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    ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene


    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:53 am

    Chapter One


    I held my breath turning the last key in the door it's five predecessors held their places firmly, as I pushed against the sixth key a loud solid clunk resonated through the door, answering me that the door was now unlocked.

    My heart started to race as I reached up it hardly took any pressure to release the latch, I pressed hard against the door and very reluctantly the door opened with much creaking and moaning. I slowly walked into the room, looking around, it seemed like any other room in the dark dusky tunnel, but instead of being completely dark there was a small light from the window. My blue eyes instinctively followed the light right to the wall directly to my right, before me was the large 'V' that I had been fallowing all over the place, directly below the 'V', there was a chest, not just any chest but the chest I knew what it had to be. Dirk had left to many clues to Francis to get her to try and find his long lost treasure.

    I slowly knelt down beside the chest, not caring about the dirt I was getting on my green cargo pants, oddly I found my hand shook as I slowly opened the lid of the chest, there, the gold hearts lit up my face as they glowed from the light of the window. They were amazingly beautiful, I could only imagine their worth the sheer amount was mind boggling.

    "Dirk Valentines treasure..." I breathed as I looked over hearts. I knew there was no way I could carry all of them out myself, I had to get help from someone at the ranch, or get a hold of Detective Hernandez himself, he could get people down here and help get this out of here. I couldn't help but start grinning as I stood up, finally tearing my eyes from the golden hearts, I hated leaving them there alone. What was I saying? It's not like they were puppies. They'd sat there for almost a hundred years, they could last three more hours.

    I sighed happily as I walked out of the room, glancing back at the door and the harts before pulling the door shut, I pulled out one of the key's placing them in my bag over my shoulder that I always carried.

    My mind was abuzz with ideas of who to call when I got out, how to get the hearts out of the room and back to the world where they could be placed in a museum with the letters from Dirk to Francis so everyone could admire their gleaming lights.

    Suddenly I froze. I could've sworn I heard movement.

    "Hello?" I called. But no sound responded, "It was just my mind," I muttered to myself, walking over to the rickety ladder climbing down slowly. Muttering to myself about how crazy I was, I was losing it being in this crazy dwelling.

    "Well, thank ye kindly, Nancy," The southern drawl that I would recognize anywhere, sneered from below me. My blood suddenly ran cold.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:35 am; edited 3 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:53 am

    Chapter Two


    Once again my heart started to race, but unlike before it wasn't from the thrill of victory of finally finding Dirk Valentines treasure, this time it was from the fear that flood through my system. I had to calm myself down, unfortunately I didn't have the liberty of time. I slowly climbed back up the few rungs of the ladder looking over the edge, half hoping my ears were wrong, but (As always) they weren't, standing below me was a man I had talked to many times at Shadow Ranch, from his red plad shirt with brown suspenders to his blue jeans, to his bald head it was without a doubt Shorty.

    "You're the one behind this?" I asked.

    Shorty smirked in response. "I'd figure you to be the smarted one! Any ol' dear would'a guessed that already, guess I pulled the wool over your eyes, doll," he sneered at me.

    "Why are you doing this?" I asked, my brain instantly kicking into over-drive trying to think of all possible escape routes, green, brown, there had to be a way to get back out of this maze without running into Shorty. Every time my brain tried to come to a conclusion I was stopped by another brick wall, or even worse, Shorty himself.

    "Now Miss. Nancy, ya really should'a figured that out ya self. I want the money." Shorty said, "And the money I will have, but I can't have someone knowin' about it, now can I?" As the realization of his words rang true in my head adrenalin flooded my veins, my heart speeding up to compensate, I couldn't just run. I knew that. I had to get out of here somehow.

    "You can't mean that." I said, to many close calls kept my voice calm, showing fear was the number one worst thing, well that and bring Joe Hardy along on a case. But that was beside the point. I had to focus!

    "'Fraid I do Miss. Nancy," Shorty said, smirking again before he took off walking out of my eyesight and down one of the numerous halls, which hall was he going? Blue? Why didn't I memorize this stupid maze better?

    I didn't have time to try and ponder where Shorty would be next; I had to get out of there. Preferably alive.

    I quickly went back down the ladder around I knew there was no way out that wouldn't lead me to Shorty, I started carefully going over the pattern of the maze in my mind. I tried to make my eyes scan the room, there had to be some way out of this! I couldn't let the treasure that Dirk Valentine had spent so much time on fall into the hands of someone like Shorty.

    But I couldn't think of a thing, everything seemed impossible, or improbable my heart threatened to speed up more, sending me into a frenzy. Which I didn't need because all that would do would end up dead.

    Out of nowhere it clicked. Switch the rocks on him! I remembered a pit behind me, if I tricked him into thinking he was going right, he'd fall right into that pit, he'd be stuck and I could get back to Bob and call Detective Hernandez!

    Instantly I ran over to the red rock, but as my hand closed over the rough rock I suddenly felt the cold metal of a knife against my throat.

    "I wouldn't move if I were you, sweety," Shorty sneered in my ear.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:40 am; edited 4 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:54 am

    Chapter Three


    My whole body tensed, and I could feel the blood drain out of my face.

    "Shorty, you don't want to do this." I said, forcing my voice to keep from shaking, the last thing Shorty needed to know was how scared I was.

    "Oh, Nancy, dontcha see? I have no choice," Shorty said, "I ain't got no choice! I know a girl like you can't keep quiet, so I'ma just gonna make sure of it," The blade pressed against my throat harder, I felt a bit of pain I knew it was close to the point of already cutting my throat.

    "I don't have to tell anyone," I said, okay I knew it was a lie, I was gonna call the cops, but it was my only hope of not being killed right here. My heart raced as there was no response from Shorty, then slowly the knife was removed from my throat. I took a deep breath before starting to turn around, suddenly I felt a tight grasp on my wrist, keeping me standing with my back to Shorty.

    "I suppose your righ' Miss. Nancy, after all you're a trust-worthy girl, righ'?" Shorty asked. I nodded quickly.

    "Of course," I said, there was no way my plan was working, if he thought I was enough of a threat to try and kill me there was no way a simple lie could get me out of this. But I knew better than to let my guard down, something could still go terribly wrong.

    Just a few seconds later, it did. I felt a splitting pain in my side, I gasped as the pain spread through my side to my whole body, my mind was fuzzy already from the pain, I tried to work through what could happen as Shorty's grasp was released on my arm and a shove landed me face down on the ground.

    Something clicked finally and I realized Shorty had stabbed me!

    "Stop fightin' it Miss Nancy," Shorty sneered standing over me. "No one visits this passage, I only found it thanks to you. So just let go, maybe in a few centuries someone will find your bones." He gave a laugh as my vision started blurring as I tried to hang onto consciousness, even though I knew Shorty was right, no one would find me...not in time.

    Through my blurred vision I saw Shorty disappear up the ladder, I tried to look around, there has to be something, some way to save myself I started coughing hard feeling something warm in my mouth, I quickly spat it out, not wanting to look. Black slowly started encroaching on my vision, I knew it was the end, a case had finally gotten to me.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:40 am; edited 4 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:54 am

    Chapter Four


    The first thing that hit me was noise, it was loud, extremely loud. I winced a little, weakly raising my hand to try and block the noise.

    "Its okay, Nance," I heard someone say, a male someone, I vaguely recognized the voice, someone I knew… But who wasn't quite connecting. I tried to open my eyes to see if I could register who was speaking but the bright light assaulted my eyes with such force I closed them quickly with a wince.

    "I know I'm hard on the eyes but do you really have to make that face?" I heard the man say again, this time the joke in it connected with the weak circuitry in my brain. Joe Hardy. Joe Hardy? What was Joe Hardy doing here?

    I gave a weak grin.

    "Duh," I said automatically my voice was barely even a whisper and it was very raspy, the moment I spoke I regretted it as my dry mouth and throat protested painfully.

    I heard a chuckle from Joe.

    "At least your humor survived." Joe said.

    Once again I tried to open me eyes, the light attacked my eyes again but this time it didn't feel as if needles were jammed into my eyes. After a few blinks I was able to finally keep them open.

    I was in a hospital room? A hospital room… Why was I in a hospital room? I glanced around, the source of the ringing in my head was nothing but the heart monitor, the bright light nothing but sunlight through the window.

    What had happened to make me so weak and venerable? Everything was so fuzzy, I tried to focus but my brain just hurt so I gave it a rest, focusing instead on Joe, the only one in the hospital room, well, besides me of course.

    "Wh-why h-here?" I asked, forcing my voice to work, against it's painful protests. Joe leaned back in his chair chuckling.

    "Your Dad nearly flipped when he heard that you got hurt, but because of some sort of thingamabob, he couldn't make it down here," he said, "So Frank and I oh-so-kindly offered to come down here for him." he smirked slightly, "You can give me my award any time now."

    "I-I'll get o-on that," I said, grinning weakly again.

    Joe smirked more. "Yeah, well I guess if we had to come down to the middle of no where for someone, we might as well do it for you," he winked at me, "Oh and there was also that small fact of you nearly dying, I guess that had a part in it,"

    "I guess," I said, it was slowly becoming easier to talk, the pain in my throat and mouth was subsiding, and I noticed my voice wasn't shaking as much as before.

    "So do you remember why you are laying in that bed?" Joe asked. I closed my eyes, now that things were less foggy I had to start thinking.

    "Don't push yourself," Joe said instantly.

    "M'fine," I whispered, keeping my eyes closed focusing, "I was close to Dirk's treasure," I said licking my dry lips, "I found some cave dwellings, and in-" I cut off with a gasp as I felt a sharp pain in my side my hand flew to my side feeling rough bandages pressing against my skin.

    "Oh yeah...the doctor said not to let you talk too much," Joe said slowly, "Shoulda mentioned that sooner, heh. Sorry,"

    "" I said slowly, I forced myself to slow my breathing down into slow breaths, waiting for the pain to slowly subside, finally my breathing was able to return to normal and I was able to open my eyes again.

    "So then what happened?" Joe asked eagerly. I had to grin a little bit at that.

    "What no...talking?" I asked, speaking slowly with pauses to keep the pain from coming back in my side.

    "That can wait till later, I want to know what happened. Spill. Now. That's an order." My grin spread a bit more as looked back over at Joe.

    "Your more...of a pain...than my side," I said, my strategy seemed to work, speaking slower with deep breaths between every few words kept the pain away.

    "Thank you," Joe smirked. Joe Hardy. The only one proud of being a pain in the butt.

    "I found...the the room..." I continued with my story as the fog cleared letting me back to my memories, "I came out and..." I closed my eyes again focusing, trying to push my way back into the memories.

    "Hey if it's causing you this much pain to talk, maybe I should get the doctor…" Joe said slowly.

    "Shorty!" I finally said my eyes shot open again.

    "I'm not short...Frank is shorter than me..." Joe said slowly, thrown by my sudden outburst, not that it was hard to throw Joe on a good day.

    "No...Shorty...the cook," I said, opening my eyes to look at Joe.

    "Oh, I knew that," Joe said, with a flip of his hand that could make about anyone believe he actually did know what he was talking about.

    "Right..." I said disbelievingly, "He stabbed me..." my memories were coming back in a flood now, I had raced to try to get away from Shorty, the ice cold of the knife against my throat, the pain as he stabbed me in the side, the despair and cold I felt as darkness took over.

    "He took the...treasure," I said aloud, Joe didn't really need to know all the other details.

    "Hey, Joe, what part of 'no talking' don't you get?" I looked over at the door to see Frank standing in it, leaning against the doorframe.

    "Did you not listen to a word the doctor said? Nancy has been unconscious for three days give her some rest before you start probing her with questions," Frank said sternly.

    "To late...Frank," I said, with as much of a grin as my dry cracked lips would let me without pain.

    I saw Frank look over at me, look me up and down once as if he was assuring himself I was really okay.

    "You sound like a ghost Nan, you need something?" Frank finally asked.

    "M'fine," I said closing my eyes again, suddenly I felt depleted, like just reaching my memories had been a fight against what my body wanted to do.

    "You need your rest. Joe was just leaving," Frank said. I opened one eye in time to see Frank give Joe a stern look.

    "What? No, I wanted to hear the rest of the story!" Joe whined, "It was really good!"

    Frank didn't even respond to Joe, grabbing his younger brother by the arm, starting to drag him from the room. But I noticed Joe didn't put up much of a fight.

    "Thanks...guys," I whispered as I closed my eyes, I could hear the heart monitor lessen as I drifted off into sleep.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:40 am; edited 4 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:54 am

    Chapter Five


    The next day passed in a blur, from Frank and Joe visiting, doctors hovering, nurses visiting, doctors visiting, Frank hovering, three phone calls to my dad assuring him I really was fine, and there was really no need for him to come down, Joe hovering, nurses hovering, two more calls to Bess and George while Bess tried to figure out other people to sue. I was bushed.

    But today was a new day, my phone had actually been able to rest, it had been silent for a whole twenty three minutes. I'm sure my phone loved it as much as I did.

    I tried to stretch as much as I could, I was restless in my hospital bed, there wasn't anything to do besides lay there, flip through TV channels which had nothing but lame sitcoms on, or some of those dumb made for TV movies in which the actors could probably be replaced by mice and no one would notice.

    Meanwhile in the real world, Shorty was getting farther and farther ahead, he'd had a four day head start. The worst part of all of it is the doctors said that I'd probably be here at the very least another week.

    I looked out my window at the 'view', all that I could see was the parking lot, a street on which cars lazily drove past, and a few businesses, that were so far away I couldn't make out the names of. I leaned back hard against my pillow with a 'thwomp' I instantly regretted it as I felt the now familiar surge of pain through my side. I ground my teeth.

    I laid here with a gaping hole in my side that hurt when I thought about it wrong, how could I catch a gang of thieves who might or might not even be in the USA anymore?

    I grabbed the remote attached to my bed, I couldn't help but wonder why it was attached? Were people that pressed for remotes? I clicked on the TV flipping through the fifteen channels. Once. Twice. Three times.

    Finally I gave an exasperated yell throwing the remote which flew to the end of it's cord and sprang back hitting the bed but within reaching distance. So that's why it's on a cord. People who throw things.

    I laid back against my pillow, staring at the ceiling. Another hour of this and I might not have to worry about Shorty not being in the USA. I'd die of boredom. Detectives have way to active of imagination to be stuck in a bed for this long.

    I counted the dots on the ceiling.

    Fascinating. I know.

    At one hundred and seventy-two I'd had all I could take. I pulled the scratchy blanket off my legs. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed, feeling the cold ground against my bare feet, I slowly pushed myself up to standing, hanging onto the bed for support.

    What kind of weak creature had I become? Ugh. I could barely think the thought before the searing hot pain came through my side.

    That'd do it. I thought weakly through the pain, using all of my strength to keep my knees from buckling under me. After what seemed like forever the pain subsided and I was left standing there, victorious against my own mini-battle.

    I reached up yanking the stupid sticky things off my chest, and the oxygen meter off my finger, leaving them in my bed, quickly turning off the machine before it could cause a ruckus that would bring half the nursing staff down on my head.

    I took a step, the pain returned hard but I pushed through it taking another step, slowly, step after step, it became easier, like my side was giving up to my stubbornness. It was a good feeling. Each step became easier until I was able to walk over to a duffle bag Joe had brought me. The doctors had said I could change into my own clothes when I felt like it. Well, I felt like it now.

    I pulled out my worn pair of jeans, thankfully they were low enough they wouldn't brush against my side, I dug through the shirts I had brought to Shadow Ranch, trying to find one that was light enough that it wouldn't hurt my side. I finally settled on a light cotton shirt, a light blue one that matched my eyes. I slowly went to the bathroom to change. Walking was almost becoming as easy as normal, almost.

    I slowly changed into my normal clothes, being super careful of my side, the last thing I needed was to reinjure myself I'd be under twenty four-seven guard between the Hardy brothers, I'd never get out of this torturous room.

    I felt more alive, and normal after I had changed my clothes, slowly went back to my bag, pulling out my brush, running it through my hair a couple times to try and get rid of the bed head. It was hopeless, my hair wanted to go every which way except for the way I wanted it to.

    I didn't have time to fight with my hair. I had to get out of this infernal room before one of the nurses came to check up on me, I yanked a hair bow off the end of my hairbrush pulling my hair up into a high pony tail, throwing the brush back into my bag. I picked up my bag being with my right hand, letting it rest against my good side.

    I took a deep breath and strolled out of my room, I acted like I belonged there, not like an escaping patient who was probably going to kill herself. But then again who hasn't been in one of those life or death things?


    I got onto the elevator, leaning against the back of the empty elevator, letting the door close without pushing a button to start the elevator.

    I took a few deep breaths, my side didn't like acting like nothing was wrong, the pain was growing. I clamped my hands over my side, closing my eyes, taking a few deep breaths.

    Okay so while I followed Shorty I'd have to take my time and just go slow. I can do that… Probably…

    I was finally able to straighten myself up, I pressed the button for the lobby, I forced myself to stay standing as the elevator moved. My side protested but I tried to ignore it, instead I worked on possible places Shorty could go.

    By the time the door opened I was up to, well, nothing. I had no clue where Shorty would go. I had to go back to the ranch house and start poking through Shorty's things, there had to be some clue as to where he'd go.

    I was so focused on figuring out where Shorty would go I barely realized the elevator opened, I was on automatic, I walked for the door as my brain fought to figure out where I could possibly look for clues.

    "Where exactly do you think you're going?" Suddenly a voice said beside me, I jumped a mile before nearly screaming as pain ripped through my side, I crumpled over and I felt two arms around me.

    "Geez Nan, I called your name twice," the voice said again I vaguely recognized it as Joe's. I leaned against Joe as I tried to gain my breath again.

    "Sorry," I managed to say.

    "You're an idiot." Joe said, "Why're you trying to leave?" he asked despite the fact I was dying. I chose not to answer, the pain was starting to fade, he could wait for making me hurt like this.

    Finally the pain subsided and I stood up again and away from Joe, I blushed a little thinking about leaning against Joe like that.

    "I have to find Shorty. Every moment I stay in that hospital bed is another moment he gets farther away," I said, putting a hand lightly on my side.

    "Then why are you standing here talking to me?" Joe smirked, starting to walk towards the door.

    "What?" I asked blinking, "Really?"

    "You think I'm gonna try to fight the power that is Nancy Drew?" Joe asked.

    "Thanks," I said grinning, "Where's Frank?"

