MysteryNet's Kids Mysteries
MysteryNet's Kids Mysteries

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Witches?
Mysteries by Kids 7: April 1999
by Kristin W.


What was going on here? I wondered as I searched the library shelves. The place was nearly empty. So was an entire row of books. It just happened to be the row with the books I was looking for.

You see, Ms. Laurence had assigned me and each of my classmates a research topic. My topic was "Witches." I had come to this library even though it was an hour and a half from my house, because it was the only library in the state which had a 10 book series of actual books about witches by a witch. They included spells and a history of witches.
Unfortunately, all 10 of the books were gone. This was especially strange because I had called the library in advance to have them make sure no one checked any of the books out. They had agreed and said they'd put a hold on those books until I showed up.
I searched frantically for a librarian, but no one was in sight. I suddenly realized I was alone in the library. Then I heard the shuffle of feet and wicked laugh. Total blackness seamed to swallow me. More footsteps were heard, followed by a loud crash. In a minute the lights were back on and as my eyes adjusted I saw an attractive woman in front of me. It was Miss Tyler, the librarian.
A scream escaped from her mouth. Then she took a second look. "Oh, It's only you. Sorry I screamed, you frightened me, but wait... what are you doing here? The library closed 15 minutes ago!" She paused and then continued, looking confused. "I was just locking up and doing some last minute book check-ins when the electricity went off."
I glanced at my watch. She was right. It was now 6:20 and the library had closed at 6:00. I must have lost track of time and I had missed the bus home. Now I would have to wait until the next bus came at 7:45. My parents would be terribly worried by then.
"I'll check next door to see if they lost power too and then, if it is absolutely necessary, you can call your house," Miss Tyler said. I nodded, but I was still confused about what had just happened.
Miss Tyler walked over to the phone and I began to search the library. Just then I remembered the crash. I raced over and discovered that the books I had been looking for were scattered along the aisle in which they were supposed to be. No one was in sight though except Miss Tyler. She was nodding and saying "Oh, I see. Thank you." she put the phone down and sighed. "Well the cafe next door didn't lose power, so, oh my-- the missing books!" Miss Tyler looked shocked, then shook her head and continued, "Uh, Go ahead and call your parents."
I raced to the phone and dialed my number. After explaining the situation to my mother I carefully put the phone back onto the cradle. Miss Tyler was kneeling over the pile of books. She raised her finger and said "I have to call my boss about this. These books have been missing for almost 3 weeks. The whole staff has been searching everywhere for them. In fact, they disappeared right after a power outage similar to this one."
Then I heard a sound. It was shrill and high-pitched. I walked quietly over to where it was coming from. There, standing in a small, dark corner was the a grown woman. She was tall and slender, dressed in all black, with a big hairy wart on the tip of her nose.
I had seen her somewhere before... on a TV program about the books. She looked like the author,who had disappeared 40 years ago.
"Who are you?" I managed to stammer.
"I am Vanni Wells, author and keeper of "The Witching Hour" Books.
I looked at her more closely. Yes, she was certainly the author, not the thief... or was she? Just then Miss Tyler arrived at my side. She started to speak, but stopped once she saw the dark woman.
Miss Tyler started to look a little green. "A ghost," she managed to mumble before falling lightly to the ground.
"Why does everyone think I'm dead? A person just tries to get a little space..." Vanni Wells said under her breath.
"Why are you here?" I said.
"To get what is mine," she said. "After I left home, my logs and books were donated to this library and I was intending on getting them back, but when my sister, who works here, started suspecting me of the thefts. I decided to return the books when I thought nobody would be here and then I discovered you here. So I turned off the electricity and quickly tried to return the books to their original place, but they fell off the shelf as I was running away."
She said this so casually that I figured she must not care about the discovery. She had admitted to stealing the books. A police siren roared through the night and several minutes later a police man in a navy blue uniform knocked on the door.
The next morning as I picked up the newspaper on my way home from school I read the headline: "Missing Author Steals Her Own Books" and in my other hand a report entitled "Witches" with a big, red "A" on the cover.
Congratulations, Kristin W. !
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