Thursday, August 16, 2012

WWA, Chapter 59

Here's Chapter 59, of my story Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy solves the starbust token puzzle.

Nancy Drew was ready and prepared to finally, finally solve the mystery. According to Rita Hallowell's journal, Nancy had all the clues. She had the four starburst tokens and The Black Cat and Other Poe Stories. All Nancy had to do was put these clues together.

"Well..." Nancy said, taking a closer look at the book. "There are four tokens, and each token represents a certain story. The token of the cat represents The Black Cat, the bug token must be The Golden Bug, and the raven token is probably...The Fall of the House of Usher."

That was as far as Nancy got. Was there some place to use the tokens? Why were there dates hand-written next to the story titles in the book's table of contents? And what time did they serve meals at Waverly Academy? Nancy was starving after two days of not eating a full meal!

I've got to figure this out! Nancy thought. My flight out of New York leaves tomorrow! If I don't solve the mystery by the end of today, it might never be solved!

Nancy decided to take a walk outside and clear her head. There was more snow than the previous day, and Nancy was starting to think it'd be nicer inside when she noticed doors on the ground.

Waverly has a basement? Nancy wondered.

Wiping away the snow, Nancy found that the doors were locked. Fortunately, Nancy had the right key for the lock. It was the same key that someone threw at Nancy, the first time she worked at the Snack Shack. Perhaps the anonymous rude person had been trying to help her.

Nancy opened the lock and went into the basement. Turning on the lights, she saw that it was a rather dank room, dominated by an old-fashioned furnace which had probably been there when the school was built. Boxes of old books were in a corner, and in another corner, the brick wall was loose.

Nancy looked closer. No, there were no bricks here. There were wooden planks. Planks with starburst-shaped indentations in them!

Jackpot! Nancy thought. There are seventeen starbursts here, and seventeen stories in the book! I guess I have to arrange all the stories according to the dates in the book, number the starburst holes from left to right, put the tokens in the appropriate starburst holes and...

No, wait. I've got a better idea.

Nancy picked up a nearby brick and used it to smash the wooden planks in half. The wood was about 150 years old, so it crumbled easily.

Behind the wood was a little hidey hole, containing an old box. Nancy grinned. Rita Hallowell's treasure! This had to be it! Nancy opened the box and pulled out some blueprints.

"Blueprints? Weird," Nancy said. They appeared to be blueprints for the room she was standing in.

Underneath the blueprints was a photograph of Rita Hallowell and her cat, Usher. Besides for that, the box was empty.

"Oh, NO WAY!" Nancy exclaimed. "That's the treasure? A picture from Rita's photo album? I've been solving puzzles for the past two days, just so I could get an old photo?"

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