Chapter 1: A Summer Job
Summer vacation had just started for Bill and Michelle Martin, who lived in Portola Point, California. Bill was a tall, handsome eighteen – year – old boy with brown hair and blue eyes, and basketball was his sport. This was going to be a special summer for Bill because he had just graduated with honors from Portola Point High School and planned to attend the University of Southern California in Los Angeles – UCLA – in September. He had always wanted to be a biologist and UCLA had one of the best biology programs in the United States.
Michelle Martin, his sister, was a cute girl of seventeen, with red hair and blue eyes. She was in her senior year at high school and wanted to become a journalist. She loved reading and solving mysteries.
Nick Chan, their good friend from Montego Bay, Florida, had just graduated from high school too. He was a Chinese – American boy of eighteen and he was a basketball player too. Nick was an excellent student and had won a scholarship to study veterinary medicine at Columbia University in New York City. He was excited about the scholarship and about moving to New York City.
Our story starts on a hot summer morning in late June.
“Have you checked your email yet?” asked Michelle, turning on the radio. “There could be a message from Nick.”
“I’m not even awake yet,” said Bill sleepily. “You do it, Michelle, and please turn down the radio.”
“Wow, I was right!” said Michelle. “There’s a message from Nick.”
“What does he say?” asked Bill, trying to wake up.
“You’ll never believe it! He’s leaving for New York City in two days…” said Michelle.
“Did he find an apartment yet?” asked Bill.
“No, listen, he’s going to stay with his aunt and uncle who live there until he finds an apartment. He says they have a Chinese grocery store in New York’s Chinatown.”
“That’s great!” said Bill, who was finally awake.
“And there’s more!” said Michelle. “Come and read…”
Michelle and Bill stood in front of the computer screen and read the whole message.
…and now the great news! The Columbia University Student Job Program has two summer jobs at the International Art and History Museum. There’s going to be a big show that lasts one month – from July 10 to August 10 – and the museum needs two attendants. Most students are away on vacation so I accepted the job and thought of you, Bill. Why don’t you come to New York and work at the museum with me? You can stay at my aunt and uncle’s; they have a big house with three guest rooms and they would love to have you and Michelle here. This is a great opportunity to spend some time together and see the Big Apple. I need your answer by tomorrow morning. I hope it’s YES! You can fly to New York City anytime after the Fourth of July celebrations.
Michelle and Bill stared at the screen. They couldn’t believe their eyes – Nick had just invited them to The Big Apple.
“Breakfast’s ready!” said a voice downstairs.
“Let’s go and have breakfast… and give mom the news,” said Bill excitedly.
They went downstairs to the kitchen where Mrs Martin, a friendly woman of about forty – five, was reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee. Bill and Michelle looked at each other nervously and told her all about Nick’s email and invitation.
“What! New York City! Both of you!” Mrs Martin exclaimed, dropping the newspaper. “Is this a joke?”
“No, it’s not a joke,” said Bill, trying to be calm. “Mom, it’s the chance of a lifetime. Jobs aren’t easy to find; I can work and make some money before I start UCLA. I’ll need the extra money when I start buying books. And I can see New York City.”
“And what will Michelle do all day?” asked their mother, confused. “Well, Nick invited me too,” said Michelle, smiling. “I can be a tourist and maybe I can help in his aunt and uncle’s grocery store.”
“Just a minute, guys, we have to talk to your father this evening.”
“But mom, I’m eighteen years old and…,” said Bill nervously.
“I know how old you are, Bill, but we’re your parents and we care about you,” said Mrs Martin. Michelle, who was only seventeen, did not say a word. “I’m going to phone Nick’s mother in Montego Bay and see what she says.”
“Nick said he needs an answer by tomorrow,” said Bill.
“I know this is exciting and you kids want to go, but New York is not around the corner. When dad gets home we’ll all discuss it during dinner. You’ll have an answer by tomorrow morning,” said Mrs Martin, picking up the phone.
The next morning Michelle and Bill were awake at dawn and decided to prepare breakfast for the family.
“Do you think mom and dad will let us go?” asked Michelle, putting the butter and jam on the breakfast table.
“Well, they didn’t say ‘no’ last night at dinner; they said they would think about it,” said Bill, looking at his watch.
“Yeah,” said Michelle, “and mom talked to Nick’s mother on the phone for over an hour!”
At about eight o’clock the kitchen door opened and Mr and Mrs Martin walked in.
“Good morning, kids,” they said.
“Now let’s sit down and talk,” said Mr Martin, sitting down at the table. “Your mother and I have thought about Nick’s invitation all night long and we’ve decided that we trust you. You can go to New York City for a month. We think this will be a great opportunity for both of you.”
“Oh, dad, thanks!” cried Bill and Michelle, hugging him.
“But, wait a moment,” said Mr Martin, looking at his son and daughter kindly, “if there are any problems when you’re there, we want to know about them. Is that clear?”
“We promise!” they said laughing.
“We’ll call every day… well, almost every day!” said Michelle.
“You kids are lucky because your dad works for an airline and you can fly almost free,” said Mrs Martin. “Dad will book seats for you today.”
Michelle and Bill jumped up from their chairs saying, “We’re going to email Nick with the great news!”
“I’m going to call Pam and we can go shopping together,” said Michelle. “I need some new clothes for the trip.”
“You don’t need new clothes to go to New York,” said Bill. “The people in New York have never seen your old clothes! Besides, there are shops in the Big Apple too, you know.”
“Silly!” said Michelle. “Boys will never understand.”
Mrs Martin looked at her husband and said, “We’ll miss them, won’t we?”
Chapter 2: The Big Apple
“We’ll be landing at JFK International Airport in twenty minutes,” said the captain of the plane. “Thank you for flying with us.”
Nick and his aunt and uncle met Michelle and Bill at the airport.
“Nick! Great to see you!” said Bill happily.
“You’re even taller than last summer, Nick,” said Michelle laughing.
“You guys look super!” said Nick excitedly. “Bill, Michelle I’d like you to meet my aunt and uncle – Marian and Kevin Chan.” They were a friendly – looking Chinese – American couple of about fifty.
“Happy to meet you!” said Bill and Michelle.
“Thanks for inviting us to stay with you,” said Michelle. “It’s very kind of you.”
“Oh, we’ve heard so much about you,” said Marian. “It’s a pleasure to have you here.”
“And now you’re probably hungry,” said Kevin. “How about a big Chinese dinner at our house?”
