The girls all looked at each other while eating their ice cream. “Pipes?” Said Ray. “I know pipes can make a lot of noise, but I don’t think they make that much noise that it could startle a classroom. Ali agreed, “It’s true they can be very noisy, but not so much in a public building, can they?” They really didn’t know, after all they were only kids and had no knowledge about buildings and pipes. Ali said, “I still don’t believe it’s pipes and I am going to prove it.” The girls finished their ice cream and started to head home. Ali had no plans on going home, she was going straight to the school as soon as the girls turned off to go down their own streets. Ali walked quickly toward the school, she knew she didn’t have much time because her parents would expect her home before too long. She was making good time when suddenly she realized that she was being followed. She could hear the foot steps behind her, but every time she turned around to see who it was there was no one there. She stared walking faster. Her heart was starting to race, why did she do this alone? It wasn’t bad enough that she heard things in the school, but now outside too? She ran and turned a corner, grabbed her flashlight out of her bag, prepared herself to strike whatever came around the corner. The quick foot steps were almost there, she started to panic but realized it would do her no good. She had to defend herself, she had to fight who or whatever was coming around that corner. She raised her flashlight above her head and saw the shadow first of what was coming, she screamed and began swinging the flashlight, shouting at the top of her lungs. “Stay back, get back!”
It was just in time that Cloe jumped back from Ali’s swing, knocking the other girls down onto the sidewalk. “What are you doing?” The girl shouted at Ali. Ali shouted back, “what am I doing? What are you doing? Why are girls following me?” “We saw you didn’t head home so we decided to follow you to see if you really were crazy enough to sneak back into the school. You are crazy! You’re going to end up getting caught, you’ll get into so much trouble. Just let it go, Ali.” ” I can’t just let it go! Something is up and I mean to prove it to all of you!” The girls sighed. “We can’t let you go in there alone, you’re going to get us all in trouble.” “Not if we really find something.” Snapped Ali. After everyone settled down, heart beats slowed down, they started walking toward the school again. “This is a really bad idea.” Proclaimed Ray. Ray was always the most outspoken of the group of girls. Ali looked at her and told her to just go home if she didn’t want to come along. “I don’t want you to come if you are worried about getting in trouble. I can do this on my own, trust me.” The girls all shook their heads and continued to follow Ali down the street to the school. Once again they entered the custodians break room and headed to the kitchen. “We were just in here and there was nothing, why are we looking again? Lily questioned. Ali explained how she heard a different sound when the café tables were being rolled across the floor. She was sure there was something to it, she just couldn’t figure out how to get under the floor. Cloe spoke up, “there is a closet outside of the kitchen, maybe there is something in there.” “That’s right! I hadn’t thought of that.” Ali said with a burst of excitement in her voice. The girls all went to the closet door, pulled on the handle and it pulled right open. Single file, they walked into the closet. There were boxes of food sitting to the right side of the wall, but to the left side there was another door. Ali walked up to the door, turned the handle and pulled it open. It was very dark and a very creepy. Ali got her flash light out of her bag, turned it on and shined it into the room.
The girls all gasped in amazement as they saw a long staircase heading down under ground. “Well, I guess we should head down, right?” Commented Cloe. One after the other they went quietly walked down. They felt along the wall for a light switch as they went down the stairs. Lily ended up finding it. She flipped the switch, lighting it up with an old set of lights lining the walls with old fashion jar covers. It was like in the movies the girls had seen where people were in the mines. The hallway looked long, with a couple doors here and there along the wall. The girls pulled on the doors as they walked down the hall, but they were all locked.
The hallway turned a sharp left and proceeded a long way. Ali said to the girls, “I think we were just under the café. See, I told you it sounded hollow. I knew it!” Ray spoke back, as always cause she really was the most opinionated, “ok, so you were right, but what does that have to do with you claiming something or someone is in the school? Just because there is a creepy half lit basement to this place doesn’t mean that there is some kind of mystery here.” Ali looked her square in the face. ” I know that! I’m just saying that I could be right cause I was about this.” The girls started walking again, trying each door, there were only eight doors on either side of the walls. It was starting to feel really warm the farther they walked. ” The heat feels really good here, I bet we are under the hall for the kindergarten class. it’s always so warm on that side.” Ali stated. They pulled on the last door, this door came right open. There was a loud shrill scream that came from the room, the girls all jumped a mile high, screaming to the top of their lungs as well.
