Short Story: The Dead Don T Talk

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Chapter Two
The Dead Don’t Talk

Twist Tisalton, a co-sleuth at the Dead Wood Detective Agency, was waiting for Seth and me in the office (aka top-secret tree house), dressed in a checkered vest, snazzy royal-blue tie, button-down shirt, and trousers.
“Dude.” Seth slammed the steel door shut. Our collection of spy DVDs fell off a shelf and landed on the floor. “Where were you last night?”
“At the science fair, blasting a giant, frozen gummy bear into a million pieces.” He kicked his oversized loafers up on a couple of crates. “It was awesome until the bear’s severed fist punched one of the judges in the nose.”
“Oh,” I told Twist. “Did you win?”
He held up a trophy. “Second place.”
“My grandma says that most brainiacs tend to hit their peak
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“At Thornewood Hall—”
He had a terror of spiders, and even the whisper of a ghost rattled him.
“Yep. Then we heard this.” I turned on the recording and fast-forwarded to the creepy shrieks. “The rest is just us talking to the men we met at the house. I shut it off before we went inside.”
Twist’s shocked expression was replaced by intrigue. “The screams sound human.”
“Precisely. I figure as the captain plummeted down the stairs he screamed,” I paused, choosing my words carefully, “and—”
Seth frowned. “Are you suggesting that the screams we heard last night come from the captain as he fell? Come on, Madison. That’s impossible. He died, like a zillion years ago.”
“Maybe they were magical reverberations,” Twist considered so sincerely, so matter-of-factly that it took me a millisecond to process. He was plenty smart, your above-average scrawny prodigy type. His parents died in a plane crash when he was five, and he was raised by an uncle and aunt who ran The Tisalton Plastics, Glass, & Other Salvage Materials Yard. They thought he was brilliant and usually sent him away to whiz-kid camp so that he could further his learning. “Or supernatural projections—ancient
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We saw another person running through the thickets.” Then I thought of something else that I’d totally forgotten to tell Twist. “The men were all dressed pretty much the same, except for Mr. Greene, who wore a suit and a tie. Oh, and he had a funny accent that I didn’t recognize.”
“Huh.” Twist ran his fingers through his dark stock of unkempt hair—a sign he was thinking. “Did you get an I.D. on the perp in the scrubs?”
“Nope,” I said. “He was just a blur.”
Twist tapped on an article in the Clandestine Post that wasn’t very long but did offer a few interesting details about Chester McBride, a reckless sea captain, who time and again sailed into savage storms, lashing swirls, and cutting sprays, daring the elements to daunt him. “He’d gotten himself into some kind of trouble while he was in the Far East and had to leave in a hurry,” Twist added. “I was also able to do a little research online, and I found a site which provided some additional information about the captain.”
“And?” I asked.
“Well, I guess he and his new bride—a Chinese princess—stayed with his widowed sister Abigail for a while on the outskirts of Bitter Springs.”
“Chinese?” Seth repeated.
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