The following morning, Abby, Beth, Charlie, Daphne, and Ethan gather at the same dining table they have sat the previous night. As soon as they sit down, Charlie and Ethan become aware of the tension between the girls.
“What’s wrong, girls? Rough night?” Charlie mused.
Abby shrugs, sounding uninterested. “You can say that,” she looks up at the boys, “and it looks like we weren’t the only ones.” She points at the sagging skin beneath Charlie’s eyes. “That rough, huh?”
Immediately, Charlie grabs a spoon and stares at his reflection, “Oh god,” he gasps before realizing the girls staring and a little shamefully set down the spoon as their breakfast arrives.
Sitting beside Ethan, Beth concentrates on her food. Inside, she’s angry yet afraid. She doesn’t understand why her former tormenter, Daphne, has to be on this trip. Did Richard know? She wonders. Did he know Daphne was a bully?
“Ah, good morning,” Richard enters cheerfully. “I see everyone’s here, enjoying breakfast. How was everyone’s night?” Undistinctive murmurs sound around the table. “It was great, I take it.” Richard says. “So any fun plans today?”
“Um yes,” all eyes turn to Daphne. “We would like to explore the mansion, you know, have a little fun, have a peek into each of the rooms.”
“Ah, what an excellent idea.” Richard replies with a wide smile. “I’ll have Micky show you around. He knows the place inside and out.”
“Actually, if you don’t mind, we would like to do the exploration by ourselves, not as a group.” Abby says with as even of a tone as she can manage. At the same time, she can feel Charlie shifting his gaze from Daphne to her, heavy with suspicion.
She needs to find out on her own, not with anyone she can’t trust like Micky. Right now, she has more trust on these four people sitting around her than anyone else. For all she knows, Micky might be in on whatever Richard has in store for them.
“No, I don’t mind at all.” There is a hint of disappointment in Richard’s voice.
After breakfast, as Abby heads for her room, Charlie pulls her aside, the others stop into their tracks. “Okay, I know you’re hiding something. I could feel it across the table. Now, spill it.”
“There’s something going on with this mansion.” Abby makes the minute decision and let the words come pouring out of her mouth. She tells the boys of the dream, of Beth and Daphne, and of Richard.
“I knew he looked familiar,” Ethan crosses his arms. “How can I not recognize my own neighbor?”
The others stare at him. Neighbor?
Ethan shrugs, “We used to be neighbors back in elementary school, until he moved away in junior high.”
“Okay, are we going exploring or not?” Daphne says impatiently.
“Right, let’s go.”
Theme: The Mystery of the Millionaire Mansion
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