    "Three… Two… One…" Joe said. I blinked until,

    "Joe!" Frank snapped, from where he walked up, "What is she doing out of bed?"

    "We're helping her escape," Joe said like he was talking about the color of the sky.

    "We're what?" Frank asked his eyes widening, "We are not!"

    "Why not?" Joe asked, "I mean they have to expect her to leave anyway, I mean if they don't they don't know our Nancy Drew." He winked at me. I couldn't help but giggle, thought I instantly stopped as my side twinged threatening to hurt me again I didn't need to show to Frank how weak I was already.

    "I am leaving," I said stubbornly, "With or without you," I smirked a little turning and starting for the door.

    "Coming with! I want to help you with this case." Joe said eagerly. Falling into step beside me like a puppy dog.

    "But..." Frank knew he was fighting a loosing battle. "Fine, but only so I make sure you don't kill yourself." he said. I turned back around grinning at the two brothers.

    "Thank you," I said, waiting for Frank to catch up to Joe and I before I turned around heading back out the door. I took a deep breath of the clean fresh air, it felt so good to be outside and without boredom.

    "You need to fill us in totally on the case." Joe said as he walked beside me, "Like, now."

    "Do you have to be so impatient?" I asked.

    "Yes," both Hardy brothers answered at the same time, Joe with an eager tone, Frank with a resigned tone.

    "Should have guessed that," I said, sighing as I started from the beginning with how I arrived at Shadow Ranch, and Bess and George hadn't despite our plane tickets, I was starting to describe my first phone call with the Rawley's about the phantom horse when Joe spoke up.

    "Maybe Frank was probably shouldn't be out of the hospital yet," Joe said the concern showing in his voice.

    "Sure, now you agree with me." Frank said, rolling his eyes. I blinked, clearly not getting it until I realized I was walking with a limp and my side was hurting.

    "Ah!" I said putting my hand on my side.

    "Only Nancy Drew cannot notice she's in pain," Frank shook his head.

    "I'm fine," I said stubbornly, trying not to walk without the limp, which only seemed to make it more pronounced.

    "Well I didn't want to but you force my hand," Joe smirked before bending over and picking me up. I yelped.

    "Joe Hardy you put me down this instant!" I said, my face going a dark shade of red.

    "No can do," Joe smirked, clearly enjoying himself, "I don't want you hurting yourself more, because you have to tell us about this case," I groaned.

    "Fine, once we're in the car I'll keep going." I said, "But put me down now!"

    "You had better." Joe said stubbornly, "And the answer is still, no." he smirked as he kept walking, and as I kept blushing, he finally set me down by the car, letting me get inside. I shook my head closing my eyes. Unbelievable. I couldn't even figure out why I was blushing as much as I was, I'm good friends with the Hardy's it shouldn't be this big of deal.

    "So keep going," Joe said as soon as he closed the car door.

    "Give her a break, Joe," Frank said as he got behind the wheel, buckling himself in. I slowly buckled my own buckle afraid of how it would rest against my side, I finally shoved the shoulder belt behind my back to keep it off my side, the lap belt thankfully kept it away from my side.

    "Fine. One...Two...Three...Four...Five. Is five long enough?" Joe asked. Frank rolled his eyes. I couldn't help but laugh, despite the pain in my side.

    "You're impossible! Completely impossible!" Frank said clearly exasperated with his younger brother.

    "Fine I'll do it your way...Six...Seven...Eigh-" I never got to hear how high Joe was going to count as suddenly the whole car was rocked, and nearly tipped over, I yelped, trying to steady myself with my arms and keep from jarring my side, which was next to impossible.

    I moved to look out my window driving beside us, despite the double yellow line, was a black sedan. I tried to look into the windows to see who was driving but all of the windows were completely blacked out.

    I heard him gun the engine, pulling up beside us, gearing up to try and hit us again. The car was trying to run us off the road!

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:39 am; edited 4 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:54 am

    Chapter Six


    "Hold on!" Frank ordered. I didn't need telling twice, I barely had time to grab onto the small handle above my door before Frank gunned the engine.

    Our rental car sped forward just as the black Sedan swerved to try and hit us, instead causing the Sedan to hit air, falling right behind us. I pulled the shoulder belt back over me, it might hurt my side but it'd be better than not having it on if that Sedan succeeded in it's mission.

    I tried to turn as much in my seat as I could, but the splitting pain in my side told me to sit foreword no matter what was going on behind us. Not that I'd even be alive if this Sedan caught us. I heard a seat belt come undone and looked up just in time to see Joe turn around in his seat, hanging onto the head rest so he didn't fall back over.

    "He's catching up Frank!" Joe said.

    "Noticed!" Frank snapped, as he suddenly jerked the wheel, the car squealed as it rounded corner. Luckily our pursuers weren't ready for it and they continued on past the street. Unluckily I wasn't ready either as the seat belt ratchet back yanking me roughly back against the seat, pulling tight against my side.

    Hot pain ran across my side pulling a small cry from my lips no matter how hard I tried to keep from crying out. I didn't need the Hardy's on worry patrol.

    "You okay, Nan?" Joe asked. I gave a very short nod.

    "Fine," I forced out, I reached down releasing the seat belt and the pressure against my side, letting the seat belt fall back with a clatter, instantly my side started to ease down in pain.

    "Nancy look out!" Frank suddenly yelled as I was thrown foreword into Joe's seat. I yelped again as my side felt like it was on fire. I tried not to scream by clenching my teeth shut. But a small whimper escaped.

    "The black Sedan bumped us from the back," Joe told me, I could barely see Joe had turned back around despite the haze of pain that had clouded my vision, "How did it get back?"

    Frank didn't respond obviously because it was all he could do to keep the car in the small side street and not crash into one of the two walls of businesses. I quickly pushed myself back into my seat, putting my seatbelt back on as fast as I could. I was worried I'd break teeth from how hard I was clenching them against the pain.

    "You always have to be the one to get hurt, over and over again," Joe said teasing me a little, but that was Joe though, teasing in the crazy wrong places.

    "Joe stop it!" Frank snapped. I knew as well as Joe that Frank wasn't mad at him, he was just getting frustrated that he couldn't loose the Sedan, when he didn't want to take this car trip in the first place.

    "Frank, he's gonna do it again!" Joe told him, still looking backwards over the seat. I shoved myself back against the seat again, pulling my seatbelt back over my screaming side and clicking it, trying to block out the pain as best I could.

    Frank didn't respond but the car's engine groaned as it was suddenly pushed beyond the limits of what it clearly wanted to do, the whole car started to lightly shake, the shaking becoming harder, and harder, as Frank continued to push the car faster.

    I tried to glance over my shoulder to see the Sedan, only to be rewarded with more pain. I ground my teeth glaring at the back of Joe's seat.

    "It's keeping up with us Frank," Joe said.

    I braced myself against the door and the ceiling, trying to keep myself stationary no matter what happened. I was quickly brought up with that exact scenario as Frank pulled another sharp corner.

    "That's working Frank!" Joe said, "Way to go bro! They can't seem to keep up, just keep doing that!"

    "Good," was all Frank said as he took another sharp corner. I tried not to whimper, each and every corner pulled me against my seat, jerked me around no matter how hard I tried to remain still. After a few more way to rough corners we pulled to a stop in the middle of an ally.

    "Did we lose them?" I asked quietly.

    "I think so," Joe said, "I can't see them, and haven't for the past few corners, I think we're safe."

    "Good," I said with a sigh, leaning back against the seat closing my eyes, trying to relax, and get my side to settle down finally, I carefully placed my hand against my side before looking at it, fully expecting to see blood covering my hand. Somehow the stitches had remained in place and hadn't pulled out. I closed my eyes again focusing on trying to relax and keep my side from hurting.

    The Hardy's were as quiet as I was, but I was fairly sure that it had nothing to do with checking stitches to make sure they weren't bleeding to death.

    "Hey Joe?" Frank said finally.

    "What?" Joe asked.

    "Next time you want to sneak Nancy out of the hospital, you're driving." Frank said. I started to laugh in spite of my side, regretting it instantly, clamping my mouth shut again.

    "Uh-huh," Joe said, "Drive," he pointed down the road.

    "Not even a thanks big bro? I owe you one big bro?" Frank asked.

    "Yeah, yeah, yeah," Joe said.

    "That's as good as I'm gonna get isn't it?" Frank asked.

    "Yes." Joe said. I couldn't help but grinning a little.

    Frank sighed. "Where to Nan?" he asked resigned to the fact he wasn't going to get anything better.

    "Hm?" I slowly opened my eyes.

    "Where're we going?" Frank asked looking back at me, "Are you okay?"

    "I'm okay," I said, "Honestly,"

    "Just about to pass out on us," Joe said, climbing over the arm rest between the two front seats to sit beside me, "Lemme see your side,"

    I rolled my eyes.

    "Joe I'm fine." I said.

    Joe started to say something.

    "Just give me directions to the ranch house, you can rest there, got it?" Frank asked.

    "I don't need to rest," I said.

    "Yes you do." Frank said, "Period."

    "We gotta go check on things with Shorty, and make sure he's not gone!" I said.

    "No. I'm putting my foot down." Frank said.

    I groaned.

    "Fine," I said, giving Frank directions back to the ranch.

    "Good." Frank said stubbornly.

    I shook my head.

    "Shockingly I think I agree with you Frank," Joe said. I leaned my head back against the window closing my eyes letting myself relax.

    "Wow I'm in shock, I'm gonna die!" Frank said. I grinned a little, I heard Joe snipe something back to Frank but the words somehow didn't make it to my brain as I dozed off.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:39 am; edited 4 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:55 am

    Chapter Seven


    I slowly blinked open my eyes, I was laying down across the back seat of a car. Not just any car, my brain quickly registered, Joe and Frank's rental car. I didn't move, just wanting to try and regain a little bit of awareness, I remembered falling asleep after the car chase, the Hardy's had obviously let me sleep in the back of the car. But why didn't they just take me back to the ranch? Then it dawned on me, they didn't know where the ranch was even, those guys were to sweet.

    "Oh please Joe!" I could hear Frank's muffled voice, "Can we please, please just not have to hear your constant monologue?"

    "But it's totally a train!" Joe countered.

    "It's not a train," Frank said, "And if you don't shut up I'm going to tie you up under that car and drive over you five times until you stop moving!" I couldn't help but giggle a little. I felt relieved when my side barely twined, but that couldn't help but make me wonder how long I'd been asleep.

    "You wouldn't dare!" Joe was saying outside with fake shock.

    "Wanna try me?" Frank asked.

    I slowly sat up in the back of the car swinging my legs over and slowly getting out of the car. I glanced around for Frank and Joe, leaning against the door, out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, I looked towards the front of the car to see Joe's leg sticking out. I left the door open slowly coming up to the front of the car. Both Hardy's were leaning back against the front bumper of the car. Joe, however, had his head tilted back to look at the clouds, well that was until he heard the sound of my footsteps against the gravel.

    "She lives!" Joe said drawing the word out like a horror movie. Frank rolled his eyes, looking over at me.

    "Ignore him, he got bored about half an hour ago, it's been all downhill since then." he said.

    "Sorry guys," I gave a small giggle, awkwardly rubbing the side of my arm.

    "No big deal, you needed the sleep after that insane trip," Frank said.

    "Frank and I were gonna take you back to the ranch house, but we realized we didn't exactly know where that was," Joe said, "And since we get zilch service out here, our cells are just powered off in the glove box,"

    "Yeah I guess I should've given you directions before I passed out," I said.

    "No big deal," Frank said again, "You're up now,"

    Joe jumped up.

    "So now you can give us directions before you drift off to la-la land for two hours," Joe said. I felt my face flush.

    "You two have just been sitting out here for two hours?" I asked. I felt horrible, this stupid side was all my fault, I should've been more careful. No, I should've called for back-up, some first class detective I am.

    "Hey don't feel bad," Frank said picking up on my sudden change in mood, "We haven't been sitting out here that long, we just drove around for a while, until Joe here got us lost."

    "I did not get us lost!" Joe said, "Just…" he paused, "Momentarily misplaced."

    "So I guess my directions won't do you much good," I said, "I only know how to get from the hospital to the ranch, and maybe to the airport,"

    "We have a map," Joe said walking past me to the car, he opened the passenger side door pulling out what looked to be a map that had been ran over by elephants.

    "How long have you had that thing in there?" I asked, who knew if it was still accurate! Maybe I could've figured out something with a new map, but with that old thing.

    "Two days," Joe said. I blinked looking at the map again.

    "You give a map to Joe, you get that in return," Frank said, "Another reason why he'll be driving from here on out."

    I giggled a little taking the map from Joe, spreading it on the hood, trying to get as many wrinkles out of it as possible, something totally impossible by the way. My eyes ran over the map trying to figure out anything I might recognize.

    "Last we looked we were there." Frank pointed at the map. I looked at the map blinking a little. There had to be some kind of clue as to where we were. I looked up, and around me, all I saw was a flat, dry, desert, with a few plants sprinkled around. That's when my eyes landed on a sign, facing the wrong way away from us, and far down the road, the Hardy's had come.

    "Um… Frank?" I said slowly, trying to suppress giggles.

    "What?" Frank blinked. I pointed to the sign down the road, looking back to Frank. Frank glared at the sign then his attention shifted to Joe, the glair unmoving, he stalked his way around me.

    "What?" Joe asked putting his hands up, "I didn't do anything."

    "Didn't I tell you to look for signs around us?" Frank asked pointing at the sign.

    "I wasn't sure that was a sign!" Joe said after a pause.

    "It's just a weird stick that looks like a sign?" Frank asked.

    "…Could be." Joe said slowly.

    Frank groaned throwing his hands up in the air.

    "I have an idiot for a brother!" Frank said.

    "Frank you do realize it could be nothing more than a speed limit sign," I said.

    "Better than what we've got now," Frank said, "Get in everyone." He went around the car getting into the driver's seat.

    "What happened to I'm always driving?" Joe asked.

    "Oh no, no, no, not until we find out where we are." Frank said, "You could get someone lost in bumper cars!"

    "So why should I be driving all the time?" Joe asked.

    "Nancy you wouldn't happen to have any duck tape in that special little bag of yours, would you?" Frank asked.

    "I wish," I said getting into the back seat.

    Frank pulled a U-turn heading off, the sign ended up to be nothing more than a speed limit sign so we just kept driving. Nearly half an hour later we wound up on a road I recognized, and after another fifteen minutes we finally pulled up at the ranch house.

    "About time." Frank muttered.

    "What you're gonna blame this on me too?" Joe asked.

    "Since you got us lost in the first place?" Frank asked. Joe didn't respond sinking down in his seat, crossing his arms and muttering under his breath.

    "You're all good back there Nance?" Frank asked.

    "Frank I'm fine, I'll be fine," I giggled a little.

    "In other words, stop?" Frank asked.

    "Yes," I said getting out of the car, "I just have to take things slow," I couldn't help but notice how both Hardy's flanked me instantly, like a protective barrier, it was kinda sweet, in an over the top way.

    "So we have to check the house for Shorty, then get some water, saddle the horses and head out to the cliffs," I said.

    "Why can't we just drive out there?" Joe asked.

    "Because we can't," I said, "Horses are the only way,"

    "Okay," Joe said slowly.

    I walked around to the back looking around, no one was there, I slowly opened the back door, still no one was inside, the kitchen looked untouched, not even pots and pans sitting out.

    "No one's here," Joe said.

    "Probably because they are running around the hospital looking for a certain strawberry blonde," Frank said tugging on a piece of my hair.

    "Stop it," I shook my head, shoving his hand away, "I guess we'd better just head for the cliff dwellings, Shorty wouldn't hang around here anyway…"

    "So back to the car then?" Joe asked.

    "Nope," I said, closing the back door again walking down the beaten path for the stables.

    "Stables? As in... Horses?" Joe asked slowly.

    "Horses usually live in the stables," I said I opened the gate going into the small stable room, Tex wasn't there either. I sure hoped Frank wasn't right, I'd feel bad if everyone was running around looking for me at the hospital.

    "You two grab those two," I told Joe and Frank, pointing out two other saddles sitting on the numerous racks as I grabbed my saddle, or more specifically Bob's saddle, heading back outside.

    "This is a lot heavier than it looks y'know!" Joe said.

    "I know," I said simply carrying the saddle out and laying it across Bob's back, out of the corner of my eye I saw the two Hardy's carrying their saddles past me, I listened as the two tried to saddle their horses.

    "Uh... Nancy?" Joe asked. I looked over my shoulder, just finishing saddling Bob, I had to force back a laugh as I saw Joe had put the saddle on Ace backwards. Ace was looking at Joe like even he thought he was insane.

    "Have you never been around horses before?" I asked.

    "Is it that obvious?" Joe asked me slowly.

    "Uh, yeah," I nodded coming over, I quickly fixed the saddle, I was tempted to not tighten the girth, just to watch Joe go sliding off of Ace at some point. But I resisted because I knew that Joe was already lost enough. After I finished I looked over at Frank.

    "You all good back there?" I asked.

    "I'm covered Nancy," Frank said, "I'm not helpless like my brother." I giggled as I went back to Bob.

    "Now we need to get out of here," I said, "C'mon Bob," I cooed to the horse leading him out to the mounting block and climbing on Bob's back, I headed out of the corral, waiting for Frank and Joe

    "Ready?" I called.

    "Ready as I'll ever be," Joe said looking worriedly down at Ace. I shook my head before setting out at a leisurely pace so the Hardy's could keep up, or more specifically so Joe could keep up. Not to mention I didn't think my side could take a trot. It hurt enough as it was, a simple walk was good enough for me.

    "So will you explain now that we have stolen the horses?" Joe asked. I giggled.

    "You pretty much know the jest from my phone calls," I said, "But now Shorty has taken Dirk's treasure and we have to track him down,"

    "Why we?" Joe asked.

    "Because you volunteered to help her at the hospital." Frank said.

    "I did? No I didn't..."

    "Yes you did,"

    "Did not,"

    "Oh don't start this," I groaned.

    "Right, because then you couldn't explain what we have to do," Joe said.

    "Whatever, Joe," I said rolling my eyes, "Right now we need to head out to the cave, hopefully there is some sort of clue as to where Shorty went out there."

    "How far is this cave?" Frank asked.

    "Not far," I said shrugging, I turned slightly letting the sun beat against my side, soaking up the heat. It felt so good, and relaxing.

