“How old are you boys and what are you doing in here?” asked an officer.
“All of us are sixteen,” explained Matt. “Scott and I don’t believe in ghosts so Brad and Marc dared us to spend the night here. Scott and I heard a loud thump upstairs so we went to investigate. We found nothing except for an old trunk in the attic. While looking at it the lid started to rise. Scott got scared and ran downstairs. I waited to see what was going on. It was only Brad and Marc playing a trick on us.
“While we were upstairs we heard Scott scream downstairs. We ran downstairs and found him in this room with a dead body. After I checked for a pulse, there was none, I called the police.”
“You boys know that Ghost Mansion is off limits,” said the officer in charge. “It is old and decrepit and you could have gotten seriously hurt. You will have to come downtown with us.”
“Yes, sir,” replied the boys.
Matt had driven his car to the mansion and so had Marc. It was arranged that a police officer would ride in each car to be sure the boys came to the station.
“Sir,” said Matt, “aren’t you even interested in the body?”
“What body, young man? There is no body.”
“Yes sir but there was. We all saw it!” exclaimed Matt.
“Then where is it?” asked another officer.
“I think that is your problem, not ours,” said Marc.
“That’s right,” agreed Brad.
“Just get in the cars,” ordered the senior police officer.
The ride to the station was quiet. All the boys were wondering what had happened to the body. They were also worried about how much trouble they were in. When they arrived at the station they were taken to the police chief’s office.
“Chief Stanton sir, these are the boys who called about the dead body in Ghost Mansion.”
“Thank you Officer Manning, you may go.”
“Yes sir,” said Officer Manning as he turned on his heel and exited the police chief’s office.
“So boys, would you like to tell me why you made the prank call?” asked the Chief.
Everyone looked at Matt.
“Why are you all looking at me?” questioned Matt. He then continued and told Chief Stanton the whole story. He finished by saying, “Sir, we don’t know how the body disappeared but we all saw it and I know he was dead because I could not feel a pulse in his neck.”
“Listen boys, I love a good prank as much as the next man but when you call and tell us there is a dead body we expect to find a dead body. Now you boys wasted those officers’ valuable time. They could have been doing something important. You'””
“No Sir,” said Matt interrupting the chief.
“What did you say young man?”
“I said no sir. We did not waste their time by making a prank phone call. Do you think that we would be stupid enough to hang around there waiting for the police if there really wasn’t a body? Your officers should have looked for it!” said Matt a little heatedly.
“Now calm down son. Officer Manning told me that there was no evidence of a body. As to why you hung around and waited for the police I am sure you have some twisted reason for it.”
“What!” shouted Matt as his friends tried to calm him down. “Get your hands off me,” he said as he struggled against his friends.
“Please excuse our friend Chief Stanton, he does not like to be called a liar,” said Scott.
“Listen boys, I am willing to forget the whole thing if you promise not to go near Ghost Mansion again. You should not have gone there in the first place. Now do you promise?”
Marc, Scott, and Brad promised that they would not but Matt said nothing.
“Good, now get on home before I change my mind and call your parents or have you arrested.”
“Yes sir, yes sir,” replied the boys as they drug Matt out of the chief’s office.
As they were leaving they heard the chief call Officer Manning to his office. Matt wanted to try and eavesdrop on their conversation but his friends declared they were already in enough trouble and made him leave.
Mat Is Unhappy
The boys all drove to Matt’s house and snuck into the basement. Matt’s parents thought he was spending the night with Scott and Scott’s parents thought he was spending the night with Matt. The same was true for Brad and Marc’s parents.
After they were all settled in the large rec room Marc asked, “What do you think happened to the body?”
No one said anything.
“I did find a body, right guys? I mean I didn’t just imagine it, did I?” asked Scott.
“No we all saw it and I touched it.”
Brad gasped, “Then the killer might have still been in the house and moved the body!”
“We might have all been murdered!” declared an excited Scott.
“Calm down and let me think,” said Matt. “Something is going on there and I aim to find out what it is,”
“But we promised not to go back there,” Marc reminded him.
“You three promised but I didn’t. I don’t like being called a liar or being treated like I was a dumb kid. I am going back!”
Matt’s friends tried to talk him out of it. They told him that the killer might still be hanging around the mansion and he might kill him. Nothing they said could make the boy change his mind.
“I am going back!” Matt declared again.
Spying on Ghost Mansion
For the next several nights Matt, Scott, Marc, and Brad spied on the mansion. Scott, Marc, and Brad could not let Matt go there alone. It was too dangerous and besides there was strength in numbers ‘” they hoped!
The first night they parked their car a ways away from Ghost Mansion and crawled through the woods until they were close to the mansion but still in hiding.
“What exactly are we looking for?” whispered Brad.
“I don’t know exactly but be on the lookout for anything suspicious and especially watch out for the police. I am sure Chief Stanton noticed that I did not promise to stay away from here.”
The first night the boys watched nothing happened. The same happened for the next three nights but on the fourth night it got exciting.
