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Authors: Beverly Lewis

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BOOK: The Midnight Mystery
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His mother was cleaning up the kitchen.

“Okay if Honey sleeps here tonight, Mom?” Dunkum asked.

She looked at the sleeping dog under the table. “Honey looks comfortable right there.”

Ellen stood up. “Sweet dreams, girl,” she whispered to Honey. Then she blew a kiss.

Dunkum bent his right elbow and guided Ellen upstairs. “The party was fun,” he said.

“I don't think Honey had enough ice cream,” Ellen said. “She would have done
that Lickey-split trick at least two more times.”

“Too much sugar might rot her teeth,” Dunkum said. “Unless she brushes right away.”

Ellen laughed.

“Well, good night,” Dunkum said and headed to the kitchen.

Honey was still asleep under the table. Dunkum watched the steady rise and fall of her breathing. “Sleep tight, Honey,” he said.

He hugged his parents good-night and went to his room. Putting on his pajamas, Dunkum thought of Adam Henny. Dirty, rotten Adam probably didn't own a single pair of pj's. And he had hardly one good friend.

Dunkum skipped saying his prayers tonight. He hopped into bed and snuggled down. Strings of moonbeams danced on the pillow as he fell asleep.

At midnight, Dunkum sat straight up in bed.

Something had popped into his memory. Something so important it woke him up!

“Oh,” he groaned. “How could I forget?”

Grabbing his bathrobe, he darted through the hall and down the stairs. He flicked on the inside switch, flooding the front yard with light. Dunkum opened the front door and looked at the sidewalk.

Phooey!

The ants had already come. They were having an ice-cream party parade!

Dunkum tiptoed to the kitchen and yanked on the towel rack. The roll went flying. He crawled under the table and chased the roll of paper towels.

Right away, he noticed the empty spot under the table. Right where Honey had been sleeping.

“Honey?” he called softly, looking around the kitchen.

Dunkum placed the paper towel roll on the rack and rushed upstairs. He opened Ellen's door without making a sound. Peering into Ellen's room, he said, “Are you in there, Honey?”

Ellen made a squeaky little sound in her sleep.

He didn't want to awaken and worry her. So he closed the bedroom door and flew back downstairs.

He looked everywhere for Honey. In the living room, under the coffee table. He looked in the dining room, under the dinner table. He even looked in the garage.

“What's happened to Ellen's dog?” Dunkum whispered. He felt sick inside.

Honey was missing!

He sat on a kitchen chair and stared at the floor where Honey had slept. Where
was
she?

Ellen would need Honey first thing tomorrow. And Ellen's father was coming for her next week!

Dunkum had to find Honey.

Soon!

FIVE

Dunkum's heart pounded.

He grabbed a flashlight and headed to the dimly lit basement. Slowly, he shone his flashlight into the darkest corners. Light zigzagged across boxes of Christmas ornaments.

Flash!
He shined the light on rows of canned goods. But Honey was nowhere in sight.

Dashing upstairs, Dunkum ran outside, past the party ants. He spotted something lying in the grass. At first it looked
like a fake red snake. He leaned down. “What's this?” he said softly.

It was a leather collar. Just like Honey's collar. Dunkum read the tags. It
was
Honey's collar!

His eyes caught the swarm of ants. He'd forgotten again! But instead of going inside for paper towels, he marched to the outside faucet. He would hose down the ice-cream drippings, ants and all!

Just as Dunkum turned on the hose, a light flashed on above his head. He looked up to see his parents' bedroom, filled with light.

Oh, rats
, he thought.

Turning off the hose, he ran toward the house.

But his father met him at the door. “What's going on, son? Why are you outside at midnight?”

Dunkum opened his mouth to speak.

“Don't you know what time it is?” His
father tapped on his watch.

“It's late,” Dunkum blurted, trying to explain. “I think Honey left the house.” He held up her collar.

“You
think
?”

Dunkum's mother was coming down the stairs. He stood in the doorway, hoping to block her view of the ants.

Dad told Mom the bad news. “Dunkum says Honey's missing, dear.”

“What?” Mom let out a little wail. “Are you sure? Have you searched the house and the yard?”

Dunkum nodded. “I've looked everywhere.”

“Who was the last person to see Honey?” Dad asked.

