– Chapter 5

____________Bess Marvin________________

“N-Ned? Where are you?”
The only reply I got was silence.
“This had better not be some sort of cruel joke!”

“If it is…please come out….”

I started to panic. I can’t stand haunted houses, and being alone in one was awful.
Sure, there were other people around the house, but they were all suspects, and I’ve always told Nancy to “always be suspicious of a suspect”.
I wish George were here. In a way, I kind of miss her always making fun of how scared I’d get – it gave me motivation to be braver.
Even before we came here, I could already tell that Ned was getting a headache, just from listening to me talk about, well…stuff. George had somehow grown immune to Bess-aches after all these years of cousin-ship. Oh well…
It was time to focuse on now.
I knew exactly what to do.

____________Nancy Drew________________
Wade and I were walking around the Thornton property. We were looking for Jessalyn in silence – neither of us had spoken since he agreed to help.
“I think you’re one of the good guys.” , I said.
“What?”
“Remember what you said about the family kind of being sperated? The “bad always trying to strangle the good”?”
He nodded.
“I think you’re one of the good.”
Wade didn’t know what to say. I had told him the same thing earlier, and he hadn’t really cared. I think he could tell that, this time, I really meant it.
“I appreciate that, Nancy…although you’d be the first.”
“I doubt that, Wade.
“…”
“What about Charlotte?”
A faint smile appeared on his face.
“She cared about me – about everyone. Whether you were suffering from something simple, like a broken heart, or something much worse, like sickness or grief, she’d bring a smile to your face – no matter what.”
He looked down for a moment.
“I just never knew she cared so much for these people…who she never knew…”
“Well, like you said, she cared about everyone…and what about Jackson? I think she also did it for him.”
“Yeah. You’re probably right.”
“I think-”
I was interrupted when, suddenly, my phone rang.
I took my phone out of my pocket and looked at the screen. It was Bess.
“Um…Sorry, Wade – do you mind if I take this?”
“No, not at all.”
“Thanks.”
I pushed the “answer call” button on my screen.
“Hel-”
“Nancy! I don’t know what to do! Ned’s gone, and I’m alone!! I-I-I don’t know what I’m gonna do!”
“Bess, calm down, I think you can spend some time alone, and, if you’re too bored, go see another movie – or call George! You’ll live.”
“NO! Nancy, two things:
Number 1: I’ve seen Frozen 10 times, and the last 3 times, I spoiled it for everyone in theater! I’m never allowed in there again!
Number 2: Ned and I came here to suprise you and now he’s gone! I’M ALONE IN A HAUNTED HOUSE! YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE HAUNTED HOUSES!”
Even Wade could here Bess shouting into the phone.
“Bess, calm down! You’re here?! At Blackrock island!”
“Yes! And now I’m all alone! Please come, Nancy!”
“Ok, ok! Where are you?”
“I’m on the second floor, inside Thornton hall.” Bess said, her voice quivering.
“Ok, Bess, stay there! We’re coming!”

____________Ned Nickerson_____________
I had blacked out for a moment – at least I think it was just for a moment…it could’ve been much longer.
I had been standing in the hallway when I was suddenly jerked into, well, the wall…everything else was a blur.
I had a headache. That, I knew.
I couldn’t see anything, I was stuck in complete darkness.
I rose to my feet groggily.
I started to feel around, wondering where I was and who had brought me here.
“Hello?” I said, wondering whether or not I was alone.
Apparently I was, because no one answered.
As I ran my hands over the walls, I couldn’t find anything of significance, until finally I came to something metal. Maybe it was a door!
I started to run my hands over the metal area, hoping to find a knob, or a handle. Finally I found one. I turned it, then pulled on it with all my might. The door wouldn’t budge.
“Hello!? Is anyone out there?” I said, pounding my fist on the door.
“Someone, let me out!”
I backed up then charged shoulder-first into the door. All I got was a bruised shoulder. I had backed up to try it again, when, suddenly, I heard a voice. A woman’s voice.
“Settle down tiger!”
“Settle down?” I said unbelievingly “I demand to know why you brought me here!”
“Well now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a question, boy.”
I was silent.
“What’s your name, and why are you here?”
“I…well I’m Ned Nickerson, and I came here to help my girlfriend solve a mystery.”
It was her turn to be silent.
“Why did you bring me here?” I asked.
“This island is a dark place…you never know who might show up uninvited.”
She had a point there. I mean, Bess and I just showed up out of nowhere without any invitation.
“But we’re here for a good reason!”
“We’re all here for a good reason! That doesn’t mean all of us are welcome…” Her voice trailed off, as if she was lost in thought.
I thought of Bess. She must be freaking out. She hates hauntings. I’m sure being alone in a haunted house is her worst nightmare…
“Did you see my friend out there?”
“Who?”
“My friend, Bess Marvin. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.”
“No. I did hear a girl though.”
“That was probably her…”
“Is she your girlfriend?”
“No. My girlfiend is Nancy – Nancy Drew.”
“Y-you know Nancy Drew?”
“I do…and I hope to see her again.”
“I trust that girl…but the question is – can you be trusted?”
“That all depends, can I trust you?”
“That’s a “no”, then.”
I heard footsteps, as if the woman were walking away.
“Wait! Please! You…you can trust me, I promise! Just please let me out of here!”
The footsteps stopped. There was silence for a few moments. Then I heard her walk closer to the door.
“How do I know you’re not lying to me?”
“You’ll just have to trust me.”
Again, there was silence. Then, I heard her tampering with the door, as if trying to unlock it.
Then the door opened. I squinted against the dim lighting, until finally my eyes became accustomed to the light.
“Thank you.” I said to the woman who now stood in front of me. She was pale and had wild hair. Her eyes stared straight into me.
“Follow me, hon.”
She walked out of the tunnel we had been in and to the right, where she then walked up to a large furnace. She rubbed her hands together and stood in front of the blazing fire.
I took a deep breath. “You never told me your name.”
“Harper.”
Oh, right, I should’ve guessed. The crazy lady who lives in the basement.
“Why are you down here?”
“Oh, because it is just the most wonderful place to live! You should see it on a sunny day when the darkness shrouds out every ounce of light this world has to offer. It’s like paradise, except without the sun and fun and relaxation, and those little drinks with the umbrellas in ’em.” Harper said sarcastically.
“Well…I’m sorry for asking, then.”
“Tell me, what is your impression of me, Ned?”
Oh…that was not going to be easy to answer.
After a few seconds had passed, and I had not answered, she spoke.
“I am not welcome here – in my own family’s home. They think of me as nothing more than a crazy woman. Although, there is some truth to that.” She said, laughing like a crazed witch. I couldn’t help but laugh, too – apparently laughing IS contagious.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but you do have a strange way of meeting people.” I said, smiling wanly as I rubbed my head.
“Well, perhaps my way is the normal way, and everyone else has just gone insane.”

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