    Joe and Frank seemed to realize I needed the quiet as the three of us simply road in silence


    "Are we there yet?" Joe whined a while later, we were almost to the opening, and this was probably the sixth time Joe had asked since we had set out from the Ranch. The wonderful silence had only lasted for as long as Joe could. Which wasn't long, then it was the whining. The begging the 'ooh look at the shiny thing over there!' okay so he never actually got distracted by something shiny, but he did get distracted by just about everything else. The bugs, the trees, the grass, you name it.

    "I swear if you ask that once more I'll..." I trailed off, I wasn't sure what I could even threaten Joe with. I mean he was bigger than me, and on top of that I was hurt. Joe seemed to notice that I had nothing to back up my empty threat because he smirked.

    "You'll what?" he asked. I sighed, grinding my teeth. Joe was so annoying. I'd happily shove him off a cliff dwelling while we were there.

    "Never mind," I said, "It's right there," I pointed in the distance where the outcropping could be seen.

    "About time," Joe said. I rolled my eyes before pulling on the reigns to Bob getting off of him and walking towards the opening of the cliff dwelling, not long after I heard the Hardy's footsteps behind me.

    "Oh this is...fascinating," Joe said looking at the rock face.

    "Joe cut it out," Frank groaned.

    "You're not the boss of me!" Joe countered, much like a five-year-old. I ignored the two brothers as I pulled my lasso out quickly lassoing the log up above, this was not gonna be fun with this side of mine. I grabbed the rope slowly pulling myself up the cliff, my side didn't hurt as bad as I was afraid it would. When I climbed to the top I sat down, leaning against the rocks, taking a few deep breaths. My side actually didn't hurt all that bad. I about which I was supremely happy,

    "For the last time I am not acting like a five-year-old!" Joe could be heard whining, I leaned over the edge, looking down at Joe, I giggled a little.

    "Are too!" Frank countered.

    "Am not!"

    "Are too!"

    "Am not!" I rolled my eyes, those two were both five-year-olds, I pulled off my glove, sticking my fingers in my mouth and whistling, loudly. Both brothers looked up at me with the same expression on their faces.

    "Would you two quit bickering and get up here?" I called.

    "Oh...sorry Nan," Frank said as he grabbed the rope pulling himself up. Joe quickly followed behind.

    "Now where?" Frank asked.

    "Just follow me," I said walking down the cave, the smells hit me again bringing back the rush of excitement I'd felt the first time I was here.

    "This looks like you could get lost in here," Frank commented.

    "No kidding," I said, "I almost did, but luckily there is a map," I tapped the engraving that Dirk had left.

    "Oh, sure, gibberish. I can totally see how that will help you not get lost," Joe said, "Makes perfect since,"

    "Not if you know how to decode it," I said, rolling my eyes, "C'mon, it's this way," I led the two brothers through the intricate maze that was the cave dwellings.

    "Yech," Joe said, who had pushed around me to go into the cavern, the final cavern, the one where I had been stabbed, "I knew that Dave said that there was a ton of blood but...ew!" I slowly walked into the room, my heart instinctively started to race as in my mind I replayed what could have been my last few moments. I took a few deep breaths, trying to subdue the panic that was rising in my chest.

    "I-It's up here," I said, my voice giving away my fear and panic, I tried to clear my throat and hide it but it was too late, so I just quickly dove around the corner, leaning against the wooden ladder.

    "You okay Nance?" Joe asked, coming around the corner, watching me closely.

    "I'll be fine, just, creepy seeing that," I nodded to where the large pool of dried blood was, "And knowing where it came from,"

    "We can do this later you know," Joe said.

    "No," I said stubbornly, "We're here let's just get this over with," I spun around before Joe could object going up the ladder. I didn't hear Frank and Joe instantly follow me like they had been. They obviously were talking about me, again. I tried to ignore it as I went to the door.

    I forced myself not to look over the ledge, down over the edge, but that didn't stop me from hearing Shorty's voice. I placed my hand against my neck, as if the cold metal was still there against my neck. My heart was racing my side was aching, I felt like I was drowning, I couldn't breathe.

    Suddenly an arm grabbed me, I screamed jolting back to reality.

    "Nancy! Nancy it's me!" through my panic attack I was able to see Joe standing in front of me, he had a hold of my arms, looking me in the eyes, clearly worried. I blinked a few times, I could feel myself shaking.

    "Geez Nance," Joe said pulling me into a hug, letting me lean against him.

    "When did I turn into a pathetic wimp?" I muttered, normally I would've freaked out at Joe's gesture, but I suppose nothing about right now was normal. I could hear Joe chuckle a little.

    "You're not a pathetic wimp," Joe said.

    "Feel like one," I muttered.

    "It's okay Nance," Joe said softly, "It's really okay... You had a traumatic event, happens to the best of us. Frank once broke down in tears, and he didn't even get stabbed." I gave a small giggle at that.

    "There we go," Joe grinned, "That's my Nancy Drew, if you want to go Frank and I'll check out here, you got us this far."

    "No," I said trying to sound stubborn, "I'm finishing this case out." I stood up again walking past Joe, I was not letting this idiotic case beat me. I walked to the door, the six keys were still in place. I pushed against the door, letting out my frustrations for a moment as I shoved the heavy door open. It worked, slightly.

    "That's where it was," I said, forcing my voice strong and in charge as it normally was. Pointed to where the chest of golden hearts had been not three days ago as Joe and Frank came into the room looking around.

    "Y'know I've thought this for a while, but this room makes it official, Dirk had too much time on his hands," Joe commented as he looked around.

    I started poking around myself, not that there was much to really poke around with, there wasn't much to see, it really was a small room. But I was trying to keep my mind off of what it easily wanted to go to. A phantom pain hit my side again, drawing me back to that cold dark place. Dying wasn't a fun place to be.

    An eerie stillness fell over the three of us, as we each tried to find clues for different reasons. This case had crossed the one line I didn't want to let any case cross. This case had become personal. I let myself soak in the silent that surrounded me, letting my mind focus better on the task at hand. Looking for anything that could help me get closer on this case.

    Suddenly a sound hit me, actually making me jump, I usually wasn't so jumpy on cases. I realized what the sound was almost as instantly as I was able to hear it, a cell phone ringing.

    I reached for my pocket, it was flat against my thigh, I'd left my cell phone in the hospital, I made a quick mental note to go back and get it. But that caused a new problem, if I didn't have my phone, and Joe and Frank didn't have theirs either, they'd just told me they left them in the glove box of the car. That could only mean one thing...someone else was in the cave dwellings with us.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:57 am; edited 5 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:56 am

    Chapter Eight


    I stood up quickly, my heart was racing, who could've possibly followed us out here? I spun around only to see Frank hadn't even paused in his searching, I couldn't be going insane now on top of all of this, could I?

    "Hello?" I heard Joe, and instantly the ringing stopped. I blinked looking out the door to see Joe standing on the platform with my cell phone to his ear, "Oh, Hi Bess."

    "Joe Hardy!" I snapped quickly coming over to him, "Give me that phone now!"

    "Oh you make it to easy!" Joe smirked holding the phone above my head, I glared at him. "But I'll be nice," he pressed the speaker phone button.

    "Joe give me my phone!" I said.

    "Wait…I thought Nancy got stabbed…" Bess said her voice coming through the small speaker, "Is that her I hear talking? She isn't dead?"

    "Yeah she died." Joe said sarcastically.

    "She died?" Bess screeched. Bess obviously hadn't learned the fine art that was Joe's sarcasm.

    "What? No! No she got stabbed." Joe said. I rolled my eyes.

    "I'm fine Bess!" I called, "I'd be better if Joe would give me my phone!"

    "Then why is she yelling at you to give her the phone?" George asked, "And why don't I hear like, hospital stuff?"

    "Because Frank and I snuck her out of the hospital." Joe said simply, like it was a perfectly normal thing to sneak a girl out of the hospital.

    "You what?" Both cousins demanded.

    "She was already sneaking out, we just didn't want her to get more hurt," Joe said, "Y'know we thought we'd be her protectors of sort,"

    "Give me that phone before I shove you off a cliff!" I snapped at Joe, which just caused Joe to laugh.

    "You're the one who got stabbed, you couldn't shove me off a cliff," Joe said. I really hated this boy. Like with a undying, annoying, really wanting him to shove him off a cliff sort of way.

    "Actually she probably could," George said.

    "Point and case!" I said, "Now hand it over Hardy."

    "Ooh, last name game," Joe said, "Not gonna happen Drew," I ground my teeth harder. I was going to kill him before this trip was over. Then I was only talking to Frank. Period.

    "You little annoying..." I tried to think of a word, "Cockroach!" Joe blinked at me.

    "Cockroach?" he asked slowly.

    "I couldn't come up with anything else," I muttered, "Besides Cockroaches are really annoying," My lack of words was only making this worse.

    "I don't think they are listening to a word we are saying, Bess," George said.

    "What ever gave you that idea?" Bess asked sarcastically.

    "No, we are, or at least I am, I'm just trying to figure out where cockroach came from," Joe said.

    "From the depths of my little brain, now hand over the dang phone!" I snapped.

    "You had better give her the phone before she rips her stitches." Bess said, starting to giggle.

    "Oh, no need for that," Joe said, "Because all I have to do is call the hospital and tell them that I have a certain patient of theirs that went missing and I think she'll cooperate just fine," I glared more at Joe, but I took a few steps back, silently telling him he'd won, well at least he'd won this round, but that was it. No more.

    One of these days Joe Hardy was gonna have to rest, or let down his guard, and I'd kill him when I could. Okay fine, so I wouldn't actually kill Joe Hardy, as much as it killed me to admit it. He was kinda a friend. Kinda. Sorta.

    Why did I have to get stuck with him? I mean really why couldn't there be some other girl detective out there that could put up with him, I mean anyone could put up with him, but no. It had to be me. Me! Ugh. Joe was such a child! He really was when you thought about it, he acted like a child, he was amused like a child, and here I was, the baby sitter. Poor Frank... Frank had to live with this nut job.

    "Yo!" Joe said waving a hand in front of my face, "Accident prone girl! Back to the future here! Naaaancy!" I blinked a few times coming out of my thoughts.

    "Huh?" I said, way to sound intelligent Nancy Drew.

    "You totally zoned out on us," Joe said, "You okay?"

    "I'm fine," I said grumbling.

    "She's just pouting," Joe told Bess, "Anyway as I was saying watching Accident Prone here crazy,"

    "Sounds like a full time job," Bess giggled.

    "You're telling me?" Joe laughed, "We already almost got run off the road,"

    "You almost what?" George asked.

    "Got run off the road," Joe said again, a little louder, as if George really didn't hear him, because it obviously couldn't be that she wasn't expecting the response she got.

    "By who?" Bess asked.

    "I think we all wish we knew that," Joe said, "Me really badly, because I really wanted something to eat, but no we had to almost get rammed off the road so no time to stop for hamburgers."

    "I see," George said slowly.

    "Man this is so no fair!" Bess whined, pulling the 'o' out on the word so, just so she could sound like a teenager. "I mean you guys get on planes out there no problem. But us? Oh no! We get stuck in airport, after airport!"

    "She has been ranting about this for the past hour. Her 'need to sue' list is getting longer." George said.

    "I'm serious!" Bess said, "I'm gonna sue the airport, the weathermen, the engineers, anyone who looks at our plane, the people who supposedly are 'helping' the people who are gonna look at us, the people who already have looked at us-"

    "That's a pretty big list," Joe cut Bess off with a laugh.

    "I wasn't done!" Bess said.

    "We got the picture..." Joe said.

    "Oh! Call waiting, hang on," George said, the line went dead.

    "Why're you giving me that look?" Joe asked me.

    "Because I'm debating how to shove you off the cliff and make it look like an accident," I quipped back.

    "Guys?" George came back on the line.

    "We're here," I said.

    "It's the airport, I'll talk to you guys later," George said before hanging up.

    "Bye," Joe said starting to pocket my phone.

    "No way, hand it over." I said glaring at him again, grabbing his wrist to stop him.

    "Nope." Joe shook his head pulling his arm out of my weak grasp and pocketing my phone.

    "How did you get my phone anyway?" I asked glaring at Joe.

    "I took it out of your duffle bag when you were unconscious, you have some fun games on there." Joe said, walking past me and back inside the room with Frank. I followed glaring at his back anyway.

    "In other words, he got board," Frank spoke up. I rolled my eyes.

    "And you didn't tell me, because?" I asked, then I paused and blinked as a realization came over me, "Actually how did it get service down here?" I asked

    That caused a pause from both Joe and Frank. "Good question..." Frank said slowly.

    Joe pulled my phone back out of his pocket looking at it.

    "Full bars." He said.

    "I didn't have service before," I said, "Lemme see my phone," I held out my hand. For once Joe didn't fight me just handing me the phone.

    I opened the menu, looking through the options.

    "It's on a different network," I said blinking.

    "So what? Someone has a cell tower in abandoned cliff dwellings?" Joe asked.

    "It's possible, there are private cell towers that will only work from a small range, usually powered by a battery or generator," Frank said.

    "Seriously?" I asked, pocketing my phone, despite Joe's glare.

    "Yeah," Frank nodded, "Maybe whoever's still in the cliff dwellings?"

    "Did they manage to get all of the hearts?" I asked.

    "Every single one," Frank stepped out of my way so I could look in the room myself.

    "As far as I can tell Shorty didn't leave a single clue in the whole room. For such a messy cook he sure was good at cleaning up here." Frank said

    I sighed

    "Of course," I said, "So besides some fritzy cell phone possibility we have nothing?"

    "Basically," Frank said "What if we change tactics," he said slowly looking over at his brother, who nodded.

    "Like what?" I asked, looking between the two brothers, clearly they got something I didn't.

    "You thinking the sedan?" Joe asked.

    "No no the others," Frank said.

    "Right! We follow them, we'll find him." Joe said

    "Exactly." Frank said nodding, "Let's get back to the ranch and see what we can dig up," he quickly headed out, followed by Joe. I stood there blinking neither one looked back to even see if I was following.

    "Okay..." I said slowly, "Now I know how Bess and George feel..." I said slowly before quickly following the brothers. I was forced to fall behind them as I climbed slowly down the ladder, didn't need to hurt my side again. This time I completely averted my eyes from the blood on the floor, I didn't need a panic attack again

    "Uh...Nance?" I heard Joe call from...somewhere

    "Joe?" I called, "Where are you?"

    "Back here!" Frank called. I followed the voices to find the two brothers staring at a dead end.

    "Help." Joe said simply. I snorted. Leave it to Joe to get lost.

    "C'mon you two," I said, starting back towards the right way out, "So what was that all about back there?"

    "What?" Joe blinked. C'mon I knew he was slow but seriously? How did he solve well…anything.

    "Oh, that?" Frank asked, "We figured if we could track down the car that tried to run us off the road, we can find Shorty."

    "But we don't even know if that was Shorty, or if someone trying to crash us off the road was even related to our case," I said looking at Frank.

    "True, but, someone getting caught stealing a laptop isn't going to try and run us off the road. And Shorty did just try to kill you," Joe said.

    "So its more probable that it was Shorty driving," Frank said.

    "Or someone hired by Shorty," Joe said.

    "Or someone doing it for him for some other reason," Frank said.

    "Or som-" I cut Joe off.

    "I get it, guys!" I said putting my hand up to stop them.

    "Good I'm glad you do," Joe said, "Because I didn't have another someone," I rolled my eyes. Before this case was over I was gonna end up murdering Joe Hardy. Hopefully it'd just be justifiable homicide.

    As we walked my mind drifted. Unfortunately due to the throbbing pain in my side it drifted back to my panic attack. I really should thank Joe. Somehow he calmed me down. Okay so fine. I admit it. Joe isn't all that bad. All the time. Rarely, very rarely. He could be nice…ish. Okay so it was time for me to be the bigger person.

    "Thanks, Joe," I said finally.

    "For what?" Joe asked blinking.

    "You knew that I was having problems being back there," I said slowly, running a hand through my hair, my hair felt horrible I really needed to get it washed.

    "You having problems? Never! You're the great detective Nancy Drew!" Joe said in that annoyingly, kinda cute, boyish way he had, "You can overcome everything!"

    "I think he's trying to say you're welcome," Frank spoke up.

    I grinned a little nodding, letting the subject drop at that, I'd said what I wanted to.

    "Wait...since we are leaving does this mean I have to ride a horse again?" Joe asked as we walked out of the cave dwellings back into the light. I had to squint against the light as it blinded me for a second.

    "Yes it does, you have to get used to it, Joe." I answered as soon my eyes adjusted to the light, I climbed down the rope, ignoring the growing pain in my side. I really needed to find some Tylenol when we got back to the farm house.

    I leaned against the rocks waiting for the Hardy's to follow. Frank landed on the ground beside me blinking.

    "You okay?" Frank asked.

    "M'fine," I said standing up again grinning at Frank.

    Frank gave me a disbelieving look but I was spared from whatever he was going to say as there was loud thump as Joe had slipped the last few feet on the rope landing flat on the ground.

    "Uh…ow." Joe said.

    I tried to hide how much pleasure I actually got out of Joe's pain. Made my own feel slightly better. I walked to Bob climbing onto him before even thinking. The last time I'd done this it didn't hurt. This time however? Yeah. Not so fun. My side hurt like heck. I lightly placed my hand there, nothing wet. Which meant I was fine. Just pure pain. Yeah not a world I liked to live in. Slowed me down way too much for my own choices.

    As we rode back I told the boys about the things we saw, mostly to give myself something to talk about to keep my mind off of the growing pain in my side. Yeah from now on I'm packing Tylenol with me no matter where I go.

    "That's Charlie's grave, it was one of Dirk and Francis' meeting spots," I said pointing.

    "Can we please stop and just possibly rest for a little bit?" Joe whined, again. I ground my teeth. Maybe it was the pain that was making me irritable. But I didn't really care.

    "I like it here, and besides we can give Joe a chance to stop whining," Frank said.

    "I wasn't whining!" Joe whined. Frank chuckled as he climbed down looking at the grave.

    "That's an interesting grave marker," he commented.

    "Yeah I know," I said, I resented it but I slowly climbed off of Bob, it actually felt better with my feet on the solid ground.

    "What's this?" Joe asked.

    "Hm?" I glanced up, looking at Joe heading towards Zebra Rock, "Oh, that was another one of the clues Dirk left for Francis," I said, I slowly started down the trail a little taking some deep breaths. Actually felt a little good.