“Sounds great,” said Bill. “But first let’s call mom and dad and tell them we’ve arrived.”
The three friends had so many things to tell each other that they did not get to bed until late.
The next day Michelle decided to unpack and visit Chinatown and Little Italy, while Nick and Bill went to the Student Job Office at Columbia University. They met with Professor Stefan Morescu, who taught East European History at the university and was in charge of the big show at the museum. Professor Morescu was a tall, thin man of about fifty with pale skin, long grey hair and small glasses; he rarely smiled or laughed. He was born in Eastern Europe and was a famous professor and author.
“Please sit down, Nick, Bill,” said Professor Morescu, sitting behind an old wooden desk in a dark office with maps of Eastern Europe on the walls. “Let me tell you about your job at the International Art and History Museum. You’ll both work as museum attendants and wear the blue museum uniforms and name badges. You have to collect tickets, watch the visitors at the show and make sure that no one touches anything. Your job is important because this show is very special: EAST EUROPEAN CULTURE AND JEWELS OF THE 15th AND 16th CENTURIES. It’s the first of its kind on the Atlantic Coast. I personally organized it and it took me years of research. I know it’ll be a success. Part of the show is dedicated to the great fifteenth – century Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes. The most important jewel of the show is the Vampire’s Tear, which is a huge diamond of great value shaped like a tear. People from all over the country will come to see it because of its beauty and tragic history.” His dark eyes shone with pride.
“The Vampire’s Tear! What a strange name,” said Bill softly. Professor Morescu seemed bothered by Bill’s comment and looked at him with his deep, dark eyes. “Strange? Why?”
“Well, professor,” said Bill nervously, “the word vampire makes me think of… Dracula, and Bram Stoker’s book. I know it’s only fiction, but…”
Professor Morescu was silent for a moment and touched the old wooden desk with his long, thin fingers. “Only fiction? Young man you have a lot to learn about the history of Eastern Europe. Remember, Vlad Tepes’s other name was Vlad Dracula.”
Bill and Nick were embarrassed and didn’t say anything more. “What do you know about Vlad Dracula and about vampires?” asked Professor Morescu, staring at the two boys with his dark eyes.
“Well, sir, not much,” said Nick.
“Vampires are often called ‘the living dead’ because after they die they continue living at night by feeding on human blood. Vampires can live for centuries if they continue drinking human blood and sleeping in their native earth.”
Bill and Nick suddenly felt cold and looked at each other. Then Nick said, “Now we understand, sir.”
“Good! The show opens on Saturday evening, the day after tomorrow, for a special group of people. There will be a reception with a lot of important guests, journalists and some of New York’s leading jewelers. Please be at the reception on time, wearing your uniforms. Museum hours are 10 am to 6 pm. Tuesday is your free day because the museum is closed. On Wednesday the show remains open until 10 pm. Any questions?” He paused and then said, “Good day, boys.”
Bill and Nick left the university building and walked around the campus.
“What do you think of Professor Morescu?” asked Nick.
“Gee, he’s kind of weird, isn’t he?” said Bill, looking at Nick. “And not very friendly.”
“Exactly!” said Nick, “Did you notice how dark it was in his office? All the curtains were pulled even though it’s a beautiful sunny day.”
“He must like the dark,” said Bill. “That’s why his skin is so pale. What do his students say about him?”
“Well, they say he’s brilliant, very strict and always wears black, old – fashioned suits,” said Nick. “He’s written several important books on East European history. His English is perfect, but you can still hear a bit of a foreign accent.”
The two friends looked at each and started laughing. They called Michelle and told her to take a cab and meet them at Carnegie’s Deli in Manhattan for lunch. Nick knew Manhattan because he had spent several summers there with his aunt and uncle.
“Sorry I’m late,” said Michelle, getting out of the cab. “I’ve never seen such traffic.”
“Don’t worry; you’ll get used to it,” said Nick. “Today we’re going to eat the world’s biggest and best sandwiches. There are a lot of delicatessens in New York City but Carnegie’s is world famous. Wait until you see their sandwiches – and taste their delicious cheesecake!”
“This place is amazing, and so is the menu,” said Michelle, after finding a seat in the crowded deli.
“I know; it takes almost an hour to read it,” said Bill.
They ordered huge pastrami sandwiches and could hardly finish the cheesecake.
“By the way,” said Michelle, “Pam said to say hello to you, Nick. She often asks about you.”
“Really?” said Nick, happily. “We chat online and text message each other. She said she might even come to visit one day.”
“How’s your dog, Rover?” asked Bill.
“He’s fine – as playful as ever, and with a big appetite!” said Nick. “How about a walk through Central Park? It’s not far from here.”
They got up from their table and walked towards the door of the deli.
“I’ve always wanted to see Central Park,” said Michelle.
“Central Park is huge, but we can see part of it today,” said Nick. “There are free concerts in the park during the summer and you can ride a horse there too. Did you know that the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum are on the Fifth Avenue side of Central Park? And the American Museum of Natural History is on the other side of the park.”
“There are so many famous museums close together,” said Michelle.
“That’s why the area is called Museum Mile,” said Nick.
After a long walk in the beautiful park Nick said, “The Empire State Building is just a few minutes away on Fifth Avenue. Would you like to go and see it?”
“The Empire State… it’s the city’s tallest building, isn’t it?” said Bill.
“Yes, it is,” answered Nick.
“Can we go to the top?” asked Michelle.
“Sure!” said Nick. “All the way to the 102nd floor, where you can get a spectacular view of the city, especially on a clear day like this.”
Once they got to the observation deck on the 102nd floor the three of them were amazed and Michelle couldn’t stop taking pictures.
“I’ve never seen so many skyscrapers all together!” said Michelle enthusiastically.
“This city’s wonderful; there’s so much to see and do,” said Bill. “And you’re the lucky one, Michelle, because you can go and visit all these places while Nick and I work’.”
“I’ll take pictures of what I see and show you,” said Michelle smiling.
“That’s not funny,” said Bill, as they were taking the elevator down.
Chapter 3: Opening Night
The International Art and History Museum was a beautiful early 19th – century building with three floors near Central Park. On Saturday evening the big wooden doors on the third floor of the museum opened for the reception. Over fifty important guests, all fashionably dressed, were present, and waiters moved about offering them drinks and things to eat. Smetana’s beautiful music filled the air. Nick, Bill and four security guards stood near the entrance and exit.
