Hi y’all—I’m thinking about experimenting w/ a new feature here at Enclave, where I post childhood works by contemporary authors… so consider what follows (a Nancy Drew imitation that I penned in the fifth grade, the plot of which revolves around a conflict between riverboat gambling developers and eagle conservationists in Galena, IL) a test run. If you have think you’d be into this, and have something you’d like me to post, email me at timjy @ sbcglobal dot net.
SAMANTHA STARGILE AND THE GALENA CAPER
Chapter 1: Leaving
“Bye daddy!” Samantha Stargile shouted up the stairs of the big two-story Stargile mansion.
She picked up her suitcases and headed out to the family helicopter. Her friends Ciana Marvin and Lila Fayne were already there, along with her boyfriend Tod Larly.
She climbed into the helicopter and they were off.
They were going to Galena, IL for the weekend. They would be staying at the Farmer’s Home Hotel, a couple of blocks away from downtown Galena. The building was furnished with antiques and had a restaurant that was rated one of the top in the Midwest.
“How much you wanna bet Samantha’ll stumble on another mystery?” Tod joked. Samantha was a teen detective and had solved many mysteries.
Chapter 2: Arriving
In about two hours, they reached Galena. Samantha, who had been flying the helicopter, landed.
They walked to the hotel. As they entered the lobby, they saw a small store inside. They were selling many things having to do with pigs—Pig puppets, pig story books, pig neckties, pig t-shirts, wooden pigs on strings that you pull, and a huge stuffed pig.
“Someone must like pigs!’ Lila exclaimed.
“Actually, the owner and manager of the hotel really has a thing with food that is not chemically grown. The pork that is not chemically grown has sort of become a thing of his,” Ciana read from a brochure.
“Ah—I knew that!” Lila lied.
They checked in and got their room numbers. Lila and Ciana would stay in one room and Samantha and Tod would stay in the upstairs suite.
They walked up the stairs and separated.
As Samantha and Tod approached the suite, they noticed a big brass eagle over the doorway.
“Neat, look!” Samantha exclaimed.
But they didn’t notice the eagle’s eyes turn and watch them enter the room.
Chapter 3: The Suite
As they entered the room, they saw an antique trundle bed with a white lacy comforter and white lacy pillows. In the corner of the room was an antique telephone inside a roaring 20’s-era telephone stand.
They proceeded into the bathroom to see a deep antique bathtub standing on paw-like legs.
As they entered the master bedroom, they were stunned to see a huge, tall antique canopy bed with short stairways on each side.
On the other end of the room was an antique fainting couch.
“Wow,” they exclaimed.
Chapter 4: Breakfast
The next morning, the four friends met in the hotel restaurant.
“How’d you sleep last night?” Samantha asked.
“Fine, how about you?” Lila answered.
“The suite’s great!” Samantha exclaimed. “And the canopy bed!”
Their waitress took their order and they continued to talk.
A couple of minutes later, a self-made man in his mid-40’s ran in looking distressed.
“She’s gone!” he shouted. “Bonnie’s gone!”
A young kindergarten-aged girl with short blond hair came in.
“He’s right!” she shouted. “First she was in the lobby, and then she wasn’t!”
Chapter 5: Something’s Wrong!
As soon as the pair left the room, everyone started whispering.
The waitress brought the friends their food.
“Who was that?” Samantha asked the waitress.
“That was Tom Kristianson. He owns and manages the hotel.”
“What was he so worried about?”
“His wife. She’s…she’s…she’s gone!” She dropped the glass she was holding and ran off.
“Something’s wrong!” Samantha exclaimed. “And I’m gonna find out what!”
Chapter 6: Split Up!
After breakfast, Samantha asked, “So what do we want to do today?”
“I was hoping we could go shopping and meet some guys!” Lila exclaimed.
“Actually, I wanted to get to work on this case!” Samantha exclaimed.
“But I wanted to go sightseeing!” Ciana argued.
“Well how about you, Tod?” Samantha asked.
