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By: Deanna and Tracey
CHAPTER ONE: IN TRAINING
"It's good to be back home," Tracey said, as she got dressed for school. "And with Lauren back where she belongs, Watertown should be safer now."
"You've got that right," said Deanna yawning as she rose from bed. "But Benson is still on the loose as well as that Madame M character. She's very dangerous too. Heather and April have their hands full trying to catch her! Hey, guess what, you get to meet my cousin today after school!"
"Oh, the one who just moved here, didn't she have some trouble with her babysitter's club?" Tracey replied as she combed her long dark hair.
"That's right, and for that she has started her own detectives club. Lisa asked me to help her out with it. Since we don't meet until next week, she asked me to come to her school and meet her friends. You can come too if you wish."
"I wouldn't miss it," said Tracey. The girls finished dressing and went down to breakfast and then on to school...
At the St. John's School, 15 year old Lisa Taylor was adjusting her collar in the mirror that was hanging on the inside of her locker door, when her new best friend Michele MacMahon strolled up to her. "Hey," said Michele. "Did you see the two new foreign exchange students?"
"The two from Japan," said Lisa. "Yes, I did. I met them already walking into the school this morning. They are very nice and want to join us at the Detective Club meeting. And I love their outfits. They get to wear their own school uniforms. I love the sailor style." (And so do the authors, lol). Lisa closed her locker door. "It seems they belong to their own teen detective club back in Japan and want to see how we do things here in America. It should be fun."
Lisa and Michelle gathered their books and went to class. The meeting is going to be held on the theatre stage, which is located at the end of the gym. The school is too small to have its own theatre, so the gym doubles as the school's theater and sports events.
School had ended for the day and the new St. John's Girls' Detective Club came to order on the stage. Lisa and Michele are there, with Lindsay Loman, Renee Oldstead, Jamie Speers, Hillary Dugan, and Carrie Yeaton, all wearing their St. John's uniforms. (White blouses, blue cardigan sweaters, blue pleated miniskirts, blue knee socks.)
"Hi everyone," said Lisa. "My cousin will be here soon. But let me introduce you to my new friends, Sayoko Maraise, and her sister Lin-Li.
"Hi, nice to meet you," said 16 year-old Sayoko. She was about 5'8," long jet- black straight hair past her shoulders, and beautiful brown eyes. Her sister Lin-Li is 15 years old with the same black hair but the length just grazed her shoulder. Both girls are dressed in white blouses, red scarves, dark gray pleated miniskirts, white knee socks and sneakers.
After the introductions were done, Deanna and Tracey arrived. Deanna is wearing a pullover ribbed red turtleneck top, red plaid skirt and black nylons. Tracey has on her black sweater, short denim skirt, argyle knee socks and leather boots.
"Hey this is my cousin Deanna and her friend Tracey. They are going to help us with the club. They are part of the Detective Club at Watertown High." Lisa said.
"Wow, you two look alike," said Renee comparing Deanna and Lisa.
"What are we going to do today?" Michele asked.
After all the introductions were done, Lisa went over to the side of the stage and pulled back a curtain revealing an open wing on stage left. On the floor are some mats used for tumbling and somersaults. On top of the mats are coils of rope.
“You know, since we had so much trouble with Laura at our babysitters club, I thought we could practice escaping from villains!” Lisa said.
“Like, being tied up again?” Renee questioned. “That gag messed up my hair the last time. And we’re still in our uniforms, shouldn’t we change?”
“Good points,” said Lisa. “But there are no boys around and villains don’t care what we are wearing. We must be prepared for anything. Now, who wants to go first?” Lisa looked around. No one was answering, yet. “Anyone…?”
“I’ll go first,” said Sayoko. “I know some techniques for escaping. Why don’t we try, ah what you say, the basics first?” Sayoko went to the mat and lied down on it, being very careful that her very short skirt stayed in its proper place. Sayoko placed her hands behind her back. “Ok, I’m ready!”
Deanna looked at Tracey, “do you want to do it?” Tracey picked up some rope and went over to Sayoko. Tracey tied her wrists together, three turns around each wrist, and three times around both wrists, finishing with a tight square knot. Then she bound her ankles together in the same way.
“Hog tie me,” said Sayoko. Tracey stared at her. “Come on…” Sayoko is taunting her now. Tracey took another piece of rope and tied it around her ankles, lifting them up to almost meeting Sayoko’s wrists. Tracey finished tying up Sayoko, who is tied tight. Sayoko started to wiggle around and twist her wrists, and within a minute she was free!
All of the girls gasped in amazement. “How did you do that?” An astonished Michele said.
“I’m most impressed,” said Deanna.
Lin-Li had a broad smile on her face. “This is nothing. Watch this! Tracey, tie us both up now.” Lin-Li lay down beside her sister. “And gag and blindfold us as well!” Tracey did so as she requested, re-tying Sayoko and tying Lin-Li. Both the Japanese girls lay on the mat, hands tied tightly behind their backs and their ankles tied. This time Tracey put rope around their chests and arms, and tied their knees together, just above the kneecaps. Lisa gagged and blindfolded both of them with white cloth, the gags cleave-style. Of course Lisa did her best not to mess up the girls’ gorgeous hair, but they did not mind. The two bound girls started communicating with groans through their gags. All of a sudden they rolled themselves back to back and started working on each other’s bonds. Again, within less then two minutes they were free! The girls again were stunned with amazement.
Sayoko sat up and removed her gag and blindfold. As she untied her ankles she said, “I bet you girls would like to know how we do this?” They all nodded their heads yes.
“Well, when you are first tied up you try to tense your muscles real tight. And then when you are finished being tied you can relax. But what if you’ve been knocked out? Well this technique is you feel how you’ve been tied, and relax and twist slowly the ropes, then moving a little faster. It should stretch just enough and your wrists should slide through. What’s important is to relax!”
“I want to try!” Renee said. “Tie me up!” Now all of the girls were getting into this.
