Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Emeralds As Told By Everybody But Trixie
Chapter 1: "Rabbit! Rabbit!"
Author's notes: I generally avoid writing in the first person, but that's how Bobby decided to talk to me, so I hope you like it. I used the Deluxe edition of Emeralds to write this, and left Mart and Brian sharing a room per that book, even though it contradicts JC's canon. Many thanks to Mary for organizing, Susan and Ronda for volunteering to do the continuity edits, Julia for web-checking, and all the wonderful authors who made this rewrite happen! Also, mucho thanks to two of the Bob-White-iest people I know (Susan and Julia!) for their speedy, last-minute edits of my chapter. I heart you guys so much! And, of course, a huge thank you to all of the Jixsters who make Jix home. Happy birthday, Jix!
Please don’t tell my mom or my dad or my older brothers and sister, but sometimes, after everybody else is asleep, I like to sneak into their rooms. Not into Moms’ and Dad’s room, of course! I know better than to do that! But it’s fun to creep into Brian’s and Mart’s room. And it’s especially fun to sneak around Trixie’s room when she’s sleeping! Moms has a rule that we have to knock before going into each other’s rooms, and Trixie rarely lets me into hers, so it’s my only chance to ‘splore. Trixie’s not the only one in the family who likes to ‘splore!
I’ve never told Trixie this, but sometimes she talks in her sleep. I’ve heard her talking about the robbers and other bad guys that she’s after.
She also says Jim’s name a lot. Sometimes I giggle when she does that, and other times I wish that things were like they used to be, when I was the most important boy in her life.
Tonight it was really warm out, so I couldn’t sleep. When the rain started, I knew it was a sneak night. Tiptoeing around the upstairs while everyone is sleeping is really good practice for spying on my brothers and sister when they’re awake. I know how to be super quiet! I don’t think Trixie would ever believe it, though. Maybe she’s not as good of a detective as she thinks she is!
Don’t tell her I said this, but I actually do think she’s a pretty good detective. She’s gotten lots of bad guys put in jail and everything.
When I got to her door, I listened really hard. She wasn’t talking in her sleep and she wasn’t snoring, so I had to be super quiet and careful when I pushed open the door, in case she was awake. Once I finally got the door open, I heard that funny breathing thing that my sister does that means that she’s asleep.
My see-crud mission was a go!
I could see pretty well in the dark, and the first thing I noticed was something that had never been there before. For some crazy reason, my sister had written a sign that said, "SAY RABBIT!" and had tied it to the foot of the bed. I’d have to find an excuse to come into her room the next day so I could ask her about it. I really wanted to know the answer to that mystery!
I looked under her bed, but as usual, there was nothing there. Mart’s favorite hiding place was under his bed. I’ve found lots of stuff there Mart would kill me if he knew! I always checked under the bed, even though I knew Trixie was much better at hiding things than Mart was. ‘Course, I tended to break more of Trixie’s things than Mart’s, so maybe she had a better reason to find a better hiding spot. I still felt bad about breaking Spotty the cat. I broke him ‘bout the time that I met Dan. Next to Reddy, my dog, Dan’s my best friend.
Spotty was a gift from Aunt Alicia, and he used to sit on Trix’s desk. Ever since then, I was super careful when I looked at the desk. Like right now. But nothing much had changed since my sneak night last week, but I was too ‘fraid to open any drawers because I knew they were pretty squeaky.
Trixie flopped around a lot just then, and I was afraid to stay in there much longer in case she woke up. I decided that sneak night was over, and soon I was back in bed, listening to the rain on my window.
It seemed like two seconds later that I was listening to Trixie scream, "Rabbit! Rabbit!" Then I could hear her running down the hall yelling, "I’ve finally done it!"
Well, I was awake and out of bed in a second. I needed to know what she had finally done and what the sign had to do with it since it said rabbit, just like Trix just had.
I walked to Brian and Mart’s room, and the next thing I knew my big sister was picking me up and twirling me around. Hey! I might be the youngest kid in the house, but I didn’t need to be picked up like some doll!
When she finally put me down, she plunked herself down on Brian’s bed. "Well, ever since I was Bobby’s age, I’ve been trying to remember to say ‘Rabbit! Rabbit!’ and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you’ve said another word, your wish comes true." Trixie laughed. I like Trixie’s laugh a lot. It reminds me of sunshine. "But when I’d remember to say the magic words at night, I’d always say something else before I went to sleep, or forget them in the morning, or something. This time I put up a sign to remind me. Gleeps! I hope that doesn’t spoil the charm!"
So that was why she had that crazy sign tied to her bed! Wow! That mystery was solved even before breakfast! I knew right that very second that it was going to be a great day.
Mart, who likes to talk—a lot—said, "I must say you’re the luckiest of girls. And what stupendous thing did you wish for, Trix? That you’d pass English next year?"