“I’ve never seen such an elegant reception,” whispered Bill, looking at all the guests.
“Some of the city’s most important people are here tonight,” whispered Nick.
At eight o’clock Professor Morescu, who was still wearing his old – fashioned black suit, white shirt and black tie, began speaking to the group of people in the entrance hall.
“Good evening everyone, and welcome to the East European Art and Jewels Show. This evening you’ll have the opportunity to see rare artifacts and jewels from a part of the world which is often forgotten. If you follow me I’ll give you a guided tour of the show.” He moved to the first room and the guests followed him.
“Professor Morescu, I’m Nancy Wilson the photographer, and I’ll be taking pictures of the show for a newspaper,” said a young woman of about thirty with short blonde hair and glasses. “I hope you don’t mind.”
“You’re welcome to do so, Miss Wilson; we want to advertise the show as much as possible,” said Morescu. “The first part is called ‘Art and Weapons’ because as you can see there are old paintings, sculptures, artifacts, maps and all kinds of medieval weapons that were used during the many wars of the 15th and 16th centuries. This painting of Vlad Tepes is of great historical value and importance. He was a famous prince and warrior of Wallachia, and also a loving husband. Here you can admire his family tree.” He stopped for a moment and admired the painting with tears in his eyes, and everyone was quite surprised.
“I thought Vlad Tepes was some kind of cruel prince and a vampire…,” whispered Bill.
“I know… shhh, Morescu could hear us,” whispered Nick.
“Now let’s move to the second room and the next part of the show, ‘Transylvania, Land of Vampires’. Here you can see historical maps of the area and read about the vampires of the past.”
A young woman interrupted Morescu and said, “Vampires are just a legend, a folktale, aren’t they?”
“A legend? A folktale?” asked Morescu in a low voice. “Please remember, madam, that legends and folktales have elements of truth in them.”
“You mean vampires… existed or exist today?” asked the young woman, whose face had become as pale as Morescu’s.
“There are many unsolved mysteries in the world, and vampires are one of them. Now let’s move on.”
The guests followed him but felt rather uneasy.
“In the center of this room you can see a very old oak coffin from the late fifteenth century. It belonged to a vampire who was beheaded and inside there is still some earth from Transylvania. Vampires need to sleep in their native earth in order to keep their powers. We ask visitors not to open the coffin and not to touch the earth.”
“Who would want to open that coffin?” whispered a man to his wife.
“Not me!” she whispered.
“Here we have an original wooden stake that was used in the sixteenth century to kill vampires,” said Morescu pointing to the stake. “As you can see it has a sharp point that was driven into the vampire’s heart. This is a painting of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a suspected vampire of the 1600s. The paintings and photographs on the wall show you the different kinds of bats, wolves and other wild animals that live in Transylvania. And here is an early 1900s copy of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula translated into Romanian.”
“The show is interesting but it’s kind of… disturbing,” whispered Nick to Bill.
“Now please follow me to the third part of the show, ‘East European Jewels’, where you will see a priceless object: the Vampire’s Tear. It is a loan from an East European museum.” Morescu’s voice shook as he mentioned the name of the 66.6 – carat diamond. “It used to belong to Vlad Tepes’ wife Kriza in the 15th century; she wore it around her beautiful neck during important occasions. After her tragic death in 1462, Vlad cried rivers of tears because he loved her very much, and that is why the diamond is called the Vampire’s Tear. Nowhere in the world is there such a perfect diamond, shaped like a tear – notice its pale pink color.”
The precious diamond sat in a small wooden box lined with white silk on top of a small glass table in the middle of the third room. No one could get too close to it because there was a brass chain all around it. It was very beautiful and impressive.
A short, bald man of about forty who was elegantly dressed said, “All my life I’ve wanted to see this splendid jewel.”
“Ah, it’s you, Mr Simms,” said Morescu. “Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Samuel Simms, New York’s most important jeweler: he has a luxury store on Fifth Avenue.” Samuel Simms smiled nervously at the guests and continued staring at the Vampire’s Tear.
Then he suddenly said, “But it’s not in a glass case – it’s not protected. Someone could steal it!”
“Steal it? Oh no,” said Morescu very seriously, “the museum has a modern infrared alarm and video cam system that operates twenty – four hours a day. It’s impossible to steal it. Besides, the beauty of the diamond can’t be fully admired under a glass case.”
“Oh, I understand,” said Simms, rather confused.
“Of course our collection has other precious jewels from Eastern Europe: earrings, bracelets, necklaces with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and white and black pearls, as you can see.” Morescu continued talking about the show for a while and then the guests were free to walk around, talk, drink and eat until the reception was over.
When the last guests had left the show an old man and an old woman wearing long dark grey jackets and black trousers walked in and spoke to Professor Morescu. They were both short, thin, had little white hair and pale, wrinkled skin; they looked poor and hungry.
Professor Morescu seemed to know them because at first they spoke in a foreign language. Then as Bill and Nick walked towards them they started speaking English.
“Bill, Nick,” said Morescu, “I want you to meet Victor and his wife, Daniza. They are the cleaners who will come in the evening when the museum closes. They are new to New York and speak little English.”
“Good evening,” said Victor, with a strong, deep voice. His wife just nodded her head and looked at her black shoes. On the fourth finger of her left hand she wore a strange gold ring shaped like a serpent.
“Hello – glad to meet you,” said Bill and Nick, trying to be friendly.
“Well, you boys can go home now,” said Morescu. “Remember, tomorrow morning the show opens at ten, so be here on time.”
“Alright, professor, good evening,” said Bill.
“Good evening, professor,” said Nick.
Once outside the museum Nick asked, “Did you get a chance to eat or drink something during the reception?”
“No, I’m starved,” said Bill. “And everything looked so good, too.”
“Let’s hurry back home and attack the refrigerator!” said Nick, and they started running to the subway station to catch the train back to Chinatown.
Chapter 4: It’s Gone!
The next two weeks were busy ones for Bill and Nick, and Michelle was having a great time visiting New York City.
One Sunday she and Marian had coffee and donuts at Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s biggest coffee and donuts chain. Then they took the ferry boat to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. From the ferry boat they enjoyed a wonderful view of the New York skyline. Another day she visited Wall Street and the financial center. Then she spent one entire day inside Macy’s, the world’s biggest department store, and walked out with three huge shopping bags – she loved every minute of it.
