Matthew stood very still, fearing that his parents may hear him. They didn’t sound like they were coming upstairs but he could still hear them on the first floor.
Benny and Toodles stayed stilled as well, both of them saw Matthew looking at the floor with an expression that read: “What should I do?”
“We’ll go first” whispered Benny, “Then I’ll tell you when need to tiptoe.”
Being as quiet they can, Benny tiptoed to the door. Toodles, on the other hand, was shaking and whimpering, Benny waited for him and picked him up so the puppet wouldn’t make too much noise.
Matthew stayed where he was like he was frozen in time. He still couldn’t see the spirits but he can feel their presence gone and on the other side of the room. It took two or three minutes to look up hearing Benny quietly calling him. He didn’t want to but he knows eventually he has to move. Taking a deep breath, he took a step forward, and then another and so forth. He almost stepped on a squeaky wood plank. He tried to think of himself being quiet as a mouse but it was hard since he was not a mouse. As Matthew took the final step towards the door, he felt a hand grab his shoulder, knowing it was Benny.
“Good work Matthew,” he whispered, “Now let’s head downstairs, we’ll stay by you.”
Matthew nodded and slowly opened the door to the second floor. He let the spirits go first and then he went down too. Now here comes the hardest part, getting out of the house without his parents noticing.
This was something Matthew has never done; to him, it felt like he was sneaking out to go to a friend’s party. He looked left to right making sure his parents aren’t on the second floor. He saw his room and Phoebe’s room was still empty. The voices become louder as he made his way to the stairs. He could hear his mother crying and his father trying his best to comfort her. Matthew felt sorry for making them worry, but right now he can’t go to them, at least not yet.
As the spirits go down the stairs, very quietly, Matthew decided to go the safe side. He sat on the floor and took off his shoes. As he holds his shoes with one arm he holds the stairs arm with the other. He sat down on the first stair and scooted down to the other, he did this for few more time and slowly got up. He tiptoed the rest of the way down and made it to the final step.
Matthew could hear his parents in the next room. Lucky for him, his spirits friends can’t be seen. He can hear what they were saying.
“Why aren’t the police doing anything!” cried Kathrin.
“They are honey, they’re looking in every area in town,” said Henry.
Then Matthew heard a third voice, a voice that he heard before. It was Mr. Hoyurpants.
“Are you sure you checked everything, anything suspicious?” asked the old man.
“Yes I did”, said Henry, “The front door was closed, but the only door I found open was the back.”
“Oh god, please find the kidnapper! Please find them safe!” cried Kathrin her face covered with tears.
Matthew could see them in the living room and could see the worry and fear on his parent’s faces. He wants to go over there but he has a mission to do. He was about to walk in the hall to the back door but stop dead in his tracks. He looked right in the eyes of Mr. Hoyurpants. He has been caught. But then something else happens something that Matthew did not expect at all.
Mr. Hoyurpants snapped his fingers and smiled bright, “The toy store of course! You haven’t checked there, that must be where they’re at so why don’t you check there.”
Henry and Kathrin looked at him confused, they were not sure about the idea of looking but it was worth a try. They got up and left the living room and headed to the front door.
What amazed Matthew that they didn’t see him at all as if he was invisible like Benny and Toodles. He stood very still anyway afraid he might give himself away.
As the parents were leaving, Mr. Hoyurpants said that he will stay at the house for the kids if they returned. After they left he closed the door and snapped his figures again. He turned to Matthew and the spirits, who were now visible, and frowned.
“Care to explain yourselves, my friends?”
Matthew just looked at him stunned, not knowing what to say. He tried to explain the situation in the best way he could to the old man. He was surprised that he didn’t ask about Benny and Toodles, but Mr. Hoyurpants said they were friends.
After telling him of what was going on, Mr.Hoyurpants’s head was down looking at the floor. He sighed and muttered something under his breath, it sounded like he asking God to save them all.
“So, Jasper is going to bring chaos to this town isn’t he?” asked the old mayor now looking up at them.
Matthew could only nod in response.
“We need help to stop the Desiderionesis spell”, said Benny taking over the conversion, “a banished spell won’t do good this time. Is there any way you could help us, Jerry?”
The mayor thought for a moment, thinking back to the past. He remembered the meetings he had with Edgar the IV, remembering going over notes and family history since Edgar was slowly forgetting things. The one thing Edgar never wanted to forget was an important spell that he has been trying to finish. Mr. Hoyurpants knew what needed to be done.
“I know what you must do but it will be tricky.”
Toodles was hopping eagerly, Matthew and Benny waited and listen to what the mayor has to say.
“You have to talk to Edgar,” he said.
Matthew looked at Mr. Hoyurpants confused, “Uh, you know he’s dead right?”