The boys were watching Ghost Mansion and they were watching for the police. As they watched the mansion the suddenly saw a light appear in the master bedroom. Just as suddenly a light appeared in the third floor and then another on the second floor. Quietly the boys watched as different lights appeared in different rooms.
“What is going on in there?” asked Brad in a whisper.
“I thought the electricity was off to the mansion,” whispered Marc.
“It is supposed to be off,” agreed Scott.
“I’m going to try and get a closer look,” said Matt.
As he stood up to go for a closer look they heard a loud scream. They could not tell if it came from the mansion or from the woods around them. Marc, Brad, and Scott were scared and ready to leave. Matt still wanted to check out the mansion; however, the others overruled him and made him leave. Matt decided then and there that if he wanted to investigate what was going on at the mansion he would have to do it without his three friends.
The Lone Man
When they reached Matt’s house and once again entered the basement rec room Matt said, “I guess we had better give it up guys. It is way too dangerous!”
“I am glad that you have finally come to your senses,” declared Scott.
Marc and Brad agreed with him.
“Let’s get some sleep,” said Matt.
Matt hoped that the others bought his story. He would have to investigate the mansion by himself. He knew that something odd was going on there and he was determined to find out what it was.
The next night when he left the house he was surprised to find his friend Scott waiting for him by his car.
“You didn’t really think that I believed you last night did you?” asked Scott with a smile.
“You know me too well. Listen Scott, you don’t have to go with me if you are afraid. I will go by myself. I have to know what is going on.”
“I know and that is why I am going with you. You cannot go alone. I promise I won’t try and stop you. I just want to help, okay?”
That night the boys were in for a surprise. As they watched the mansion, listening to the scary noises and watching the lights, they decided to get a closer look. As they were about to slowly make their way to the mansion they had to stop suddenly because they saw a lone man sneaking towards the mansion from the other side.
Matt quickly grabbed hold of Scott’s arm pulling him to the ground. Scott started to protest but Matt clamped a hand over his friend’s mouth and whispered, “Look!”
Scott, who obviously had not seen the man, looked to where Matt was pointing. “Do you think he is the murderer?” He asked.
“I don’t know. I didn’t get a good look at him, did you?”
“No it’s too dark. What are we going to do now?”
“Let’s sneak up to the mansion and look in the windows. Maybe we can see him,” suggested Matt.
The boys were thankful for the cloudy night as they slowly made their way to the mansion. Every once in a while the lights would flash inside the mansion and they would stop and wait to go on. It was somewhat nerve racking. Finally they reached the room which the man entered through a window. It was the master bedroom where they had found the body.
Slowly they poked their heads above the window sill. The room was empty.
“Now what?” asked Scott being afraid of what he knew the answer would be.
“We have to go in,” replied Matt.
“I knew you were going to say that. Let’s go.”
Matt smiled at his best friend. Although Scott was scared Matt knew he could count on him. Slowly the boys opened the window and entered the room. As quietly as they could they searched the whole mansion including the attic.
When they were back in the master bedroom Matt said, “Where could he have gone?”
“Maybe he left out another window,” suggested Scott. “What was that!”
“I don’t know,” said Matt who was a little shaken. “Maybe we had better go and come back another day. If he was the murderer we don’t want him to kill us too.”
Scott needed no second encouragement. He was out the window almost before Matt stopped talking. Smiling Matt followed his friend.
Back at Matt’s house the two boys discussed what had happened.
“It sounded like a gunshot to me,” said Scott.
“Yeah, me too,” agreed Matt. “That is why I suggested that we leave.”
“Now what are we going to do?” asked Scott.
Matt thought for a minute. “I think that we will wait for Saturday night. We will dress in all black and go to Ghost Mansion at midnight. I know something is going on there and I want to find out what it is. Will you go with me?”
Scott turned pale but said, “Whither thou goest I goest.”
Matt punched his friend in the arm. “I knew I could count on you.”
Saturday night was rainy. The boys dressed all in black and even painted their faces black. They did not want to be seen. Again they parked the car a ways away from Ghost Mansion and walked through the woods. They waited and watched for what seemed like an eternity. Several times they saw police cars patrolling the area.
At one o’clock they saw several men enter through the same window the man entered the other night.
Matt looked at Scott. Scott knew exactly what his friend’s look meant. They were going in.
Scott started to get up but Matt stopped him and said, “This time we are going to be smart.”
Matt pulled out his cell phone and called the police. “I want to report gun shots at Ghost Mansion,” and then he quickly ended the call. “That should get them here,” he said with a smile.
“I hope it doesn’t get us thrown into jail,” replied Scott.
“Come on,” was the only response he got.
Slowly the boys made their way up to the mansion. They opened the window and stepped inside. As they turned their backs to shut the window two men stuck guns in their back.
“Raise your hands into the air and slowly turn around,” ordered one of the men.
The boys did as they were told. The men recognized the two boys but said nothing.
“What are you two doing here?” asked the other man.
Before he could get an answer they heard police sirens.