Professor Morescu’s show was a success and he was extremely pleased. Crowds of people visited the museum and Bill and Nick had plenty to do. They made friends with the two security guards, Phil and Max, who took turns working day and night. Phil was a tall man of about fifty who always laughed and told jokes. Bill and Nick liked him a lot. Max was a Hispano – American of about forty who often brought his wife’s homemade cookies for the others to eat.
The newspapers wrote excellent articles about the show and a local television station filmed parts of it. A museum in California invited Professor Morescu to take his show there. Samuel Simms became a regular visitor because he wanted to admire the Vampire’s Tear, and he often brought friends and clients with him.
Then suddenly something unexpected happened. One Friday morning when the daytime security guard Max opened the museum door, as he always did at half past nine, there was a terrible, loud cry.
Bill and Nick were coming up the stairs when they heard the cry and started running to see what was happening.
“Come over here, fast!” cried Max, “I’m in the third room.”
Bill and Nick ran to Max, who was kneeling next to the other security guard, Phil.
“He… he’s dead!” cried Max, his voice breaking. “One of my best friends… oh, Phil!”
“What!” cried Bill, staring at Phil’s body lying on the floor. He felt cold and his legs were weak.
“Are you sure, Max?” asked Nick nervously, as his heart beat wildly.
“He’s cold and his face is so white,” said Max, his voice shaking. “We have to call the police.”
He took out his cell phone and called 911.
“Let’s close the museum door and put up a sign – people are going to start coming soon,” said Nick.
“Nick! Max! The… the Vampire’s Tear… it’s gone!” cried Bill, staring at the empty wooden box.
“No! Someone stole it …and killed Phil,” said Max, his dark eyes filled with anger. “We’ve got to call the Professor.”
Everything happened so quickly – like in a terrible nightmare – someone had killed Phil and stolen the precious Vampire’s Tear. Professor Morescu was extremely upset when he heard of the murder and the theft of the diamond; he could barely speak when he got to the museum.
By mid – morning four New York policemen and a detective were already investigating the scene of the horrible crime.
A tall African – American in a dark blue suit walked in and said, “Professor, my name is Detective Bradley Ellis, I’ll be working on this case along with the New York City Police. My men will spend the morning looking for fingerprints and other clues that could help us with this case. I need to ask you and the others a few questions. Are you alright, sir?”
“Ah… yes, thank you,” said Morescu, who was paler than usual.
“Please have a seat,” said Detective Ellis. “Does the third floor of the museum have an alarm system?”
“Of course it does, and a very modern one too,” said Morescu. “It’s an infrared alarm connected to a video cam system.”
“Hmm, the museum alarm never went off. I’ll have to take a look at the video tape,” said Detective Ellis. “My men checked the windows and the doors – no one forced them. There are two tiny round windows near the high ceiling, typical decorations of early 19th – century architecture. I can’t understand how the thief got in, killed the security guard, stole the diamond and got out with such a modern alarm system.” He paused for a moment and looked at Morescu. “And the strange thing about the murder is that we don’t even know how he was killed.”
“What do you mean?” asked Morescu, who was disturbed by this fact.
“There are no signs of violence on his body,” said Detective Ellis. “We’ll know more after the autopsy. Who else was here after closing time?”
“The cleaners – Victor and Daniza – and of course the security guard. The cleaners aren’t here now; they come in the evening when the museum is closed.”
“What time do they get here and what time do they leave?” asked Detective Ellis.
“There is one security guard during the day and one at night. The cleaners get here about nine in the evening and leave before midnight,” said Morescu, “except for Wednesdays when the museum is open until 10 pm.
“Do you know the cleaners?” said Ellis.
“Yes, they’re very good, simple people; they come from my hometown in Eastern Europe,” said Morescu. “I trust them completely. They live near Central Park, at the home of a cousin who works in New York.”
“I’ll have to talk to them too,” said Ellis. “I need their address and phone number. And I’d like a list of all the guests at the reception on the opening night.” He then talked to Max, Bill and Nick who told him what they had seen that morning.
In the early afternoon Detective Ellis and his men finished their work and were ready to leave.
“Keep the museum closed for today; my men are coming back later to check a few things,” said Ellis.
“This is terrible,” said Morescu nervously. “When can the museum open? This is an important show; it’s advertised everywhere! And it won’t be the same without the Vampire’s Tear.”
“You can open tomorrow morning, but I’ll need to talk to you again,” said Detective Ellis, who gave his calling card to everyone. “Here’s my card. Call me if you have any information or if you need me.”
Professor Morescu sat in a chair and stared at the painting of Vlad Tepes, whispering some strange foreign words to himself. Then he looked at Bill, Nick and Max and said, “Max, you and the boys can go now. We’ll reopen tomorrow morning.” He put his thin hands in his long grey hair and continued staring at the painting.
Bill and Nick slowly walked out of the building – it was a hot summer day in Manhattan. They were both very upset about what had just happened.
“Poor Phil – I can’t believe he’s… dead,” said Nick sadly. “He was such a nice guy, always ready to joke and laugh about things.”
“And we don’t even know how he died,” said Bill. “Detective Ellis said there were no signs of violence on his body.”
“He said we’ll know more after the autopsy,” said Nick quietly. “Well, let’s go home and tell everybody what happened.”
That evening Nick, Bill, Michelle and Marian and Kevin Chan sat around the big dinner table. At first they were shocked and silent, but then they couldn’t stop talking about the awful event.
“Have you called your parents and told them yet?” asked Kevin.
“Gee, I forgot,” said Bill. “I’ll call them after dinner.”
When it was time to clean up, Michelle said, “Bill, Nick and I can do the dishes tonight. Dinner was great, thanks!” The three friends went to the kitchen while Marian and Kevin turned on the TV in the living room to hear the latest news about the murder and theft at the museum.
“Guess what?” said Michelle, who was putting the dinner plates into the sink.
“What?” asked Bill and Nick.
“I think we have a case to solve!” she said.
“Oh, no!” cried Bill and Nick. “Not again!”
“Michelle,” said Bill, “you don’t know what you’re saying. This is not Montego Bay or Coyote Canyon – this is New York City! And we’re not detectives! Nick and I are busy working all day.”
“Yeah, but I don’t work – I’m free!” said Michelle. “Come on, let’s talk about it, at least.”
“She’s right, Bill,” said Nick, turning on the hot water and putting detergent into the sink. “We can talk about it – after all, we already have experience solving cases.”
