Iowa Writing Project

The Secret Passage


"Boo!" my little sister shouted, giggling.

"Tara, can't you see I'm trying to read?" I asked. My little sister, Tara, is two years old and loves to tease.

I am fifteen years old. I have blond hair and gray eyes. I am tall for my age. I love reading and I am very athletic. I have a boy's name, Jordan, but it fits me very well. I am a paint ball champion.

My family and I just moved to this house a year ago. It is so old, it was around during the underground railroad period. My room is upstairs next to Tara's room, but I spend most of my time in the library. Every once in a while I hear things coming from a far off place. I think our house might have a passage underneath, but I am not sure and I have never looked.

"Jordan, time for lunch! Will you get Tara washed up for me?" Mom called from the the kitchen.

"Sure," I answered, "Oh Tara, where are you?"

It was after lunch. Creak . . . clink . . . clank . . . What was that? I was back in the library reading. What can that sound be? Tara was napping and Mom was folding clothes in the laundry room. I might as well look around the library just in case there is a secret passage.

After an hour, when I had almost given up looking, I remembered a book that I once read about a boy who found a trap door under a rug. I figured I might as well look even though we only had two rugs in the library. It took me fifteen minutes to look under the smaller rug, but I didn't want to miss any clue. I rolled up the second rug and started looking for any hinges, levers, or anything else that would lead to a passage. I had almost given up hope when I saw it. It was a small dull looking hinge. The hinge was a rusty - bronze color, not too appealing. Even though it looked old, you could tell it had been in use, or at least opened in more recent years. Then it hit me. Somebody might be living in our house, or maybe somebody was murdered and there was a dead corpse in the secret place the trap door led to. I quickly unrolled the rug and pushed an end table on top of it. It looked a little peculiar having an end table in the middle of the room.

I guess I'd better go tell mom about my great discovery.

"Mom, where are you?" I called, coming out of the library.

"In the kitchen. Tara is in here also," Mom answered.

"Hi, Tara," I said as I walked into the kitchen, "good cookie?"

"Mmmm. Wanna bite?" she asked.

"No thanks," I replied. Tara had cookie all over her face. She looked like a bumble bee in her black and yellow outfit, not to mention chocolate chip cookie on her nose.

"Hey mom, I almost forgot. I found...." Ring. Ring. The phone cut me off. Mom answered it, then got a worried expression on her face.

"That was the nursing home. Grandpa isn't feeling well. I'm going to go visit him. Will you watch Tara?" Mom asked not leaving any time for an answer. The door clicked shut behind her.

"What about the passage?" I called after her. It gave me the creeps to think I was left alone with Tara and probably a dead body.

"Well, Kiddo, it's just you and me," I told Tara.

"Outside. Wanna go outside," Tara said.

"I suppose that would be okay," I said.

I took her outside to our back yard where she wandered all over.

"Jordy, wook," Tara pointed to a small rope hidden in the bushes. I ran across the yard to investigate. I found the end of the rope and followed it until I found a wooden door. It had to be the underground passage to the library.

"Tara! You found it! You found the outside entrance to the passage!" I exclaimed picking her up and giving her a big hug and kiss.

"Sorry to interrupt your party, but I though you might want to know there's a paint ball war going on over at the Smith's," exclaimed a high pitched voice from behind the fence. It was Mrs. Kerren, our next door neighbor. The Smiths live on the other side of us.

"Thanks, but I have to babysit Tara," I said.

"No problem, I'll take her. You go have fun." she said.

I let Mrs. Kerren take Tara and I headed over to the Smiths. I had a title to defend! The rules are if you get hit you fall down.

After two hours, I finally had all but five people down. Everybody was hiding in the dark shadows from the house, trees and bushes. After a minute of scanning the area, I saw a dark shadow silhouetted by the moon light. I aimed, fired, and missed. I aimed, fired, but this time I hit dead center, but the person didn't go down. I saw a slight glint of a gun, not a paint ball gun. I began to follow him. I followed him into our yard, then all of a sudden a different guy grabbed me and tied me up. He must have knocked me unconscious because the next thing I knew I was being carried over to our bushes. I fought to get free, but his grip just got tighter. He dropped me by the bushes and headed in the direction he came from. I got one hand free and untied my other knots. The small dark figure I had first followed was now climbing down a ladder under the trap door. I scrambled to my feet and started running towards Mrs. Kerren's house.

I was out of breath by the time I got to her front steps. I quickly rang the doorbell. In less than a minute Mrs. Kerren had opened the door and I quickly stepped in. In five minutes I had the whole story poured out. She immediately called the police, giving the important details. I went outside to wait for them.

"There she is, go get her," a gruff voice said.

I was grabbed and tied up again. This time they pushed me into the passage. It was a dark, creepy, cold place. The hard dirt floors were cold even with shoes on. The passage was a long narrow hall, leading to a small room, containing a small book labeled Follow the Drinking Gourd, a gun, and a big toy box.

"Put her in the box." the small man said.

"No way! If she breaks out again, she'll be able to tell what's in there." said the other man.

"She wouldn't have escaped in the first place if you were guarding her like I told you to," the small man said.

While the two men were arguing, I was trying to untie my knots. Once my hands were free, I quickly untied my feet. I decided to make a quiet escape but it wasn't going to be easy.

"Where do you think you're going?" a gruff voice asked. I squirmed and kicked to get away. Then I had an idea. It wasn't the best, but it might do. I aimed my paint ball gun at him and fired. I hit him right in the face. It's a good thing the paint was nontoxic. The paint only stopped him for a minute. I tried to fire again, but I was out of paint.

"Ooooh, nothing left to save you?" the big man sneered.

"Whatcha gonna do now? Call the police?" the small man said.

"Been there, done that," a third said. "I'm Officer Edwards from the local police department. We're taking you in for questioning," the officer said gesturing toward his assistant who was standing behind him. The assistant read them their rights, searched them and took them to the police car. Mom and dad were home so I told them about my adventurous evening.

After going to the police station to file complaints, we wearily went home. Tara, who Mrs. Kerren had agreed to babysit longer, was happy to see us.

While we were at the police station the police asked me a few questions.

How did you get those knots untied?" Officer Edwards asked.

"In one of the Nancy Drew books I read, Nancy had to untie her knots with her teeth," I replied, "It's a good thing my hands weren't tied behind my back!"

The police found that the men were part of a smuggling ring. The previous owner was thought to be involved in the smuggling, but had died in a freak accident. The two men knew about the passage and were continuing the smuggling, using the passage to hide the diamonds in. The toy box contained the smuggled diamonds. They were charged with trespassing, kidnapping, and smuggling.

I received three new Nancy Drew books as a reward!
School: Carpenter Elementary
City: Monticello, Iowa, USA
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