    Then things went from good to bad instantly. Suddenly my head started to spin. I gave a small groan putting my hand on my head. I felt light headed and dizzy. I took another step tripping over a root on the ground I landed hard on my hands, scraping them. But my side slammed into the ground hard.

    Suddenly it felt as if my side was on fire, I couldn't think about anything other than my side. I choked back a scream, my vision blurred, before I closed my eyes all that I could feel, since, or anything came from the pain in my side.

    "NANCY!" I heard Frank yell. I heard Joe say something, but it faded out of my ears I tried to focus in but it seemed impossible, the searing pain from my side blocked out everything.

    "…now!" the disjointed words reached my ears but only barely. I closed my eyes, I could feel myself starting to loose consciousness, I just wanted the pain to stop.

    I barely felt someone pick me up, I couldn't hang on anymore. My eyes fell closed against the blurred vision as my body went limp.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:41 am; edited 2 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:56 am

    Chapter Nine


    A creepy since of Déjà vu sunk over me as I once again the heart monitor assaulted my ears.

    "She's gonna kill us," I heard Joe said.

    "Probably, but we had to," Frank said. It sunk in then. I was in the hospital. Again. Ugh.

    "Of c-course," I muttered, dang my stupid dry throat, I forced my eyes open, the brothers must have remembered about last time because the curtains were closed, so at least I wasn't blinded... But I was stuck back here in this darned place.

    "We kinda had to," Joe said slowly.

    "Goodie." I said, even though it hurt I forced myself not to think about my throat as forced myself to speak normally, "What happened?" Frank looked over at Joe and backed up a step, clearly Joe had drawn the short straw in telling me what happened.

    "Well," Joe started, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, "It seems like maybe you over did it, just a little," he said, "You passed out from pushing yourself and when you fell you pulled your stitches a little. Not bad!" he said quickly, "Just enough that they had to redo some stuff,"

    "Great," I groaned.

    "When you passed out, we figured it would be the best," Joe contenued, "To y'know bring you back here…"

    "I'm sure it was," I said glancing at the closed window. Okay so I'll admit it. Leaving the hospital was probably stupid. But I hated being cooped up in here while Shorty and the others got farther, and farther away.

    "So you're not mad at us?" Joe asked.

    I started to quip back but I forced myself to hold my tongue.

    "No," I said finally.

    "Oh, good," Joe said, I noticed out of the corner of my eye he relaxed.

    "But this time I'm putting my foot down, you're not leaving this hospital until they say so," Frank said stubbornly. I quickly looked over at him.

    "Frank no!" I said, "Something like th-that could have h-happened any time." My voice betrayed me and broke twice. I couldn't stay here any longer! Okay fine I'll take protections against this happening again, horseback riding was probably out. Running was totally out, no climbing rope, leave all the heavy lifting to the boys, but there was no way I was going to stay in this hospital bed any longer, I had already been unconscious, who knows how long, and now Frank was going to try to keep me there longer? No way!

    "Nance, we just don't want anything worse to happen to you," Frank said sounding way too smart for anyone's good.

    "It wasn't ev-even my fault," I said, sounding harsher than I meant.

    "Nancy stop it," Joe told me, "You're going to hurt yourself more by talking,"

    "I don't ca-are," I snapped.

    "Nancy, once you're feeling better, we will talk about this more," Frank said, "For now I'm going to be stubborn on this." I glared at Frank. Hoping he'd back down. But he just held my gaze.

    "We'll see you later, okay Nance?" Joe asked me, but I refused to answer him. Glaring at Frank. Joe walked between our visual battle breaking the eye contact as he walked out. Frank took that time to turn and walk out himself. I crossed my arms over my chest.

    Okay sure I was acting like a child. I knew that. But I didn't care. I turned to glare at the window. Frank and Joe couldn't do this to me. They just. They couldn't. They didn't realize how huge this was.

    I tried to keep my mind occupied watching the cars go lazily by. But that became boring before long. I picked up my connected remote.

    "Hello old friend," I said groaning, leaning back against my pillow harder.


    "Nancy?" I heard Joe come into my room rather than seeing him, I had my eyes closed tightly, trying to sleep. It hadn't worked. Probably because I had gotten out of my bed, and I moved to the chair beside my bed, not that I would've seen Joe anyway I wasn't gonna talk to either one of those two boys. It wasn't that I was really mad anymore, it was just the principal of the matter. That and it was Joe. I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been him that had talked Frank into that whole ramble, he'd just played the one being pushed into it.

    "Just go away Joe," I said a little colder than I meant. I just wanted to go. On top of it all I felt fine! The doctors didn't know what they were doing. Just give me some pain meds and I'll be fine. Just let me out of here!

    "Oh, c'mon Nan," Joe said the sound of his footsteps told me he was walking the rest of the way into my room, he paused for a second before walking the rest of the way over to me. I kept my eyes firmly closed.

    "I'm trying to sleep." I said.

    "Listen, Nance, It wasn't my idea to keep you locked in here, I didn't even know Frank was going to say that, so don't stay mad at me," Joe said. I scoffed.

    "Sure." I said, "You're the evil brother." I muttered.

    "You really think that?" Joe asked me pausing to chuckle.

    "Yeah Joe, I kinda hate you actually," I said, okay fine I didn't hate Joe Hardy, he just annoyed the heck out of me at times, I sighed, "It's just… I just thought you and Frank would understand," I said, finally looking at Joe, "It's not that I don't want to stay in the hospital and get fixed up, in fact I know I should. But Shorty's getting away, with all of the money, the power, the…everything." I said exasperated.

    "I do understand," Joe said, after a pause "Really I do." He sighed, "It's either me help you out of here again or you're gonna leave on your own, aren't you?"

    "Frank would kill you," I said, not answering his question.

    "Doesn't he always?" Joe said. I had to grin slightly in spite of myself

    "Very true," I said.

    "But this time we're going legally." Joe said, "You're signing yourself out, period. Well I mean that is if you're even up to le-"

    "Of course I am," I cut Joe off as I stood up, I had been walking around my room, to make sure my leg muscles were strong, I didn't like the feeling I got when I tried to escape, er, leave, last time, and I wasn't about to do that again. Joe watched me closely for a moment.

    "Geez don't tell me you're gonna start worrying about me." I told him, "I'm fine," I felt a light blush as I realized he really was worried about me. The guy I really could care less about a few hours ago. Okay so fine. Maybe Joe Hardy wasn't as bad as I thought. Maybe.

    "You sure about that?" Joe asked. I nodded.

    "Positive." I said. It was only then I realized what Joe had left on the hospital bed. A grocery bag, I walked over and opened it, inside was a change of clothes. I looked over at Joe.

    "Thanks," I said after a pause.

    "Gasp! Is Nancy Drew thanking little me?" Joe smirked, "What happened to the girl who hated me?"

    "She's been temporarily replaced." I said, "Don't expect her to stick around,"

    "I won't," Joe chuckled. I grabbed the bag going into the attached bathroom, my hair still looked like a wreck. I groaned but changed into my clothes, purposely moving slow to keep my side from hurting. After getting dressed I leaned out of the bathroom.

    "You didn't bring a hair brush with you, did you?" I asked.

    "Uh…no," Joe said. I grinned a little.

    "Should have expected as much from a guy," I said, finger-combing my hair as much as I could so it would at least look half-way normal, finally grabbing a rubber band off the stand pulling my hair up into a tall ponytail. I had to get back to the farmhouse and take a long, hot shower.

    "Let's go," I said, walking out of the room, I stopped at the nurse's desk, after an on suing battle with the on desk nurse about leaving she finally handed over the papers to let me sign. She also gave me some pain pills and strict orders to come back if I felt any pain. After swearing up and down and signing more papers than I'd ever signed in my life. I was in the clear. Finally. I grinned as I headed for the door.

    "I thought that lady was gonna have a conniption," Joe said. I giggled a little.

    "No kidding." I said, we walked out of the hospital, I took a deep breath of fresh air.

    "No pain?" Joe asked.

    "No pain." I said. I glanced at Joe. Maybe, just maybe, I'd misjudged the weird little guy. Okay yes he was annoying, and a pain, but he was caring, and he even could be sweet at times…

    "My car's over there," Joe pointed towards his car. I was lost in my thoughts, Joe Hardy had a decent side, who knew? Joe suddenly reached out to grab my arm, I was jerked through my thoughts opening my mouth to say something when I looked at Joe to see him signaling me to be quiet. I looked at Joe with a look of confusion, hoping my point got across.

    Joe slowly pointed to his car. I blinked looking at it not catching on I looked back to Joe. Joe rolled his eyes this time pointing under the car. In the shadow under the car feet were visible leaning against the car.

    I nodded to Joe to show I'd seen it too. Joe motioned for me to stand back slowly walking towards the car, he grabbed a rock lifting it in the air to clobber whoever stood on the other side of his car. I actually found myself worrying about the guy. Which was odd…I didn't like him all that much but he did have his moments…rare moments. That's for sure. But they were there.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:58 am; edited 2 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:21 am

    Chapter Ten


    "Put that down you idiot," I heard Frank said. I paused, sighing, Frank had caught us, great. I heard the rock clatter to the ground. So I slowly came around the car to see Frank glaring at Joe

    "Frank, really it wasn't Joe," I started.

    "Nancy don't stand up for him," Frank snapped, "I know my brother, even if it wasn't his idea he would have been more than happy to jump at the chance to help you out of here, again."

    "Frank, it's not why you thin-" Joe started but Frank cut his brother off.

    "It's not that you just wanted to go against me?" he snapped.

    "No!" Joe said instantly, "I just thought you were being unfair to Nancy,"

    "Keeping her alive is unfair?" Frank snapped.

    "Okay you two!" I snapped, "Frank! Joe didn't help me sneak out I signed myself out. I was going to sign myself out with or without you two. Now you have two options. Move on, let it go, and let us go catch the jerks who tried to run us off the road, not to mention Shorty and the bank robbers, or walk off right now and let Joe and I work!"

    "What happens if you get hurt again?" Frank asked turning his gaze on me.

    "First off its my life in my hands, so what does it matter." I said looking between the two brothers, "So back off and we're going to all move on."

    "Remind me never to get you mad again," Joe spoke up after a pause.

    I rolled my eyes. "Let's just go before someone comes out here to see who was yelling," I said going and opening the back door of Joe's car and sitting down inside, outside I could hear the two brothers talking, their voices were quiet muttering to each other before the driver's door opened and Joe sat down inside

    "See Frank?" Joe said, "I'm driving," he smirked.

    "If we weren't related I would swear I never knew you," Frank said, rolling his eyes, the argument forgotten. I shook my head only brothers could go from hating each other to best friends in five seconds.

    "So where to, detective?" Joe asked, glancing at me in the rearview mirror.

    "Back to Shadow Ranch, we have to find something to get us back on the trail." I said. I saw Joe and Frank exchange a glance.

    "We might be able to help out there," Joe said. Frank sighed.

    "I thought if we solved this case while you were out it might help a little," Frank said, "Of course now you're out and…yeah." I sat up in my seat, keeping the belt loose around my side.

    "And?" I asked, looking between the two brothers.

    "We don't know of anything yet," Frank said, "But we had a search engine running back at the ranch when Joe here took off, to come get you,"

    "I figured Nan would want to be there when we figure it out," Joe said shrugging.

    "I do," I said eagerly, finally a breakthrough in this case! Maybe things would be able to go our way, most cases didn't become personal to me, but I realized with a shock this one had, of course not all of the cases do I usually end up nearly bleeding to death.

    "Nancy, don't get your hopes up," Frank said, "Nothing's ever easy around here,"

    "Do you have to burst my bubble?" I asked grinning a little.

    "Yes," both brothers answered. I couldn't help it I giggled a little.

    "Let's just get back to the ranch. Oh, and Joe?" I smirked a little to myself.

    "What Nan?" Joe asked, blinking.

    "If you see any black Sedans, go the other way," I said. Joe laughed.

    "Don't worry about that, this car will be going as fast as it can, in the other direction" Joe answered.

    I giggled as I closed my eyes, okay yeah I'd probably lied to the boys, I really wasn't feeling all that hot, but I dare anyone to have a case where someone wants you dead and you not wanna find them first. Suddenly my eyes flew open and out the window.

    Could that be it? The reason the sedan tried to run us off the road? Trying to kill me? To finish off the job Shorty couldn't?

    I found myself scanning the trees, expecting something to jump out at me with a knife ready to attack. I felt like I'd just chugged with three red bulls. My mind was wired suddenly with every nerve in my body alive. Someone was out there looking for me.

    Someone who didn't just want to watch over me like the Hardy's.

    I had to calm myself down. I tried to take a silent deep breath I didn't want the brothers worried about me. I wondered why this was just now dawning on me why I hadn't realized that I was in danger.

    I guess it was because I always knew I was in danger with my job it was kinda a given, but I'd never been hurt like this before…

    No matter how tired I had been before, now I was so wired I didn't think I could sleep for weeks.


    I shook my head sitting on a bench out back of Shadow Ranch, where the boys had found an old Horseshoe pit, and since the computer scan was still running the sedan's license plate, (I felt like an idiot about that. I didn't even notice the license plate on the sedan) the boys had started up a game.

    They hadn't said but I was fairly sure they had caught onto my simi-panic attack in the back seat and were now trying to cheer me up. Joe stood up with his horseshoe in hand, throwing it though the air. It landed with a soft thump, in the sand, nearly a foot away from the stake.

    "I think the idea is to get horseshoe on the little round stake there, not the next country," Frank smirked at his brother.

    "C'mon, that would have been a perfect shot!" Joe said, "If…if the sun hadn't been in my eyes." He walked over picking up the first horseshoe, before walking farther away to his second shoe that he'd thrown almost two full feet over the stake.

    Frank laughed watching his brother before stepping up to the line ready to toss his shoe, "Man I like the country, with the open spaces and the relaxing things." He said, standing up and stretching.

    "Stop stalling and shoot," Joe said with fake impatience. Frank rolled his eyes before taking careful aim with his horseshoe throwing it through the air, it landed with a clang as it leaned against the mettle pole in the ground.

    "Ha!" Frank said triumphantly, "A leaner! Another three points for me!" Joe groaned. "Which means I win the game!" Frank continued happily, "Thirty-three to uh….three,"

    "Congratulations," Joe said, clearly annoyed by his brother. I tried to cover my laughing by coughing as I stood up.

    "C'mon you two, let's go see if that computer is done yet, and then maybe you can have a rematch Joe," I shook my head, I'm sure even in a rematch Joe would lose, he had no aim what so ever for this.

    "Oh yeah sure, another chance to get beat…can't wait," Joe said.

    "So you are admitting I'm better than you!" Frank said smugly.

    "No I am not!" Joe said stubbornly.

    "But you just said you would get beat again, that means that I'm better than you," Frank said. I rolled my eyes, these two were both insane. But I was learning quickly that the two of them did this often.

    "Doesn't mean that you're better than me, just means that you cheat." Joe said.

    "How can you cheat in horseshoes?" Frank asked, "You can't its impossible!"

    "Not impossible, because you do," Joe said.

    "Fine then, if I cheat, how?" Frank asked. Joe was quiet for a second before saying.

    "If I tell you how then you'll change your way of cheating." Joe said

    "So there is more than one way to cheat at a game that it is impossible to cheat in?" Frank asked.

    "Nancy would you please tell this bonehead here, that there are ways to cheat at horseshoes?" Joe asked me. The last thing I wanted was to be pulled into one of the brother's ridiculous arguments.

    "Well…" I started then Frank cut in.

    "You're pulling Nancy in on this? You're really desperate to try and prove your point, or you would just say it yourself," he said smirking.

    "No, because that would be just giving you what you want," Joe said.

    I shook my head walking back towards the outside paddock, and the stable. Both brothers fell into step behind me. I was walking much slower than I really wanted to due to my stupid side.

    "So because I'm cheating, you don't want to tell how I'm cheating because…." Frank trailed off

    "Hey look guys, we're here," I said, opening the gate.

    "No because you're cheating I don't want to tell because then you have to admit you're cheating because then you're cornered and can't do anything." Joe said ignoring me but he followed me through the stable.

    "Or you don't want to tell because you know it's impossible," Frank said, I rolled my eyes walking up into the house. I walked down the hallway sitting down at the laptop that was hooked up to ATAC and was running the scan.

    I sat down in one of the three chairs that the boys had drug to the computer. Before the boys had found the horseshoe game, the three of us had been sitting staring at the very dull computer screen. Hoping that something would happen. Then Joe got bored took off and found the game.

    'Scan complete.' Flashed on the screen. I grinned clicking the 'see results' button just as the brothers entered the room, what had made them fall behind slow poke me, I didn't know, I probably didn't want to know either.

    "So?" Frank asked

    "In this aria there are two hundred Sedan's registered," I started reading off the screen "Of those, twenty are black,"

    "And the plate?" Frank asked.

    "There is only one black Sedan that has the first three digits of four-five-seven," I grinned as he finished reading. I quickly clicked on the information for the Sedan pulling up the registered owner, waiting for the drivers license to load.

    "No…no way…" I said under my breath staring at the screen.

    "You know this Mary Yazzie or something?" Frank asked. I simply nodded, unable to say anything else.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:58 am; edited 2 times in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:14 am

    Chapter Eleven


    “So, want to fill us in? Who is she?” Joe asked looking from the computer screen to me.

    “Hm?” I muttered getting pulled from my thoughts to Joe, “Oh!” I shook my head clearing my thoughts, “She’s the owner of this local store not far off away from here,” I said, looking from Joe to Frank and back, “I really liked her, I mean she was a sweetheart, I really didn’t expect anything like this from her. I wonder why…” my voice trailed off as my mind continued the train of thought, why would Mary Yazzie do something like this?

    “Well, isn’t it obvious? She and Shorty are in this together!” Joe said. I slowly shook my head.

    “Maybe…” I said slowly, “I mean…I never would have thought Shorty was capable of… Well…stabbing me,” I said slowly, in a way it was true, Shorty was the one who was nice to me (Now that I thought about it, it should’ve been a dead giveaway, the nice ones are always guilty.) and still Shorty stabbed me without pause, without caring even. I stood up quickly, leaving the two boys to blink at me puzzled.

    “I’m fine guys, just…thinking, that’s all,” I said looking between the two boys.

    “You sure about that?” Joe asked he actually looked concerned about me, it was kinda sweet of him, okay fine. Joe Hardy was certainly growing on me. As annoying as that was.

