"I managed to get us booked on the next flight to Haiti," Mr. Mondello said the next morning as he, Dennie and Mrs. Mondello sat at the breakfast table. "Unfortunately, I had to take the seats that were left, so no one will be sitting together."
Dennie shrugged. "As long as we get there," he said, giving up the pretense of eating and dropping his fork down on top of his undisturbed scrambled eggs.
"Eat your breakfast," Mrs. Mondello ordered.
"I'm not hungry," Dennie replied.
"Nor am I," Mr. Mondello countered. "But if you starve yourself, how much help do you think you'll be in finding your bandmate?"
Dennie stared at his father, whose return gaze never waivered, then picked up his fork. "I'll call the guys and let them know," he said before taking a small bite.
"Another one," Mrs. Duvalier said to her husband as he sat down. She handed him a cup of coffee then sat down opposite him. "Why do they keep warning us?" she demanded fearfully.
"They think we will try to get involved," Dr. Duvalier said. He shook his head. "Fenton called this morning," he continued. "He, Dennie and three of Dennie's friends are coming to look for Artie."
"They can't stay here!" Mrs. Duvalier snapped.
"Marla!" Dr. Duvalier reproached his wife.
"But they will take it out on us if we help the Mondellos," Mrs. Duvalier said tearfully. "You know what they are capable of."
"I know," he responded somberly, getting up and putting an arm around his wife's shoulders. "But you know the Mondellos. If it were our son, they would do everything in their power to help us. All they are asking from us is a place to stay while they search. How could we deny them?"
"But if they..." Mrs. Duvalier began only to fall silent as her husband placed a finger to her lips.
"We can send Dennie and his friends searching elsewhere," Dr. Duvalier suggested. "None of them speak the language so they won't be able to find out Artie's corpse never left the plantation."
Mrs. Duvalier shivered. "It was bad enough when we found out they turned their own followers into those...those...things," she said, unable to accept the truth even now. "But to think of Artie as one." She shivered again and looked into her husband's eyes. "I know you like this place because it was your grandfather's," she said. "But couldn't we sell it and move back to the states?" she begged.
"Marla," Dr. Duvalier began in a sad voice.
"You could start another practice," she said quickly, knowing he had been about to refuse outright. "You know you miss it."
"I'll think about it," he promised, kissing her forhead. "I'd better go clean the blood the door or no one will work today," he added, moving away.
Later that evening, the people gathered once again outside the home of the Bokur. The Bokur stood on the grave, chanting and raising his arms up into the air before falling to the ground and putting his lips to the earth. Again, he stood up and repeated the same chant then fell and kissed the dirt. One more time did this ritual take place as all who were gathered remained on the ground, their heads resting on their arms against the earth.
The Bokur stepped away from the grave and four men leapt to their feet and picked up shovels. They began to dig up the grave as some began drumming and others dancing. When the body had been unearthed, it was placed on an altar made of wooden planks which had been placed in the shape of a cross. The dancing and drumming ceased and the Bokur walked around the body chanting and throwing a dark green substance about it.
The Bokur then raised his arm and with a knife cut it, allowing his blood to fall down onto the still flesh. He then lifted the head, opened the mouth and let the liquid flow down the throat of the youth.
This done, the Bokur laid the boy's head back down and opened the eyes. The drumming and dancing began as the Bokur sat just above Artie's head.
As dawn neared, Artie's chest could be seen to move, soft breaths at first and then deep heaves as his mouth burst open to gulp in air. He shot up into a sitting position, his eyes wide in an unseeing horror.
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.