“Experience!” Bill laughed. “This case is different, we don’t even know the people involved. In Montego Bay we knew Mr O’Nell and in Coyote Canyon we knew Pam and her uncle, but here…”
“Well, we knew poor Phil – he was a friend,” said Nick. “We worked together and he was a great guy. And besides, this is a weird case – it’s a challenge. Something about Professor Morescu is strange; it’s hard to put it into words. It’s a feeling I get when I’m around him. And the cleaners, Victor and Daniza, remind me of people out of the past.”
“You’re right, Nick, Phil was a friend,” said Bill sadly. “And there is something weird about the professor, the cleaners and the whole show. Maybe it’s because of the… vampires and that old coffin with the earth inside.”
“Vampires? Coffin? Tell me more,” said Michelle excitedly. As Bill and Nick washed the dishes and Michelle dried them, they talked about the reception, the show, the exhibits, Professor Morescu and Victor and Daniza. Bill mentioned Samuel Simms, the jeweler who was very interested in the diamond and had asked about the alarm system.
“Samuel Simms?” said Michelle surprised. “I saw his luxury shop on Fifth Avenue the other day; he has the kind of clients who would love a diamond like the Vampire’s Tear.”
“Are you saying that Simms stole it?” said Nick surprised.
“No, I’m not saying that,” said Michelle, “but he’s a jeweler and jewelers like Simms deal with expensive jewels. Do you know what statistics say?”
“Please don’t tell us – we already know: most jewel thefts are committed by experts in the field like jewelers,” said Bill, looking at his sister and grinning.
“It’s a mystery how the thief or thieves entered the museum in the first place,” said Nick. “Remember, the burglar alarm did not ring and Detective Ellis is checking the video tape. Maybe Victor and Daniza let them in! They’re the only ones who were there that night, except for Phil. Detective Ellis said he wanted to talk to them; but the cleaners are only there until around midnight, then they leave. We don’t know what time Phil was killed – the police will know only after the autopsy.”
“We need to find out the time Phil was killed,” said Michelle, as she put the last plates into the cupboard. “That’s an important clue.”
“We can ask Professor Morescu tomorrow,” said Nick. “Hopefully he’ll tell us.”
Suddenly Bill looked at his watch and said, “Gosh, it’s late and we haven’t called mom and dad yet.” He quickly took his cell phone and started calling – he had a lot to tell them.
Chapter 5: Midnight of Central Park
The next day Bill and Nick got up early. On their way to work they saw the newspaper headline:
MYSTERIOUS MURDER AND THEFT AT MANHATTAN MUSEUM!
Everyone on the subway was reading about it and Bill and Nick felt excited because they planned to investigate it.
The museum opened on time and there were crowds of people waiting to buy tickets. Some of them were interested in the show but most were just curious about what had happened the day before. After the theft, Bill and Nick were twice as busy, watching all the visitors. Detective Ellis came by that afternoon to talk to Professor Morescu about the autopsy result, which Bill overheard: Phil died of a heart attack at about midnight – something or someone scared him to death. Detective Ellis said he watched the video tape twice but did not see anything unusual on it.
“You know, professor,” said Detective Ellis, “the video cam moves back and forth all the time so it could miss something. At first I saw Phil standing by the door and he seemed fine. A little while later I saw his body on the floor and the diamond was missing. What did he see that scared him so badly?”
“I don’t know, Detective Ellis,” said Morescu, avoiding the detective’s eyes.
“How long have you known Samuel Simms, the jeweler?” asked Ellis.
“Many years,” said Morescu. “He comes from an important New York family and has made several generous donations to the university. Will you ever find the Vampire’s Tear, Detective?”
“Whoever stole the diamond is going to have a hard time selling it here in the United States and Europe. I’ve advised Interpol about it,” said Ellis.
That afternoon Michelle came to visit the show for the first time. Bill and Nick were surprised to see her.
“Hi, guys!” she said. “I thought a little East European culture would be interesting on this hot afternoon. And guess what? I just bought three tickets to tonight’s concert at Madison Square Garden.”
“You mean the ‘Rock Revolution’ concert?” asked Nick, excitedly. “You found tickets? Nearly impossible!”
“Exactly right!” said Michelle, her blue eyes shining proudly. “Now I’m going to take a look at the show and then I’m going home to get ready for the concert. I want to wear my new black jeans and a super rock T – shirt I just bought. We have to get there early. I’ll meet you and Bill after work outside the museum.”
“Great!” said Nick. “Oh, no, Morescu is looking at us – I can’t talk – bye!”
Michelle enjoyed looking at the show and carefully examined the museum; she was looking for clues to the case they wanted to solve. As she approached the old oak coffin she felt nervous and her face was hot. She stopped and looked at it for a while, but did not want to go near it. Other visitors looked at it from a distance and moved on. But she stood there and stared at it. Then she suddenly felt her feet moving towards it. When she was standing next to it she felt something under her shoes – it was a bit of earth on the floor next to the coffin. She remembered what Bill and Nick had told her about the contents of the coffin and she suddenly felt cold, very cold. She moved backwards and left the room and the museum in a hurry.
The three friends met in front of the museum at closing time and Michelle immediately told them about the earth on the floor next to the coffin.
“There was very little earth, but it was there – I could feel it under my shoes,” she said nervously.
“But what does that mean?” asked Bill. “Did someone open it and touch the earth?”
“Who wants to open a coffin – a vampire’s coffin? No one!” said Nick. ‘It’s a mystery like the rest of this case.”
On their way to the deli for a sandwich before the rock concert they walked through Central Park and talked about the exact time of Phil’s death and the video tape.
“I’m amazed that the video tape showed nothing,” said Michelle. “However, the fact that Phil died around midnight makes me suspect the two cleaners – they’re involved, I feel it.”
“But then why doesn’t the video show anything?” asked Bill. “Remember, the video cam moves around – it can miss things.” insisted Michelle.
“Yes, but Phil wasn’t killed, he died of heart failure,” said Bill. “What could Victor and Daniza have done to scare Phil so badly? And what would they do with the diamond? Did you see the clothes they wear? Those two old people are harmless. Come on, Michelle, your imagination is going wild.”
“Well, Victor and Daniza could sell the diamond to Simms – or maybe Simms paid them to steal it!” exclaimed Michelle. “Remember, Simms has plenty of very rich clients who would love to wear the Vampire’s Tear. All he has to do is wait a while until people have forgotten about the theft and then he can sell it. We have to find out more about the cleaners.”