“He is, but he knows one spell to stop Jasper and knows it by heart,” said Mr. Hoyurpants, “you’re going to have to bring him back for a while and he’ll tell you what to do.”
Benny agreed and tells the mayor that they now have a plan. While they were leaving, Matthew stood in front of Mr. Hoyurpants; he had a look of concern on his face.
“Mr. Hoyurpants” he began, “What’s gonna happen if we don’t stop the spell?”
Mr. Hoyurpants blinked but he can only say, “Everything will be fine my boy.”
“But…do have an idea what to do if it doesn’t,” Matthew asked trying to keep it together, “What will happen to my sister and mom and dad? What if I don’t think I can’t do this, I mean I am just a kid.”
Tears started to well up in his eyes and he tried very hard not cry in front of the old man. However, Mr. Hoyurpants crouched down to Matthew’s level and gently pat him on the shoulder.
“You don’t have to worry no longer my boy,” he said in a gentle voice, “For I can see that things will be normal as it should. You are a child but you are doing very well. And you’re doing all of this for your sister, that is something to be proud of.”
Matthew rubbed his face and gave a small smile, “Okay, I’ll try. When it is over, how I’m gonna explain this to my parents?”
“Once you and Phoebe return, I will cast a spell on the town so they won’t remember you were gone. Your parents will be fine as well,” said Mr. Hoyurpants.
Matthew looked in the old man’s eyes and thanked him. So far on this adventure, he has been doing everything right making it one step closer to getting Phoebe back. He just needed to remind himself to stay strong and be brave.
“We’ll be coming back in tunnel 4, can you wait for us there?” asked Matthew.
Mr. Hoyurpants nodded and stood up, “If that is what you wish then I will.”
And with that, the spirits and the boy ran out of the house headed back on the road that leads back to the others. Now they have a plan they could only now hope that they’re not too late as they’re now racing against time.
They ran in the forest and were able to find tunnel 3 and the others. Gilbert and the twins and Zoom-Zoom saw that their friends were back. When the fox saw Matthew he rushed to him and jumped up. Matthew chuckled and picked up Zoom-Zoom allowing his face to be licked.
“What happened?” asked Gilbert.
“We figured it out. Matthew found the spell and Jerry was able to give us a hint to stop it” said Benny.
“Oh good! How is Jerry by the way?” asked Roxy.
“He’s doing fine but still old” joked Matthew as he put Zoom-Zoom down.
“Edgar knows how to stop Jasper so we have to ask him,” said Toodles.
Loxy looked at the puppet with surprise and turned to Benny with a questioning expression. “You’re going to bring Edgar back to life? But didn’t he rot with the earth a long time ago?”
“No, not Edgar the first,” said Benny.
“Edgar the II?” asked Gilbert.
“Nope!” Toodles cried.
“Edgar the III?” asked Roxy.
“No, the recent Edgar is who we need to talk to,” Matthew said, “And we have a plan.”
The group gathered together to discuss the plan. Matthew told the girls that during the battle he noticed the cracks on the underground ceiling. That ceiling was actually the closed road that he and his sister saw every time they drove home. It was an oblivious escape root for Jasper so all they have to do is close it. The second step is to distract the monsters, Gilbert and Toodles agreed to distract them while Matthew finds Phoebe. As for Jasper, Benny said he will take care of that.
“Come on sis, let’s go find this road,” said Loxy.
“I think maybe we are sisters,” said Roxy holding hands with Loxy.
The others watched the girls disappear as they walked to a field heading to a road that leads to the small town. The boys headed back to the tunnel. Benny uses his magic to bury the tunnel behind them so no other creature can escape.
As they go back underground they take the right path of the forest. It’s the path that leads to a cave that’s under the graveyard. They soon found the cave; it is much different than the other caves Matthew has seen. The ceiling was lower, there were stone pillars attached to the ceiling and the floor. He noticed a ladder and a shovel against the wall.
“Looks like Jasper been here before,” he thought.
“Alright we need to find Edgar’s grave,” said Benny, “Now do you remember where they buried him.”
Matthew thought hard, he knew where but it was hard to tell since they were underground. “It was up on a high hill with a green patch.”
“I think I can find him,” said Gilbert. Using his cat claws, he climbed up the walls until he was upside down. He climbed all over the ceiling sniffing in the air; he then picked up a familiar scent.
“Hey, I think I found him.”
Gilbert let go and landed on his feet. The boys came closer looking up at what is Edgar’s grave spot. Benny picked up the shovel and used it to poke at the ceiling dirt. It started to crack, forming in a perfect square, little bits of dirt crumbled down. They got out of the way as a big tomb fell from the ceiling creating a smoky dirty cloud.
“Oh! I sure hope he’s alright in there” said Toodles with concern.