    “Positive.” I said quickly, “Why don’t we head out and talk to Mary,” I knew it was a lame attempt at a topic change but if either brother noticed neither one said anything, both just letting it slide.

    “I’m game,” Frank said standing. Joe seemed to watch me for another moment before nodding, then freezing.

    “Wait…does this mean we have to go riding more?” Joe asked, grimacing.

    “Yes,” both Frank and I said simultaneously. Joe groaned, I couldn’t help but grin a little.

    “But I don’t wanna,” Joe whined like a child. Okay there went my grin. Joe was so immature at times.

    “But you know you have to, so you can just stop whining,” Frank said. He was obviously much more used to dealing with Joe than I was.

    “What if I don’t want to stop whining?” Joe asked. I rolled my eyes as I walked out the door, the footfalls behind me sounded just like I knew they would, the two brothers could be a little over protective at times.

    In a sweet way, I guess. Sometimes it became a little to smothering for me.

    I quickly headed back to the stable, well not terribly quickly, my side only allowed so much before it decided to hurt, pain killers or not. And believe me, I was taking pain killers. Constantly.

    I walked into the tack room, glancing around, the Hardy’s stayed outside, I could hear them bantering back and forth through the door. I didn’t see anyone inside the tack room, well more specifically Tex. I knew that he’d kill me if I didn’t ask him before I went ridding, not to mention I’m sure the Hardy’s had told everyone at the ranch I’d ripped my stitches, when they came through with me back to the ER…

    Speaking of which how did they get me to the ER? I’d have to ask them on the way out. So I was pretty much in trouble if I didn’t find Tex.

    I chewed on my lip for a second before just shrugging and grabbing Bob’s saddle. Starting to pick it up I barely pulled before a splitting pain in my side quickly told me I couldn’t. I quickly sat down beside the saddle rack leaning back against it

    “Ow.” I muttered putting my hand on my side, “Okay Nancy. Bad idea.” I told myself.

    The door opened at that time and Tex came in, he glanced over me, but didn’t say anything, going to his work at the table. I blinked a little. Well that was…odd.

    “Uh, hi,” I said, slowly, “Tex?”

    I heard a mutter of something that could’ve probably been a ‘hi’ but with Tex one could never be sure. He had a way of mumbling, well, pretty much everything.

    “You c’min Nance?” Joe asked walking into the tack room, Frank right behind him. Tex looked up and mumbled something else, this time more to himself than anyone else…I thought, or figured?

    “Because I didn’t want to hear you two argue, again.” I smirked at the two before standing up, “But I need some help, my friendly side here decided I don’t really need to pick up that saddle,” Joe chuckled.

    “He’s the almighty side,” Joe said. I rolled my eyes, but I found myself grinning a little.

    “Guess so,” I said back. I stood up as Joe and Frank came over, Joe grabbed Bob’s saddle for me carrying it out, and putting it on Bob, I worked to cinch the strap as Joe and Frank came out.

    “Tex didn’t say anything did he?” I asked the brothers.

    Joe shook his head. “Nope,” he said.

    “Good,” I gave an inward sigh of relief, I’d been hoping that Tex wouldn’t make them take that same quiz he did me, but maybe he was in a good mood or something

    This time I didn’t have to help the Hardy’s put their saddles on. Guess they were a quick study, I led Bob out and got up onto his back, heading out of the corral

    “Hey Nan,” I heard Joe say, riding up beside me. I looked over at him, there was something in his voice, but I couldn’t tell quite what.

    “What, Joe?” I asked. Joe grinned brightly.

    “Thanks,” Joe said. I blinked.

    “For?” I asked slowly.

    “Letting me win something,” Joe grinned more quickly getting Ace into a run. I rolled my eyes.

    “What do you think Bob? Think we can beat him?” I asked Bob kicking him gently, Bob seemed to get the command instantly and took off, Bob was much faster than I gave him credit for, taking off and easily catching Joe and Ace. I had been worried that this might act up my side, but it seemed to be fine.

    I could hear Frank yelling something behind me, but what I couldn’t make out over the racing hooves. I was enjoying myself, letting my hair fly out behind me, the wind made me grin, it was like it could blow my worries were being blown away. The attempted-murder, the case, it all felt so good, just to relax and not focus on anything, to let things be washed away.

    Before long I came up on Joe and Ace, Bob and I even passed him, but it wasn’t about the race, it was about the relaxation, finally getting things back into perspective, without a worry. I actually felt sad when I saw Mary’s shop come into view, pulling Bob to a stop in front of Mary’s shop.

    “Man I can’t win anything today!” Joe whined as he slowed Ace up beside me grinning.

    “I cheated too?” I asked, grinning, sitting on Bob’s back, feeling him fidget under me, clearly wanting to get back to running as he stepped sideways and back.

    “Now we have to wait for my slow poke, no fun, brother,” Joe said, chuckling. I looked up to see Frank heading for us, he was at a slower trot, heading for us.

    “He’s not too far back there,” I said pointing to Frank.

    “Yup…we could be totally mean and go talk to Mary now, I mean he could have raced us too,” Joe said. I laughed a little.

    “I suppose we could,” I said, “But he would kill us,” I grinned.

    “No if he was gonna kill us he would have last night, besides, it’s his own fault.” Joe said jumping off Ace, tying him up to the hitching post heading inside.

    “I guess,” I said. I glanced up to see Frank still a ways off, and Joe was already inside, goodness knows what he’d do alone. So I climbed off Bob, dropping the reigns heading inside.

    “Is something wrong?” Joe was asking. Mary seemed to be on edge constantly looking down and back up.

    “N-No,” Mary said, all to quickly for my likes, I glanced over at Joe, who gave a small one armed shrug. I shook my head slowly, hoping Joe would get the message to drop it. If we scared her off now we wouldn’t ever get her to explain. Before I had doubted she was the one who tried to run us off the road…now I wasn’t so sure.

    “Joe,” I rolled my eyes, “Sorry about him,” I turned to Mary, “How’re you doing?

    “I’m okay,” Mary said looking at me and avoiding looking at Joe, “I… I ah, heard from Dave that you were stabbed.”

    “Word gets around fast,” I said, rolling my eyes, “I’m fine,”

    “Oh, good,” Mary said.

    “Yeah, so are you okay?” I asked.

    “Huh?” Mary looked up again then nodded, “Yes, yes”

    “Okay…” I said, “Hey I was wondering do you have like a truck? Or some kind of big car I could borrow?” I asked, trying to sound casual, “The Rawley’s have some stuff they asked me to move. I don’t have anything I could use, and Dave has their truck,”

    Mary looked between me and Joe with a small glare.

    “What is it with you two? He comes in here demanding if I tell him I have a black sedan!” Mary said. I glared a little at Joe. Smooth move there.

    “Like I said already! My car was stolen!” Mary continued, “And I would appreciate it if you two left.”

    I nodded slowly.

    “Sure,” I said, “C’mon Joe,” I walked outside.

    “Thanks so much for waiting on me,” Frank said sarcastically as he got off of Clyde.

    “We just found out she did it, that’s all,” Joe said. I blinked at Joe.

    “You got a confession?” Frank asked.

    “No.” I said, “Joe here made her clam up before we got any real info.”

    “Oh c’mon Nance!” Joe said, “My car was stolen? Oldest trick in the books.”

    “But that doesn’t instantly make her guilty,” I said.

    “It doesn’t make her instantly innocent either,” Joe said.

    “So basically we figured out she’s still a suspect,” Frank said.

    “Basically,” I agreed sighing.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:43 am; edited 1 time in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:00 am

    Chapter Twelve


    “So let’s figure this out,” Joe said, as we road along the trail, back towards Shadow Ranch “Are we investigating one case or two?” I shrugged.

    After leaving Mary’s we’d all saddled up again heading back towards the ranch, no races this time, no one really felt like it.

    “It almost seems like two, Shorty taking the gold, and Mary trying to ram us off the road,” Frank said.

    “That is if Mary ran us off the road,” I said, “But really, if you think of it, the two could be connected,” I thought back to the recurring thought in my head. Someone wanted me dead.

    Admittedly not a new concept, I mean I was sure there were others out there who wanted me dead, really wanted me dead, but never before had I been faced with my own mortality so directly.

    “But if you think about it kinda makes since,” I said, trying not to let the guys see a gap in my words.

    “You think?” Joe asked.

    “Well if Shorty and Mary are working together, that means that Mary could be trying to drive us away from trying to find Shorty.” I said, I had a hard time believing that Shorty would be working with Mary…

    Mary was in love with Tex, so what motive would she have to do this? I mean sure Shorty had motive like you wouldn’t believe, he was greedy, didn’t really care about anyone else but him. A-typical psycho talk.

    “Which means we have…nothing?” Joe said groaning.

    “Basically.” Frank said, “I mean we just need...something.” I nodded slowly.

    I fell quiet as I started thinking, Shorty had been very good at, well, disappearing, he’d just vanished after my stabbing. He’d just kinda, poofed. There had to be something I was missing! I was missing…something. But I didn’t know what, I had a feeling it was right in front of me.

    I felt a hand on my shoulder, I was jerked from my thoughts looking over my shoulder to see Joe leaning over from his saddle.

    “What?” I asked, okay I’ll admit it, I snapped more than I probably should have. Joe sat up again in his saddle.

    “You might want to loosen up your death grip there,” Joe chuckled, he seemed unnerved by the fact I had just snapped at him, instead he just nodded to where my fingers had formed death grips on my reigns.

    I sighed, loosening my grasp. Taking a few deep breaths

    “Thanks,” I said looking over at Joe, “This is just getting so frustrating,”

    “Why don’t you take it out in a game of horseshoes? You might be the only one of the three of us I could beat,” Joe grinned. I actually grinned a little. Somehow Joe knew how to cheer me up. Or how to at least get my mind off stupid things.

    “You got three points last time,” I pointed out

    “Yeah, so?” Joe asked, like it was obvious.

    “I could totally beat you. But that’s not the point,” I looked out ahead over Bob’s head “We have to find some sort of lead before I can relax with a game of horseshoes.”

    “Even in the middle of a case, Nan, you need to relax a bit,” Frank said, adding his input for the first time.

    “Not this one,” I said, “This time the last thing I’m going to let happen is let him get away,” My voice was becoming hard, I knew it, but I wasn’t going to ‘relax’ while this lousy S.O.B. was out there.

    “Nance, don’t let this get personal, then your emotions are going to play in, and you’ll miss things,” Joe said, softly.

    “It already is personal,” I corrected Joe, “It was from the moment he almost killed me.” I looked over at Joe.

    “Nancy don’t go down that road, things will end up bad.” Joe said.
    I rolled my eyes.

    “I’ll be fine Joe,” I said. Yeah, sure I’d never let a case get this personal before, but I didn’t really care either.

    I barely noticed a flash in the corner of my eye, I slowly looked over, it looked like someone was standing there with mirror flashing it in and out of the sun.

    “What is it Nance?” Frank asked, catching my intent look.

    “There is a light or something there,” I nodded towards the light, I pulled the reigns turning Bob towards the flashing light, “I’m gonna go check it out,”

    “We’ll come wi-” Joe started but I shook my head.

    “Nah,” I said, “It’s probably just light reflecting off of water or something,” I said, “I’ll be right back, I’m just gonna check it out, you two head back to the ranch, try and see if you can find out any new leads,”

    “Nancy I don’t like this,” Frank said.

    “Me either,” Joe said.

    “Please? I need a ride to be by myself,” I said.

    The brothers exchanged a glance, a silent conversation flashed between the two.

    “If you’re not back in five minutes we’re coming after you.” Frank said.

    “Deal,” I said.

    I grinned a little, trying to look reassuring for the brothers, before taking off down the road, I didn’t fully relax until I heard the boys heading back for the ranch. What I had said had been partially true, I did need this time alone.

    Besides it really was probably nothing, normally I wouldn’t have even checked it out, but with the boys hovering over my twenty-four seven, I just wanted a small break. No make that I needed a small break. I let the sun fall on my back, it felt so good, I took a deep breath. Without the brothers hovering things felt like before this entire insanity had started.

    I focused on, well, nothing. I made my mind go blank, not thinking about anything, this was my kind of time. Me time, if you will.
    After a while I wound up where the flashing light was, it was in the middle of some high weeds, easily coming up to my waist, I slowed Bob, getting off slowly, keeping my side from hurting. As I got closer the flash disappeared. I blinked slowly wading through the weeks trying to discern where it had been.

    I knelt over, looking through the ground when I suddenly heard Bob whinny and take off. I started to spin around to find out what had spooked him when a grip came around me, one arm around my waist the other came tightly over my mouth

    “Thank you so much for helping us out by coming alone,” the voice chuckled in my ear, raspy male voice. My eyes widened as I tried to scream, but the man just tightened his rough hand over my mouth keeping the scream from escaping.

    I tried to kick or jab my elbows back into whoever’s ribs, but each move was either ignored or stopped by his strong arm.

    “I’d hoped to do this easy,” the man sighed, “Hey!” he called, from behind me I could hear two men coming up behind me, suddenly one of my arms was grabbed with rope tying around my wrist and then tying around my other wrist. No matter how hard I struggled it seemed to just make the ropes tighter.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:44 am; edited 1 time in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:29 am

    Chapter Thirteen


    The hand over my mouth finally loosened I was able to give one scream before a strip of duct tape sealed my mouth shut. I screamed against the gag anyway. I was starting to panic, adrenalin pumped through my veins, I tried to fight back but the men easily overpowered me.

    “She’s a lively one boys,” the man who held me chuckled to his friends who chuckled back.

    Ski masks obscured their faces from my view, my struggles seemed to be ignored as the binding holding my wrists became tighter, immobilizing them. I tried to scream again but no sound escaped my duck taped lips.

    Behind me I heard a sound, two horses. Great. Here comes their backup to drag me off. I closed my eyes, this case was going to be my end. It was official, the fates were totally against me, first stabbing and now this.

    Of course with mention of the stabbing my side had to come to the party, it woke up and instant pain seared through my side. Wonderful, the adrenalin had been hiding the pain from me but thinking about it hurt. The way my arms were behind my back only made it hurt worse.

    The footfalls of the horses came louder.

    “Hey! Who’s that?!” The man holding my arms yelled. They didn’t know? It wasn’t someone coming to help them kidnap me? Maybe the fates did like me after all. The goon trying to tie my feet up paused looking up, I took advantage of that moment, kicking him in the face, he yelped falling backwards holding his already bleeding nose. The momentum also pushed me backwards shoving the man behind me, but he managed to hold onto my arms.

    He shoved me foreword making me land face first in the ground, I couldn’t catch myself so my face slammed into the grass, I was suddenly glad I had the tape over my mouth or I would’ve had dirt in my mouth. I tried to look up, but in the tall weeds I couldn’t see anything, so I rolled over, my hair tangling in weeds, but I didn’t care, all I could see above me was the sky.

    “Hey bozo!” I heard Joe’s voice, if the duct tape hadn’t been stopping me I would’ve smiled. I tried to sit up, but found my wrists now stuck on some kind of stick. The movement jerked on my side making me wince and close my eyes against the pain.

    I could hear scuffling above, yelling, shouting, words weren’t quite making it to me though.

    “Nancy!” Frank’s face suddenly came into my vision, he knelt beside me.

    “I’m stuck!” I tried to say, but I’m sure it only came out garbled, because Frank tried to help me sit up without unhooking my arms jerking my side, I whimpered a little.

    “Sorry Nan,” Frank said, “Joe’s got them going the other direction,” he said looking up before looking back down to me, he pulled a pocket knife out cutting through the ropes on my arms helping me sit up pulling the duct tape off my mouth.

    “Are you okay?” he asked instantly. I nodded, putting my hand on my side.

    “I just hurt, bad.” I said.

    “I know,” Frank said, “Did you pull anything?”

    I shook my head.

    “As far as I can tell,” I said slowly standing up, Frank standing beside me. I looked out over the waist high weeds. I could see horses off in the distance, but I couldn’t see Joe.

    “Frank…” I said slowly, “Where’s Joe?” I asked.

    “He led them away so I could help you, he’ll meet us back at the house,” Frank said, he was obviously trying to sound sure for me, but there was a part of his voice that wasn’t so sure. He watched the horses out in the distance for a while not saying anything.

    “If you want to follow him you can,” I said, pulling Frank from his daze.

    “No, no, he’ll meet us at the house.” Frank said, he went for Clyde, climbing onto his back.

    I paused before walking to Bob, stroking his neck, climbing up onto his back slower, hoping my side wouldn’t hurt more, thankfully it didn’t too much.

    Frank and I silently road back to the house, both of us hoping he would ride up. Or at least I was hoping so. Oddly. I didn’t like Joe, really he annoyed me, but this…was sweet, I mean really sweet.

    I was so caught up in my thoughts I nearly jumped a mile when the sound of a gunshot hit Frank and I, we both spun to look behind us, where the horses were, where Joe was. But we couldn’t see them anymore.

    “Th-that…That was probably a warning shot.” I said, but I wasn’t sure of it.

    “Right.” Frank said, staring behind them.

    “If you want to go look…I mean…” I trailed off. Frank shook his head.

    “No. I’m sure he’s fine.” Frank said stubbornly, “Let’s just get you back to Shadow Ranch,”

    “Sure?” I asked.

    “Positive.” Frank nodded, his voice was set. I sighed but the two of us ambled back towards Shadow Ranch in silence.

    I’m sure Frank was thinking about Joe, but it’s not like I wasn’t, he might be hurt or…worse. All because he was gonna lead the others away so Frank could help me, I mean Joe didn’t really like me, or at least I didn’t like him, before this, now?

    Now I couldn’t be so sure… Maybe Joe did care about me in his own little twisted way. What about Joe wasn’t his own little twisted thing?

    I couldn’t help but grin a little bit at that as we rode up to Shadow Ranch, I got off Bob putting his saddle up automatically before going inside. I sat down hard on the couch, closing my eyes leaning my head back.

    I jumped as my cell phone rang.

    “Joe?” I answered it, remembering how I’d taken it from Joe earlier.

    “No, are you okay?” I recognized the voice instantly as detective Hernandez, “Is this Nancy Drew?”

    I sighed

    “No I’m here, I’m sorry I’m just expecting a phone call from a friend,” I said.

    “Oh, do you need me to let you go?” Detective Hernandez asked.