“Your sister isn’t wrong, Bill,” said Nick. “Remember, the alarm didn’t ring, so someone probably let the thief or thieves in. When poor Phil saw what was happening he tried to stop them but he saw something or someone that was so scary that his heart stopped and he died. Now this is what I don’t understand! What could have possibly scared him like that?”
“I agree,” said Michelle. “I’ve got a plan. Let’s wait a few days so that the cleaners won’t get suspicious. What about next Wednesday night when the museum is open until late? We can wait until they leave the museum at about midnight and follow them home. You said they live near Central Park – that’s not far from the museum. We can find out where they live, and since I’m free all day long, I can keep an eye on them and their house during the daytime and see what they do and who they meet.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” said Nick, who was excited about this new adventure. “What do you think, Bill?”
“The subway runs all night, so we can do it,” said Bill. “I’m glad mom and dad don’t know about our plan. I don’t think they would approve.”
“Let’s go to ‘Rock Revolution’, it’s getting late,” said Michelle. “There are three bands playing tonight – it’ll be a cool concert!” Wednesday finally arrived and Michelle spent the day helping Marian and Kevin in the grocery store because their usual clerk was ill. At first she had trouble remembering where everything was, but after a while she did a good job. The only clients she couldn’t help were the ones who spoke Chinese! After dinner she took the subway to the museum and waited for closing time. When she met Bill and Nick, they were hot, hungry and tired.
“Hi, Michelle!” said Bill and Nick.
“Why don’t we go for ice – cream at Baskin – Robbins?” said Bill. “It’s only two blocks away.”
“There’s a super ice – cream parlor just half a block from the museum,” said Michelle, pointing down the street. “We can have ice – cream and wait until the cleaners finish at about midnight.”
“Let’s go for it,” said Bill. “Ahh – a cold, creamy cone!”
“Approved!” said Nick, laughing.
They walked into to The Iceberg Parlor and looked at the big, colorful sign on the wall that said:
Our Sizes: Like It, Love It, Cotta Have It 100 flavors!
“One hundred flavors!” said Nick.
“That’s right,” said one of the clerks smiling.
“I’ll have the biggest: chocolate and macadamia nut, please,” said Nick.
“That’s the Gotta Have It.” said the clerk.
“Me too, same flavors,” said Bill.
“I’ll have a Like It, white chocolate and cherry cream, please,” said Michelle. Then she looked at the boys and said, “My new black jeans have to fit me!”
Bill kept an eye on his watch and just before midnight he saw Victor and Daniza quickly walking by. They were wearing the same clothes as they always wore.
The three friends got up from their table and quietly followed them at a distance. The old couple did not notice that someone was following them. Suddenly the two cleaners crossed the street and entered Central Park at East 65th Street. The three friends followed them into the park.
“I didn’t know the park was still open,” whispered Michelle.
“It closes at one in the morning,” whispered Nick. “They’re probably crossing it to get home; you said they live near the park, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” said Michelle.
Suddenly they saw a dark figure coming along a path. It was Professor Morescu, who, although it was a hot night, was wearing a long black overcoat. He immediately saw Bill and Nick and seemed embarrassed.
“Good evening, Professor Morescu,” said Nick trying to be calm.
“What are you doing in the park at this time?” he said, nervously. “It’s past midnight. You young people should be home and in bed.”
“Good evening, Professor,” said Bill. “It’s a hot night and… uh, we wanted to take a walk in the park.”
“You shouldn’t be out at this time,” he said coldly. “Well, good night.” He quickly walked away.
By this time Victor and Daniza had disappeared into the park and it was impossible to find them.
“Why did we have to meet Professor Morescu?” said Nick. “We lost our chance to follow Victor and Daniza.”
“I’m really angry,” said Michelle. “He ruined our plan. But did you notice one thing?”
“No, what?” said Bill.
“Maybe it was the dim light, but his lips looked… red,” said Michelle.
“Really?” said Nick. “Probably the light. I don’t think he wears lipstick!”
The three friends laughed.
“Hey, guys,” said Bill. “Let’s catch the subway and go home – we have to get up early tomorrow morning.”
When they were on the train Michelle thought, “I wonder what he was doing in Central Park at that time, wearing that long black overcoat on such a hot night?”
Chapter 6: Vampire Scare
On Friday, two days after the three friends’ night at Central Park, New Yorkers woke up to this terrifying newspaper headline:
VAMPIRE SCARE IN MANHATTAN!
The Voice of New York wrote:
For the first time in the history of this city we have a vampire scare on our hands. Early Thursday morning, John Beacon, a homeless man of 39, was found dead in Central Park. Rumors said he was the victim of a vampire attack. Two teeth marks were found on his neck and the vampire had drunk half the blood in his body, causing his death.
Last week the body of a woman was found in the Hudson River, but no one thought of a vampire attack because the body had been in the river for many days and it was almost impossible to check for teeth marks on her neck. Police are now checking other suspicious deaths of homeless people in the Central Park area.
The Chief of Police, Timothy O’Leary, asks all homeless people to sleep in the city shelters at night, and not out in the open. He also advises citizens not to walk along quiet streets at night. New Yorkers are hardly ever afraid of anything, but this time they were terrified by the news. Late – night restaurants and theaters in the Broadway area were empty. People did not want to be out after dark. The show at the museum attracted even bigger crowds that wanted to learn more about vampires. Professor Morescu was not present at the show that day.
Michelle, Bill and Nick met at The Iceberg in the evening with five copies of different local papers that talked about the vampire scare. One paper had this headline:
DRACULA IS BACK!
“What in the world is happening?” asked Michelle, putting her spoon into her ice-cream sundae. “Vampires in New York City – and I just know they’re connected with the show.”
“No one has ever heard of vampires in this city before the show,” said Nick.
“But who is the vampire?” asked Bill. “Is that what Phil saw that scared him to death?”
“How is the theft of the diamond connected with vampires?” asked Michelle.
“This case is so confusing, because nothing makes sense!” said Bill nervously.
“We’ve got a dead security guard, a weird show, a strange professor, two mysterious cleaners, a vampire’s coffin, a missing diamond, and two vampire murders…,” said Nick, who looked quite confused.
“What about the vampire murder in Central Park?” said Michelle excitedly. “We saw Professor Morescu in Central Park on Wednesday night – that’s when and where the homeless man was killed! Remember, I said his lips looked red that night. Could the professor be…”
“Oh, Michelle, please – he’s a bit weird but he’s a respected professor at Columbia University – I don’t think he’s a… vampire,” said Nick. “He’s been teaching there for over twenty years.”