One of the men asked, “Now what do we do?”
“Please don’t kill us.” pleaded Scott. “We won’t say anything.”
The men just smiled. “I guess we will have to take them with us. Haven’t you boys ever heard that curiosity killed the cat?”
“Follow me,” ordered the other man.
The boys, still holding their hands in the air, followed the man. The other man followed them. To the boys surprise they entered the master closet.
“Turn around,” ordered the man in the lead.
The boys did as they were told. When they were told to turn back around they saw that the back of the closet had opened to reveal some steps.
“You boys go first and be quick about it. We don’t want those cops to catch us.”
Matt and Scott went down the steps and were followed by the men. Would they be killed down there? What would their parents think happened to them?
They entered a brightly lit underground installation. There were several men and women there working. The man leading the boys smiled at the shocked look on their faces.
“You wanted to know what was going on here and now you know,” said one of the men.
Matt turned and faced the man. “Will we be allowed to leave here now that we know?” he asked.
“That all depends on you,” said the man. Before he could explain more they were joined by another man.
“Why did you bring them down here?”
“Look,” the man answered as he pointed at a monitor on the wall.
Matt and Scott looked and saw several policemen enter the mansion. Scott screamed help as loud as he could.
“It won’t do you any good to scream, young man. This place is completely soundproof.”
Dejectedly Scott stopped shouting. They watched as the police searched the whole mansion and left. What was going to happen to them, they wondered.
“What are you going to do to us?” asked Matt trying to be brave.
Before anyone could answer a man walked up.
“A ghost,” screamed Scott and passed out.
Matt bent down to help his friend. Another man bent down and picked the boy up off the floor and carried him over to a table and gently lay the boy down on it. He slapped Scott’s face until he started to revive.
“Wha-What happened?” he asked.
“You fainted,” said Matt as he smiled at his friend.
Sitting up Scott said, “But that man — .”
“Exactly,” replied Matt. “He is a man, not a ghost.” Turning to the man he said, “I checked your pulse. There was none. How come you aren’t dead, not that I want you dead, but you should be dead.”
Everyone in the room broke out laughing. An older gentleman said, “I guess we will have to let you boys in on our little secret.”
“Do you think that is wise, sir?” asked a lady.
“What option do we have? We cannot keep them here.”
Matt and Scott looked at the faces of the men and women standing around them. One of the men handed them a towel and told them to clean their faces as he liked to see who he was talking to. Matt and Scott obeyed.
“My name is Blanton, Professor Blanton. You boys have stumbled upon a government secret so now what are we going to do with you?”
“You could let us help you with whatever it is you are doing here,” suggested a hopeful Matt.
“We could,” said the professor, “But somehow I don’t think that would work. You boys are sixteen and have school, remember.”
“You could just let us go,” suggested Scott.
“No, I don’t think that will work either,” said the professor.
“We could inject them with our experimental mind drug,” suggested a man. “They won’t even remember they were here and we do need some ‘” test rats you might say.”
“We can’t do that sir, they are just a couple of boys,” interjected a lady.
“Calm down everyone. No, we can’t experiment on them; that would not be humane. However, we cannot just let you go. I am sure you are curious about what we are doing here so I will tell you.
“We are a secret laboratory for the government. We develop biological mind controlling drugs. Our work here is secret because “number one” the American people probably would not like what we do and “number two” our enemies would like to get their hands on our research.
“When we heard the reputation of Ghost Mansion we sent some technicians to investigate and they decided that the rumor would help us. Of course, we helped by spreading other rumors about the mansion so that people would be too scared to come here.
“We have had a few pesky boys come but they were always scared away and never came back, that is, until you two. The night you two decided to spend the night our surveillance system was down. That is how you got into the mansion without our knowing it.
“We are doing top secret government work here. It would cost the country several millions of dollars if we had to relocate. The problem is, can we trust you boys to keep our secret?”
Looking at Matt he said, “We could possibly use a brave boy like you.”
Matt said, “Not without Scott. Oh I know he isn’t as brave as I am but he is loyal and he always comes through in a pinch.”
They talked for a long time. It was arranged that the two boys would work for them in exchange for their not being sent away somewhere. They would be junior spies.
“I guess we had better let you boys get on home. We will contact you when we need you to currier something for us. If you will just give us your phone numbers we will contact you soon. Any questions?”
“Just one,” replied Scott. “How come he isn’t dead?”
Everyone in the room burst out laughing.
“We injected our colleague with a drug that slows down the heart so that he appeared to be dead. On others it worked within minutes but it seemed to have no effect on him. When he left to go home we thought nothing about it. When we finally got our surveillance equipment up and running we saw you boys and your friends and heard you call the police. When you left to look for the murderer, a brave or stupid thing to do, depending on your opinion, we retrieved his body. We apologize for the trouble this caused you but you see we could not let the police know that we are here.”
“Now I understand why the lights flash on and off and why there are strange noises coming from inside the mansion! Come on Scott, Junior Spy, we had better get home, said Matt.