Read Ghost of the Chattering Bones Online

Authors: Gertrude Chandler Warner

Ghost of the Chattering Bones (8 page)

“We were hoping we could be friends,” Violet said quietly.

“You might not believe this,” Pam said, looking sad, “but I’d already decided not to try to scare you anymore.”

Norah hadn’t said a word for a while. Now she spoke up. “I knew you were unhappy, Pam, but I had no idea why.” She paused and sighed. “I still don’t.”

Pam twisted her hands in her lap. “I love spending time with you, Aunt Norah, but … I miss my parents.” Her face crumbled. “I just wish they wouldn’t go away all summer.”

“Have you ever told them how you feel?” Jessie asked.

Pam lowered her eyes, then shook her head.

“Maybe it’s time you did.” Norah put a hand gently on Pam’s arm. “They’re not mind-readers, you know. Why don’t we give them a call first thing in the morning?”

“I like that idea,” said Pam, giving her great-aunt a watery smile.

“I’m sure you’re always in their thoughts,” Mrs. McGregor added kindly. “And in their hearts.”

Suddenly Violet’s mouth dropped open and she almost spilled her milk. A wild idea was flitting through her head. “We have to go back!” she cried.

“Back … where?” asked Henry.

“Back to the bridge!” Violet was on her feet in a flash. She grabbed the flashlight and headed for the door.

Baffled, the others followed outside. When they reached the middle of the bridge, Violet swept the flashlight beam back and forth. It finally came to rest on the stone with the shape of a heart in it.

“What’s going on?” Henry asked, curiously.

Violet didn’t answer right away. With a finger, she traced the name inside the heart—the name MEG.

“I don’t get it,” said Benny.

“When Mrs. McGregor said Pam was always in her parents’ hearts, it suddenly hit me.” Violet’s eyes were shining. “Look at the name inside this heart.”

Henry scratched behind his neck. “I’m not following you, Violet.”

“Remember the first two lines of Meg’s verse?” she said.

Everybody recited at the same time, “When last goes first, and first goes last.”

Henry suddenly drew in his breath, catching on. “If you switch the letters around, then—”

“MEG becomes GEM!!” finished Jessie, her eyes wide.

“Oh, my!” said Norah. “Meg’s brooch was made from precious gems.”

Henry said, “I think we just found the final clue.”

“Wait right here,” said Norah, heading for the house. She returned a moment later holding a screwdriver. “This is all I could find. But it should do the trick.”

With that, Henry set to work. The mortar crumbled easily as he jabbed away at it. When the stone was finally loose, he put his hands on either side, then he wiggled and pulled with all his might. Slowly the stone came out, revealing a gaping hole.

When Violet shone the flashlight’s beam into the opening, Benny couldn’t stand the suspense. “Do you see anything, Violet?” he wanted to know.

“I’m afraid I can’t—wait!” Violet said.

Everyone gasped when Violet removed a small rotted leather pouch from the hole. For a moment they all remained still, staring at the pouch. Then Violet held it out to Norah.

Untying the drawstring, Norah gently pulled out a small cloth bundle. Her eyes widened as she unrolled the cloth to reveal a dazzling brooch. “Oh!” A broad smile spread across her face.

The Aldens let out a cheer. So did Pam.

“I’ve never seen anything like it!” exclaimed Mrs. McGregor.

“No wonder Meg wanted to keep it safe,” Henry said.

Norah nodded. “But she didn’t want it hidden away forever. So she left clues for her descendants to follow.”

But something was still bothering Benny. “What about the Chattering Bones?” he said, puzzled. “Does it haunt the bridge? Or doesn’t it?”

Norah put an arm around the youngest Alden. “Some questions can never be answered, Benny,” she said. “There will always be mysteries.”

“Well, guess what, Norah?” Benny said with a grin. “Mysteries just happen to be our—”

“Specialty!” everyone said together.