“Let’s try the chair,” said Tracey. Renee sat down in the high back chair that was there and put her hands behind her. Tracey tied Renee’s hands together. And then rope around her ankles tying them to the crossbar. Then an anchor rope around her chest and arms, five times. And finally a rope was added across her thighs at the front of the hem of her skirt. Renee was bound tightly to the chair!
“Let’s gag her,” said her best friend Jamie. “Let me…” Jamie took another piece of white cloth and shoved it into Renee’s mouth.
“You’re loving this, aren’t you…mmmmphhh,” as the gag went in. Jamie tied it behind Renee’s thick red hair. Renee twisted and turned in the chair, but she was not having much luck getting loose. In the meantime Hillary was tied to a wooden post that holds the loft up. She too was gagged. Sayoko looked at both girls. “You didn’t relax enough. Here turn your wrists.” Both girls struggled in vain, but they were not getting loose! While this was going on Deanna and Tracey went over some of their techniques for escaping villains, like showing the file that Tracey keeps in a secret pocket under the hem of her skirt. And what to do if a villain catches you always look for a way or a chance to escape by knowing your surroundings. Well, Renee finally untied herself, but it took almost a half an hour! The rest of the girls practiced too and learned a lot from the Japanese girls as well.
The meeting ended with the girls walking out of school to go home. Deanna drove Lisa and Michelle home with the rest going home with their parents. But know one noticed a gray van lurking on a side street near the school. The windows were dark and of course there were no back or side windows. The driver is talking on a cell phone;
“Hey, it’s Gaston. Yeah, I think I can do the job tomorrow. She went home with her cousin today but that’s unusual.” There is a pause. “Yeah, that Jap chick may be with her too. If she is, I’ll grab her too!” Pause again, “No problem Mr. Benson. I’ll be in touch!” Hanging up the cell phone Gaston broke into an evil laughter…
CHAPTER 2: VILLAINS UNITE
Benson hung up the phone. He looked at his surroundings, an old office in a run down building on the edge of Watertown. It used to be a recording studio, dance hall, and a factory where old vinyl records were made. But the failure of the disco craze in the late 1970's and early 80's and the invention of the compact disc put the company out of business leaving a building that has been abandoned for about 10 years now. Just then a girl with long black hair walked into the room.
"Hello Missy," smiled Benson. "Did I tell you how much you look like Buffy's Cordelia?"
"Oh Warner," blushing, "You always know what to say. I love my new outfit!" She is wearing a white blouse, sleeveless pullover light blue sweater, and a navy blue cheerleader miniskirt. "I never thought I would look so good in denim."
"Hey girl, you'd look good in anything." Benson exclaimed. "Are you ready for tomorrow?"
"Of course, they don't suspect a thing! She should be easy to break out. I paid off a staffer just like you said. No problem! Once I'm in the door, I don on that cute candy striper uniform and wah-la! She'll be mine! But one thing worries me though, if I get caught while I'm on probation?" Missy said in a worried voice.
"No problem sweetie, once we have all of our cash Madame has promised to get us out of the country. And you can wear all of the pretty dresses you want!" Benson smiled with a reassuring voice. "And with Michael doing his part, the plan will be underway!
Until tomorrow then!"
The next day arrived with all of the girls going to school unaware of the impending fate that could become of them. And the day ended with no incidents. (That sound you heard was all the villains saying, "Oh shucks!") But Missy arrived at the Watertown Correctional Facility for Juveniles. The WCF as it's called is a minimum-security facility for teens 13 to 21 for non-violent crimes. Their goal is to rehabilitate young kids and return them to society. Also there is a psychiatric unit present to treat kids with mental problems and/or drug use. Missy knocked on a service door of that wing. The door opened and a young man in his early 20's opened the door. "Hi there, I've been expecting you," he said slyly. "Just call me Ted."
"Ok, Ted," said Missy.
Missy went into the door and followed him down a hall. This hall is used for an emergency exit and at the end are two doors. One is a storeroom and the other opens the psyche wing.
"Wait in here," Ted said as he opened the storeroom door. "You will find what you need, wait 15 minutes, the hall will be clear and you can go to room 4a. Got it, and you never saw me?"
"Who?" Missy smiled as Ted left the room and closed the door. Missy turned and spotted a candy-striper outfit laid out on a chair with a pair of white tights and white shoes. Missy changed into the outfit and noticed the hem was only knee-length. "This dress is not short enough!" She said out loud. "I hate it when the author is practical," she thought to herself. Missy pulled out a plastic bag with a rag in it and stuffed it into the dress pocket. Missy waited the fifteen minutes and went out the door. She felt some keys jingling in her other pocket. She used one key to let herself through the wing door. The other was labeled "4A." She crept down the hall. At the end is a nurses' station but 4A is well before that. She opened the door of Room 4A and let herself in.
"Who are you?" The inhabitant asked. "I've never seen you before?"
Missy smiled at the girl with the dark hair. "And you must be Laura! Don't worry, you'll be going with me shortly." Laura smiled back at her. Missy checked her watch. "The real miss goodie two-shoes candy striper girl should be here any moment,"
"For therapy," snapped Laura in a sarcastic voice. "And you got that right. She makes me puke. Her in her little dress and cute white shoes!" Laura is making a face as she says this. Just then a sound of the door unlocking could be heard. Missy jumped behind the door as it opened.
"Hello sweet one," a brunette girl with a huge smile walked in. (She looks like the actress Peyton List, formerly of the soap opera As the World Turns.) "Are you ready for our session?"
"Yes I am, Lucie!" Laura smiled. And with that Missy jumped from behind the door and clamped the damp cloth over Lucie's mouth and nose. Within seconds Lucie's eyes fluttered, rolled back and her eyelids closed into a deep slumber as she sank into Missy's arms. Missy guided her onto the bed and placed her on it.
"Come on let's go," said Missy. "She'll be asleep for a while."
"No, we've got to tie her up," said Laura.
"It's not necessary!" said Missy...
"Yes it is," Laura interrupted her. "We've got to tie her up!" There is a sense of urgency in Laura's voice.