“Hey, I’m game for whatever you decide!” He exclaimed.
“Why don’t we split up?” Ciana suggested. “I’m game!”
“Me too!” Lila exclaimed.
“Me three!” Samantha laughed.
“And last but not least, me four!” Tod exclaimed.
They split up, and Tod went with Lila, Ciana went to see General Grant’s old home, and Samantha stayed behind to investigate.
Chapter 7: The Hot Tub
Samantha decided to start from the top, meaning Tom Kristianson.
She went to the front desk.
“Could you tell me where Tom Kristianson is,” she asked the clerk.
“He’s filling the hot tub,” the woman answered.
Samantha climbed the stairway and walked down a hallway and out the door to the hot tub.
The hotel was built on a hill, and the hot tub was up in the back.
She looked around, but saw Tom nowhere.
Then she heard some mumbling from inside the hot tub. She threw off the cover and looked inside. He was drowning.
She jumped into the steamy hot water. It her like a razor-sharp knife. She grabbed Tom and slowly surfaced, gasping for air. She threw him out of the tub.
Someone had pushed him in!
Chapter 8: The Fire!
Lila and Tod entered the hotel bar laughing.
“I never knew we had so much in common!” she laughed.
They sat down and got two sodas.
As they drank, the smoke alarm burst into action. The bar was on fire!
“Duck!” Lila screamed, and they dived under the counter. Flames burst around them!
“How do we escape?” Lila screamed. Suddenly, the flames died out.
The bartender held an extinguisher. Luckily, nothing and no one had been hurt.
Chapter 9: Meeting
Back at the hot tub, Tom Kristianson had just awakened.
“He pushed me in,” he mumbled.
“Who!?” Samantha exclaimed. “Who!?”
“Who are you,” he mumbled.
“I’m Samantha Stargile, if that answers your question. But could you answer mine!?”
“A man dressed all in black!” He sounded clear now. “And you dragged me out!”
“I think he was trying to stop me. He probably knew you’re my most reliable source of information.”
“What do you mean!?”
“Something’s wrong at the hotel. I wanted to talk to you about your wife!”
“You’re very clever, Miss Stargile. Let’s go change into some dry clothes, and meet at the bar in a couple of minutes.”
Chapter 10: Questions
Ten minutes later, Samantha entered a distressed bar. There was a hole burnt right through the wall, and the room was steaming.
Lila, Tod, Tom and the bartender were surveying the damage.
“Lila, Tod, what happened!?” She exclaimed.
“We were getting some soda, and the bar just caught on fire!” Lila explained.
“But what were you doing here? I thought you two were off shopping!”
“Well we were, but as I said, we came by to get some sodas.”
“And the bar caught fire?”
“Right. And it looks like someone started it on purpose! There’s a match on the floor!”
“I think someone did, Lila!”
“What do you mean!?”
“I’ll explain it all later. For now, I’d prefer if you and Tod left again.”
As they left, Samantha sat down at the bar next to Tom.
“Let’s start at the beginning,” she said. “The very beginning.”
“Well it all started on Wednesday, when a group of environmentalists checked into the hotel.”
She took notes as he talked.
“Strange things started happening. We had sightings of an eagle flying about the building. Then Bonnie was kidnapped, and—“
“How do you know she was kidnapped?”
“If you must know, I found a ransom note in the suite stating—“
“In the suite?”
“But that’s the room Tod and I are in!”
Chapter 11: Kidnapped!
Ciana hiked up the hill to General Grant’s old home.
She thought she heard movement behind her.
Naaaa, it’s probably just my imagination, she thought, and continued up the hill.
She heard the noise again.
She swung around to see two men dressed in black.
“Nab ‘er!” One shouted.
They dived at her with ropes and a gag. She screamed, but it was no use.
The next thing she knew, she was hit over the head with a bat, and went blank.
In all the confusion, no one noticed that Ciana had dropped her purse!
Chapter 12: Peg Parker
Samantha exited the bar.
