"Master, what is All Saint's Eve? What do the kidnappers mean by this?" Brent asked.
Rutherford answered, "That's another name for Halloween." Loud barking and a long howl interrupted his answer.
"Vlad!" Brent and Rutherford answered in unison. "He's in the upstairs bathroom. I almost forgot he was here."
Cilly Thomas, Vampire News, spoke into her microphone as the men ran upstairs. "Ladies and gentlemen and bats, things are happening fast. We just heard a blood-curdling howl. Follow us as we offer exclusive news coverage."
Rutherford pushed open the door. No sign of faithful Vlad; only one purple high heeled shoe lay on the floor. Brent said, "Master, that belongs to Purple Lips. They were here."
"After all the times Vlad has searched and rescued us both, we must now help our faithful friend. How savage to pick on helpless animals and beautiful innocent young ladies."
Brent said, "Look, Master, a note on the mirror. I'll read it:
"Ah -- up to the attic creep,
Familiar faces not in view.
Footprints in the dust lead steep
Running away from you.
They point down; you frown."
Ms. Thomas: Okay, our hunt now continues as we follow Rutherford Zucks and his faithful guardian, Brent Field, into the attic. Follow us on the most exciting scavenger hunt ever -- a hunt for two guests at the Vampire Ball and a dog."
Brent watched as his elderly Master walked up the stairs without losing his breath. Usually Rutherford had to take the elevator, although it hurt his pride. Brent sneezed as they entered the dusty attic. Looking down, footprints pointed the way to the back corner. He saw stacks of small boxes of financial records and old files.
"Master, I don't see a note. It's so dark we need a flashlight."
Rutherford answered, "Don't worry, some bats can see quite well in the dark." He looked around the attic. "There, on the middle stack. That's where the next clue is."
Cilly stood behind the men, ready to speak into her mike. She leaned forward as Rutherford read aloud:
"The visage of Sherlock's cap,
Perhaps a locked door.
A kidnap . . .
Hurry . . . ladies are in store."
Ms. Thomas: Viewers, breaking news. It seems the rhymes are getting harder." Her camera man gave her a "Duh, dumb blonde" look. She continued, "Let's listen to the solution."
"Sherlock Holmes. That's the second time he's been mentioned, Master. Where would we find Sherlock Holmes at a Vampire Ball?"
"Brent, we must think. What rooms are in this place? And Sherlock's cap -- where could that be?" Rutherford asked.
Cilly looked at the men with a blank, don't-look-at-me stare.
Rutherford thought. "There's a gym for basketball; an art room, a stage for plays."
"Master! Don't stages have costume rooms, and they could have Sherlock Holmes' stuff, right?"
"Brilliant, now where is the costume room?" Cilly asked.
The camera man answered, "The stage is on the second floor."
"Wowee, this is wonderful. My audience will be glued to the television," Cissy said and giggled.
Rutherford glared at her. "Don't you think it's most important to rescue the girls and Vlad?"
"Tempers flare at the Vampire Ball."
Rutherford rushed past Cilly as she spoke into her mike, ignoring the rest of her comments.
The costume room was filled to capacity. Racks stood in the room, only narrow walking paths between. Brent sighed. "I'm sure we're in the right room but time is running out."
Rutherford yelled, "There's racks of hats in the corner." They stared at long shelves covered with hats, large and small, red, green, and brown.
"Look, Master, in the brown hats. There's a white paper."
Cilly moved closer to pick up Brent's voice as he read:
"A treasure is hidden.
Do you have the right key?
Skeletons are forbidden.
Dusty purple jewels -- hard to see.
Each door, every floor
An All Saint's lore.
"Skeletons? Purple? The girls are wearing purple."
Rutherford asked, "Are there skeleton decorations in the ballroom?"
Cilly answered, "No, only classy black candles and red punch."
"Master, a skeleton key. And that opens all doors. But which doors, Master?" Brent asked.
"Rutherford said, "Let's think. Skeletons are forbidden."
"Skeletons are hidden in the closets," the camera man added.
"Right!" Brent said. "Where are the closets?"
Rutherford thought. "Not in the attic, costume room, gym, ballroom, bathroom. Janitor's room in the basement. Could it be the janitor's closet where they keep mops and cleaners?"
Ms. Thomas: "We now make our way to the basement. Will we find the girls and dog sitting amongst the mop buckets and brooms?"
"Master, time is getting late. Dawn will be here soon."
Rutherford answered, "I cannot rest until we find them. No matter the risk."
"But, Master, what if daylight hits . . . "
Ms. Thomas: "How brave. How noble for one of the vampire faith to risk the daylight!"
The janitor's room was filled with sweepers, buffers, and large bottles of cleaners. A closed door on the left wall housed janitorial supplies. Brent pointed. "Let's look in there!"
Rutherford tried to open the locked door. Brent cautioned, "We'd better be careful in case they're close to the front." He yelled, "We're going to break in the door. Get back if you can."
Rutherford whistled and yelled, "Vlad, boy." No answer.
Brent and the camera man hit the door full force and broke the hinges. Cilly held the camera and peered in to capture on film two young ladies dressed in dusty purple dresses. Tape covered their mouths, and a muzzle held Vlad's mouth shut. A note was taped on the wall:
"Congratulations. Sherlock Holmes had his Professor Moriarity, so your rest may be short lived. To the dawn and the game is afoot.
From your Nemesis."
Amanda stood up and stretched her legs. Vlad barked and looked ashamed he'd been captured. Purple Lips said, "That's what we love about y'all. It's never boring."
Cilly asked her camera man, "Did we get all that? This night just might earn me the Golden Bat Award for Reporting."
Rutherford looked at the camera and said, "And Happy Halloween or Halloween Eve to all."
To purchase a copy of Beverly's book, Gothic Bedtime Stories, contact her at P. O. Box 803, Alderson, WV, 24910 or by email: hbpoe(at)excite.com. The cost of the book is $15.00 -- mention the Piker Press for free shipping.