They ran into the forest as fast as they can. They were far away from the flame wolves but they could still hear them a mile away. The group came to a crossroad, each road going to different directions. The howling of the wolves reminded them that they needed to hurry up.
“Which road do we pick?” asked Loxy.
Suddenly Zoom-Zoom sniffed something in the air he jumped out of Matthew’s grip and sniffed more on the ground. They watched as the fox sniffed his way into a tall field of grass. The group ran after him trusting the fox that he may know a way out. The howling soon faded away like an echo sound.
The group continued following Zoom-Zoom as they entered a small cave. The fox stopped and looked up, a big pile of dirt stood in front of him. The others stood confused.
“What the heck is this?” asked Matthew.
Benny noticed a piece of wood buried in the dirt, he picked it up and dusted it off. It was some sort of sign that read in faded words: Tunnel 003.
“These are one of the tunnels your grandfather dug up, this leads to the surface.”
Matthew was happy to hear that so he told Zoom-Zoom to start digging. But even though the fox was digging quickly, he was too small to dig all the piles of dirt.
“Here let me do it,” said Gilbert, “My tail may be broken but I can still use my claws.”
The blue cat started digging alongside Zoom-Zoom, they got most of the big dirt out of the way. The echoes of wolves howling return which startled the group. They nervously tried to help out but they weren’t natural diggers like animals.
“Dig Gilbert!” cried Toodles, “Dig like your life depends on it!”
“I know it does!” Gilbert snapped.
They dug just enough dirt out for them to crawl into the tunnel. They let Matthew and Zoom-Zoom go first. They all crawled out of the cave and into the tunnel, the howls fading again. They crawled for a few minutes then got up to walked as they got closer to the opening. Matthew could see the sunlight rising as they got closer.
“Alright! We’re finally out,” he cheered, “So what should we do now-”
When Matthew turned around, he saw that the spirits suddenly disappeared.
“Guys…where did you go!?” He looked frantic looking left to right.
“We’re right here Matt” called Benny, “we’re still in the tunnel.”
Confused Matthew and Zoom-Zoom walked back to the tunnel but still didn’t see anything. Then he saw Benny and the others appear out of nowhere backing up in the tunnel.
“We are spirits from long ago, we are not seen when we approach the surface” Benny explains.
“In other words, we turn invisible,” said Roxy.
“Oh,” Matthew bluntly said.
Loxy then pulled out two bottles from her pocket, “Lucky I brought two perfume bottles just in case.”
Before Loxy could put the perfume on herself or hand it to the other spirits, Matthew spoke up about something that everyone was thinking about.
“Soo… that thing wasn’t Juju, wasn’t it?” he asked.
“Yeah what was that back there?” said Gilbert who was sitting down holding his broken tail.
“I’m not sure but this means that Juju did not betray us. She must have been captured by Jasper as well” said Benny.
That was a possibility, Juju may have been kidnapped but what has Jasper done with her they not sure, they can only hope that she alive with Phoebe. Matthew now feels bad for calling her a freak and now more worried for Phoebe.
“Can we go back?” he asked.
“With that monster around we’ll never get in the castle,” said Benny, “besides, we don’t even know what Jasper is planning.”
Matthew leaned on the walls of the tunnel, thinking to himself. Closing his eyes, he thought and thought until he had an idea, it made sound stupid but he wanted to give it a try.
“Guys, how much do know about Jasper?”
“Well, we don’t know much about his past,” said Roxy.
“Was there something that he always wanted?”
“What do you mean?”
“I read in comics that people turn to bad guys for a reason” explained Matthew, “Like the Green Goblin, he wanted respect and power but when he didn’t get it he turned into the Green Goblin.”
“What does a goblin have to do with anything?” asked Toodles.
Matthew gave Toodles an annoyed look but continued his idea, “No, no, I mean what was his goal when he was alive? Like why did he study black magic or did he have any plans to do with it?”
The spirits thought about it for a few minutes still not thinking anything that could relate to the question. They were about to give up until Benny snapped his fingers. He remembered something.
“Wait… I think I know something”, he said, “it was back in the 18th Century, your grandfather Edgar the first and I were talking and that’s when he came out of nowhere and began talking with us…”
As Benny remembered more on the conversation a flashback came to his mind, showing every detail on that day.
He was outside talking with Edgar after helping a family find a doctor. One of their children was stick from the flu and the doctor was trying his best to find a cure.
“How is the child, is he getting better?” asked Benny.
“Little bit”, said Edgar, “but the doc said it may get worse.”
Benny sighed hearing the bad news, he could only pray that this cold season could pass quickly so that some people including children can get better.
“May I make a suggestion gentlemen…” came a voice.
The two men turned around to a man they never expected to see. This was the first time Jasper came out during the day. He looked completely awkward, his clothes looked dirty, and his skin was pale like he hasn’t had the sun in a long time. There was something about his smile, it made the men feel very uncomfortable.
“I’ve been working on something special, I think this spell will help the ill to become healthily again.”
“What on earth are you talking about spells?” question Edgar.
“Well since you two are the first I will tell you,” said Jasper, “I have been working on spells, including a book that allows me to make my own. I’ve been doing so much research on how it all works and made many great discoveries.”