"Ok," said Missy. "But hurry, we don't have much time!" The two girls tore up a bed sheet into several strips. Missy bound Lucie's hands behind her back while Laura tied Lucie's white stocking clad legs. Missy looked at Laura in amazement. "You look like you are enjoying this and you've done this before!" Laura smiled back at her again as she added a strip of cloth around Lucie's thighs just below the hem of her dress.
"I want to gag her!" Said Laura as she stuffed a wad of cloth into Lucie's mouth and tied another one between her teeth cleave-gag style. "There, that should hold you!"
"Come on," said Missy. "Let's go!" Missy opened the door with her key and peeked down the hall. Since Missy had the same features Lucie has, no one noticed Missy leading Laura down the hall. They ducked out the side door and through the service entrance out to Missy's car. They opened the doors and jumped in and Missy drove off quickly.
"You were smart enough to park away from this place so to get away from the security cameras. I'm impressed!" Laura commented.
"You seem pretty bright, are you smarter than your sister?" Missy said.
Laura laughs. "Lauren is back in her joint now. I thought she'd be back here but they sent her to Redfield. Yes, I'm smarter than my sister is, I'm with you now right? Speaking of why are you busting me out of this joint."
"Funny you should ask," said Missy. "My boss needs someone for a mission. But first we must give you a new makeover since you will be a new student at Watertown High!"
'Huh?" Laura replied. "What do you mean? And who is your boss?"
"Questions, questions, that's not important right now. It's important that you do what you're told. Or you could end up back in the as you say, joint!"
"No problem," said Laura. "That place sucks. I'll do anything you want!"
Missy's cell phone started to ring. "Hello, oh hi Michael."
"You've got her now?" Gaston said.
"Yes, we're on the way back to the hideout. I'll give her the makeover then. And you?" Missy asked.
"I'm sitting outside the Taylor house now. You should see this place! It's a large house complete with a swimming pool and tennis court in the back yard. Lisa and one of her Jap friends have just walked in. It looks like I got to grab them both. I'll see ya back at the hideout."
Lisa put her books down on the coffee table in front of the couch in the living room. Lin-Li followed suit. "So," said Lin-Li, "Tell me the story about how you were taken prisoner by that babysitter?" (Read; The Babysitter Bandit, by Deanna Taylor.) "Oh," said Lin-Li. "And she kept you all tied up in the basement?"
"Yes," said Lisa as she adjusted her skirt when she sat down. "We were all drugged and did not stand a chance. We had to trick Laura into capturing her ourselves."
A crashing noise could be heard in the kitchen. "I'll be right back." Lisa stood up and went out into the hall and through the doorway into the kitchen. Everything looked normal in this modern kitchen that is connected to a dining room. Lisa went into the dining room and looked out the big picture window that oversees the front yard. Out on the street is the gray van that Lisa had seen before around her school. "Lin-Li, could you come in here?" There was no answer. "Lin-Li, Lin-Li," Lisa called out again. She turned and went back into living room and shrieked. Lin-Li was lying face down on the couch sound asleep. She is still wearing her sailor style uniform. Lisa started to move towards her but it was too late. Lisa is grabbed from behind while a sweet smelling cloth is clamped over her face. "Mmmphhh..." Lisa tried to struggle. Shaking back and forth but with fluttering eyes she slowly sinks to the floor as Gaston let her slide to the floor.
"Just call me the Chloroform Villain," Gaston chuckled. He looked at Lin-Li. "Do I tie you up and leave you here honey?" He picked up Lisa and carried her to the van. Then he went back into the house. "No, I can't leave any witnesses. But I can leave this!" He picked up Lin-Li and carried her to the van and laid her down beside the sleeping Lisa. Sorry, no OTS carries, their skirts are too short! Taking four pieces of nylon rope, he bound their hands behind their backs and tied their ankles together. "Just a precaution ladies, no gags and blindfolds will be necessary for you right now. I'm going to keep you both drugged!"
Gaston laughed as he got behind the wheel and drove off to the old building on the outskirts of Watertown.
CHAPTER THREE: MISSING
School had ended for the day when Deanna walked through her door, dropped her books on the couch and slumped down beside them. Tracey was running late at cheering practice when the phone rings.
"Hello," said Deanna picking up the receiver. "Oh, hi Sayoko. Thanks for yesterday," pause, "What? No, I've not talked to Lisa today." Deanna looked at her watch. "I'm sure Lin-Li will call you." Deanna paused again, "Yeah call me if you hear anything. Bye."
Deanna hung up the phone and kicked off her shoes. She smoothed out her skirt after picking up her Algebra book. "Homework time," she sighed. The phone rings again.
"Hello, oh Hi Uncle Don. How are you?" "No, Lisa's not here now. I haven't talked to her since yesterday." Pause again, "Maybe she's at the mall with her new friend Lin-Li the exchange student from Japan. Her sister is looking for her too." Pause again. "Sorry, but call me if you hear anything." Deanna hung up the phone again. She re-opened her Algebra book and started to do her homework. (a + b)(a - b) = just then Tracey entered through the front door. She is dressed in a Dragon tee and her blue cheerleader practice shorts. Her hair is tied back into a ponytail.
"Hi Dee," said Tracey. "Miss me?" Tracey could not stop from chuckling.
"How was practice?" Deanna asked, “are you ready for the big game this weekend?"
"Yes," said Tracey. "The Redfield Knights, we should win. How's the homework coming? I did mine in study hall."
Deanna frowned. "I hate algebra. I like language arts. Creative writing and cool stuff like that! Hey, you know my uncle called here earlier. It seems Lisa is missing. She wasn't there when he got home. He sounded worried."
"A fifteen year old not home after school," said Tracey. "She's probably at the library or the mall or something."
"No, it's not like Lisa not to be where she says she is going to be. She's a schedule hawk. Always on time and always where she says she'll be. And get this, remember the girl Sayoko we met yesterday?"