Dunkum wasn't sure. “I think Ellen was the last person to see Honey.” It sounded dumb because Ellen couldn't see at all.

“You know, I had a real strange feeling
about Honey sleeping downstairs tonight.” Dunkum's mom pushed the front door shut. “By the way, this door was standing wide open when I went to bed.”

“It was?” Dunkum had forgotten that, too.

“Well, that's it, then,” his father said. “Honey took off sometime after Ellen went to bed.”

Dunkum felt horrible. Guide dogs were special. Lots of time went into training them. Lots of money, too. Besides that, Honey was part of the family.

A lump the size of a scoop of ice cream filled his throat.

Dunkum's mother pushed her bangs back. “Honey will probably come home when she's hungry.”

“Hungry? That's it!” Dunkum shouted.

His parents watched in amazement as Dunkum led them out the front door. “I
think I just remembered!” He pointed to the sidewalk.

His mom gasped. “Oh, look at those horrid ants!”

Dunkum tried to explain. “After the party, Carly's cone was dripping onto the sidewalk.”

Suddenly, Dad seemed to understand. “And we all know how much Honey loves vanilla ice cream,” he said. The lines in his forehead grew deeper.

“Honey must've followed the drips,” Dunkum's mom said.

“So . . . she might be somewhere up the street,” Dunkum said. “Maybe even at Abby's house.” He started up the sidewalk.

“It's midnight,” his mom called to him. “It's much too late to search now.”

“That's right,” Dad said. “Honey will be all right until morning.”

But Dunkum was worried. Honey was trained to guide blind Ellen. Who knows
what dangers were lurking in the midnight shadows?

Tears stung Dunkum's eyes. This was all his fault.

SIX

The next morning, Dunkum hurried downstairs.

Was Mom right? Had Honey come home for breakfast?

He searched the front yard, then the back. Honey was nowhere to be seen.

He ran through the neighborhood and asked each Cul-de-sac Kid if they'd seen Honey.

Nobody had.

“Let's trace the ice-cream trail,” Abby suggested when she heard the whole story.

The kids agreed.

So, starting at Dunkum's house, they counted twenty ice-cream drops to Abby's house.

“Look, you can even see Honey's tongue marks,” said Jason.

Eric looked closer. “Cannot.”

“Gotcha!” hooted Jason.

Abby frowned, ignoring Jason. “What other clues do we have?” she asked Dunkum.

He showed Honey's dog collar and the ID bracelet. “This is all I found last night . . . at midnight.”

Eric looked at the bracelet. He studied the initials. “A. H.? Maybe it belongs to Abby.”

“It's not mine.” Abby twisted her hair. “Think of all the kids we know with those initials.”

“I'll make a list of people's names,” Stacy offered.

“Good idea,” Eric said.

The kids split up and hopped on their bikes. Up and down the street they rode, whistling and calling for Honey. They talked to each neighbor on Blossom Hill Lane. They even checked at the Humane Society, where lost pets are kept.

But no Honey.

At last they followed Dunkum into his house. Ellen was having breakfast. Her eyes were red from crying.

Dunkum raced into the kitchen. “We're going to find Honey for you,” he said. “I promise.”

“We'll do our detective best,” Abby said and gave Ellen a hug.

“Let's put an ad in the paper,” Dunkum said. “If someone sees Honey, we might get a phone call.”

Abby suggested, “We could offer a reward.”

“Hey, good thinking. That ought to
help,” Jason said. He held up the newspaper. “Look, here's someone offering twenty dollars for a brown beagle.” The kids crowded around Jason.

Stacy pulled out a pencil and a pad. “If we each give some of our allowance, we'll have enough for a nice reward,” she said.

“Don't count Ellen,” Eric said. “It wouldn't be fair for her to put money into a reward.”

“I think twenty bucks is too cheap,” Dunkum said. “Let's go with closer to forty.”

So the reward for finding and returning Honey would be thirty-six dollars.

Dunkum divided nine kids into thirty-six bucks, leaving Ellen out. “Four dollars each,” he told them.

“Not bad,” said Dee Dee.

“I have more than that in my piggy bank,” said Carly.

“Me too,” said little Jimmy Hunter.

“It'll be worth it to have Honey back,” Abby said. “Now, let's decide on our ad.”

BOOK: The Midnight Mystery
5.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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