“But we saw him in Central Park that night,” Michelle insisted.
“Just to make things more confusing, you guys forgot Mr Simms, the jeweler,” said Nick, laughing.
“You know,” said Bill thoughtfully, “we should use the scientific approach to this case.”
“What do you mean?” asked Nick.
“Well, we don’t know much about vampires,” said Bill. “If we had more information about them we would understand what’s happening and why.”
“You’re right, Bill,” said Nick, “we’re trying to play a game without knowing the rules. We need facts.”
“Exactly,” said Michelle. “I’ll do the research and get the facts – I’ve got plenty of free time.”
The next day Michelle was on her way to the New York City Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street when she saw Detective Ellis and two policemen walking into Simms’s Jewelers.
“I wonder what Detective Ellis and the police are doing at Simms’s?” she thought. “Ellis probably suspects him.”
Michelle was not wrong because Samuel Simms was one of Ellis’s first suspects, and he had asked Simms not to leave the city. That day he had a search warrant to search the luxurious jewelery shop.
It was a hot evening when Bill and Nick met Michelle in Central Park after work. Bill and Nick lay down on the cool green grass and Michelle sat between them.
“I’ve got a lot of information on vampires for you today,” said Michelle proudly.
“Great – tell us!” said Bill and Nick, looking up at the early evening sky.
“Well, first of all, they’re often called the undead or living dead, because a vampire is a dead body that feeds on living people. The vampire’s victims usually die and then become vampires themselves. You can’t see vampires in a mirror and they don’t have a shadow. They sleep during the day and go out after sunset to find their favorite food: blood. They can change their form and become bats, wolves or rats. And the only way to kill them is by driving a wooden stake through their hearts, by beheading them or by burning them.”
“Ugh,” said Nick. “There’s an old wooden stake at the museum.”
“Well, who fits the description of a vampire?” asked Michelle. Bill and Nick were silent. “Who works at night and is never seen in the daytime?”
“Victor and Daniza!” said Nick. “But that’s not much.”
“No, it’s not; they’re old but they don’t look like vampires,” said Bill, who was disappointed. “I mean they don’t look like bats, or rats… or wolves.”
“They don’t have to change their shape to be vampires,” Michelle insisted.
“And if they’re really vampires what would they do with a diamond?” said Nick. “Vampires don’t need diamonds or money – they need blood!”
“That’s just it!” exclaimed Michelle. “They need blood. Who killed the homeless man in Central Park and the woman found in the Hudson River? And maybe others. Professor Morescu said Victor and Daniza came from Eastern Europe; that’s where the whole story of vampires started long ago.”
“But what in the world are they doing here in New York City?” asked Bill. “Now I’m really confused.”
“Listen,” said Michelle, “first let’s find out who Victor and Daniza really are. Next Wednesday is the last day of the show and it closes at 10 pm. Will Max be on duty that night?”
“Yeah, he said he wants to work the last night,” said Nick.
“Great! Max will understand our plan and help us,” said Michelle enthusiastically, “because he was Phil’s friend. Now listen, you can hide inside the museum and wait until Victor and Daniza come to clean. Then take a good look at them and see what they do on the last day.”
“I just hope they won’t do something that will scare us both to death – like poor Phil,” said Bill.
The three friends looked at each other sadly and did not say another word.
Chapter 7: A Cloud of Dust
On the last day of the show there were more visitors than usual. ‘Transylvania, Land of Vampires’ was the exhibit that attracted the greatest number of people. After the vampire scare in the city people wanted to learn more about vampires and their history. Visitors were particularly interested in the old oak coffin from the fifteenth century – they stared at it silently and uneasily, but no one went close to it.
That morning, before the show opened, Bill and Nick were able to explain their plan to Max, who said it was a brilliant idea.
“It’s our last chance to find out who Victor and Daniza really are,” said Bill.
“I wish you guys the best of luck, because Detective Ellis hasn’t been able to solve this case yet,” said Max. “It’s a tough one because there are so many elements involved.” He looked at his watch and said, “It’s almost ten; time to open the doors for the last time. Listen, you guys can hide in my office at the entrance hall when we close; and then you’re free to move around. I’ll help in any way I can.”
“OK, great – thanks, Max,” said Nick.
Michelle, who could hardly wait for the closing of the show, decided to spend the day in Greenwich Village, the unique neighborhood in the city’s West Side that has always attracted writers, poets and artists like Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and famous writers of the 1920s. She stood in amazement in front of the Jefferson Market Courthouse, built in 1877 and considered one of America’s most beautiful buildings, which is today a branch of the New York City Public Library. In Washington Square she watched street performers and visited some of the colorful shops and art galleries. She loved walking down the narrow streets and looking at the charming houses.
The show closed punctually at ten o’clock in the evening, and once everyone had left, including Professor Morescu, Bill and Nick went into Max’s office and waited quietly for the cleaners to come. Nothing happened for over an hour. Then Victor and Daniza arrived. Max let them in and they took off their dark grey jackets and disappeared into the bathrooms with their cleaning equipment.
Bill and Nick remained in Max’s office, which had a glass partition that looked like a mirror from the outside. In that way visitors thought it was a mirror, but whoever was inside the office could see what was happening outside. Bill heard the door of the bathroom open and he and Nick got up and stood in front of the glass partition, while Max sat behind his desk.
Victor and Daniza walked into the ‘Transylvania, Land of Vampires’ room and walked towards the old oak coffin. They looked at each other for a moment and then carefully moved the lid of the coffin to one side and created a small opening. Then Victor put his hand into the coffin and took a handful of the dark earth. He looked at Daniza with a strange smile on his pale lips and they both smelled the earth a few times. Then Victor lifted his hand into the air and threw the earth over himself and Daniza. The dark earth formed a strange cloud of dust that hung in the air. Bill, Nick and Max stared at the bizarre scene from behind the partition.
“What’s Victor doing?” whispered Nick anxiously.
“The guy’s crazy!” whispered Bill.
“Do you guys have a camera?” whispered Max excitedly.
“No, but my cell phone can take pictures,” said Nick. “I’ve got it in my hand.”