"Oh yes, those beautiful Japanese girls," Tracey said.
"Well Sayoko called me today. It seems Lin-Li is missing too. She's supposed to be with Lisa. Sayoko sounded worried too. I've got a bad feeling about this." Deanna looked at her watch. "It's time for the 5:00 news." Deanna picked up the remote and turned on WATR-TV Channel 5 News.
Anchor: "Our top story tonight, an escape from the Watertown Girl's Correctional Facility, Deacon Taylor reporting live on the scene with this exclusive... Deacon?"
"Thank you John, Officials have informed channel 5 that 15 year old Laura Smith (photo showing on the screen,) has escaped from this facility earlier today. Staff members found her room empty and after a search of the building found another staff member bound and gagged in a storeroom in an emergency exit hallway. The authorities are looking over video picked up by the security cameras to search for clues. They have been unable to identify a person disguised as the staff member who was found tied up in that storeroom. Laura Smith, sister of the Lauren Smith who has been convicted of kidnapping and other charges has been missing since 2pm this Afternoon. She is considered to be extremely dangerous and the police are asking help from the public for any information they can give...
Tracey, who had started to go up stairs stopped to listen to the story as well. "Wow, what next their sister Lynn will be corrupted as well?" Lynn Smith is the 10- year old sister of Laura and Lauren who is now in foster care in the neighboring town of East Chester...
"I think Laura can be as dangerous as Lauren. Something about that family, they're demented. I feel sorry for them. Their Father is in jail and who knows where the mother is. Lynn is in the care of social services and hopefully she will not end up like her sisters." Deanna said with a look of concern on her face.
Just then Deacon Taylor Sr. walked in the front door from work. The 6' 5" 50 year old executive is Chairman of the Board of Taylor Enterprises with his brother Donald (Uncle Don) as President. "Hi girls," said Mr. Taylor. "I heard Junior's report on the radio." (He is the only one that calls my brother Junior, and he's the only one who can and lives to tell about it, lol.) "I called Don and he says Lisa is missing?"
"I'm thinking the same thing you are Daddy," said Deanna. "Laura escaping and Lisa missing is making me nervous! Maybe we should go see Uncle Don and Aunt Carol?"
Mr. Taylor shook his head, yes. "Me too, Mr. Taylor. Let me go change!" Tracey said as she raced up the stairs. In no time she changed into another tee and a pair of jeans and sneakers.
Mr. Taylor's cell phone rings. "Hello, Hi Don. Ok, we'll be right over. That was Don and he sounds worried. He wants us to go over to his house." Tracey and Deanna got into Deanna's Father's car, a 2004 Grand Cherokee. He can afford a Lexxus or a Mercedes and live in the ritzy part of town where Uncle Don lives but he prefers to live a humble lifestyle. Not that our section of town is nice, which it is. But he does not want success to go to his head. "It keeps my head on, I can think more clearly," he says.
It's only a fifteen- minute drive over to Don's house. Carol's Mercedes is parked outside of the three- car garage that is connected to the house.
"Aunt Carol must be home," Deanna said out loud. They went into the house and Don and Carol Taylor were in the living room. They looked stunned.
"What's wrong?" Deacon Taylor asked. Donald Taylor is a veteran and Deanna has never seen him look so scared. And it looked like Carol had been crying.
"I found this on the floor," said Don. He held up a note and gave it to his brother. He held it with a handkerchief and then showed it to Deanna.
"We have your daughter and her oriental friend.
Do not call the police. Wait for instructions.
Remember if you want to see your daughter again,
do NOT call the police!"
Deanna looked at the note, "Lisa's been kidnapped?" She asked in an equally stunned voice. Then Deanna noticed that the paper is faded and yellowish in color. "This is old stationary." She looked at it further. Just then the front doorbell rang.
"I'll get it," said Tracey. She went to the front door. Tracey opened the door and standing there is Sayoko still wearing her school uniform. "Hi, Sayoko," Tracey said awkwardly and not really knowing what to say.
"May I come in?" Sayoko asked. "I've got a sense that something is wrong." Deanna's Father poked his head outside the living room. "Oh, hi Sayoko, please come in!"
"You know her Daddy?" Asked Deanna as Tracey and Sayoko came into the living room.
"Yes, I'll tell you later," said Mr. Taylor. "You should see this too." He showed the note to Sayoko.
Saying something in Japanese, then English, "They've got Lin-Li too."
"We should call the police," said Tracey. She reached for the phone. But Deacon Taylor stopped her.
"In time Tracey, in time, don't worry the authorities will handle this. Sayoko, could you do me a favor and drive my daughter and her friend home?"
"I want to wait here..." Deanna interrupted.
"No problem sir," said Sayoko. "Besides we have things to talk about. Come on girls!" Sayoko motioned to the door.
"Ok," said Deanna reluctantly. "But call us if you hear anything?" Both the Taylor men shook their heads in agreement.
Deanna, Tracey, and Sayoko went outside to Sayoko's car, a brand new dark blue Ford Taurus, a four-door sedan. In the center of the car are a computer screen, a cell phone and a radio system. Deanna thought to herself, What’s a high school girl from Japan doing with all of this stuff? Sayoko could sense that Deanna and Tracey are very curious.
"I bet you girls are wondering what all this fancy equipment is, yes? And do you like my outfit?" Sayoko asked as they started to drive to Deanna's house. "How old do you think I am?" Sayoko prodded them.
"Seventeen," Deanna responded.
"I agree," said Tracey. "You look seventeen."
Sayoko smiled. I'm 22 years old. But Lin-Li who is 15 is my sister. She is the real exchange student. My government and yours are trying to track down two international criminals, a Warner Benson from your country and a woman who goes by the code-name in our country as Madame Mitsuki."
"Principal Benson?" Deanna said. "We're after him too. And who is this Madame Mitsuki, and who are you really?"