Gilbert gave him an odd look as he always gives his friend that look, “Toodles he’s dead, and he wouldn’t have felt that.”
As the smoke cleared they get closer to the coffin. Zoom-Zoom sniffed it and took a step back behind his master; the smell was old and rotten. Benny was the first to step forward to the coffin. He turned to Matthew.
“Don’t look,” he said, “He may look, um, deformed.”
Matthew turned around not looking while he picked up his fox and pets him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to look, the image may haunt him for the rest of life but really, he was curious. He would like to know what his great grandfather look like before he died.
Benny slowly lifted the lid of the coffin and looked at the dead body of his dear friend. He raises his hand over the body and uttered the magic words, “Come back, and bring forth, lost soul you shall return.”
And with that the body glowed and started to move, eyes slowly opening. It rose up and suddenly it cried out in pain.
“My god! It feels like tons of bricks landed on my head.”
Matthew turned around when he heard that old raggedy voice. And there he was, Edgar the IV in the flesh, well almost in the flesh. His skin was painted white, every structure of his bones and veins can be seen, and some parts of his body were starting to rot. His face almost looks grim, all wrinkly and mush and his silver hair falling off showing his bold head.
When Edgar looked up he saw a face he thought he may never see again, “Benny! It’s good to see you, my good man.”
“Yes, good to see you too Edgar,” said Benny.
They wanted to hug each other but Benny was afraid he may literally break the old man. Gilbert and Toodles came up behind Benny and said their hellos to their friend.
“It’s good to see all of you,” said Edgar, “now who’s that lad over there?”
Matthew blinked when the old man noticed him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to come closer but he saw Benny beckon him to say hello. As Matthew step closer he had to cover his nose, his great grandfather’s body smelled really bad.
“I do not think we have met, who are you?” asked Edgar.
“I’m Matthew, Matthew Hollow. I’m actually your relative.”
Edgar examined the boy and thought for a moment. “Who is your father?”
“Oh, now I remember,” said Edgar, “He was a nice boy. I knew there was something special about him, that’s why I put him on the will.”
“That’s why you gave him your house?”
“Oh yes, I also wanted him to be the next mayor after me. But his father...well there were other complications.”
“What do you mean?” asked the twelve-year-old.
The zombie-like man stared down at his boney hands and sighed.
“Our family has been protecting this place for generations, all its magic and the town’s secrets had been passed down as stories to our sons. But then I begin to forget things and very slowly so did the family, they stopped believing our stories. I thought it was a good time to tell Henry’s father the truth, tell him that the stories were real and why I and Jerry’s family worked hard to protect the undergrounds. Of course, as the logical man he was, he thought I was going crazy. I tried to explain in a way he would understand but he didn’t want to hear any of it. Fed up, he took the rest of our family and moved away. I never saw him again after that.”
Matthew frowned disconsolately, hearing the old man’s tale.
“I made a decision to end the mayor line. I didn’t want it to be a burden to Henry, knowing that he too may never understand the magic world.”
The boy beside him spoke up to give him some news, “You know, dad wants to know more about his family’s tree.”
“Ready?” asked Edgar with wide bewilder sunken eyes.
“Yeah. He may not believe the magic stuff but he said he wouldn’t mind being mayor too.”
Edgar started coughing that turned into a laugh as if he was pleased to hear this. “Oh, this is wonderful news. I wish could tell him everything about our history” he said ranting on and on about how great this was.
Matthew was glad that his great grandfather was satisfied, but he needed to gets his attention on important matters.
“Um, hey listen.”
Edgar stopped his rambling and turned his head up to the boy, his great-grandson.
Matthew explained everything about the situation, “I have a sister named Phoebe, she and I are the only ones who know about the magic stuff. But the real problem is Jasper. He came back and he took my sister to use her for this Desiderionesis spell. Mr. Hoyurpants said you know how to stop him.”
Edgar’s expression was a deep shock, it sort of scared Matthew a bit since his great grandfather face was pale and dead looking. He deeply sighed, he thought Jasper would give up escaping or let himself rot away before he passed, but he was wrong. Now his family is in jeopardy, he has to tell them everything he knows.
“All right listen up men,” said Edgar as he waved them to come closer. He pulled out two items in his old jacket, it was a good thing that he was buried with the jacket.
“I have been creating this spell and tried to perfect it, it’s a light spell to destroys any dark matter. I was hoping to use this in case Jasper ever return.”
Edgar handed the small paper over to Benny. “Benny, I need you to keep this spell safe. It’s very simple, just say out loud in front of Jasper and let the rest do its job. Just pray for it to work.”
He turned to Matthew and gives him something that looked like a very odd shape key.
“Matthew” Edgar whispers to him, “This is a special key and I think you should have it. It can open any lock and any door.”