“Jasper you are speaking nonsense. Magic is dangerous and the darkest element.”
Jasper frowned a bit but he smiled again, “Don’t you see, how much potential magic can be. With its power, there be no more ill children, no more deaths, no more problems and something better…”
He stepped closer to Edgar and whispered something in his ear. Benny couldn’t hear a word of what Jasper was whispering, but whatever it was it made Edgar’s eyes wide and darkly glared at Jasper.
“That is enough!” said Edgar as he pushed the crazy man away, “I don’t want you to speak none of the devil’s darkness to anyone.”
Jasper just frowned with a scowl in his eyes, “hmph, I should have known better. You all are fools, thinking it’s nothing but witch’s craft. If you let me be the doctor for the village I could cure the boy in no time.”
“It’s not just that, magic is something that no one can control, it cannot cure sickness. No human or nature itself can control it. Try as they might but it is forbidden for reasons. It’s best to be left alone and forgotten.”
He then ordered the man to leave him and his friend alone. Jasper just rolled his eyes at him and walked away, he looked back muttering under his breath. “I’ll make you change your mind, you’ll see. I just need to perfect that one spell…”
After having that flashback Benny looked back to the others, all with shock faces.
“You actually saw him?” said Roxy, “why didn’t you say anything?”
“I wanted to, but Edgar told me to never to speak of it to anyone. He didn’t want the villagers to be disturbed by what we witness. I think after that Jasper started to go crazy with the experiments.”
Matthew pondered on the new information, “So all he wanted to be a powerful doctor to cure dying people?”
“It seemed like it but I think he wanted something more than that,” said Benny.
What did he whisper to Edgar, did he tell you what it was?”
“Not really,” said Benny, “but he explains that it was something forbidden, a spell that was really dangerous no one dared to performed it.”
“But which one?” said Toodles, “we know a few spells, but not all of them.”
“For once my friend your right”, said Gilbert, “If Jasper is planning on doing this forbidden spell then we have to stop him.”
This was going to be harder than he thought, Matthew has no idea what a forbidden spell is or how to find one. He tried to think of a place where he could find some helpful information. He and the others could go to the library but he doesn’t remember where it was exactly. He can’t ask his great great great grandfather because he was dead. But then, another idea popped Matthew on the head.
“I have to go back home.”
The spirits looked up at him confused but Matthew explained.
“My grandfather must have kept notes in the case for a bad case scenario, so what we have to do is go back to the house and look.”
Benny looked at the boy with proud eyes and stood up, “Excellent idea let’s hurry and find those notes.”
“We’ll stay here and heal Gilbert up,” said Loxy.
“It’s not that bad”, said Gilbert but someone stepped on his broken tail, “OW! TOODLES!”
Matthew bent down to look at his pet, “Zoom, look after them while I’m gone okay?”
The fox understood and he lay down by the twins. As Benny and Matthew started to leave, they noticed that Toodles was following them but they let him come anyway.
They walked and walked out of the forest until Matthew found the sidewalk and the road. He knows that this was the road leading up to the house. He tells the two spirits to stay close since he can’t see them and they forgot the perfume potion. The wind was colder and more leaves were falling, Matthew zipped up his coat to keep him warm.
As they walked on the streets they came across a telephone pole. It had posters and ads. One of them caught Matthew’s eye, he took the poster off the hook and examined it. It had a picture of him and Phoebe.
“Oh hey lookie it’s you!” said Toodles who sounded like he was bouncing up and down behind him.
Although Benny can’t be seen, Matthew could feel the skeleton bending down to look at the poster closer, his bony hand on his shoulder for balance, “MISSING: Have you seen these kids?”
“Well this is just great,” said Matthew, “my parents are worried sick and now I can’t be seen.”
“Why not?” asked Toodles.
“Because the police are looking for me, if I get caught they’ll send me back to my parents and I’ll never see Phoebe again.”
“Tell them she was kidnapped by Jasper and you’re on way to save her with magic spells,” said Toodles in that cheerful tone.
Matthew was still for a second until he tore up the paper. “I don’t think they would believe that?” he said.
“Let’s just keep walking,” said Benny, “We’ll keep an eye out for anyone.”
Matthew agreed and they started walking again. He covered his head with his hoodie just in case. Some cars passed by but none of them saw him or recognized him.
Finally, they made it to the house, Matthew told the spirits to go look first to see if his parents were there. Even though he saw that their car is gone he wanted to make sure, his parents can be unpredictable sometimes. He saw the leaves moved and kicked so that meant the spirits were coming back.
“There’s no one home we can go in,” said Benny.
“Yeah, I knocked on the door twice!” said Toodles.
“You weren’t supposed to” muttered Matthew as they walked to the front door.
Benny used his finger to cast spell on the door, “Through the tiniest lock, solve the puzzle for it to unlock.”
When the door opened Matthew walked in while looking around carefully. He didn’t see the house the same way, what he thought was a boring old This place was now a place of most interest. His home belonged to a man full of secrets and now he has to uncover those secrets.