I hope what Tom told me will be enough to come up with some conclusions, she thought. She was till shocked about the note in the suite.
The next step is probably to talk to one of the environmentalists, she thought.
She walked up to the front desk.
“Could you tell me where to find one of the environmentalists,” she asked the clerk.
“Yes, I think their leader is doing some paperwork right now.”
The clerk gave her the room number and she climbed the stairway.
At the end of the hallway was the room she was looking for.
She knocked. A middle-aged woman with flowing red hair opened the doorway. She wore jeans, a t-shirt and a denim jacket.
“Hi, I’m Samantha Stargile,” Samantha introduced herself. “I wanted to talk to you about your work here.”
“Hi, I’m Peg Parker. Please sit down and I’ll tell you,” she welcomed Samantha in.
Chapter 13: More Questions
“Our work here in Galena…”
They were now in the room, and Samantha was taking notes.
“…Is with the eagle breeding area on the Mississippi River. The riverboat gambling is destroying the area by digging farther on the sides of the river to make it deeper. It is destroying their habitat!” She sounded angry. “It must be stopped!”
“Do you suspect anything illegal!?”
“Maybe, we don’t know yet.”
“I’d like to ask you where you were during Bonnie Ogie-Kristianson’s disappearance.”
“What does that have to do with my job, Miss Stargile?”
“I’m a teen detective!”
“If you must know, I was in the lobby on the couch.”
“Yes. Then a mysterious man entered the room dressed in black. He started shooting at me, and I dived behind the couch for cover. The next thing I knew, Bonnie had disappeared!”
Chapter 14: Falling
Samantha walked down the stairs, exhausted. At least she had found a witness.
She sat down on the antique couch and rested.
Suddenly, a young man came rushing into the room wearing an environmentalist’s uniform. Samantha perked up. She jumped off the couch and ran up to him.
“Hi, I’m Sama—“
He pushed her to the ground and ran up the stairs. She jumped up and ran after him.
She reached the top of the stairs and saw him nowhere.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw an open doorway. She entered the room. It appeared to be empty, except for an open window.
Slowly, she walked to the window and looked out.
She felt a sudden push behind her, and the next thing she knew, she was falling toward the street below!
Chapter 15: Tragedy!
Lila and Tod walked past the shops toward the hotel, laughing.
But as they reached the hotel, their hearts froze as they saw Samantha falling from a second story window.
With a loud thump, she hit the street below.
Tod ran up to her unconscious body.
There was blood gushing from her legs, nose and mouth.
Quickly, he sent Lila to call 911, and stopped the gushing of the blood through her veins.
Her dark hair gave her a pale-looking face.
Please be all right, he thought. Please be all right.
By now, there was a large crowd of people around him.
Lila walked out.
“There’s an ambulance on its way,” she said. “Don’t worry!’
At that moment, two red-sirened ambulances came blazing around the corner.
Chapter 16: In Care!
Samantha awoke in a hospital bed. All the memories suddenly returned. She groaned.
There was a knock on the door.
Lila entered the room. “Hi Sam! How you feeling!?”
“Better! What did the doctor say?”
“You’ll be able to leave later this evening. Your injuries are only minor. Tell me how you fell.”
Samantha slowly revealed her story.
“That’s awful!” Lila was surprised.
“I know. Wait! Where’s Ciana!?”
“I completely forgot! She’s somewhere in Galena sightseeing! I better find her!”
“Okay. Do that!”
Chapter 17: Where’s Ciana!?
Samantha sat on the couch at the hotel with Tod, waiting for Lila and Ciana. She had a small blow-up splint around her ankle, and a bandaged head.
Suddenly, Lila entered, panicked.
“I—I’ve been looking for her all—all over! And all afternoon! All over Galena!”
“Who, Ciana!?” Tod seemed confused.
“Great,” Samantha said. “Maybe we better do some investigating. She said she was going to Grant’s home. That’s where we’ll look!”
Chapter 18: Looking for Ciana
The trio walked out into the crisp night air, and walked toward General Grant’s home.