"I work for the National Police of Japan. I am in your country with the cooperation of the U.S. government. We have reason to believe they have set up their organization here in Watertown. We traced them through a place called Danniver Beach. And of course my sister was supposed to protect your cousin in case anything happens. I'm undercover as a Japanese schoolgirl. This uniform was mine when I really went to school. It still fits!" Sayoko said with a serious smile on her face."
"My Uncle Don who works with my Father actually is a member of InterPol," said Deanna. "Now I understand why my Father and he were acting so strange. Can we work together? I know Benson. He won't hurt anyone. But this Madame Mitsuki, who is she?"
"We believe she hired him to help with a smuggling ring that connects all over the world. You have a friend called Penelope from the U.K.? And a friend called Elaine from France?" They are all working with us. And we could use your help too!"
"Madame Mitsuki, Madame M.," said Tracey. "Could they be the same?"
"They've got to be. But why would they want to kidnap Lisa?" Deanna asked. She paused for a moment, “for ransom, maybe a cash flow problem? They must think my uncle is rich! They have no idea that he works for InterPol. And is my Father involved too?"
"I can't say that for sure, you should ask him yourself?" Sayoko said as they pulled into the Taylor driveway.
"Would you like to stay with us?" Deanna asked. "I've got a sneaky suspicion that my parents won't mind."
"Sure," said Sayoko. "That hotel is getting stuffy. This will keep me out of sight. The crooks have no idea I'm here and you would be in no danger here."
"Not here," smiled Deanna. "But I noticed something on that ransom note, a faded logo. Perhaps from an old company, let's go to my computer and see if we can find out what it is. Maybe it will give us a clue!" The three girls got out of Sayoko's car and went up to Deanna and Tracey's room...
CHAPTER FOUR: KABUKI THEATRE
Gaston drove away from the Donald Taylor house on his way to the hideout. He looked back at the two sleeping girls as they lay in the back of the van. He played with the tuner trying to find a radio station to listen to some music. I Will Survive, by Gloria Gaynor was playing. "This music sucks..." he muttered to himself as he pushed the tuning button in search of some decent music, "but then disco wasn't so bad, wasn't it?" He turned into the parking lot that is showing signs of age, cracked pavement, and weeds growing through the cracks and in obvious disrepair. He drove up to a service entrance door. The big metal door creaked and rattled as it opened. Gaston pushed on the gas and drove the van into the warehouse. The big door closed behind them. "Thanks Harrington," Gaston said as he got out of the van. He brushed off his jeans and pulled open the side door of the van, "time to bring our two prizes inside!" Gaston picked up Lisa and Harrington, an ex-con who spent time in the Watertown State Prison, grabbed Lin-Li and the two hoods scurried to a make shift bedroom near the old office. There they laid the two sleeping girls on single cots face down with their hands still tied behind their backs and feet tied together. Benson walked in smiling.
"Good work Gaston, I knew I could count on you! But your work is not finished as you know!"
"That's right boss! The plan is just beginning!" Gaston chuckled back. "They don't call me The Chloro-Villain for nothing!"
"For what I'm paying you it's more than nothing," Benson said. "It's too bad I didn't know these girls before. They would have been perfect for my old business. If they give you any trouble, gag and blindfold them. But for now your chloroform will do. It's now time to execute the next part of the plan!" Benson left the room and went back to the old office.
Deanna, Tracey, and Sayoko gathered around Deanna's computer in the bedroom. "The logo on the paper," said Tracey. "What is it?"
Deanna looked up at her friend. "It was a faded outline of a Kabuki Mask. Kabuki Theater was invented in Japan in the 1600's. Mostly for the entertainment of commoners, the theatre soon evolved into elaborate costumes and masks. Kabuki Theatre is alive and well in Japan today. Right Sayoko? And maybe you can tell us more?"
"You're very close Deanna and good observation. A Kabuki mask from the 1700's disappeared from a museum in Kyoto in the early 1900's. It's a mask for a female..."
"In the early days female roles were played by men, something about honor? Women were forbidden to be in the theatre?" Deanna asked.
"Right again Deanna, this women's mask appeared again before World War II, then disappeared from sight again. Rumors had it that it was stolen by soldiers and hidden away until the war ended."
"Japanese or American," Tracey questioned.
"No one knows," said Sayoko. "It was believed to be smuggled out of Japan, through Russia to France, then to the U.K. and then to America, here in Watertown and then to a place called Danniver Beach, or vice versa. "That's why I'm here to find that mask, capture Madame Mitsuko and return them back to Japan where they belong!"
"Do you think the crooks are after that mask?" Tracey asked.
"The mask you mention has valuable gemstones in it. The mask is worth a fortune just for the stones alone." Sayoko said.
"And I wouldn't put it past me for the crooks to remove those stones and desecrate the mask," added Deanna sadly.
"Enough to finance their smuggling ring for years!" Sayoko said.
"Madame M and Benson, that's what they are looking for. Deanna continued, “You know there’s a Kabuki exhibit in the Watertown Museum and one in the Danniver Museum as well."
"And theatre is big at Weatherby too!" Tracey chimed in. "If France is connected our friend Elaine in the library could help us!
And I'll call Heather in Danniver as well. She wants to get Madame M. Heather and her friends can investigate down there, while we are busy here." Deanna said.
"So you think this Madame M from Japan and Madame M from Danniver Beach is one in the same?" Tracey asked. Sayoko nodded her head yes. "But what's this got to do with your cousin?"
"My Uncle must be working on this case. He must have something they want. Tomorrow we've got to go over to his house and find out what it is. Why don't we meet at the High School after school and then we'll go snooping! Who's with me?" Deanna said with excitement. Both Tracey and a smiling Sayoko raised their hands. "Until tomorrow then..."
CHAPTER FIVE: THE KABUKI MASK
Soon after Gaston had driven into the building with his “goods” Missy and Laura pulled into the parking lot right behind them. Laura looked up at the faded sign. “The Ocsid Company,” she said. “This building looks like it hasn’t been used for a long time.”
