One week later, Willie and Grace were sitting on the Weaver's front porch eating sandwiches. They were on Christmas vacation from school and had spent nearly every waking hour trying to make sense of the coded words on the old map of Beantown they had found in a bottle on the beach. Although Grace's brother Miguel had deciphered the code, the meaning of the words were still baffling.
"We've ridden our bikes all over Beantown, and none of the streets are named after saints," sighed Willie as he tossed Flop a piece of his cheese sandwich.
"Nope. It looks as if all the streets in Beantown are named for trees or old presidents," agreed Grace.
"Let's look at this old street map that Aunt Betty found. Maybe some of the streets have changed names over the past hundred years."
The kids bent their heads over Aunt Betty's old map.
"Beantown used to be a lot bigger in the olden days," commented Willie. "The town has gotten much smaller since the old mercury mine closed. Aunt Betty's map is a lot like the one we found in the bottle."
"Do you see any streets named for saints?" asked Grace.
"Here's a whole neighborhood down by the wharf that had different names than the streets have now. Let's see, there's Factory Street, Mercury Lane, Boiler Street, Titus Street...."
"Titus!" interrupted Grace. "He was a friend of Paul's in the Bible!"
"Was he a saint?" asked Willie dubiously.
"Titus was a believer in Jesus, so that makes him a saint. You and I are saints too, y'know."
"Ok, where is this street today?" Willie sounded unconvinced.
Grace ran her finger on the map. "It runs along the north bank of Bean River where it runs into Bean Bay. Today we call it 'River Road.' "
"Let's go look at River Road, then," said Willie. "Come on, Flop."
The two friends hopped on their bikes and pedaled towards Bean River and the wharf. They soon left their familiar neighborhood and came to a section of town by the waterfront that had old abandoned warehouses and factories, left over from the old days when Beantown refined mercury from the cinnabar ore mined from Bean Mountain. The area smelled like dead fish.
"This place is creepy," whispered Grace.
"It sure is. Keep your eyes peeled for 'The Cat That Ain't.' "
"That doesn't make any sense to me at all. I think- Willie! Do you see that green car?"
"You mean the green car that's been following us ever since we left my house? It's coming towards us."
Just then, a green car with darkened windows glided to a halt next to Grace and Willie. They couldn't see who the driver was. The door on the driver's side begin to slowly open, and Flop began to bark furiously.
"Willie! Let's get out of here!" yelled Grace. The two frightened children jumped on their bikes and began to pedal as fast as they could, but when Grace looked over her shoulder, she saw that the green car was right behind them."
NEXT STORY: "The Cat That Ain't?"