As they reached the steep hill, Samantha gasped. There, in the middle of road, sat Ciana’s purse!
Samantha ran ahead and picked up the black leather object.
“It’s her purse alright,” she called back. “But where is she now? I wonder if this has something to do with the case!?”
“Maybe you’re right!” Lila ran up to her, with Tod close behind.
“Wait, what’s that!?” Tod pointed his flashlight at some dark splotches on the road.
They gasped in horror as they realized the dark splotches were blood.
Chapter 19: Stolen Purse!
The next morning, the trio met in the restaurant, and like before, discussed their plans for the day.
Samantha and Lila decided to continue Samantha’s sleuthing. Tod would stay in the suite, and watch football.
“Excuse me—Are there any young male environmentalists staying here?” Samantha questioned the woman at the front desk, remembering the young man who had been in such a hurry the day before.
“Yes there is, look, there he is now!”
The same young man as the day before rushed out of the dining room, a little old lady behind him.
“He stole my purse! Stop him!” The little old lady shouted.
Samantha and Lila chased the young man out of the building and on to the street, but lost him in the crowd. The glum duo returned.
“We have to get my purse!” The old lady wailed. “I neeeeeeed it!”
Chapter 20: Arrested!
That night, Samantha, Lila, the little old lady, and Tom Kristianson accompanied the police to the young man’s room. Tom slowly unlocked the door and it swung open.
Samantha gasped as she realized it was the very room she had been pushed from the day before.
The young man sat on the bed. “What are you do—doing here!?” He stuttered.
“That’s my puuuuuuurse!” The little old lady wailed, as she pointed at a little multi-colored bag on the dresser.
One of the police officers picked it up and walked over to the young man. “You steal this?”
“N-No! I didn’t even see it there.”
“You’re under arrest, Mr.…?”
“Thompson. Blake Thompson. But what is the meaning of this!?”
And with that, he was handcuffed, and the officer and the other police dragged him off.
Chapter 21: A Lead!
The next morning, Lila and Samantha sat on the couch in the lobby.
“What’s wrong?” Lila questioned. “We caught the crook.”
“Something’s not right!”
“It seems like the mystery isn’t over!”
“How can you tell!?”
“I don’t have a full spirit like usual! And anyway, Ciana’s not back yet!”
“He probably has her hidden. The police probably know now, and are getting her!”
“Wait!” Samantha gasped. “The couch is against the wall! There’s no room to hide behind it!”
“So I think we have our first lead! Follow me!”
She ran up the stairs at top speed. Lila trailed after.
“Sam! Wait! Sam! Saaaaam!”
Chapter 22: Conclusions!
Samantha and Lila stood at the door to Peg Parker’s room.
“I still don’t understand why we’re here,” Lila said.
“This is Peg Parker’s room. She’s the head environmentalist. When I questioned her, she said she was there when Bonnie was kidnapped. Someone started firing at her with a machine gun, and she ducked behind the couch.”
“And you’re saying she wouldn’t have been able to duck behind the couch, and what she told you was untrue!?”
Samantha knocked on the door. No answer. She slowly turned the knob, and the door eased open. The girls slowly stepped into the room.
“Helllloooo!” Samantha called out. No answer. “Good, we’re alone.”
They walked over to an antique file cabinet that sat next to an antique roll-top desk.
Samantha pulled open the file cabinet.
“Look at this!”
She pulled out a small file titled: Eagle. She opened it, and flipped through several papers.
“Lila, look! A contract to own a riverboat, another to own a high tech robotic eagle, a copy of a job application to become head environmentalist, kidnapping game-plans, and a copy of an already-mailed letter! …And listen to this!”
She began to read the letter out loud.
“Dear Colleague, I am here at the hotel posing as the head environmentalist. The original brass eagle above the suite doorway was taken down and replaced with the robotic fake, which has been videotaping every move the real environmentalists make. I’m afraid I have a group of young snoops on my case, and I’ve taken every measure possible to get rid of them. At the moment, our henchmen have kidnapped one of the girls, and injured the main detective. How did they get on the case, you ask!? I’m afraid I had to proceed with kidnapping the hotel manager’s wife for discovering me, which has stirred things up a bit. …Your Colleague, Peg Parker.
