The winner of our April 2009 Mystery Contest is Pippa, age 10!
Congratulations to the winner! Pippa has written an imaginative and interesting continuation of the story that is a pleasant surprise.
The trees of the forest bent over sideways in the howling wind. The white disk of the full moon shimmered behind the swaying branches. Southbay Forest was being battered by the storm. Rain began to pelt the ground. It was an altogether nasty evening.
Riley Hitchens made his way along the muddy path with dread. The lantern’s feeble light swung wildly back and forth across the narrow way as his fingers gripped its handle tightly.
It was just an old crypt. That’s all. Nothing but a pile of old stones with a rusty iron door. That door was clanging in the wind now. It had disturbed Riley’s sleep.
So now poor Riley staggered in his soaking nightclothes toward the crypt that was creating such a din.
A wolf howled.
Riley stopped in his soggy tracks and glanced behind him. A shape flashed between the trees. He lurched forward and bolted down the mud path toward the old stone crypt.
He burst through the half-open door and sucked the dank air into his lungs. His mud-caked slippers echoed in the stone chamber. The rain pounded the forest outside. Just ahead, Riley could make out the dim shape of the tunnel entrance.
He stopped and felt the cold sweat of terror at the back of his neck.
From far down the dark winding way of the tunnel, underneath the raging of the storm, came the delicate sound of… music.
The winner’s story continues from this point…
Riley followed this interesting sound. It was a range of pipes mixed with a woodwind instrument. Maybe it came from missing hikers, or just the wind… He edged closer to the entrance. “Should I?” He was thinking, just then, a voice friom behind whispered “Go in. It is safe, and whatever you do, don’t turn around…” Riley’s senses told him to back away, but what was that voice coming from? Without second thoughts, he walked slowly into the seemingly never ending cave…
A couple of worries later, Riley knew he shouldn’t have come down here. There were rats, water drips and the horrible stench of… food? The music was gradually getting louder the further Riley went. Yet something caught the attention of his eyes – a shiny gold coin with a face of a dog carved on. Just as he was he was going to inspect it, the same voice he heard from outside whispered “There is no time to look around. Keep going.” Riley quickly regained his posture and set a gentle yet quick pace through the cave.
There were now lanterns hung up. Was there lost people living here? Riley closed his eyes and imagined there would be the three things he always wanted at the end of the tunnel. Suddenly, he tripped over. He opened his eyes like a shot, to see a hairy man wearing some old clothes standing behind him. Riley pretended not to see and lost his worries a second. He diverted all of his thoughts onto one question – Who was this man?
Finally – Riley and his hairy friend had reached the end of the cave. There was a great ceiling of the cave with a mighty hole gaping through the centre. The light let Riley see everything that was happening. Now he knew where the music was coming from. There was a tribe living in this cave! Suddenly, the man from behind placed his large hand on Riley’s shoulder and showed him a golden coin. It read “The Tribe of Cavesteep”.
The music was a group playing instruments made from solid wood – yet it was too fine to be carved by hand. There were small huts with families of around three people. It seemed awfully crowded to Riley, but the tribe seemed to find it quite cozy. The hairy man that had followed and directed Riley all this way, gave Riley the golden coin, and led him to a secret exit – a strand of rope from a hole in the ceiling.
By the time he’d got out, the sun was back out – but the ground was still damp and wet. Riley raced home to tell everyone his adventure, and the cave people from the cave are telling the story too…