I jumped and stifled a scream. But then I realized what the sound was. My phone.
I reached into my pocket and took out my phone. It was Bess and Ned.
“Hi, Nancy”, they said in unison.
I greeted them. I was still trying to catch my breath.
“Don’t you know it’s rude to call people when they’re in a dark tunnel, under a supposedly-haunted mansion at night ?”
“Um…”, Ned wasn’t sure how to answer that question.
“Think about it this way”, Bess said in her usual playfull voice, “we’re just adding a little more excitement to this mystery.”
I giggled as she continued.
“The ghost of…Nancy’s ringtone! OooOoOoOhHh!”
“Scary.”, Ned said.
“Hey, it’s better than-”
“Alright, you two”, I said, still laughing. “Would you like me to catch you up on the case?”
They both said yes.
I explained to them what I had found out.
“That is so romantic…and sad…it’s sadmantic.”, Bess said.
“You do know that’s not a real word, right?”, Ned asked.
“It should be…”
“Sounds to me like there may be some sort of clue hidden at or near Jackson’s grave.”, Ned declared.
“My thoughts exactly”, I said.
“Well, what are you waiting for?”
“Go, Nancy! Do what detectives do and…detect!”
“Ok, ok! I’m Going! Bye you two!”
I hung up my phone and slipped it into my pocket.
It was time to pay Jackson a visit.
Upon reaching the cemetary, I saw Wade. As usual, he was standing under that same tree, amongst numerous graves, listening to his ghost recordings. Who does that? Why are these Thorntons so creepy? What is it with them and their often bloody past?
I walked up to Wade with these same questions still stuck in my mind.
“Is there something I can do for you?”
“Well…I do have one question-”
“Which, if the pattern continues, will turn into many more…”, Wade sighed. “Well, alright then, Nancy – ask away.”
“If one of the companies employees died on the job, where would he be buried?”
Wade was silent for a moment, and I don’t blame him. That question sounded a lot less weird in my head.
“Uh…well…I suppose it would be somewhere over there.”, Wade pointed toward a small area a short way away.
I thanked him and went in the direction he had indicated.
I looked among the many graves, hoping I woudn’t get bitten by a snake or something, as the area was not nearly as well-kept as the main cemetary.
Finally, I came to Jackson’s grave. I assumed that Charlotte had had something to do with the tombstone because it was much more intricate than the others.
The inscription read:
He was tired and now he will rest forever.
He smiled a smile that I will always treasure.
I will sing him my song and he will remember.
Xxxxxxx, ooooooo, xxx oooo xxxx.
Oooo xxxxx oo xx oooo, xxx oooo xxxxxxxx ooo xxxx.
Ooo xxxxxx ooo – xxxxx ooooooooo xxx – ooo xxx ooo xxxxx ooo xxxxxx ooo.
I ran my finger over the words.
“Someone loved him very much.”
I turned aroud. It was Wade.
“Oh! I-I’m sorry”, Wade said, seeing the frightened expression on my face.
“Oh, um, it’s ok…”
“If you don’t mind my asking, why are you so interested in this here grave?”
I bit my tongue. I so deaply wanted to say “that’s classified.”, or, “that’s none of your business.”
But I couldn’t. Because it was his business. He’s the Thornton, not me.
“I, um…it’s just so…different, from any of the others.”
“Right…”, Wade didn’t seem satisfied.
He turned around and walked away. “Watch out for snakes!”, he called back.
I shivered. Not because I was cold – but because of the thought of a snake. I had come in contact with numerous species before, and it had never been a pleasant experience.
Ok. Back to Jackson.
I turned around to where Jackson’s grave was.
I had a feeling that these “X” and “O” markings were more than just a symbol of love.
I ran my finger over one of the Os – it moved! I tried one of the Xs – it moved as well! I was able to vertically move each of the letters, as if it were some sort of lock!
I took Charlotte’s letter out of my pocket. It had mentioned the lyrics to her…her song!
I was trying to remember the words…
After a lttle bit of trial and error, I was finally able to complete the song.
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire, and your children are gone.
All except one – sweet Charlotte Ann – and she hid under the frying pan.
That was it!
Suddenly, a small compartment opened below the lyrics.