Chapter 18



The Chapters






















"Why?" Dennie demanded angrily, glaring up at Milan.  "What kind of monster are you?"  

"Silence!" added the small man.  "Or you shall meet the same fate as your bandmate."  

"How did you know he was my bandmate?" Dennie demanded, his eyes narrowing on the small man.  

"I know much," the Bokur informed Dennie haughtily.  "And that which I know not, is not worth knowing."  

"Then I guess you know you're fried," Dennie retorted.  "The moment you hurt my bandmate was the beginning of your end."  The Bokur's gaze burned into Dennie's and Dennie turned away.  "How could you?"  he asked Milan again.  "There are kids!" Dennie snapped.  

"I didn't do it to them," Milan argued.  

"But you know and you're doing nothing to stop it," Dennie pointed out.  

"Lots of people know," Milan informed Dennie.  "Even their families."  

"Maybe," Dennie conceded.  "But you're originally from the states.  You know there's more to it than magic."  

The Bokur growled and stepped toward Dennie, his hand going for the pouch of powder which hung at his waist.  

"Please, no?" begged Milan.  The Bokur rounded on him.  "It....it might be better to keep Dennie alive for now.  We....we might need to use him as a hostage later."  

The Bokur seemed to think the matter over then turned and with one fluid movement reached into the pouch and pulled out some powder.  He blew it into Dennie's face.  

Dennie froze for a brief second then fell sideways, hands now visible along with the bloodied rope.  

The Bokur turned to Milan.  "Now, he lives but will not be a problem."  

Milan remained as the Bokur departed.  He untied Dennie and carried him into another room, one which was dark and smelled heavily of incense.  "I'm sorry," he told Dennie, lying him on a hard  surface.  Milan returned to the door then turned and looked at the still youth once before leaving.  

Dennie lay still, unable to move, wondering what was going to happen next.  Imagining Artie's fear at being declared dead.  Knowing, without a doubt, his bandmate had undergone the most traumatic experience of his life....alone.  


Mr. Mondello followed the boys out of Artie's room, leaving him to rest.  

"Mr. Mondello, about the cave," Phil began.  "Chet will show you where it is while Biff and I look for Dennie."  

"Good idea," Mr. Mondello agreed.  "Dennie said there was fresh air.  We can go in underwater and look for the other entrance from the inside."  

After Chet and Mr. Mondello went to get the SCUBA gear, Biff and Phil borrowed the truck and headed towards Jima's plantation.  

"Pull over behind that hedge," Phil instructed Biff as they neared the plantation.  

"Why?" Biff demanded as he did as ordered.  

"Because we don't need to be seen," Phil said.  "If one or all of Jima's bandmates are involved, we shouldn't announce our arrival.  If we follow them, they might lead us to Dennie."  

Artie sat up in bed, his pulse pounding and his eyes wide.  "It's okay," Mrs. Duvalier said, leaving her chair by the window and coming to stand by Artie's bed.  "Would you care for some water?" she asked.  

"Pl....please," Artie answered leaning back.  "Wh...where...."  

"They haven't returned yet," she told him.  "They haven't been gone long," Mrs. Duvalier added.  "Try and get some more rest," she urged him.  

"I....I ne....need to g....go t....to...." Artie began.  

"The bathroom?" she asked with the lift of a brow.  Artie nodded.  "I'll get Galen," she told him.  "He'll help you."  She walked to the door and opened it.  

"Galen!" she called, then returned to Artie's side.  "Are you hungry?" she asked him.  

"A li....little," he replied slowly.  

"Good," said Dr. Duvalier smiling.  "A liquid diet," he specified, looking at his wife who nodded in agreement before leaving the room.  

"If you feel up to it, how about a shower?"  Dr. Duvalier asked Artie as he helped him to stand.  

"That sounds go....go....good," Artie replied with a smile.  

Dr. Duvalier helped Artie into the bathroom, then rounded up some clean pajamas for him.  When he returned to the bathroom, Artie had already managed to start the water and removed his clothes.  

"I'll leave the door open in case you need anything," Dr. Duvalier told him, then returned to the bedroom to change the sheets.  

The seawater had washed most of the dirt off Artie during his rescue but there was enough left to have caked up and dirtied the sheets.  Dr. Duvalier smiled as he put on clean ones, imagining how much better Artie would feel after his shower.   

The water was shut off and Artie could be heard moving around.  By the time he had put on his pajamas, Mrs. Duvalier had returned with a bowl of chicken soup.

"You just hop into bed and eat your soup," she told him.  "Then you can take another nap.  By the time you wake up, the others should have returned."  

Artie, with Dr. Duvalier's arm for support, returned to bed.  He gratefully accepted the soup with a smile and sipped the broth.  Soon, his eyelids grew heavy.  Mrs. Duvalier took the soup away and Artie lay back against his pillow.  In seconds, he was sound asleep.  


When Artie next awoke, his father, Chet, Biff and Phil were in the room with him.  

"How are you feeling, son?" Mr. Mondello asked.  

"Bet....ter," Artie said slowly, but without the stutter.  "Where....is....Dennie?" he asked, his brown eyes anxious.  

"We couldn't find him," Phil said softly.  "I followed Kreg all day and Biff tried to keep up with Anthony."  

"Tried to?" Chet asked, giving Phil a quizzical look.  

"I followed him for about half an hour, then this truck pulled up and some man with two bloodhounds got out," Biff explained.  "I tried to stay downwind, but it was no good.  Those two treed me in less than five minutes."  

"Bloodhounds?" Mr. Mondello asked.  "Here?"  

"Anthony said, Conna, his friend, raises them.  When Dennie went missing yesterday, he called Conna and asked him to bring a couple to help find him," Biff informed the group.  

"Did they pick up Dennie's trail at all?" Chet asked.  

"'Yeah," Biff acknowledged.  "But right at the border between their plantation and this one, they started acting funny.  Conna said someone had buried something which affected the dogs sense of smell.  They would be useless for a day or two."  

"So Dennie could still be on their plantation or he could be on this one." Mr. Mondello stated, frowning.  

"What about the cave?" Phil asked.  "Did you find the other opening?  When are we going to get those people out?"  

"We found it," Chet replied grimly.  "But it doesn't matter," he added.  

"Why not?" Biff demanded.  

"Because it was empty," Mr. Mondello answered.  

"But it isn't low tide," Phil said.  

"Which means, they are being kept somewhere else," Mr. Mondello said.  

"Then we have to find the new hiding place," Artie declared, his words coming out slow, but strong.  "Dennie is probably being held there as well."


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The Mondello Boys belong to Simon and Schuster and the Stratemeyer Foundation. The Mondello Boys Fan Fiction authors of the Mondello Detective Agency have just borrowed them for an adventure or two. The authors promise to put the boys back when they are done with them. The authors do claim copyright to the original characters in this story. Please do not borrow original characters without express permission of the authors.