do we start?" Cet asked, depressed.
drums," Phil answered.
right!" Biff exclaimed, snapping his fingers.
Artie asked, his eyes narrowing on Biff.
think it's time we filled Artie in on everything that's been going
on," Phil said, looking Mr. Mondello squarely in the eyes.
Mondello heaved a deep sigh and nodded, then proceeded to explain to Artie,
pausing long enough to calm him down when he got to the part about Dennie
think we should look for Dennie where he vanished," Artie said when his
dad finished. Artie's words
remained slow but his resolve was strong.
"Dr. Duvalier will not
allow me out tonight, but you can listen for the drums and try to find Dennie
that way. If you have no luck,
we will all go to Jima's tomorrow."
idea," Phil approved. "But,
do you think you should be up and about so soon?"
feeling much better," Artie replied.
"But I am hungry," he added with a smile.
that is the best news I've heard all evening," Mr. Mondello said, smiling
at his son. "I'll see if
Marla has dinner ready," he added, standing up and going to the door.
He opened the door, then stopped and looked at Artie.
"We'll find him," he promised.
know," Artie answered, not quite sure.
no problems tonight," Phil ordered Chet and Biff as they got ready to
leave the guest house later that evening.
"Neither of the Mondellos can take much more stress."
Biff said. "We stick
if we get lost?" Chet asked, casting a sly look in Biff's direction.
have a compass," Phil stated, grinning at Biff too.
cut it out," Biff growled, opening the rear door of the guest house.
"They've already started. Let's
go," he added, leading the way out into the dark night.
darker tonight," Chet whispered, spooked by the eerieness.
looked up. "It's clouding
up," he said. "We'd
better step on it. If it starts
pouring, we may miss it."
three traveled toward the sound of the drums.
Chet realized this ritual was not in the same location as the one he
and Dennie had attended, but it was obvious to see the ritual was the same.
follow 'em," Chet whispered to Phil and Biff as the zombies began
Phil whispered back, his eyes locked on the short man who seemed to be
watching the ritual with an air of leadership.
"See that guy," Phil whispered, pointing the man out to
his friends. "I think he's
you think he may lead us to Dennie," Biff said softly.
Phil agreed. "Dennie's
following them last time didn't really help anything, so tonight we do
something different." They
waited until the zombies had left then remained to watch the balance of the
old buddy," Biff whispered, clapping Chet on the back.
"I'll never doubt anything you say again."
smiled smugly as the beautiful lady from the other night put in an
appearance. When the
festivities were about to draw to a close, the man whom Phil had kept his
eyes on all night left the clearing.
quiet," Phil ordered as they took off after him.
"No talking and watch where you step," he warned, not
wanting their presence to be given away by anything as mundane as a cracked
followed the man, keeping at least one hundred feet back, for almost an
hour. They hid behind the trees
and watched as the man entered a small cabin.
don't think we're on the Duvalier's land any more," Phil told the
others. "Or Jima's either. You
two keep watch here," he continued.
"I'm going to check it out."
moved closer to the house after Phil had moved on.
He wanted to be able to run to Phil's aid if he needed it.
Chet remained where he was, ready to go and get Mr. Mondello if
crept to the house, carefully looking around to see if there was a sentry.
He peered in the window. The
man was looking thoughtfully at a set of papers.
Finally, frowning, he folded the papers and put them in a small
chest. He put the chest on the
second shelf of a bookcase and headed for the door.
Phil quickly moved away from the window and backed into the bushes
surrounding the house as the man left the cabin and took off.
the man disappeared from view, Phil went to the door.
It opened easily. 'He is
probably the baddest dude in the area,' Phil thought grimly.
'Of course, he doesn't have to lock the place up.'
entered the house and went straight for the small chest.
He pulled out the papers. "Great,"
he moaned, unable to read them. Not
wanting to remove the papers in case it would put Dennie in more jeopardy, he
pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from the waste can by the table and,
using his own pen, copied the first two paragraphs.
Dr. Duvalier, he knew, would be able to interpret
put his copy into his pocket, then put the other back in the chest and
returned it to the bookshelf. He
walked down a narrow hallway and came to a door.
He opened it and turned the light on, Phil knew most of the houses
in the area operated on generators, electricity being a pricey commodity
for this area.
Phil gasped. He had hoped to
find Dennie, but hadn't really expected to.
He rushed over, fear clutching his heart, making it patter faster,
feeling not unlike a sneeze which shakes your entire body upon release.
lay still, his eyes gazing up at the ceiling where two large roaches could
be seen scurrying away form the light.
touched Dennie's chest, his face white. "You're
not dead," he said. "You're
not dead, you're not dead," he kept repeating, trying hard to convince
himself of this fact. "It's
what was used on Artie. You're
not dead," he said again, tears making a path upon his cheeks.
go get Biff," he told Dennie. He
took off at a run, wishing Biff had come inside with him.
He didn't want to leave Dennie alone for a second, but he had no
choice. He raced to the door,
opened it and stepped outside, ready to yell for Biff.
froze when he saw four men heading towards the cabin.
He thought briefly that he, Biff and Chet could take them, but as
they neared, Phil saw they were armed.
closed the door and backed into
the bushes. He watched as the
four men entered the cabin. After
a minute, Phil crept back up to peer in the window.
The four men were lounging around.
Phil suspected they were waiting for the short man to return.
cursed under his breath, wishing they hadn't come, wishing he hadn't left
the light on and the door open to the room where Dennie lay.
They had to have help, he decided.
Biff and Chet could keep watch and he would go for back-up.
returned to where he had left Chet, pulling Biff along with him as he
passed. He told them his plan,
then took off.
haven't returned," Mr. Mondello said, entering the kitchen at the manor.
It was half an hour after sunrise and he had just been to the guest
house to see if the trio had any luck and if they were ready to begin the
you think something's happened to them?"
Artie asked in a slow, worried tone from his chair at the table.
No one answered, for at that moment a loud bang was heard followed
by running footsteps as Phil came rushing through the house shouting for
Mr. Mondello answered the call, going to the door leading into the dining room
and pushing it open.
came into the kitchen, breathing heavily, and told them about finding Dennie
and the four armed men who were at the cabin.
He pulled the paper from his pocket and handed it to Dr. Duvalier,
telling about the papers in the chest.
"Maybe you can figure out what the papers are for while we
rescue Dennie," Phil ended.
is he?" Artie asked, relief in his brown eyes.
sure," Phil answered. "I'm
pretty sure it's somewhere on the plantation next to this one.
Not Jima's plantation,
though. It was in a different
direction." he ended.
isn't another plantation around here," Dr. Duvalier said, looking at
Phil thoughtfully. "This
one meets the Demonet plantation
at one side, the sea at another, and our other border belongs to the
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.