“Yes I know, not very good for my clothes,” said the conceited Missy. “Rumor has that there used to be a theatre here years ago.” Missy pulled into the same service bay that Gaston did. They watched as the two unconscious girls were carried out of the van. Laura immediately recognized Lisa.
“Wow, they kidnapped her?” Laura could hardly contain herself. “I want revenge on…”
Before she could finish Missy interrupted her. “You won’t have time. The Mr. Benson wants you for something. Come on, follow me.” Both girls got out of the car and went down the same hall as the others but turned into a different room. In this room is a makeshift makeup mirror with a sink, a professional theatre makeup kit, and some clothes. Laura looked at these items with awe and wondered what was going on. “Sit down,” said Missy. “ It’s time for your makeover,” as she started to wash Laura’s hair. Then she cut Laura’s hair with some hair cutting scissors that you would find in a beauty salon. Then Missy applied a hair dye that made Laura’s hair turn from black to a dark auburn color. A little blow- drying and, “Well, what do you think?”
Laura looked into the mirror in stunned astonishment. “I, I, look like Dora the Explorer!” Laura cried.
“Cute, eh?” Missy said with glee. “Here put on this outfit!” The outfit is a black turtleneck top with a knee-length denim skirt that Laura reluctantly put on. “Come on, let’s go show Warner.” The two girls went out of the room and down to the old office were Benson was sitting at a desk.
Upon seeing the two girls, Benson was most impressed. “Good work Missy, I knew I could count on you!” Benson praised them.
“What do you want me to do sir,” said Laura. “And thank you for getting me out of that place.”
“Call me Warner, not sir. Sir is for good guys!” Benson laughed. “As for what I want, here look at this.” Warner hands Laura a snapshot of the Bikini Snoopers.
“Who are they?” Laura asked curiously.
“Those are the two girls you are going to be spying on in Danniver Beach.” Benson said. “The Madame as asked me to recruit a girl about their age to spy on them, someone not from Danniver. You will be a new student at the private school in Danniver. Madame assures me that those two girls are going to be spending a week there. Your job is to keep an eye on them and report to Madame any suspicious activity.”
Laura could not contain herself. “Am I going to get to tie these girls up in those bikinis?” Laura asked.
“Maybe and no,” said Missy. “You might get to tie them up, but they will have their clothes on. Something about the author of this story prefers that girls keep their clothes on. I like that!” Of course Missy is into high fashion.
“So, where am I going?” Laura asked.
“To Danniver Beach,” said Benson. “You will be staying with a couple that owns a clothing store there, any questions?”
“No, this sounds like fun,” said Laura. “When do I leave?”
“Right now,” said Missy. “I’ll drive you to the airport.” With that the two girls left the office and move on to The Kabuki Mask.
The next morning the Deanna, Tracey, and Sayoko awoke after a restless night. They gathered again around Deanna’s computer. “So Sayoko, what’s this all about?” Deanna asked.
“We think the Kabuki Mask that we are looking for is hidden somewhere in Danniver Beach or Watertown. Now the original thieves who stole the mask hid it in such a good place that they made a map so they could find it later. This we learned from questioning some old convicts from the past. But somehow both the map and the mask are missing. We are following a trail I told you about last night.”
“So you need the map to find the mask?” Tracey said hoping Sayoko would say yes.
“How do you say, right on?” Sayoko said. “There was no trust among thieves so the map is essential. We believe the map is in Watertown. That was the last place it could be traced. Your Uncle Donald has also been on the trail of this map too. If we can find the map and mask, we can capture the Madame and her cohorts, and bust the smuggling ring that has been plaguing are countries for some time.”
“That’s why Lisa was kidnapped,” said Deanna. “They must think Uncle Don has the map, or could get it. Then trade her for it. We should go talk to him and what about Lin-Li?”
“As I said last night, Lin-Li is the real exchange student. She is a junior member of the National Police. She can take care of herself. Trust me its good that she was kidnapped with Lisa. We’ll get them back, I promise. I’ve got to get to St. John’s. I can meet you after school. I still have to maintain my role there so no one gets suspicious. The Madame has spies everywhere, so we must be careful!” The three girls got dressed, Sayoko in her school uniform, Deanna in a short-sleeve collared white blouse, blue corduroy miniskirt with blue knee socks and her trademark Nike’s. Tracey chose a blouse, gray sweater, black miniskirt and tan nylons. They rushed down stairs where Mrs. Taylor and Deanna’s sister Amy were sitting at the kitchen table.
“Breakfast girls,” said Marcia Taylor who once was a head cheerleader and beauty queen who still looks great in her late forties.
“We’ll get something at school mom,” said Deanna. “We gotta go!” The girls rushed out the door and drove to the Donald Taylor house. “There on another case,” again said Amy.
Deanna drove into the Taylor driveway after dropping Sayoko off at St. John’s. Deanna and Tracey went up to the door and rang the bell. Her Uncle answered the door. It was obvious that he was up all night. “Hi girls, come on in,” he motioned.
“The map,” said Deanna. “Have you got the map?”
Donald sighed. “Sayoko told you, didn’t she? No, I don’t have it.” Of course Donald knows his niece. “If you find it call me young lady, got it? It’s a matter of life and death.”
“Of course Uncle,” said Deanna. “We are going to go snooping after school.”
“Which you should be leaving, there is nothing you can do here now. I’ll call you when I need you, ok?” Donald Taylor’s voice started to crack. But he is doing a good job of hiding his feelings.
“You can count on us Mr. Taylor,” said Tracey.
“Thanks Tracey, I know.” Donald said as he hugged the two girls. “Call me if you find anything out!” Deanna and Tracey turned and went out the door and left for school.
Donald’s wife Carol came into the room. “You didn’t tell the girls about the phone call?” She asked.
“No need to worry them now,” said Donald. “All we can do is wait and hope the FBI finds something.”
As Deanna drove back to Watertown High, “I’ve never seen my Uncle look so scared.” Tears started to well up in Deanna’s eyes.
Tracey, who knows Deanna better than anybody put her hand on Deanna’s shoulder. Tracey with that serious look that she means business, “We’ll find her… We WILL find her, I promise.”