    “No, no,” I said, sitting up more, running a hand through my hair, “Please go on,”

    “A friend of yours, a Frank Hardy? He called me a little bit ago,” Detective Hernandez said after a pause, “He wanted to know if a case was opened about a missing Black Sedan,”

    “Right, Mary Yazzi’s I know,” I said nodding.

    “Oh good, well, we found the car.” Detective Hernandez said.

    “Really?” I asked sitting up more.

    “Yeah, it was abandoned a few miles from Shadow Ranch. In some sort of field,” Detective Hernandez said.

    “Find anything interesting?” I asked

    “Yeah, fingerprints all over the place, none of them match Mary Yazzie, looks like someone else had their hands all over the car,” Detective Hernandez said.

    “Any hits on the prints?” I asked.

    “Always one step ahead, aren’t you?” Detective Hernandez chuckled, “We’re running them as we speak, as soon as we get anything I’ll letcha know, why’re you so interested anyway?”

    “I’m sure you can tell the car was scratched up,” I said.

    “Yeah looks like it was in some kind of crazy accident,” Hernandez said.

    “It tried to run me and my friends off the road,” I said.

    “Gee wiz,” Detective Hernandez said, “Are y’all okay?”

    “We’re fine,” I said nodding, “We just want to know why,”

    “Well like I said, I’ll letcha know when we get a hint,” Detective Hernandez said.

    “Good,” I grinned a little, “Thanks again,” I said.

    “No problem, y’all stay safe,” Hernandez said hanging up.

    “What’d you find out?” Frank asked me.

    “They found the Sedan,” I said, “Prints all over the place just not Mary’s,”

    “Any hits on them?” Frank asked.

    “They’re running them now, he promised he’ll call if he got anything.” I said.

    “Good,” Frank said, “Joe’ll like that info,” he said standing up to pace. I couldn’t help but feel uneasy myself. Joe should’ve been back by now. That gunshot kept ringing in my ears. I couldn’t help but be terrified of the worst.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:50 am; edited 1 time in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:46 pm

    Chapter Fourteen


    “That’s it.” Frank finally said, as I walked back out of the bedrooms, downing the last of my water from taking my pain pills. Ever since those jerks had grabbed me my side wouldn’t stop throbbing.

    “What’s it?” I asked, trying to lock past Frank out the window, hoping to see Joe.

    “We’re heading back out there.” Frank said heading for the door. I paused, not just because of how irrational it was, but because the thought of what I might find wouldn’t leave me alone.

    “Why don’t we first ca-drive out to the police department, tell Detective Hernandez,” I suggested, I would’ve happily called Detective Hernandez, but I figured Frank needed to do something, driving was as good as anything.

    Frank shook his head.

    “Just call him,” he said, “I’m not leaving this ranch unless it’s to find my brother.” He said with finality.

    “I’m sure he’s fine,” I said, “He’s probably lost,” Frank paused looking out the window.

    “Maybe,” he said.

    I sighed pulling my phone out of my pocket, I knew the drill, I’d worked enough missing persons cases in my time, but still, it was worth a shot, maybe small time cops did things differently.

    Of course, my luck wasn’t with me .

    “I realize this is a big thing for him to be gone, but we can’t call it a missing person, until forty-eight hours has elapsed.” Detective Hernandez said, after I had explained everything. I sighed.

    “I figured as much,” I said, “But keep your eye out in case anything does come across the radar?” I asked.

    “Of course,” Hernandez said, “I wish I could do more, maybe you could take a look around, you’re becoming a bit of a sleuth,” I grinned a little.

    “Yeah, I know,” I said.

    “Good luck, keep me apprised, oh and you wouldn’t know who an Albert Shields would you?” Detective Hernandez asked. I blinked.

    “No, why?” I asked.

    “No real reason,” Detective Hernandez said, but I thought there was something else in his voice. I blinked a little but I let it go.

    “Sorry,” I said.

    “No, no,” Hernandez said, “I didn’t expect you to, I’ll keep an eye out for Joe though,” he said before hanging up. I flopped down on the couch, not thinking until it was too late until my side hurt, I winced putting my hand on my side.

    “Let me guess, the whole forty-eight hours quote.” Frank said, not looking away from the window. I nodded slowly, not thinking about Frank not being able to see.

    “Yeah,” I spoke aloud running a hand through my hair, “Detective Hernandez can’t do anything,”

    Frank suddenly rammed his fist into the wall beside me.

    “*BUILD-A-BEAVER* it!” he snapped. I quickly looked over at him.

    “Joe will be found,” I said. The two of us fell into an uneasy silence. Both of us awkwardly checking the window, jumping at the slightest sound.

    “We have to do something to get our mind off of this,” I said after who knew how long, rubbing my eyes, I was tired but I didn’t know if I could ever get to sleep. Not now, not like this.

    “Nancy, you need some sleep, get to bed, you’re the one with the still healing stab wound,” Frank said stubbornly. I paused.

    “I’m fine,” I said. Frank looked at me then sighed.

    “I won’t leave, happy?” he asked. I paused then nodded slowly.

    “Okay,” I said softly, “You come get me if Joe shows up,” I said. Frank nodded.

    “I promise,” Frank said. I sighed standing up, I didn’t think I could get to sleep, but Frank didn’t need to worry about me too, and he would if I stayed out here.

    I slowly walked back to my bedroom, I opened the door and was hit with a cold gust of air. I rubbed my arm blinking a little, how did it get so cold, movement caught my line of sight I looked to see my curtains blowing in the wind, my window was open. I walked over to it shutting the window.

    I leaned on the window seal looking out over the horizon, it was a beautiful sight, I slowly rested my forehead against the glass it was cool against my forehead, I took a deep breath, trying to let my stress and worries seep away through my fingers into the wood.

    I closed my eyes.

    “Just give us a clue Joe,” I whispered, “I’ll stop hating you,” I grinned a little to myself, “Okay maybe that’s a touch of a lie,” I sighed opening my eyes again, half expecting to see something on the window with a big blazing arrow.

    But life is never so easy, so I stared out into the abyss sighing, maybe if I grabbed my iPod I’d be able to just relax on my bed and eventually drift off. Where had I placed my iPod, it was in the middle pocket of my luggage. I sighed, slowly turning around but my thoughts froze in mid place.

    Heck I froze in place. In the middle of my bed was a white envelope, written in blood red ink was my name.

    ‘Nancy Drew’ stared back at me in a shaking handwriting, whatever ink they had used had seeped through the paper making the ‘a’ close completely, I stared at the note, my hands starting to shake at my sides.

    I slowly stepped forward, my fingers were shaking so hard I could barely pick up the note, looking at it in my hand it felt heavier than it should have. My breathing was coming in shallow gasps, I couldn’t make my fingers move.

    I finally forced myself to flip the envelope over, pulling out the piece of paper, inside was a a-typical kidnapper note, cut from magazines. I swallowed hard

    ‘If you want him alive exchange yourself.’

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:50 am; edited 1 time in total

    Posts : 191
    Location : in a cold hot air balloon.

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Beanbag on Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:14 am

    Sherriff Hernandez is Mexican, not southern. xDD {sorry, I'm a freak over details.}
    Still really good though!

    Oh, and congrats on being the first person ever to be filtered. BUILD-A-BEAVER!!!! Laughing

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:04 am

    It's Sheriff? Well. Crap. Now I'm not happy... XDXDXD I thought for sure it was Detective >.> And yes I know he's mexican, I just suck at writing Mexican accents.

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:05 am

    Chapter One


    I sat down hard on my bed. They wanted me in exchange for Joe? What help could I be? It’s not like I did anything super fantabulous.

    You didn’t die.

    The voice swirled around in my head, I bit my lip, watching the words swirl before my eyes.

    Frank would never let me go alone. He’d flip out and go crazy protective. He’d...He’d wanna go instead, but for all I knew they’d just grab him and demand me again, or he’d end up killed. I flopped back on my bed. I heard an odd crackle, like I was laying on paper. I sat up looking behind me, another piece of paper was laying there, I hadn’t realized this one was there, of course with the panic of the envelope, no one could really blame me.

    I grabbed the paper flipping it over, it was a Polaroid, Joe was in the frame, he looked a little bruised, but he was alive. It was obvious by the expression on his face he was trying to warn me off. He didn’t want me coming after him. I bit my lip, below the picture it said ‘Cappy’s’. Something that only I would understand, I hadn’t had time to take Frank and Joe out to the old ghost town.

    Frank was gonna kill me for this. I finally tossed the picture down on my bedside table, leaving the note with it as well. I grabbed my jacket out of my suitcase, pulling it on. I picked up the two notes, shoving them into my pocket, slowly walking out to the living room. Frank had passed out on the couch, even in his sleep he didn’t look rest full, I sighed, leaving the note and the picture on the table beside him, I grabbed an old sheet of paper leaving instructions to the ghost town.

    If things did go horribly at least I would know Frank would be on his way, to rescue us. A thought struck me as I walked to the kitchen, if they wanted me in exchange for Joe, that would mean that Joe would probably be home in no time. Neither brother could probably safe my life…

    I took a deep breath, I didn’t have time to think, I had time to act. I walked out the kitchen door, into the back yard, dusk was starting to settle in around, making things peaceful, cozy, beautiful. There’d be more days to enjoy the day.

    If they don’t kill me first.

    The voice in my head said again, but I shook my head. I couldn’t think like that, until my heart stopped beating no one was gonna kill me yet. I took a deep breath slowly going into the barn, thankfully Tex was nowhere in sight, I grabbed Bob’s saddle, I didn’t even realize my side wasn’t hurting, the adrenalin in my system masking the pain.

    I put the saddle on Bob, leading him out and climbing on, it was like someone else was controlling me, I was going through the motions but I didn’t really feel it, my mind was blank, thinking about what was coming. Not letting myself focus on any one thing to long, or I wouldn’t be able to keep myself going.

    I had to admit, out here with Bob, riding my way to my doom, it wasn’t as bad as it could be.


    As I saw the ghost town coming into view, my heart rate instantly intensified. I could feel it in my bones that this wasn’t going to be good. I found myself wishing I’d told Frank what I was doing, that he was here with me. But now I was in a doom of my own making. I pulled Bob to a stop at the old hitching post, climbing down and dropping the reigns.

    I squared my shoulders. I knew I was being watched. I knew they would sense if I was scared from a mile off, I held my head up, striding towards Cappy’s. As I got nearer I could see that the locking door had been slid away, leaving the remnants of what once were the swinging doors that used to greet people back when Frances and Dirk lived. I stepped up to the doors entering.

    The fading light cast shadows around Cappy’s, giving it a haunted feel, a place like this would’ve made any haunted house perfect. I looked from the piano, to where the sleeping bag had been, at first I didn’t see anything different then something stirred in the corner, masked in shadows

    “You came,” the shadow spoke, his voice rough, like he’d smoked one too many cigarettes in his life.

    “I wanted to save my friend,” I said, I stood in front of the man, I tried to make out his appearance in the shadows, but all I could see was that he was tall and built like a tank. But even in the shadows I could see a grin forming.

    “I suppose that would be the main reason to come,” he said. I blinked a little, my head leaning to the side, “I had hoped you’d care as much for your friend as he obviously did for you,” I couldn’t help but notice he was speaking in past tense about Joe. My shell started to crack as my face fell slightly.

    He took a threatening step closer to me, but I held my ground. The light shone now on the side of his face, I could see he hadn’t shaved in a few days, his tanned skin marred from time in the sun, and work. I could see a thin scar running along the side of his face, his eyes had to be a dark brown, because the fading sun didn’t make them lighten.

    “I was hoping you’d give it up for him,” The man said.

    ‘It’? Not just me? He wanted something from me?

    “Well that depends on if he’s alive,” I spoke finally.

    “Oh he’s alive, for now,” the man said. The for not struck me

    “Let me see him.” I demanded.

    “You’re in no place for demands little lady,” The man said, he stepped closer to me. I held my ground, glaring. In the light it was more obvious he had brown hair and that his eyes were so dark they were nearly black, “Last I checked, you’re here, alone, while I have people.”

    “Throw her in the jail,” he spoke to someone over my head, before I even had time to speak someone grabbed my arms, shoving me towards the door. I closed my eyes following along without resistance. Not that I couldn’t have resisted if I didn’t want to, but I knew it was useless. They had all the cards, they had Joe, they had me, they probably had guns.

    What did I have? A lasso? Woop-te-do-da-day.

    I was lead to the jail someone opening the door so I could be lead in, it looked exactly as how I’d left it the last time I’d been locked in here, probably by bozo in Cappy’s.

    “Oh hello again bo-” I instantly recognized Joe’s voice, my eyes sought him out, Joe was staring back at me, the shock was clear on his face, he hadn’t expected me to come. One of the men opened the door throwing me in before Joe had time to attack. I yelped as I landed on the ground, gaining splinters in my fingers.

    “Enjoy your reunion,” one of them sneered before they all walked outside slamming the door behind them, leaving us alone in the jail. I sat up trying to pick the bigger splinters out of my fingers

    “Well…this puts an interesting twist on things,” Joe said, I glanced up at him, Joe’s lip was bleeding a little, and he’d gained a black eye.

    “Are you hurt?” I asked.

    “Am I hurt?” Joe asked, “You come running out here all prince in shining armor, and you want to know if I’m hurt? I’d be out of here if it weren’t for you! But nooo now I have to watch out for you too! I thought I warned you off in the picture!”

    “I’m sorry,” I muttered, “I was an idiot,” I went back to picking the splinters out of my finger. I heard Joe groan.

    “Nancy,” Joe said, “You didn’t do anything,” he said. I shook my head.

    “I should’ve told Frank, had him follow me,” I said.

    “Well…yeah you should’ve done that,” Joe said, sitting down on the creaky bed, “Maybe I’m just rubbing off on you,”

    I grinned a little.

    “Doubt it,” I said

    “Oh c’mon maybe!” Joe said. I actually grinned a little looking up at Joe.

    “Shut up before I start hating you again,” I said.

    “I now have proof. You like me,” Joe said smugly, reaching over and messing up my hair. I groaned, trying to straighten my hair out, wincing as I caught a splinter in my hair, trying to pull it out.

    “So what’s next?” I asked.

    “Isn’t it obvious? We escape.” Joe said. I rolled my eyes, but I grinned, I was glad Joe was back, and who knew? Maybe Frank would be on his way any time soon. But for now it was getting cold as the sun went down. I looked out the window for a moment, watching what last bit of rays of sun left disappearing behind the horizon. I tugged my jacket a little, sighing.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:59 am; edited 2 times in total


    Posts : 199

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  GrammarShark on Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:12 am

    Ooooooh, best, chapter, ever! Finally read, and I enjoyed it. Good work!

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:54 pm

    Chapter Sixteen


    As darkness settled in on us, it began to get colder in the room. I stood up starting to pace.

    “Quit worrying, it causes wrinkles,” Joe said. I glowered at him, even in the dark I figured he could get the gist when I didn’t say anything.

    “It’s cold,” I mumbled. Joe chuckled.

    “The oh-so-brave Nancy Drew, whining.” He said.

    “I’m not whining, I’m complaining, there’s a difference.” I said.

    “Oh I see,” Joe said, the chuckle still in his voice, “C’mon, just come sit over here,” I paused, looking at the dark outline that was Joe lounging on the bed.

    “Seriously?” I asked slowly.

    “No I want you to freeze to death,” Joe rolled his eyes, his foggy outline sat up. I slowly walked over sitting down on the bed.

    “This is not weird, or anything, right?” Joe asked, putting his arm around me. I rolled my eyes.

    “I’m taken Mr. Hardy,” I said.

    “Ha. Ha. Ha. I wouldn’t date you if you paid me,” Joe poked me causing me to giggle.

    “You wound my pride,” I said.

    “I know,” Joe said, “I carry around a pin just for head popping,” I shook my head.

    “Dork.” I said.

    “I know,” Joe said, “Just get some rest,”

    “Gross,” I said.

    “I think Ned wouldn’t mind if you stayed warm,” Joe said, “Promise no crazy moves,” I rolled my eyes.

    “Thanks,” I said sarcastically, closing my eyes.

    I must’ve dozed off because the next thing I knew I was being shaken awake.

    “Wakey, wakey,” Joe said. I sat up from where I had fallen asleep against the back stone wall, I blinked a few times against the bright light.

    “About time,” Joe said from where he was looking out the window.

    “Bright enough we can find an escape?” I asked, “I got out of here once,”

    “You did?” Joe blinked.

    “Yup, all we need is…” My words trailed off as I turned around, the hook was empty, no key hanging to be able to knock off.

    “Never mind,” I sighed.

    “Never mind?” Joe asked.

    “Never mind,” I said again, “There was a key there,” I pointed to the hook.

    “Looks like they learned,” Joe said.

    “Looks like it,” I said, I walked to the window, running my fingers over the lines.

    “What’s that?” Joe asked

    “Message from Dirk to Francis,” I said, grinning a little.

    “What was with that guy?” Joe asked, “Gibberish in the caves, strange little lines here”

    “He liked seeing Francis think,” I said, “It’s pretty romantic, knowing you’re probably gonna die, even though you don’t want her to know that, so you hide clues to give her something to do when you’re gone,”

    “…I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just go all girly gushy on me,” Joe said. I laughed shaking my head.

    “Whatever,” I said.

    I sighed, looking out the window, laying my arms out the window.

    “Would you stop that?” Joe asked.

    “Stop what?” I asked.

    “Stop acting like all of this is your fault,” Joe said.

    “It kinda is, I should’ve asked Frank to follow me,” I said, “I mean… I left him instructions to get out here if things did go wrong, but who knows if he found them,”

    “Nan he’ll find them,” Joe said.

    “If not?” I asked.

    “There is no if not, Frank’s a genius, just don’t tell him I said that,” Joe said.

    “Thanks,” I grinned a little, oddly enough it helped.

    My attention was pulled from the window, I cocked my head, listening intently. Footsteps coming towards the jail.

    “Listen,” I said. Joe blinked then nodded.

    “They’re coming,” he said. I nodded.

    “Yup,” I said, moving from the window to the iron bars, I watched the door closely as the leader walked in.

    “Good to see you two are up,” The man said.

    “Are you planning on telling us what you want?” I asked.

    “What I want is what you know,” The man said staring directly at me.

    “What exactly is that?” I asked.

    “Where’s Shorty gone with my money?” The man stepped closer to me. I blinked.

    “I wouldn’t know,” I said, as things clicked into place, I was staring at the leader of the bank robbers, Shorty’s partners in crime. But he didn’t know where Shorty was? Shorty’d double crossed them and taken the money?

