One fine Tuesday afternoon in March, Willie, Grace, and Jasmine were sitting on Willie's back porch talking and eating green bagels. It was St. Patrick's Day, and Willie's mother had bought green bagels at the local bakery. They looked funny, but they tasted good with butter and grape jelly! Flop was pretending to be asleep at Grace's feet, but he was really keeping his eyes half-way open to intercept any bagel crumbs that might fall his way.
Grace was asking Jasmine some questions that she and Willie had been wondering about for weeks. "Jasmine, last fall Willie and I were followed by a mysterious green car that looks just like your father's car. Why was your dad following us? He scared us!"
Jasmine looked genuinely surprised. "It couldn't have been Dad," she protested. "He just bought that car two months ago. Besides, why would Dad follow two kids around?"
"Who did he buy the car from?" asked Willie eagerly. "That must be the person who was following us last fall."
"He bought that green car from the same people who sold us our house. I don't know the people- Dad just talked with them on the phone. Do you think they might be criminals?"
"We don't know. At the time we were being followed, we were on the trail of a lost treasure! We thought they were after the treasure, too." Grace absent-mindly scritched Flop's ear. "I wonder if they left any clues in the car or in your house?"
"The house was empty when we moved in," commented Jasmine thoughtfully. "No, that's not true- they left some boxes of papers in a basement storeroom. I think they're still there. Wanna go look?"
"Not the BASEMENT!" wailed Grace dramatically. Jasmine's dad raised snakes in the basement, and Grace just hated snakes! One visit down there was enough for her!
Willie laughed. "Oh, where's your sense of adventure! Let's go!"
The three friends hopped on their bikes and rode off to Jasmine's house, a beat-up looking old mansion at the edge of town. They ran through the front door and down the basements steps. When they got there though, they knew that something was very wrong. Chairs were turned over, papers were everywhere, and much to Grace's horror, the aquariums that housed the snakes were all broken! Were all those snakes loose somewhere?
"Oh Lord, help us!" prayed Grace in a shaky voice.
NEXT STORY: "Rescued!"