Back at the Ocsid Building Benson and Gaston were talking in the office. “I knew I could count on you,” said Benson. “You do good work.”
“Does he have the map?” Gaston inquired.
“No, he said he doesn’t and I believe him, which is ok because Deanna and Tracey are going to lead us to it.” Benson chucked.
Gaston smiled, “Does this mean more work for me?”
“Yes, but only if they have the map,” Benson looked at his watch. “They should be arriving at their lockers now…” Benson turned on a receiver that was sitting on the desk. Noises of kids in a hall could be heard.
“What’s that?” Gaston asked.
“I have a bug placed in Deanna’s locker. I still have a key to the building you know. Girls hang around their lockers and chat. And Missy is watching them too. They should lead us to the map. They listened as Deanna and Tracey opened their lockers.
“So where do we go first,” said Tracey.
“Over to Weatherby first,” said Deanna. “They have that Kabuki exhibit in their theatre wing. I’ll call Elaine and we can go over to talk to her. Her vast knowledge as a librarian will be most helpful. And then we’ll go over to the museum.”
“I’d love to see that Kabuki exhibit too. Some artifacts date back to the 1700’s,” said Tracey. The bell rings, “Time for class.”
Upon hearing this, “I think you should get over to Weatherby and check out this Elaine. Their day ends before Watertown’s, so it should give you time. Be careful!” Said Benson.
“I’m on it Boss,” said Gaston. “Come on Harrington, let’s go!”
CHAPTER SIX: GOT MAP? OR IS THAT NAP?
Gaston and Harrington drove off in the van towards the Weatherby School of Watertown. (Read The Mystery at Weatherby School) "Got the stuff?" Gaston asked.
"Enough to put 20 girls to sleep if necessary," Harrington chuckled. "And plenty of rope too if we need it. You know, little girls should be kept quiet, that's why I keep a gag handy."
"You're awesome baby," said Gaston. The van neared the Weatherby School. "I'm going to park in the darkness so no one will spot us. I think we'd better go in covert. Have you got the masks just in case?" Harrington pulled out two purple spandex masks. "Spandex, I hate spandex, makes me itch!" Gaston complained. He parked the van on an off road behind the campus. The two goons got out and moved quietly through the woods. Harrington wore a backpack to carry the stuff. Being late Friday afternoon the campus is usually quiet at this time. Gaston and Harrington moved around the library building. It is made of brick like all the buildings at Weatherby. Gaston is plenty tall enough to peer through a side window. This window was the only one with the curtains open. It is near the main desk and far enough away so the sun can't shine on the books and ruin them. Standing next to the desk is a girl wearing a purple velvet mini-dress with matching opaque purple tights. And nearby is her best friend. (Elaine and Jo from The Mystery at Weatherby School). Jo is wearing her Weatherby uniform, a white blouse and gray mini-skirt, blue opaque tights and MJ's. Seated at a table reading books are two other girls, one with dark hair and the other blonde. Both girls were wearing white blouses, gray mini-skirts and blue knee socks. They had their backs to Elaine and Jo. Elaine and Jo are speaking in French. Gaston slipped into the front door and ducked out of sight avoiding the unsuspecting girls. Harrington soon followed and hid behind a long draped curtain. One of the girls stood up and went over to the rows of books and moved out of sight. Elaine said something in French to Jo again and went into a room connected to the library.
Wooshh... at the same time Gaston grabbed Elaine and Harrington grabbed the girl with dark hair and together they clamped the chloroform soaked rags over their faces and mouths. "Mmmmph, Mmmppphhh," They tried to cry out. Together the two girls from Weatherby fell to the floor in a sound slumber. Gaston quickly went after the other girl who was in an aisle. Grabbing her from behind he clamped the damp cloth over her nose and mouth too. "MMMMmmmmmpphhhh...." Instantly she fell asleep.
"Guard the door," Gaston whispered now wearing the mask. "If anyone else comes in, you know what to do.
Gaston slipped into the room where Elaine was standing over a desk. She was looking at a book when he grabs her from behind. Clamping a hand over her mouth, "We've got your friends, obey or they're toast!"
"Mmphh," Elaine protested.
"Will you be good?" Gaston asked. Elaine shook her head yes. Gaston quickly bound Elaine's hands behind her back with a piece of a soft white nylon rope. "You know honey I like to put my victim's asleep. But I need some information. He tied a white cloth around Elaine's mouth into a detective style gag. "This should keep you quiet enough so you can't shout and talk to me. Gaston went out of the room and dragged the other three girls one by one, laid them face down on the floor with their hands together behind their backs. Harrington is still keeping watch. Elaine could only watch in horror as her friends were laid down side by side on the carpeted floor. Gaston tied each girl up with the same soft nylon rope, hands together and ankles together. He stuffed rolled up cloths into each girl's mouth, and then tied a white cloth this time cleave style around their heads.
"Now," said Gaston, "show me all you got on this Kabaki, Kabiki, or whatever this Jap theatre is!"
Muffled, "Kabuki," Elaine tried to say under her gag. She walked out of the room towards the theatre section of the library. Despite her hands are tied behind her back she motioned with her head the books where placed on the shelves. Gaston motioned to Harrington to stay by the door in case anyone else enters the library. He started to fumble through the books looking for a map, any map but to no avail. After checking all the books on the Kabuki theatre for any type of clues he turned back to Elaine. "Have you got anything else on this Kabuki? Hidden boxes, closets, you know." Elaine shook her head, no. A frustrated Gaston grabbed Elaine by the elbow and dragged her back to the other girls who are tied up on the floor and still asleep. He forced her down on her stomach and bound her ankles together with some more rope. He then replaced the cloth around her mouth from a detective style to a cleave style tightening the knot behind Elaine's head. "Come on let's go," said Gaston after closing the door behind them. "Let's get to museum and see what we can find out!" Harrington and Gaston raced to their van and drove off to the Watertown Museum.