“Lila, do you know what this means!? The riverboat gambling company are the criminals!”
“I don’t quite understand, Sam!”
“Peg Parker said the environmentalists work with an eagle breeding center on the Mississippi River that’s being destroyed by riverboat gambling! Peg Parker and the rest of the gambling mob have been videotaping the real environmentalists every move!”
“Very clever, Miss Stargile!”
Samantha swung around. There in the entryway stood Peg Parker, gun in hand.
“I’m so sorry it will have to end this way! One step, and kabam! Ha ha!”
She entered the room.
“We have it all planned! You two just sit down and relax!”
Slowly, she proceeded to tie them to a small paw-legged antique chair.
“I’ll be packing up to make my getaway now! You just sit there and relax, and my henchman will be here soon to, uh—Do away with you!”
She packed her bags, climbed out the window, and down the drainpipe.
Chapter 23: Escaped!
A tall, burly man entered the room.
“Well lookie lookie! What do we have here!?” Miss Parker said you was gonna be here!”
Samantha twitched. The man untied the ropes, and pushed the girls up with the nozzle of his gun.
“You’re comin’ with me!”
“Not!” Samantha shouted. She swung around her leg, in a kick. She hit him across the head with her leg. He threw his gun in the air, and fell to the ground, unconscious. She felt a sudden pain under her air cast. She laughed as she realized she shouldn’t have used that leg.
Chapter 24: The Chase!
“The things you get me into!” Lila moaned, as she and Samantha chased Peg’s car on foot across the Galena River.
On the other side, Peg’s car skidded to a stop. She climbed out and started down the slope toward the river. The slope had huge letters spelling “Grant Park,” with gravel surrounding them. At the bottom, a train track ran alongside the river.
“Can’t lose us that easily,” Samantha said as she started down the slope after her. “Lila, you stay here.”
“That’s, uh, fine with me,” Lila stuttered.
Samantha’s pace changed to a brisk jog. The gravel beneath her slid, and she lost her footing.
“Lila!” She screamed, as she slid down the slope, and hit the train track below. “My foot’s stuck!”
Samantha turned her head to see a large train barreling toward her at top speed!
Chapter 25: We Did It!
Suddenly, an idea came to her. She unstrapped the air cast, slipped her ankle out of the train track, and rolled up onto the slope as the train sped by.
Lila came down the hill to her aid.
“That was too close for comfort,” Samantha said, as Lila helped her to her feet. “Quick, we need to call the police before Peg gets away.”
They climbed back up the slope to a payphone and dialed the police.
“We’re on our way,” said the voice at the other end of the line. Samantha hung up, and she and Lila cheered.
Chapter 26: The End
“So the riverboat gambling mob stole the brass eagle from the suite doorway, and replaced it with a tape recording one?” Ciana asked.
She and Bonnie had been found at a warehouse on the Mississippi River. She sat at a table in the hotel restaurant with Lila and Samantha.
“Yes,” answered Samantha. “Exactly.”
“But what about the rest of the gambling mob? I mean besides Peg Parker?”
“The police were able to find them all under Peg’s direction.”
“Wait a minute,” Lila interrupted. “There’s still one thing I don’t understand.”
“What about Blake Thompson, the guy who stole the purse, and pushed you?”
“He was innocent. The Blake Thompson we saw steal the purse was one of Peg’s henchmen.”
“So she framed him?”
“Exactly. As for the purse in the hotel room, and me getting pushed out of the window—that was Peg’s doing also. She stole the alternate room key to pull it off.”
“Hi guys,” Tod said, as he walked into the restaurant and sat at their table. “That was some football game. You should have seen it.”
The three girls burst out laughing.
“Uh, guys? Guys? Did I miss something?”