    “See, that’s not what I’ve heard,” The man said shaking his head and looking down like he was upset, “I’ve heard you know exactly where he is,”

    “How?” I asked.

    “It’s not exactly like he told her while she was bleeding to death,” Joe spoke up

    “I’ve been told that you do know.” The man said.

    “By Shorty?” I asked shaking my head.

    “All I want to know is where Shorty went.” The man said,

    “I don’t know.” I said slowly, pronouncing each word.

    “Well, maybe I’ll have to help jog your memory,” The man said, he gave a short nod to the two men standing at the door, they came into the jail, one of them pulled a key out of his pocket unlocking the jail door.

    “What’re you gonna do to her?” Joe asked, walking closer to me, standing beside me glaring.

    “Aww isn’t that sweet,” The leader said, as he walked through the door, “All she’s gonna do is tell me exactly what I want.” He pulled a gun out aiming it at Joe.

    “Step away,” he told Joe.

    “No.” Joe said glaring.

    “Your boyfriend here must really love you,” The man said. I felt slightly nauseated at the thought, but I didn’t say anything to stop him.

    “I said I don’t know where Shorty went,” I said. The man shook his head.

    “Fine,” he stepped closer putting the gun against Joe’s chest, “Move.” He told Joe. Joe wasn’t letting himself look scared, but I saw some of the color drain from his cheeks, as he slowly stepped back.

    “Leave Joe out of this.” I snapped.

    “Looks like I have your attention now,” The man said, “Listen you can save his life, just tell me where Shorty is.”

    “I don’t know!” I snapped again, “I would tell you, but I can’t! I. Don’t. Know.”

    “Do you know what else I’ve heard?” The man asked me. I just glared at him.

    “I’ve heard you’re an expert liar, so tell me,” he cocked the gun. I didn’t look at Joe, keeping my eyes directly on The man.

    “You’re not understanding a word I’m saying.” I shook my head.

    “I just want to know where my money is!” The man snapped the hand with the gun shaking.

    “With Shorty I’m assuming, but he tried to kill me!” I snapped.

    “Well, to bad for you I guess,” The man said, his finger tightened on the grip.

    “I said I don’t know *BUILD-A-BEAVER* it!” I snapped, I wasn’t one to curse, but I was so frustrated, and now Joe’s life was hanging in the balance.

    “Wrong answer.” The man said, squeezing the trigger, the gun went off with an unusually loud bang.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Beanbag on Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:20 pm

    StableTypewriter wrote: Ooooooh, best, chapter, ever! Finally read, and I enjoyed it. Good work!

    Noo, THAT was the best chapter ever. xDD {16} A lot of good quotes in there, too!
    Post mooorrree! Very Happy

    Posts : 95
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    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:52 am

    Chapter Seventeen


    I froze, looking to Joe, he was holding onto his arm, blood seeping between his fingers from a fresh gunshot wound, he was clearly in pain. My eyes widened and my face paled. I tried to get to him, but the leader blocked my way, pressing the gun into my chest.

    “How many times do I have to tell you?!” I snapped, “I don’t know where Shorty went!”

    “As many times as you think you friend there can take bullets.” The leader aimed his gun back at Joe, my gaze followed the barrel of the gun Joe actually looked scared. In all the time I’d known Joe Hardy, he never really looked scared, worried? Sure. But this was scared. He held his arm tightly staring at the barrel of the gun.

    “Just…Just tell them Nan,” Joe said, wincing as he tried to move his arm, “The money isn’t worth it,”

    I blinked for a second before things clicked into place. Bluff. Great. I could usually bluff fairly well, but the stakes had never been this high, I could play with my own life, but Joe’s?

    My gaze was drawn from Joe’s as the leader’s cold brown eyes found mine, glaring.

    “He was going to split my money with you??” he growled, turning the gun back on me. I shrugged, nonchalantly as adrenalin cursed its way through my veins.

    “Yeah, we hatched a plan back at Shadow Ranch,” I said, it was odd. With the gun pointed at Joe I was shaking and unable to come up with a bluff, but now that it was facing me? Nancy Drew was back.

    “That lousy...good for nothing…” The leader stopped himself twice, something I was slightly glad for. I didn’t really want to hear what he was gonna say.

    “I did all the leg work!” the leader snapped, his tirade starting up again, his anger was clearly getting the best of him as he started to wave the gun around. My gray eyes following it the whole time, I bit my lip, I was afraid that he would pull the trigger accidentally.

    “Did he spend hours in those damned caves looking for the treasure?!” The leader asked no one.

    “You did though,” I said deciding to answer the question and try to earn a little credit, “Had to be a harsh job,”

    “It was a nightmare, and all Shorty did was gripe and complain about how we weren’t working fast enough or keeping in contact enough!” The man snapped, his hand with the gun dropping beside him.

    “It’s not like there was cell phone coverage out there,” I said, feeding to an idea I’d had a while back.

    “Not for the longest time! Not until I set up that portable cell tower! ‘Course that was a stupid idea Shorty could call whenever he wanted and complain!” the leader said, “I shoulda known he was working with you! You knew things to fast!”

    “You suspected that I had something to do with it for a while, didn’t you?” I asked, “That’s why you tried to run us off the road.”

    “I still thought you were a nuisance that needed to be dealt with.” The leader glared at me, as if I, alone, was the cause of all of his trouble.

    “But why bother stealing Mary’s SUV?” I asked, I noticed my heart rate was dropping, I was falling into an old pattern.

    “To keep that idiotic Hernandez off our trail,” The leader gave a harsh laugh.

    “Good plan,” I said, which was actually something I was dearly lacking at the moment, I needed a plan. Soon enough my bluff would run out of time, he’d want proof, something I was sorely lacking at the moment.

    “Yeah it was,” The leader pointed pulled the gun up again to aim at my chest, “Until you got involved. Now so help me. I will shoot you unless you tell me where Shorty went,”

    “We were gonna meet up in Albuquerque,” I said, behind the leader I could see Joe giving me a look that clearly read. ‘Albuquerque? That was the best you could come up with?’ Only Joe. Even when he was in pain, he could be a pain.

    “If you’re lying to me I swear,” The leader stepped closer, pressing the gun against my chest, the barrel was still warm from when it shot Joe.

    “I’m not.” I said, keeping my voice calm, holding eye contact with the leader. He stood still, glaring at me, I could almost see the wheels in his brain turning, weighing his options if he would believe me or not.

    “You’ve saved your life for now.” The leader said, he uncocked the gun, turning and walking out of the cell, locking the door behind him.

    I instantly ran to Joe, kneeling beside him, despite the blood that was soaking into my jeans.

    “Are you okay??” I demanded.

    Joe nodded. “Just bleeding, what else is new?” he winced as he tried to shrug, sucking in a deep breath.

    “Shouldn’t do that.” He muttered.

    “Watch it, we’ll get you out of here,” I said sighing. I paused cocking my head, I’d heard footsteps, someone coming closer

    “Wha-” Joe started but I clamped a hand over his mouth. Joe licked my hand making me jerk it away glaring at Joe, but he smirked and didn’t say anything. I wiped my hand off on his knee.

    “I thought no matter what we were killing them? We can’t have witnesses.” The voices drifted in through the broken down walls.

    “We won’t,” The leader, “Even if the little twirp is telling the truth, she won’t leave that cell alive,”

    “And the guy, Mason?” the man asked.

    “He’ll be taken care of too,” The leader, Mason, said nodding, his footsteps slowly fading, walking away from me and Joe.

    “Shoulda guessed that one, detective Drew,” Joe said, he sighed, leaning his head back, closing his eyes.

    “Just watch it, save your strength,” I paused before reaching up brushing Joe’s blonde hair off his face.

    “Better watch it,” Joe smirked, “I might think you’re flirting,” he said, but he didn’t open his eyes.

    I rolled my eyes.

    “Concerned. Very different from flirting,” I said standing, I walked to the window, rattling the iron bars, but they wouldn’t budge.

    “Lemme help,” Joe said I spun around. Joe was trying to stand up.

    “No. You sit!” I pointed. Joe rolled his eyes, but fell back against the bed again, chuckling.

    “So this is what it would be like...” he said. I blinked.

    “This is like what would be like?” I asked, leaning against the wall, feeling the cold bricks against my back.

    “Having an annoying little sister,” Joe smirked at me.

    “You’re calling me your little sister?” I asked raiding an eyebrow

    “Yup, Lil Sis,” he smirked. I rolled my eyes.

    “When you’re done coming up with nicknames for me, maybe you can use that brain power to figure out a way out of here,” I said.

    “I’m already done thinking up nicknames. Lil Sis. That’s your new name,” Joe said. I shook my head, rolling my eyes, but I grinned.

    “Just save what energy you have, Big Bro,” I said rolling my eyes. Joe laughed then winced.

    “Ow,” he muttered.

    “No laughing either!” I scolded.

    Joe rolled his eyes.

    “All I was gonna say is Big Bro doesn’t sound the same as Lil Sis.” Joe said.

    “I can’t be your little sister anyway, I’m older than you,” I said.

    “So?” Joe asked, “You think I’m gonna change my mind?”

    I paused then sighed shaking my head.

    “No,” I said.

    Joe grinned at me, chuckling a little then he cut himself off. “Do you hear that?” he asked.

    “No…” I said slowly. I closed my eyes cocking my head to the side, trying to listen. Barely I could hear what sounded like hooves hitting the ground in a full run.

    “Oh,” I said, turning to look out the window. I couldn’t help but grin as I grasped the cold iron between my fingers, in the distance three horses could be seen coming our way.

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
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    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:52 am

    Chapter Eighteen


    “What is it?” Joe asked me.

    “Horses,” I said, Frank had gotten my message thank goodness!

    “Horses? Why?” Joe asked, he sounded closer. I glanced over my shoulder watching him stand up.

    “Joe…” I said slowly.

    “I’m fine.” Joe said holding his bleeding arm with his good arm.

    “I do not need you passing out on me.” I said. Joe rolled his eyes.

    “Am I standing?” Joe asked me, I opened my mouth to answer when he answered his own question, “Of course. I’m alive. I’m fine. Not the first time I’ve been shot.” He said that like it was so simple. Like getting shot was no big deal. Of course I’d been acting this way the whole time.

    I’d only been stabbed. Ha.

    “Anyway,” Joe said, “Why’re the horses coming?”

    “I left notes for Frank incase this went bad,” I said.

    “Like it did.” Joe said chuckling a little.

    “Like it did,” I nodded, I looked back out the window to see the horses all split up, going separate directions.

    “You two follow them!” I heard Mason yell from outside the jail, more horse hooves sounded, I saw four riders head out, two each after two different horses, the third rider slipped through the cracks.

    Obviously not just for me, Mason and his gang had lost contact with the third rider too. Hopefully this really was Frank riding to our rescue and not just some random people out for a stroll. That would’ve wound up so wonderfully for Joe and I.

    Of course by wonderfully that would mean a bullet in each one of our heads.

    “C’mon we gotta figure our own way out, we need to help whoever’s out there, especially if they’re not our rescue,” Joe said, obviously thinking along the same lines I was.

    “What happened to Mr. No-Way-Out?” I asked.

    “Mr. No-Way-Out is bleeding now.” Joe smirked back. My grin faltered, watching Joe’s arm, biting my lip.

    “Stop.” Joe said, “You’re becoming a mother hen,”

    “I like Lil Sis better.” I said rolling my eyes.

    “Good.” Joe said.

    “You two plan on just bickering all day?” I recognized the voice instantly, spinning around to face Frank, he grinned as he walked into the jail, but his grin instantly faded as his eyes found Joe.

    “Oh my god,” he whispered quickly coming to the iron bars, “What happened?!”

    “Got shot, it happens,” Joe shrugged with his one good arm.

    “I seriously can’t leave you alone for five seconds can I?” Frank groaned.

    “Frank it’s my fault,” I said sighing.

    “Wait? You shot Joe?” Frank blinked.

    “Basically,” I said. Frank paused looking at me.

    “I’m gonna find a way to get you two out of here before they come back from chasing Tex and Dave,” Frank said.

    “Tex and Dave are with you?” I asked.

    “No, I chose two names out of thin air,” Frank rolled his eyes walking out. I shook my head, leaning against the bars, resting my arms through the gaps.

    “You didn’t shoot me, Lil Sis,” Joe said.

    “C’mon, I might as well have pulled the trigger myself,” I muttered.

    “Pish. Worse has happened to me,” Joe said.

    “Seriously?” I asked.

    “Well…close.” Joe said. I rolled my eyes, turning back to the door. I hated feeling helpless, and this? Well. Helpless.

    “You didn’t make him shoot me, you just weren’t fast enough on your feet,” Joe said.

    “Point.” I said. Joe rolled his eyes at me this time.

    “It’s fine, I’ll be fine,” Joe winced a little, pressing harder against his arm. I bit my lip, I’d noticed that Joe’s face was starting to pale. We needed to get him out of here and fast.

    The thought of how I must’ve looked when the Hardy’s found me suddenly hit me, it sent a shiver down my spine. I absentmindedly traced my fingers over the rough stitches on my side. It was a small wound comparatively, but I was gonna be left with a scar for sure.

    “Got it,” Frank said coming in, unlocking the door.

    “How did you…” I trailed off. Frank smirked at me.

    “Maybe I like having something you’ll never find out Miss. Nancy Drew,” he said. I rolled my eyes.

    “Frank it’s Lil Sis now,” Joe said.

    “Lil Sis?” Frank asked blinking.

    “She was hovering, like a little sister,” Joe said.

    “Wouldn’t that be a big sister to worry?” Frank asked blinking.

    “Nope. Lil Sis.” Joe said.

    “Who knew? Bonding time between the freaks in the jail cell,” Frank smirked.

    “Near death experiences bring people close,” Joe said, “It’s Lil Sis.” I shook my head, but instead of being annoyed of Joe’s instance on the nickname I was actually grinning a little.

    “Can we just get out of here?” I asked.

    “Do you not see me working the key in the lock?” Frank asked, looking at me.

    “Impatient.” I said shrugging. Frank rolled his eyes opening the jail cell finally. Joe quickly went out of the cell, holding his arm. Frank put his arm around his brother, trying to lead him out of the cell. I followed behind silently.

    I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath until we reached Bob and Clyde, I released it in a sigh as I climbed onto Bob’s back. I was shocked that he’d stuck around, but I wasn’t gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Frank pulled Joe up on Clyde’s back.

    “Lets just get out of here.” Frank said.

    “Gladly.” I said, spurring Bob into action, despite the pain in my side I set off at a gallop wanting to get far away from there.

    “Nan slow up,” Frank caught up to me, I pulled on the reins, making Bob stop, he stomped his foot in frustration, he was enjoying the run, almost more than I was enjoying getting away from the ghost town.

    Frank pulled up beside me.

    “Take Joe, get him help,” Frank said, “Dave and Tex aren’t back, things’ve gone wrong.”

    I nodded.

    “Got it,” I said.

    “Frank I want to help.” Joe said stubbornly.

    “Joe the best way you can help is go get your am stitched up,” Frank said.

    “Frank,” Joe started but I cut him off.

    “Frank needs to focus, c’mon he’ll meet us at the hospital,” I said. Joe paused then finally sighed and nodded, I helped him move from Clyde’s saddle to sitting behind me on Bob’s. I couldn’t help but notice how he leaned against my back, he was getting weaker.

    I bit my lip hard. Joe was hurt bad. This was all my fault. I couldn’t have made this day worse unless I’d pulled the trigger myself. All I could hope now is that everything would wind up okay, if it didn’t?

    My thoughts trailed to places I didn’t want it to, funerals, black roses, sad music. I shook my head.

    “Joe just talk to me,” I said.

    “Wow didn’t think I’d hear those words,” Joe said, but it was hard not to nice his words slurring.

    “Yeah I know it’s a miracle,” I said.

    “I’m fine,” Joe said, “Honest I’m fine,” he said as I spurred Bob back into a full gallop. I didn’t know what to do to help Joe.

    “Just keep talking.” I said.

    “You’re worried aren’t you?” Joe asked.

    “You can tell?” I asked.

    “Of course,” Joe said.

    “Sorry,” I said, “No more worrying,”

    “Good luck,” Joe said. I grinned little.

    “Lets just get you to the hospital.” I said, spurring Bob on harder, I relaxed slightly seeing Shadow Ranch appearing in the distance.

    “We’re gonna be okay Joe,” I said, my panic rising a few inches when Joe didn’t respond, “Joe?!” I demanded, but there was no response again, I felt the blood drain from my face as I tried to push Bob harder to Shadow Ranch.

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
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    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:53 am

    Chapter Nineteen


    I paced around the waiting room at the hospital. I didn’t know what to do. It had been hours, far too many hours, I was about to lose my mind. How had this even happened? How had the little…creep grown on me?

    I bit my lip hard, sitting down, only to stand back up moments later. I finally dove on my purse, pulling out my cell phone, I dialed the number that I’d memorized years ago. Pressing the phone to my ear, closing my eyes as it rang.

    “Hello?” the familiar voice filled my ears.

    “Ned,” I said softly sitting down again closing my eyes, putting my head in my hand, resting my elbow on my knee.

    “Nancy! I’ve been trying to call you, but I’m either getting your voicemail or one of the Hardy’s, and your Dad said I shouldn’t bug you ‘cause you were trying to recover! God I’ve been so worried.” Ned said. I grinned.

    “I’m fine,” I said softly, “Honest it doesn’t even hurt anymore,” I lied.

    “Liar,” Ned said. I sighed. I never could lie to Ned.

    “It’s not bad, it’s bearable with pain meds,” I said, “I’m sorry the Hardy’s haven’t let you get to me, they keep stealing my cell phone,” I groaned, “No…Joe keep stealing my cell phone,”

    “It’s okay,” Ned said, “Honest, it’s not like I’ve been pacing and unable to sleep,” I gave a small grin.

    “I’m sorry,” I said again, “I’m so…” I trailed off, “Everything has been so wrong.”

    “Everything?” Ned asked, there was a pause, “Okay, I’m sitting. Start talking Nan,”

    “Sure you aren’t busy?” I asked.

    “Nancy I’m never too busy for you, ever.” Ned said softly. I grinned.

    “Thank you,” I whispered.

    “Any time,” Ned grinned, “So what has you so worked up?”