He placed the key in the boy’s hand. Matthew shivered a little, feeling the cold fingers touch his skin.
“Thanks, but how is this going to help?” asked Matthew.
Edgar just chuckled and said, “Just keep it for emergency and look through the trunk if you want to come back.”
Matthew has no idea what he meant but nodded anyway. “Thanks, Edgar or gramps if that’s okay.”
“Gramps is fine with me”, said Edgar, “Tell the family I said hello.”
Matthew nodded and smiled at him. He was somewhat glad that Phoebe wasn’t here right now if she would have witnessed her dead great grandfather she would have freaked out.
“Well Edgar, time to go back to sleep,” said Benny.
“All right. Come visit anytime, I miss our small talks.”
Edgar laid back down in his coffin and in a small flash, he was a lifeless shell once again. Benny closed the tomb and used his magic to send him back to the ceiling and buried him.
Benny looked over his friends, “Is everyone ready?”
They all nodded and let Benny lead the way to the castle, ready for the final showdown.
As they got closer they could feel the heat from the lava under the castle but that didn’t stop them. They noticed all the wolves and the witch monster guarding the main entrance. Gilbert and Toodles hid behind a bush and climbed up to a tree.
“Oh, I’m so happy! We’re going to save the day and everything” cheered Toodles trying to stop himself from hopping on the tree branches.
“Yup” agreed Gilbert, “But we’re going have to do this right got it?”
The puppet shook his head ‘yes’.
They both stood and called out to the monsters.
“Hey, ugly!” called out Gilbert.
The witch and the wolves turned to the duo.
Toodles started dancing and shout, “Na na-na na, you’re a ninny!”
The witch growled glaring at the spirits as they continued to mock her. She pointed up to them and gave a loud screech ordering the wolves to kill them. The cat and the puppet fled as they led them away from the castle. Benny, Matthew, and Zoom-Zoom quickly made their way to the gate.
The earth around them started to shake, rocks and dirt falling from the ceiling. They stopped when they noticed the strange earthquake. This could mean that the spell is being performed right now.
Phoebe had her eyes closed and her ears covered from the never-ending shaking. It eventually stopped and the boiling liquid in the pot was now a deep color, a shade of blue mixed with violet.
Jasper’s eyes were filled with glee. He turned to Phoebe with a sinister grin; he knows what the next step is. He goes to the table and picked up a thin but long sewing needle.
“And now, for the final ingredient,” he said.
Phoebe’s eyes went wide knowing what that meant, her breathing was quickening. She got up and tried to run but the crazy man grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to the boiling pot. He picked her up and put her on a stepping stool so she was closer to the edge of the pot.
“Let go of me!” cried Phoebe trying to get away from the needle that was approaching towards her.
“All I need is five drops of blood and I’ll finally redeem myself and change everything!” cried Jasper.
Jasper held Phoebe’s hand tightly and held it near the pot. Phoebe tried to pull away but his grip was too strong. Tears started to form in her eyes as she sees the needle under her fingertips, she holds her breath waiting for the pain to come.
In three seconds all her five fingers were pricked, it was so quick that Phoebe barely felt it. She blinked and releases her breath. “That was it?” she asked.
“Oh, but there’s more!” cheered Jasper as he got close to her face. He held her hand higher and squeezed it hard trying to get the blood out.
“OW!” cried Phoebe, “You’re hurting me!”
Then all five blood drops from Phoebe’s hand spilled into the pot. There was a moment of silence. Then the colors change into a pure dark color almost like the color of blood. Then…
Huge rays of light beamed out of the pot and shadow form creatures were flying everywhere. The shadows were shrieking and ink like blobs drip from their bodies. They gathered together and aimed themselves towards Jasper. Phoebe jumped out of way in time as she withness a horrible scene.
The shadows emerged with Jasper, covering him with blobs. Smoke steam off from his body as the shadows still covering him almost eating him alive. Jasper cried in pain but then starting crackling like a maniac. The blob transformed him into a monster. He had wings now, his body grew taller, his skin glowed in a light purple color, and energy was leaking out his eyes and mouth.
Phoebe could not believe her eyes; she was, even more, frightened of him than before. She was going to run again but the monster man grabbed her again.
“Not so fast,” said Jasper his voice more demonic, “I need more of your blood, to release myself from this dreadful spell. With this power, no one can stop me.”
The crazy man spun around and looked up when he heard his name called, Phoebe looked as well.
Standing right at the edge of the catwalk was a boy, a tall skeleton and fox in front of them growling at Jasper.
Matthew looked right into Phoebe’s eyes, seeing her smile made him smile too. With bravery written on his face, he steps forward and shouted at Jasper, “Let my sister go!”