They looked in the room, but saw only; a sleeping bag on the floor, candy bars, a box of fruit loops, and some water bottles. The girls were all looking in disbelief. They had seen movies where janitors lived in the school, could that really be happening in their own school? They couldn’t see this being the case. They had met their own custodians and they didn’t seem like people that didn’t have a place to live. They started walking deeper into the room to look around, but started feeling really scared. “I think we should leave, now!” Cloe whispered. Ali felt bad for her friends, she knew they were really hating the fact that they came a long, Ail felt like she was to blame cause she pressured them by no going home like everyone else, but what else could she have done? She needed to do this, she had to find out what was going on in the school. Just as she was getting ready to say something to Cloe there was a huge crash of an object falling to the floor. The girls again jumped, grabbed each others hands and started whimpering. A moan came from behind some shelves, and a small voice pleaded, with a shake in it, “please don’t make me leave. Don’t tell anyone I’m here, please, please! The girls started calming down as they could tell there was nothing to fear. A small boy, who looked to be about eight years old, came from behind the shelves with a very shy look on his face. “Who are you?” Asked Ali in a soft whisper. “I am John. I have no where to go since my mama died, so I have been living here. I try to pay back what I eat by helping clean the classrooms, I don’t cause any trouble, please don’t tell them about me. I don’t want to have to live in a home for kids without parents.” Ali had questions that she just had to ask John. “Do you somehow get up in the ceiling? I hear noises a lot and, well, is it you making them?” John explained to everyone that he does get up in the ceiling during the day so no one will find him in the room they were now standing in. There were boards in certain areas in the ceiling that he could sit or lay on, he couldn’t risk being caught, so he hid up there. Ali questioned more, “what about in the kindergarten room? I saw a rocking chair rocking the other night? Were you in the classroom?” “Yes, I had been in there trying to clean up a little, to help earn my keep. I was just resting for a minute when I heard someone coming down the hallway, so I ran as fast as I could.” Lily had a question too. “How have you been able to get in the rooms? They always lock the doors.” “Oh that’s easy, when the workers came to pull trash they left the door open. I would just go in because I knew I had a while before they would come back to sweep the floor. I would straighten desks and pick up the trash on the floor to help them. Sometimes I would run out of time so I would shove the trash into the desks. I didn’t mean to upset anyone, I just couldn’t think of any better way. I put tape on the door latches to the kitchen so it wouldn’t lock me out. I grabbed my food while that guy was in here cleaning, he never saw me because I would grab food and drink while he was in his cleaning closet that is in the back of the kitchen. Ali put her hand on John’s shoulder, “You know you can’t stay here, its not safe. You’re not eating right, and someone will catch you one day anyway.” Lily, Cloe, and Ray all agreed with Ali, “I’m sure they can find someone nice to take care of you. Come on, you can stay with me tonight, we will work this out with the school tomorrow.” Ali encouraged him with her speech, though he still would rather stay in the school, he knew he may as well go with them because they knew his secret and others would find out now. The next day Ali took him to the office and explained how he was living and where he had been sleeping. Ali wanted to say, “see, I told you so, but no one listen to me,” but she kept her thoughts to herself. When the principle looked at John he noticed the boy looked familiar. He was the boy that the principles distant cousin, Ben, had been looking for. “John, my boy, I know your uncle, you may not know him yourself, considering he was never around very much, but he has been looking for you for quite some time. He is your legal guardian that your parents put in charge to care for you if anything were to ever happen to them. He will be a good guardian, you have nothing to fear whatsoever. Hold tight buddy, I’ll give him a call and we will get you right where you belong. He will be so relieved to know we have found you.” Ali, Cloe, Ray, and Lily all sat down together at lunch time and started talking about everything. “We are sorry we didn’t believe you. We should have listened, but we were so sure you were messing with us, you always do play a lot of jokes you know.” Ali gave a big cheesy grin at them and said with a sense of pride, “You don’t need to apologize, and I’m guessing you don’t want me to say, I told you so, so I guess I’ll keep it to myself. Seriously though guys, I’m just glad we did find out that he was living here like he was. He may never have found out that he had a good, caring uncle to take care of him had we not found him.” The girls all nodded their heads in agreement and sighed, “I guess we are pretty good detectives after all.” “Yes, we are. We may not be like the famous girl, Nancy Drew, in the book series, but I enjoyed it, no matter how good we were.” Ali responded. Everyone agreed to that as well. “The only thing I’m a little worried about now is my own parents and what my punishment is going to be for sneaking out like I did. No matter the good cause, I’ll probably be grounded at the least, and I’m scared to hear for how long.” Said Ali with a downcast look. Cloe, Ray, and Lily all looked at Ali with a look of horror, Ali looked back at them, all eyes meeting, and they just knew, they were all doomed, and the punishment would be coming.