About the Author

G
ERTRUDE
C
HANDLER
W
ARNER
discovered when she was teaching that many readers who like an exciting story could find no books that were both easy and fun to read. She decided to try to meet this need, and her first book,
The Boxcar Children,
quickly proved she had succeeded.

Miss Warner drew on her own experiences to write the mystery. As a child she spent hours watching trains go by on the tracks opposite her family home. She often dreamed about what it would be like to set up housekeeping in a caboose or freight car — the situation the Alden children find themselves in.

When Miss Warner received requests for more adventures involving Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, she began additional stories. In each, she chose a special setting and introduced unusual or eccentric characters who liked the unpredictable.

While the mystery element is central to each of Miss Warner’s books, she never thought of them as strictly juvenile mysteries. She liked to stress the Aldens’ independence and resourcefulness and their solid New England devotion to using up and making do. The Aldens go about most of their adventures with as little adult supervision as possible — something else that delights young readers.

Miss Warner lived in Putnam, Connecticut, until her death in 1979. During her lifetime, she received hundreds of letters from girls and boys telling her how much they liked her books.

The Boxcar Children Mysteries

The Boxcar Children

Surprise Island

The Yellow House Mystery

Mystery Ranch

Mike’s Mystery

Blue Bay Mystery

The Woodshed Mystery

The Lighthouse Mystery

Mountain Top Mystery

Schoolhouse Mystery

Caboose Mystery

Houseboat Mystery

Snowbound Mystery

Tree House Mystery

Bicycle Mystery

Mystery in the Sand

Mystery Behind the Wall

Bus Station Mystery

Benny Uncovers a Mystery

The Haunted Cabin Mystery

The Deserted Library Mystery

The Animal Shelter Mystery

The Old Motel Mystery

The Mystery of the Hidden Painting

The Amusement Park Mystery

The Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo

The Camp-Out Mystery

The Mystery Girl

The Mystery Cruise

The Disappearing Friend Mystery

The Mystery of the Singing Ghost

Mystery in the Snow

The Pizza Mystery

The Mystery Horse

The Mystery at the Dog Show

The Castle Mystery

The Mystery of the Lost Village

The Mystery on the Ice

The Mystery of the Purple Pool

The Ghost Ship Mystery

The Mystery in Washington, DC

The Canoe Trip Mystery

The Mystery of the Hidden Beach

The Mystery of the Missing Cat

The Mystery at Snowflake Inn

The Mystery on Stage

The Dinosaur Mystery

The Mystery of the Stolen Music

The Mystery at the Ball Park

The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

The Mystery of the Hot Air Balloon

The Mystery Bookstore

The Pilgrim Village Mystery

The Mystery of the Stolen Boxcar

Mystery in the Cave

The Mystery on the Train

The Mystery at the Fair

The Mystery of the Lost Mine

The Guide Dog Mystery

The Hurricane Mystery

The Pet Shop Mystery

The Mystery of the Secret Message

The Firehouse Mystery

The Mystery in San Francisco

The Niagara Falls Mystery

The Mystery at the Alamo

The Outer Space Mystery

The Soccer Mystery

The Mystery in the Old Attic

The Growling Bear Mystery

The Mystery of the Lake Monster

The Mystery at Peacock Hall

The Windy City Mystery

The Black Pearl Mystery

The Cereal Box Mystery

The Panther Mystery

The Mystery of the Queen’s Jewels

The Stolen Sword Mystery

The Basketball Mystery

The Movie Star Mystery

The Mystery of the Black Raven

The Mystery of the Pirate’s Map

The Mystery in the Mall

The Mystery in New York

The Gymnastics Mystery

The Poison Frog Mystery

The Mystery of the Empty Safe

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

copyright © 2005 by Albert Whitman & Company

978-1-4532-2892-0

This 2011 edition distributed by Open Road Integrated Media

180 Varick Street

New York, NY 10014

www.openroadmedia.com

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