“Okay I will look in the living room, Benny you can look in my dad’s office and Toodles can look in the kitchen.”
They searched in the living room, the office, and Matthew told the spirits he’d check the kitchen by himself since Toodles kept knocking down the plates. They all searched everywhere but couldn’t find anything. They eventually went upstarts to the attic. It was same the last time Matthew saw it: dusty, smelly, and untouched.
“There a trunk here that my mom and sis couldn’t open, maybe that’s where he put all his stuff.”
Benny and Matthew walked towards to the trunk, Toodles wanted to see what was in the trunk too however he got detracted by the old toys that were left forgotten.
Benny examined the dusty box in front of him and looked at the slide lock. He repeated the puzzle unlock spell and heard a ‘click’. The boy and the skeleton heaved opened the top and looked inside. They both did not expect to see this.
The trunk was filled with old clothes, old postcards, and old newspapers.
It was the most disappointing feeling Matthew had ever felt.
He felt even angrier than he ever felt but he also felt like he failed. He was doing something right for once something for his sister. He never does anything for Phoebe. He thought everything will go well but they weren’t.
“That’s it?!” yelled Matthew showing most of his anger, “All he has in this stupid box was junk!”
Benny knows he was angry so he backed away so the boy would calm down a little. Toodles took noticed of this and he got up and hid behind his friend.
Matthew was so mad that he kicked the trunk. He suddenly stopped when he heard a shuffling sound, he looked over the trunk not seeing anything moved. He stopped when saw something sticking out of the side of the trunk. He bent down and pulled it out. It was a hidden drawer filled with papers. Matthew took them out read through them, the hopefulness returning to his heart.
“This is it! These are his work stuff!” he cried with glee.
“Good work Matthew, now let’s have a look,” said Benny.
Matthew, Benny, and Toodles sat down on the floor and looked at all the notes. There was a whole stack of papers that Matthew took out and reading through them carefully. Some of them were written by Edgar and some look like they were torn from a book. There were some paragraphs and words he didn’t understand but he read through them anyway.
“Oh look this is the banished spell Edgar use on Jasper,” said Toodles as he pointed the paper he was holding.
While Benny read the note, he noticed that there was a small book in the draw. He took it out and read the first page, the ink had faded over the years but he could still make out the sentences. He realized that it was Edgar’s journal. He read all the events of conversation with Jasper, the incident, making the underground tunnels, passing his power of the mayor to his son.
There one passage where Edgar was thinking of the forbidden spell and how it disturbed him. He wrote about how he found old notes written by Jasper himself. He and Thomas collected his things to understand magic. He said he found a stolen page with the spell that Jasper had been trying to perfect for a long time. As he read the paragraph his eyes went wide, he understood why it disturbed Edgar so much.
“Guys, I know what the spell is.”
Matthew looked up, although he couldn’t see Benny’s face, he picked up on the skeleton’s voice and it sounded unsettling, it made him nervous.
The skeleton continued, “The spell is called Desiderionesis. It’s a spell that lets you change into anything you want, it also gives the power of any abilities you desire.”
“Well, okay”, Matthew said slowly. “so it’s not a threading spell, we just have to stop him from finishing the spell.”
“There’s a catch,” said Benny with terror slowly creeping in his voice, “In order to do the spell, the final ingredient is the blood of a young child…and then shadows from the darkness will grant Jasper’s wish.”
The boy’s eyes went wide in shock. He can also hear Toodles whimpering in fear. No wonder this guy was after Phoebe, he needed a kid for the spell. But the real question is why only Phoebe, Matthew was a kid too so why didn’t Jasper go after him also…
“That’s it! I figured it out!” said Matthew now seeing the truth explained in details, “I read in the library about an article of my great grandfather and it said that in the Hollow’s family there were only sons. There was never a daughter in the family, until now. Phoebe is the first Hollow who’s a girl!”
“That’s brilliant Matt!” cried Toodles, “Wait, why is that important again?”
“Because I was reading that banished spell and saw there was an extra paragraph” Matthew showed them on the back page, “I didn’t get the bottom part at first but it said more of the spell. It can be reversed by the person who cast it or a family member that shares the same red bond.”
“Red bond?” repeated Benny, “does it mean a blood ingredient?”
“I think so,” said Matthew, “But look what it said here: a boys bond can reverse the spell for a while but a girls bond is special and can reverse the spell-”
“Permanently…” Benny finished for him. All this time he thought the banished spell could never be reversed, but now he saw that he was wrong, “Why is there a reverse ingredient?”
“Because this was Jasper’s spell,” said Matthew, “most of the stuff I’m reading is his notes. I guess Edgar never noticed the extra paragraph when he used it on him.”
“Oh I thought his handwriting was changing,” said Toodles holding a note upside-down.
Matthew was quite proud of himself that he finally figured it out but he was also frightened because now the situation has gotten more dangerous. He was now more determent to rescue his sister and he was going to use that brain of his to think of a new plan.
“C’ mon, we got your answers so let get back to others.”
They all froze when they heard noises coming from downstairs. There were sounds of people walking, the clicking noise of their shoes, mix with mumbling voices.
Matthew’s parents were home.