Mart likes to tease Trixie. A lot.
My oldest brother, Brian, who had been trying to sleep, rolled over, poked his head out of the covers like a turtle, and said. "I bet I know what she wished for—another mystery. You know she’s never happy unless she has some puzzle cooking."
That was true. Even I knew that Trix had a bad case of mystery-itis, as Mart liked to say. It means my sister has some sort of disease that makes her need mysteries to feel better.
"As a matter of fact, I did sort of wish for some excitement. After Cobbett’s Island, Sleepyside seems—well, a little pallid."
My older brothers and sisters were part of a club called the Bob-Whites of the Glen, and they were always traveling. Without me! I know Moms and Dad say I’m too young to travel, but I just know I’d have so much fun on those trips. The lucky ducks got to go have a real ranch Christmas in Arizona, got to visit my uncle in Iowa and the Ozarks, got to go to New York City, and got to visit an island that’s not too far from where we live in Sleepyside.
I know I can’t go on all their trips, but they were allowed to visit my uncle without me—twice!—and that isn’t fair! The other Bob-Whites got to go, and he ain’t even their uncle!
"Wow!" Mart said. "Watch out, old girl, or you’ll die of ennui."
Mart likes to talk and he also likes to use big words and knows a lot. Dying of something called ennui sounded bad! I wondered if it was something like mystery-it is. If my sister was going to die, I needed to know!
"What’s ‘ennui,’ Trixie?" I asked as I scrambled up on the bed beside my sister. "Is it sumpin’ like measles or chicken pox?"
Can I tell you a see-crud? I can talk just fine if I want, but sometimes it’s fun to really milk being the baby of the family. If they get to go on all those trips without me, I have to have some tricks up my sleeve to keep things a little fair around here!
Then I decided to lay it on thick, with tears and everything. "I don’t want Trixie to die! She’s the only sister I got."
"Of course she’s not going to die," Brian said softly, and I could tell my dramatics worked. "‘Ennui’ is just a fancy way of saying you’re tired of doing the same old thing all the time."
My tears dried magically (like I said, I have tricks!), and I smiled big and decided to make everyone laugh. "Oh! That’s what I get every morning when I have to eat my cereal!"
I was really enjoying the spotlight when the call of "Breakfast, children," interrupted Brian, Mart, and Trixie’s laughter. I loved Moms’ bacon and eggs more than almost anything, and so do my brothers and sister, so we all dashed downstairs still wearing our pajamas as fast as we could!
Dad was already at the table reading the paper and said good morning to all of us. Trixie kissed the top of his head as she passed him. Blech! For someone who I know Moms is worried about being a "tomboy" (‘cuz she’s right that "little pitchers have big ears"), my older sister can be so unchar…uncharic…not-like-herself…girly at times!
And not like the time she pretended to like Ben Riker, Honey’s cousin, who is so cool because he holped me catch a par-squirrel that I can sell to a zoo someday for a billion dollars. That was just so Mr. Lytell wouldn’t sell Brian’s jalopy. But other times, she cares about things like wearing a blue bathing suit for Jim, or that silver bracelet she came back from my uncle’s farm wearing, and girly stuff like that. Blech!
When she acts like a girl like that, it scares me because I want her to pay attention to me like she pays attention to Jim. I like Jim lots and lots, but I definitely got more attention before he ran away to Sleepyside and got ‘dopted by the Wheelers.
Anyway, after breakfast, when Dad was leaving for work, he asked us all, "What are you all going to do this rainy day?"
I was wondering that myself. Normally, I liked to go catch frogs with Moms’ best strainer, or climb up in my see-crud treehouse, or take Reddy and ‘splore the crabapple trees, or things like that, but I couldn’t do any of those things if it were raining. I just hoped Mart and Trixie and Brian would all go up to Manor House so that I could sneak into their rooms. That was about all there was to do on a rainy day.
"Don’t you worry about them not having anything to do," Moms answered. "I’ve been waiting for just such a day as this to clean out the attic and the top of the barn!"
"Oh, Moms! Not again," groaned Brian. "Why, we just cleaned the barn—let’s see, when was it?"
"Tempus fugit, dear brother," Mart said. Did I mention that Mart likes to talk a lot? And use big words? Like Trixie says, it’s ‘noying! "It was at least four years ago, because I remember what a fuss I made when Moms wanted to throw out my magnificent collection of rocks."
It wasn’t really four years ago. I had just holped Trixie clean everything out not long ago when Mart and Brian were working on the BWG clubhouse, right before Di became a BWG. Of course, since some people called our garage a barn, and some people called our garage a garage, and some people called it a garage-barn—because it was a garage that used to be a barn—you might be able to understand Mart’s confusion. Right now, Moms was calling it the barn, but she usually called it the garage.