Suddenly Victor and Daniza were no longer standing by the coffin – they had disappeared. In their place there were two black bats who started flying around the room. They flew to the entrance hall but Bill, Nick and Max couldn’t see them, so they slowly opened the office door and walked towards the entrance hall and hid behind the two big billboards that advertised the show. From that position they had a perfect view of the entrance hall and the huge chandelier that hung there. The bats continued flying around the huge chandelier, which had hundreds of beautiful tear – shaped crystal ornaments on it. Nick immediately took a picture of them with his cell phone.
Then one of the bats got close to one of the crystal ornaments on the chandelier and removed it from its place with its sharp teeth. The bat flew around the chandelier several times with the ornament in his teeth. Nick quickly took another picture and the three of them noticed that the crystal ornament had a light pink color. It wasn’t a crystal ornament at all – it was the Vampire’s Tear. The two bats flew towards the high ceiling and out of one of the small windows whose glass was missing. Neither the bats nor the Vampire’s Tear were ever seen again.
Bill, Nick and Max were astonished. It took them a while to get over the shock, but they were finally able to speak.
“Did you see… what I saw?” cried Bill excitedly.
“I sure did and I have two good pictures to prove it to Detective Ellis!” said Nick proudly.
Max ran to his office and phoned Detective Ellis and Professor Morescu. Michelle, who had been anxiously waiting at The Iceberg parlor, saw Detective Ellis arrive in a police car with two policemen and followed him to the third floor of the museum.
Detective Ellis rushed in and Michelle followed him.
“Who are you?” he asked looking at the teenage girl.
“Hi! I’m Michelle Martin; I’m Bill’s sister. I…”
“Never mind!” said Detective Ellis impatiently, looking at Bill and Nick. “Max gave me a very confused version of what happened here tonight, and I’m not sure I’ve understood the whole story – because it sounds incredible!”
At that moment Professor Morescu walked in and joined the others in the entrance hall.
Nick and Bill told Detective Ellis and Professor Morescu exactly what they had seen and showed them the two pictures taken with the cell phone. They stared at the pictures in silence; Detective Ellis was completely astonished, but Professor Morescu seemed to understand what had happened. He did not say a word, but he had a strange look in his dark eyes. He knew something that he could not tell.
“This is… science fiction!” Detective Ellis exclaimed nervously. “If I didn’t have three witnesses and these two pictures, I wouldn’t believe this story – it’s shocking. This means vampires… exist!” He looked at the giant chandelier and saw that one crystal drop was missing; then he looked at the window high in the ceiling.
“Incredible… the Vampire’s Tear was in the museum all the time, and no one knew it,” said Detective Ellis, shaking his head. “Phil probably saw the two vampires turn into bats and he was so shocked that he died of heart failure.”
“That’s why I felt the earth on the floor when I came to the show right after the theft,” said Michelle. “They used the earth inside the coffin to change their shape.”
“Exactly!” said Ellis. “Then the bats took the diamond, flew to the chandelier and hid it there where no one noticed it because it was just one of many crystal drops – although it had a light pink color.” They stared at the giant chandelier with its hundreds of crystal drops.
“But what I can’t understand is why they hid the diamond in the chandelier and waited until the last day of the show to take it out of the museum. And, besides, what in the world are two vampires going to do with the diamond? I’ve been doing this job for almost twenty years and this is the first case I don’t understand!”
Suddenly Professor Morescu broke the silence and spoke with a low voice, “The Vampire’s Tear has returned to its rightful owners: Vlad Dracula and his wife Kriza.”
Everyone turned to look at Professor Morescu in amazement. “What do you mean by ‘rightful owners’?” asked Detective Ellis with a half smile.
“The Vampire’s Tear belonged to Vlad’s wife; a gift from her loving husband. She died during the attack on Poienari Castle on the night of July 24, 1462 – a night of the full moon. Victor and Daniza came from Transylvania and were none other than Vlad Dracula and Kriza!” said Professor Morescu with a smile of satisfaction.
“What!” everyone exclaimed.
“Ah, you know nothing of the dark world of the living dead, vampires can disguise themselves and take many shapes.”
There was a terrible silence and Michelle, Bill and Nick felt cold and uncomfortable.
“Wait a minute,” cried Ellis nervously, “did you know about Victor and Daniza’s identity all this time?”
“Yes, I did,” said Morescu proudly. “I was born in Sighisoara in Transylvania, the same town where Vlad was born many centuries before. The people of the town have always been loyal to him. He was a prince and a hero of his country. In the past the vampire spirit of Vlad gave me precious information for my research and books, making them best – sellers all over the country. This show was a success thanks to him. I promised to give him back the Vampire’s Tear on July 24, the day when Kriza died.”
“That’s the day when the diamond disappeared and when Phil died,” said Ellis, who could hardly believe what he was hearing. “But why did they hide the diamond in the chandelier? Why didn’t they disappear with the diamond on the night of July 24?”
“You know nothing about the vampires, Detective Ellis,” said Morescu with an evil laugh. “They had to wait for a night of the full moon before returning to Transylvania.”
Ellis was annoyed and nervous; he raised his voice. “I don’t know anything about vampires, Professor, but you don’t know anything about American law. Those two… vampires are responsible for theft and for the death of Phil, and probably of the murder of two unlucky New Yorkers – and you are a silent accomplice. American law is very tough with silent accomplices. You’re coming with me to the Police Station for questioning.”
Ellis turned to the two policemen and said, “Sergeant Johnson, Sergeant Mendoza, take him away – and be careful, he could be a vampire too!”
Professor Morescu had a cold half – smile on his pale, thin lips and said, “I kept my promise to Vlad and that’s all that matters to me. Good evening to all.” He left the museum with the two policemen.
Then Detective Ellis turned to Michelle, Bill, Nick and Max and said, “I think we’ve lost the Vampire’s Tear forever. I’ve never believed in the occult and in evil. To me vampires and ghosts were part of an imaginary world. But now… this case has taught me many things – frightening things!”
“I believe in ghosts,” said Michelle, who briefly told Ellis of her experiences at Montego Bay when she, Bill and Nick solved a mystery thanks to a ghost in a picture.
“I didn’t know you were such good detectives,” said Ellis. “It took a lot of courage to do what you did tonight. I couldn’t have solved this case without you. Thank you! I need your cell phone, Nick, to show the Chief of Police the pictures. You can come and pick it up tomorrow afternoon at the Police Station at Central Park.”
As Michelle, Bill, Nick and Max were leaving the museum that night Michelle turned around and took a last look at the beautiful 19th – century building and then observed the night sky.
“What are you looking at?” asked Nick.
“Oh, nothing. Just checking for bats!”