School had just ended at Watertown High when Sayoko drove into the parking lot and picked up Deanna and Tracey. "Where do you want to go first?"
"Hi Sayoko," said Deanna. "My friend Erin is doing some research for us. I think we should go to Weatherby and talk to Elaine." They drove into the Weatherby library parking lot. It is virtually empty on this late Friday afternoon. A security guard is walking his rounds spotted the three girls. He recognized Deanna and Tracey and waved
as to say hi. Deanna waved back and with Tracey and Sayoko they went into the library.
The entire library is deserted! "Strange," said Deanna. "There is no one here and the door is still unlocked." Checking her watch, "It should not be closed for another thirty minutes!" They looked around. Tracey noticed that in the theatre section some books were out of place and in disarray.
"Look," said Tracey, "all the books on Kabuki." Tracey looked over the messy shelves. "As if someone was going through these and did not care to put them back neatly!"
"I sense something is wrong," said Sayoko, "very wrong indeed." The girls gathered around the main desk. "Do you hear that?" Deanna asked in a low voice.
"Hear what?" said Tracey.
"Listen," said Deanna. The faint sounds of moaning and groaning are emanating from the side door. "It's coming from here," said Deanna. She rushed over to the door and opened it. "Mmmphhh, Mmmmphhh," The four bound and gagged girls tried to scream through their cloth filled mouths. Deanna, Tracey, and Sayoko rushed over and untied the girls.
"What happened?" Deanna worriedly asked them.
Three of the girls including Jo could not really tell what happened. They were in the library and the next thing they knew was that they woke up and found them tied up on the floor.
Elaine explained what happened. "These two masked men tied us up and forced me to show them where all of the Kabuki information is. One looked through all of the books but did not find anything. He seemed frustrated. Then he made me come back into this room and left me tied up with my friends. The knots were so tight we could not untie ourselves."
"Did you see anything else, what they were wearing, what they said?" Sayoko questioned.
"Or give you any clues to where they might be going next?" Tracey added.
Elaine shook her head sadly. "No, they were wearing all black and including ski masks. I could not get a good look on who they are or where they were going. But they are going somewhere!"
"Ok," said Deanna. Looking at the clock, "we'd better get to the museum, it's getting late. Time is not on our side!"
"You're right," said Sayoko. "We've got to find that map so we can find my sister and your cousin."
"Should we change first," asked Tracey. "To run around in a museum in a..."
"No time," said Deanna. "We've got to get going!" After saying good bye to Jo and Elaine they got back into Deanna's car and drove off to the museum.
Gaston and Harrington pulled around the back of the museum and parked their van out of sight. "How are we going to get in without being seen?" Harrington said.
"Follow me, the museum is closing soon." Gaston ordered. "I have a plan. Here, hide behind this dumpster." The two goons hid on opposite sides of an employee's entrance door. Harrington figured it out after a couple of minutes. He noticed Gaston getting his chloroform ready. Suddenly the large metal door swung open and a young blonde girl about 16 wearing a museum outfit consisting of a white blouse, black miniskirt, nude pantyhose and black shiny pumps. Gaston jumped up and grabbed the girl clamping his hand containing his evil potion over her mouth and nose. Gaston motioned to Harrington and he grabbed the girl by her ankles. Both goons carried her to the van, laid her down and the back and bound her hand and foot with duct tape. Her hands were tied behind her back and her ankles together were fastly held with the duct tape. Gaston took a spare blue bandanna and blindfolded her. And then he gagged her with a strip of tape. He noticed her nametag she was wearing on her blouse. "Amber Miller," he said out loud. "Be good and you will be home in time for dinner." He took her key card out of her skirt pocket and put it in his. Then Gaston got out of the van and closed the door behind him. He raced to the door and opened it with Amber's key. Harrington and Gaston slipped inside and closed the door behind them!
Deanna, Tracey and Sayoko pulled into the Museum parking lot and parked in the rear near the employee's entrance. "Amber said she would meet us outside." Deanna said. "And Erin will be here too to pick her up."
"Isn't that Erin's car," Tracey noticed Erin's Mustang which had just arrived before them. Erin is standing beside it.
"Hi Erin," said Deanna after they parked. "Where's Amber?"
Erin, the 6' blonde wearing a cashmere sweater and short denim skirt with a pair of tan ankle boots spotted the three girls and answered, "I'm not sure, she should have been out by now. The Museum has closed. I have her spare key. We should go in and see if we can find her."
The four girls went up to the door and Erin inserted the key into the slot. The door buzzed and the light turned green. Erin pulled on the door and they went in."
"Amber was going to show us around," said Deanna. "But fortunately we've been here before."
"Be careful of the alarms," said Tracey.
The Museum Curator came through a door on his way home. The balding gentleman in his early 60's spotted the girls, "Oh, hi Deanna and Tracey, hi Erin, who's your friend?"
"Mr. Bentley this is Sayoko, a friend of ours from Japan." Deanna answered him.
"Nice to meet you," said Sayoko in a courteous tone.
"Nice to meet you too," Mr. Bentley responded while shaking Sayoko's hand. "I see you girls must be on another case being here after hours. You know the rules and make sure the door is locked before you go, ok?"
"No worries, Mr. Bentley. By the way have you seen Amber?" Deanna asked.
"The intern, I believe she left 10 minutes ago." Bentley answered her. "Is anything wrong?"
Deanna paused for a moment both from being having a bad feeling something is wrong and with a conflicting feeling that they have to search for this map. "I don't think so, we must have just missed her."
"All right then call me if you need anything, ok girls?" Bentley asked.
"No problem, we will." Tracey assured him. Bentley smiled at the girls again and went out the door.
"I think something has happened to Amber," said Erin.
"You should go," said Sayoko. "We'll call you when we find her."
"No way," said Erin. "I'm with you guys."
"It's ok," said Deanna. "She's a teen detective too and a good one. We can use her help. Come on, let's search for clues. The girls went into the museum unaware of the danger that is about to come over them!
From Deanna and Tracey