I looked up at Trixie, and she had a sort of frown-y look on her face. Trixie didn’t like cleaning of any kind! "Will it take all day? We’re supposed to have a meeting of the Bob-Whites this afternoon up at the clubhouse. The president of the heart association wrote and asked if we’d help with their white elephant sale, and we have to talk it over and see what we can do."
A white elephant sale? That would be so cool if we sold elephants at all, but I’d never seen a white one, so it would be extra cool!
"Well, that’s a coincidence," Moms said, but I had no idea what that word meant, "because I thought if we cleaned out the attic and barn, we might find some things to donate to the sale."
I looked at my sister, and Trixie was suddenly all smiles, so she must have liked that word. "Gleeps, Moms, what a perfectly spiffy idea! You can count on all the Bob-Whites to help!"
I loved how she vol…volun…said all of her friends would help without asking them! That’s my sister!
She was very excited, and I liked how her blonde curls bounced all over the place, like they were on little trampolines. She kept talking, really fast. "I think I’ll phone Honey and Di and tell them to check what they can collect at their houses and then we’ll all meet late this afternoon to see what needs mending or repairing."
Mending? Trixie? Ha! Even I know that Dad pays Honey lots of money to keep me in my overalls!
"Come on, Mart," Trixie was saying, once again "strong-arming" (Mart’s word!) others into doing what she wanted, "you and Brian get dressed and do the barn, and Moms and I will tackle the attic."
Notice how I’m standing right there in front of her and I get ‘nored? That was fine. I’d just ‘splore her room first once everybody disappeared on me!
Brian said that he had wanted to work on his car but would do what Trix wanted because she was "issuing orders." Trixie is bossy, but it really had been Moms who said we were going to clean today. Trixie’s bossiness has that effect on people.
My other brother, on the other hand, was not happy. Mart growled, "Let me tell you, Trixie Belden, one day is all I’m going to give up for any elephant, white or purple."
Oh my! There are purple elephants? So. Cool!
I loved the thought of purple elephants so much I almost forgot to giggle at the fact that Mart was blaming Trixie for something Moms said he had to do! My sister glared at Mart as only she could and stomped off to use the telephone.
Yep, it was a turning out to be a great day!
After that, Dad left and Moms headed for the back stairs that led to the attic. Trixie and I followed her, and I didn’t care that I hadn’t been asked. I simply said as loud as I could, "I wanna hunt for the elephant, too!"
Yep, I had decided that even though Trixie had ignored me, I wanted to find the elephant, so ‘sploring her room could wait.
I mean, really—how had an elephant lived in the attic for so long without me knowing about it? I should have been sneaking up there at night instead of into Trixie’s boring old room!
"Where do you want me to start?" Trixie asked Moms once we got into the attic.
I thought, Duh! With the elephant!
Moms had other ideas though, because she answered my sister, "Why don’t you begin with that chest, dear? I haven’t the faintest idea what’s in it. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used it. It’s probably full of your great-grandmother’s things. Take a look."
I stood in the middle of the attic looking everywhere for the elephant, while Moms looked at some discarded picture frames on the other side of the attic and Trixie opened the top drawer of the chest and took out two little bonnets.
I watched in what Mart would describe as disgust as Trixie put a bonnet on her head, tied the ribbon under her chin, and looked in the mirror. She seemed to like what she saw and be surprised by it at the same time. She looked all growed-up all of a sudden, and I didn’t like it. Not one bit. In another second, though, she was my Trixie again. She wasn’t able to open the second drawer and braced her foot against the bottom of the chest and gave a mighty tug.
It was so cool to watch the drawer come flying out, everything in it flying all over my big sister as she landed against the wall behind her.
Yep, she was my Trixie again!
Moms rushed to make sure that she was all right, but Trixie was looking at the same thing I was. One of the boards on the wall behind her had been smashed to smithereens. I was old enough to know that walls, real walls, didn’t do that!
Maybe that’s where the elephant had been hiding!
"What’s back here, anyway?" Trixie asked, pushing the board to one side.
Duh! An elephant!
Again, Moms had a different idea. "It’s just a crawl space over the wing of the house where the kitchen is. It’s too small to be of any use, so I guess it was just boarded up when the attic was finished off. It doesn’t even have a window."
I knew that elephants needed windows, so I knew then that that’s not where the mysterious white elephant was hiding. I also knew that elephants were big, and there was no way a regular-size elephant could be hiding up there. I wondered if white elephants were so special that they were small, too.
While I was thinking about the elephant, the next thing I knew Trixie was saying, "Hey, Bobby, run and get the flashlight in my room, will you?" Little did she know that I knew exactly where she kept it thanks to my sneak nights! "There’s something in the crawl space, but I can’t make out what it is."