    “Joe got shot,” I said, “And it’s my fault ‘cause I couldn’t come up with a story fast enough that the ring leader, Mason, wouldn’t shoot him.”

    “Is Joe okay?” Ned asked.

    “Yeah, yeah, I mean as far as I know, he was only shot in the arm, he just lost a lot of blood,” I said.

    “So did you, you’re fine,” Ned pointed out, I grinned a little.

    “Yeah, yeah I’m fine,” I said grinning a little, “But still…” I trailed off.

    “You’re worried,” Ned said for me. I nodded, closing my eyes, by the time it dawned on me that Ned couldn’t see me nodding, and I opened my mouth to say something Ned was already speaking.

    “Joe’s gonna be fine Nance, and I’m sure that nothing you did will ever put anyone in danger,” Ned said.

    “I put everyone I love in danger,” I said.

    “You love the Hardy’s?” Ned asked. I grinned weakly.

    “Ned not now,” I said.

    “Got it,” Ned said, “Listen start talking the case through with me, walk away from the hospital, go outside, walk down the street, find a Starbucks,” I shook my head.

    “What about if Joe gets out of surgery?” I asked instantly.

    “They’ll call you,” Ned said calmly despite the fact my voice was starting to rise.

    “I’m on the phone with you!” I said.

    “You have call waiting, babe,” Ned said.

    “Right…Right I do,” I said sighing.

    “C’mon,” Ned said, I could hear the little grin in his voice.

    “I’m walking,” I said, heading out of the hospital, I started walking down the bright street.

    “Good girl,” Ned said, “Now, c’mon start,”

    “Okay,” I said, “I got a message saying that they’d trade Joe for me, so I went,”

    “Dumb, you should know better than that,” Ned said. I sighed.

    “I know,” I said, grinning a little, “So anyway of course they grabbed me, threw me in a cell with Joe, and wouldn’t let either of us go,”

    “Right out of the baddie handbook,” Ned said.

    “I know,” I said, “He wanted to know where Shorty went,”

    “Shouldn’t he already know?” Ned asked, “I mean he is the leader of the bank robbers that were working with Shorty, right?”

    “One in the same, seems Shorty took off with the gold, left Mason high and dry,” I said.

    “Why would he think that you would know where Shorty would’ve taken the money?” Ned asked.

    “Your guess is as good as mine,” I said, “He said something about a tip? I don’t know,”

    “But still,” Ned said, “That’s way not cool,” I couldn’t help but grin.

    “Yeah not cool,” I said shaking my head.

    “Aha! I haven’t lost my touch,” Ned said.

    “What touch?” I asked.

    “The one that makes you smile, no matter how upset you get, I can still make you smile,” Ned said.

    “Always,” I said softly.

    “Good,” Ned said, “Now keep going, he said that you knew where the money was,”

    “Right he seemed to believe that Mason and I were working together to take the money,” I said.

    “Ooh! My girlfriend’s now rich,” Ned said, I could hear the grin in his voice.

    “I wish,” I said, “No, I’m not, I’m not sure why he thought this or what this ‘tip’ is,” I did air quotes in mid-air.

    “I can’t help you there,” Ned said.

    “Right,” I said, “Anyway he kept demanding then he started waving a gun, I started flipping out, y’know I lost my cool, ‘cause he kept aiming the gun at Joe,”

    “You’d do anything to protect your friends, I know,” Ned said. I grinned a little.

    “Always,” I said, “Anyway I kept freaking out and saying I didn’t know, and…he finally just pulled the trigger…” I whispered.

    “Nancy,” Ned said, “Nancy are you listening?”

    “Of course,” I mumbled.

    “Nancy this isn’t your fault,” Ned said, “You didn’t decide one day to just let Joe get shot,”

    “Of course not!!” I said instantly.

    “You did everything you could,” Ned said, “I know you, I know you did,”

    “I did…” I said leaning against a nearby wall, “I tried, I was trying, but he just lost his temper and pulled the trigger,”

    “You didn’t do anything wrong, you tried to stop it, Nancy I promise you, you did nothing wrong,” Ned said. I grinned weakly.

    “Thanks,” I whispered, “I needed to hear that,”

    “I know,” Ned said softly.

    “What did I ever do to deserve you?” I asked.

    “You tripped,” Ned grinned, reminding me of the first time we’d met, I shook my head grinning a little.

    “I recall,” I said.

    “Recall?” Ned teased chuckling.

    “Fine, I remember,” I said, grinning a little.

    “Good girl,” Ned said.

    “You dork,” I said, I pushed away from the wall heading back down the street.

    “Made you smile, doesn’t matter what I have to do,” Ned said. I grinned more.

    “I see,” I said softly, I suddenly jumped as the barrel of a gun pressed against my back.

    “Get off the phone Miss Nancy,” the male drawl whispered in my ear. My body froze, my brain instantly registering the voice. Shorty.

    “Ned…I need to go,” I said slowly.

    “Nancy?” Ned paused, “Are you okay?”

    “Of course,” I said with a small grin, “It’s not like the sky’s falling,” I said slowly.

    “Gotcha,” Ned said, “Talk to you later then, call me if it does start falling,” he said as a joke. I gave a weak grin and nodded.

    “Of course,” I said, snapping my phone shut, only to have Shorty grab it from me and throw it into the street.

    “Time ta take a walk Miss Nancy.” Shorty growled shoving me on down the street, the gun against my back hidden behind a coat.

    Couldn’t I just have one uneventful day?

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:54 am

    Chapter Twenty


    “Should I welcome you back into town Shorty?” I asked.

    “What fer?” Shorty asked, “Never left,”

    “Well I thought you might have,” I said, walking with Shorty, my eyes were trying to dart around, trying to figure out any way to get away from Shorty, that wouldn’t end up with another near death experience. This one probably wouldn’t end up so near either.

    “I was hopin’ you n’ Mason’d finish each other off fer me,” Shorty said.

    “So you told him that I knew where you were going with the money so he’d kill me,” I said.

    “Or ye’d get him arrested,” Shorty said.

    “Not a bad plan,” I said with a half shrug, “Probably not the smartest one I’d heard in my lifetime, but not the dumbest either,”

    “Catty now ain’tcha?” Shorty asked.

    “I’m kinda tired of this whole nearly-dying thing,” I said.

    “Then I’ll make sure ya die this time,” Shorty said.

    “Thanks,” I said rolling my eyes, “But you do realize a gunshot’ll be heard, and ballistics, all of that’ll make it hard to get away,”

    “I don’t plan on shootin’ ya,” Shorty said.

    “Oh goodie,” I said. My heart was starting to betray my calm attitude, starting to race. I didn’t like this. But I didn’t have much of a choice. Shorty’d fallen quiet, he lead me away from the town, away from people. Shoot.

    “Ya hear that?” Shorty asked. I blinked at him then paused nodding slowly. In the distance I could hear water.

    “A river,” I said.

    “Yep,” Shorty said, “That’s where we’re gonna head,”

    “Why?” I asked, “I mean why all of this?”

    “All of what?” Shorty asked.

    “You were working with the bank robbers, why? If you just planned to forget them over, then why even start working with them?” I asked.

    “Mason and his ‘gang’ caught me tryin’ to find Dirk’s treasure,” Shorty said.

    “So you had no choice but to bring him in on the scam,” I said.

    “That, and workin’ the ranch scam alone was becomin’ a pain.” Shorty said, “I needed someone to work the horses while I was inside,”

    “Giving yourself a perfect alibi,” I said, “But then you were forced to drop clues to me,”

    “I needed more help than I could get, and Mason wasn’t the one for help,” Shorty said.

    “So you sent me after the treasure so you could follow me and kill me,” I said, “Good plan,”

    “It was perfect too, except for one small problem,” Shorty said.

    “And that was?” I asked, I was nearly afraid of the answer.

    “You just refused to die Miss Nancy,” Shorty said.

    “Sorry I threw a wrench in your plans,” I said. ‘You refused to die’ that was getting written down somewhere, I couldn’t forget that one, for sure.

    “This time ya won’t,” Shorty said. I could see the river in view now.

    “Oh?” I asked, “Shooting me out here?”

    “Nope,” Shorty said, “These rocks out here are mighty slippery, it’s not hard for someone to have an accident,” Drowning. Drowning was very high in my top five ways I did not wanna die. For sure. Though being stabbed had really moved up that list since earlier.

    “Shorty c’mon,” I said, “Splitting the money with me would be a lot easier than splitting with Mason and his whole crowd,”

    “Beggin’ for yer life now?” Shorty actually laughed in my face. I wasn’t begging. I was stalling. Shorty had no clue what I had in the works.

    “Possibly,” I said.

    “Sorry dear, but yer time’s up,” Shorty said suddenly he dropped the gun from my back shoving me into the water, I barely had time to gasp before my head was submerged in the water.

    The shock of hitting the frigid water sent shivers over my body, my eyes opened despite the water against them, and I was forced to look up at the glaring face of Shorty as he held me beneath the water. I tried to fight back but he overpowered me, no doubt partially due to the fact that I hadn’t stopped pushing myself since I’d been stabbed. My strength was ebbing away from me with each failed attempt to get my head above the water. My lungs felt like they were on fire, desperate to get oxygen back inside them.

    But still a small voice in my head told me to just stop fighting, to just relax fall back and let this be the end, after all how much more of this could I really take? Seeing those around me be hurt, or worse, just because of me. The burn from my lugs began to spread through my body, as numbness fought in from my toes and fingers, the two pains mixing in the middle.

    My vision began to blur, as even I could feel my strength fleeting from me, my kicks hardly even making contact, not even bothering Shorty now. I couldn’t take anymore, the pain was too much. I finally closed my eyes, giving in. The world went deaf and black.

    I was laying on green grass, the wind was softly blowing, I opened my eyes and sat up quickly, the wind hitting me in the face calmly blowing my hair out behind me. It felt nice, the wind was warm. Peaceful, I giggled as I stood up. This was my kind of life. No stress, no worries, no…nothing.

    I stretched my arms out beside me feeling the warm wind caress my body, it was only then I realized I was wearing a white frilly dress. I blinked at my clothes. Okay that was gonna have to change if this was gonna stay this way.

    “Nancy!” I jerked hearing the yell from…somewhere, I looked around but no one was in the field with me, it was clear and open, trees forming a circle around me, the grass the flowers, everything, nothing else was there. Nothing else needed to be there.

    “Breathe damnit!” the voice came again, I blinked a little, that wasn’t right. I looked behind me, no one was there. Something was happening. I knew that. I closed my eyes trying to ignore the peaceful atmosphere that was drawing me in.

    Like an electric shock, I was suddenly hit with the memories, Shorty, taking me to the river, my panicked frenzy to try and get to air and breathe. Everything I’d worked for. I couldn’t just stay here. I had to make sure everyone, everything was okay.

    Suddenly my eyes flew open and I started coughing hard, rolling onto my side as I coughed up water, spitting it onto the grass beside me, my lungs filled with oxygen, taking deep breaths as I laid back on my back. Frank was dripping wet leaning over me.

    “How many times do you plan on terrifying me to death?” he asked grinning at me.

    “Until…” I got cut off by coughing hard again, “It sticks,” I finished around my panting, then I paused, “Shorty?” I asked.

    “Detective Hernandez has him in custody,” Frank said, “It’s over Nance,” I nodded closing my eyes again, taking a few deep breaths.

    “Good,” I whispered.

    “You rest, the ambulance is on its way,” Frank said, “Ned must have some kind of spidey since,” I grinned.

    “I told him I was in trouble,” I said.

    “You did?” Frank blinked, “So that’s why he was so insistent that he knew you were in trouble… He really did.”

    “Yup,” I said grinning a little. Ned and I had a bit of a code, mostly due to the fact that I was constantly getting in trouble, if I told him ‘it’s not like the sky’s falling’ he knew things were bad, and he had to get a hold of someone to get me help.

    “Why am I not surprised?” Frank chuckled. I grinned with a shrug.

    “Who knows?” I whispered coughing again.


    The next thing I was aware of I was laying on a comfortable couch with a blanket over me. I opened my eyes a little, the room was dark, but it was still a hospital room. I sat up, the dim light from the window filtering in, outlining the large machines.

    There was a soft snoring from the corner of the room, I glanced over to see a hospital bed with Joe laying on the bed, snoring as he slept. I gave a small grin. Joe was okay, at least that made me feel better. I slowly stood up, my side protesting against being moved. The cold water must have seized it up, but there was something I had to do.

    I walked over to where Frank was sleeping in a chair, his neck at an odd angle, he was gonna be hurting in the morning. But I somehow doubted he cared. I slowly grabbed his jacket, fishing in the pocket and pulling his cell phone out. I slipped out into the hallway, closing the door behind me before unlocking the screen, the light sprang to life, greeting me at Frank’s home screen.

    I ignored Frank’s new text messages, composing one of my own.

    “Thank you,” I sent the text to Ned’s number, leaning against the wall, looking out the window, watching the cars stroll lazily by. I didn’t expect an answer so I jumped when the phone vibrated in my hand. I flipped it open.

    “Any time. Love you.” I grinned at the text.

    “Love you too, kisses from me.” I lightly kissing the screen of the phone before hitting send. Okay sure it was dorky. But habit. I wiped Frank’s screen off on my now dry shirt. I watched another car drive by before going back into Joe’s room, dropping Frank’s phone back into his jacket pocket, sliding back into my makeshift bed on the couch, dozing off again.

    Last edited by Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:59 am; edited 1 time in total

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:55 am

    Chapter Twenty-One


    Once again I felt the hard impact of a honey comb hitting the side of my head; I quickly turned to glare at Joe.

    “You do that one more time and I swear I will dump this whole bowl on my head,” I said.

    “No you wouldn’t,” Joe said smirking as he picked up another honey comb. I simply picked up my whole bowl, holding it up daringly.

    “You love me though,” Joe said.

    “Not that much,” I countered.

    “My arm’s in a sling?” Joe asked nodding to the blue sling around his arm, holding it to his chest.

    “Now, now, children, no fighting at the breakfast table,” Frank spoke up, grinning as he ate his own breakfast.

    “But Daddy!” Joe whined, acting like a five year old.

    “Oh brother,” Frank rolled his eyes. I laughed, then winced a little, ever since my excursion in the water my side had been killing me. Figures. Thankfully Shorty was in police custody, no more near-death experiences for me, for a long time.

    “Anyway,” I said putting my bowl back down, “I heard that Shorty’s flipping on Mason and his crew,” I said changing the topic.

    “Yup,” Joe said, “Telling the cops about how they forced him into looking for the gold, but still telling the cops where to find them,”

    “Hey I’ll take it,” I said, “It means they’ll all be behind bars,”

    “For a long time too, they’re all getting charged with attempted murder,” Frank said.

    “Thank god,” I said.

    “Only thing I can’t get is the deal with the sedan,” Joe said, “I mean sure they stole it from Mary Yazzie, but still, Mary was so…shady about the whole thing.”

    “Sure that wasn’t just her being scared of you?” I countered.

    “Oh ha ha. That was so funny I forgot to laugh,” Joe rolled his eyes, pelting me in the head with another Honey Comb.

    “Joe,” I warned picking my bowl up again.

    “Hernandez explained that one to me,” Frank said, “If either of you care to take the time to hear,”

    “Sure,” I said putting my bowl down, only to be pelted in the head with another Honey Comb, I glared ahead of me. Deciding not to engage, it only made him worse.

    “Turns out when the cops were sweeping it there were drugs in it, when Detective Hernandez talked to Mary, she confessed that she got it dirt cheap, and that found out later it was used for drug trafficking,” Frank said.

    “So when we showed up, she thought that we were there about the drugs?” Joe asked.

    “Exactly,” Frank said.

    “Well that’d do it,” I said.

    “Basically,” Frank chuckled.

    “Nancy?” I looked up hearing my name to see Dave leaning into the house, “Ma’am those friends of yours from back home’re here,” he said.

    I grinned jumping up.

    “Bess and George are here?” I asked.

    “Yes ma’am,” Dave said, “Taxi’s pullin’ up out front, the porch is fixed, y’all can just go on out and talk,”

    “Thank you so much,” I grinned, leaving my cereal half eaten as I quickly walked out the front door, the footfalls behind me told me that Frank and Joe were following me.

    The girls were pulling things out of the trunk of the taxi, setting them on the ground, the blonde girl spun around, her bright brown eyes taking me in. She wore a pink dress as she ran over and hugged me.

    “We finally made it!” she said.

    “About time Bess,” I laughed.

    “I know!” Bess said, “How is it these two make it down here with no problems, but it takes us three more days??”

    “Karma,” Joe said.

    “You can blame karma all you want, but all I know is I’m here and I’m staying for as long as I planned,” the brown haired girl walked up, wearing jeans a tank top and a loose fitting shirt that hung off one shoulder.

    “You’d better George, I’ve missed you two,” I hugged George grinning.

    “So. We want to hear every. Piece. Of. News.” Bess said, making each word into its own sentence.

    “Calm down, we’ll get there,” I laughed, I grabbed a duffle bag taking it inside the house dumping it in the room Bess and George would be sharing before sitting down on the couch again, placing my hand on my side.

    Before long the other four were crowded around, Frank, Joe, and I were all taking turns filling Bess and George in on each individual piece of what happened, Joe kept accentuating things, making himself seem like the hero of the century. Thankfully Frank and I kept pulling him back down, and for the most part Bess and George got the full story without losing any parts.

    “I’m so jealous!!” Bess whined when we finished our stories, “We missed all the fun and excitement! I’m suing, everyone.” She finally said. I giggled, shaking my head.

    “Bess it’s okay,” I said giggling. It felt good to have the girls here, they made things feel better, made it feel like this case was finally behind me. Like life was finally gonna be able to get back to normal.

    “So who wants to go horseback riding?” George asked.

    “I was actually thinking a game of horseshoes,” Joe said. I started laughing.

    “Oh, I am the queen of horseshoes,” Bess said.

    “You’re on!” Joe said.

    “Oh boy…” Frank shook his head, chuckling.

    Yup, things were gonna be okay now. I stood up, following my friends out back to the horseshoe pit, sure I was probably stuck with a scar, both physical and emotional, but hey, what case hadn’t left me with a few scars to talk about?

    Once again I was gonna be okay, another case was gonna go by and life’d be fine. I grabbed my half eaten cereal, eating it as I followed everyone out of the back of the ranch house.

    ~*~The End~*~

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    ssr Re: ~*~*~The Secret of Shadow Ranch~*~*~ By Carolyn Keene

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