Okay, either she was too excited about what she thought she saw in the crawl space to realize she hadn’t told me where in the room the flashlight was or she knew I had sneak nights.
This is another see-crud you can’t tell, ‘kay? I’m pretty much willing to always do what my big sister and my big brothers want me to do. It’s fun to be one of them! But they don’t know this, so sometimes I try to bar… barg… make them do something for me before I’ll do something for them.
And this is a bigger see-crud. Sometimes I’m just sick of being a six-year-old—because it feels like I’ve been six forever!—so I just get whiney when they ask me to do something. I’m not proud, but there it is.
Anyway, I knew this was not a time to do either of those things. I needed to agree with what Trixie wanted and get out of there before she could tell me she knew about sneak night or something.
"Sure, Trix, but wait for me. I wanna go in, too." Am I a great actor, or what?
I ran down, found Trixie’s flashlight right away—ha!—and ran back up to the attic.
Then I decided that I wasn’t getting enough attention that day, so it was time to put on another act.
"Here’s the light, Trixie! You go first. I’m skeered!" Not saying words the right way is the best way to keep my spot in the family. Moms and Dad won’t ever have another baby if I do this right!
Of course, I wasn’t done yet! "There may be a ghost in there or sumpin’." I made my eyes as wide as I could and got close to Moms. I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist giving me a squeeze, and I was right. Oh! Maybe if I acted real "skeered," I could get a treat later! Like brownies or chocolate cake. It had been a while since Moms had made a chocolate cake, but I knew I could probably find a way to get her to make one for me today. After all it was raining, and Moms loved to bake when it rained.
While I was thinking about brownies, Trixie had crawled through the opening where the board used to be. I couldn’t help it. I dropped my scared act and followed her.
I had to solve this mystery with my detective sister!
In front of us, lying on the ground, there were some old clothes and big silver round thing. Trixie picked up the silver thing.
"Gleeps, Bobby, this looks like Brian’s old Boy Scout canteen. How could it ever have got in here—and where do you suppose those old clothes came from?"
I was with Trixie when she discovered something neat! Trixie was asking what I thought. This was so cool!
But I didn’t know what I thought! Honestly, it was a bunch of boring stuff lying in a stuffy room. And there was still no sign of that elephant, which was what I really cared about. So, I decided to put on my "skeered" act again. "I dunno, Trixie, but I don’t like it in here. It’s spooky. Let’s go back to Moms." My sister was still staring at the pile of stuff, so I caught Trixie’s hand and started pulling her toward the opening in the wall.
"Okay, Bobby, you’re a very brave boy to come with me," Trixie said gently, letting me lead her back to the main part of the attic.
The act worked. Trixie was paying attention to me like she paid attention to Jim. I know I was smiling big.
When Trixie asked her, Moms said she hadn’t the faintest idea where the old clothes and the canteen had come from. "That part of the house has been closed as long as I’ve lived here. Maybe your father will know something."
Moms and Trixie then kept talking about the stuff we’d found, but I got bored and started looking around the room for elephants. I was old enough to figure out that there definitely wasn’t one here. Trixie must have had meant something else when she talked about elephants. Why did teenagers and grown-ups talk in riddles?
I did hear Moms and Trix say something about the Civil War, which my teacher had talked about in school, so I knew a little bit about it. Our country was at war with itself and sometimes brothers fought brothers! That made me sad.
When Moms asked Trixie to hand her the old clothes from the crawl space, Trixie made a face and said something stupid about her lily-white hands and not wanting to get dirty. Like she had ever cared about that stuff before! Sometimes she acts like an alien. Mart talks about aliens all the time because of his Cosmo McNaught books, some reptile things from some dragon star system or something weird.
Then I watched my sister actually grab an old pair of tongs to pick the stuff up, even though she grabs frogs and grasshoppers and stuff like that with her bare hands all the time.
Trixie didn’t know it, but I saw what happened next. An old, wrinkly, yellow envelope fell out of the pants, and Trixie put it in her pocket.
And then I watched as my sister got that look. Every time she gets it, Mart says something about a canary, and Brian makes a funny noise and talks about mysteries. So I knew Trixie thought that she had found something interesting.
I thought tonight might have to be another sneak night so I could figure out just what was so interesting. I mean, how could a silly old piece of paper ever be more interesting than a white elephant?
Word count: Dana, 3,019; KK (Emeralds), 915; JC (earlier canon), 13; total, 3,947
Trixie Belden® is a registered trademark of Random House Books. These pages are not affiliated with Random House Books in any way. These pages are not for profit. Images are copyright © Random House Books and used respectfully, albeit without permission. Graphics by Dana; background inspired by the 2008 Jixanny group story graphics.
Chapter contents, except canon text as noted, and graphics copyright © GSDana