Authors: Marie Seltenrych
Tags: #sleuth detective mystery childrens
The Gum Tree Gang
The Mystery at the Old Queenslander
Author: E Marie Seltenrych
Copyright 2010 E Marie Seltenrych
Published at Smashwords, 2010
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The morning sun was bright
in Krystal’s eyes. She
squinted into the
distance, brushing a strand of golden
from her face and pushing it under her brimmed
school hat. She held her hat in place, mainly to keep
her hair off her face.
She could see a small person
waiting at the
corner of the street. She
knew it was Tracey, her best
Krystal came closer, she wa
ved to her.
Krystal took her hand off her hat and waved in return.
Krystal admired her neat little friend. Tracey
really good in her royal
uniform with a
oyal blue jacket and blue brimmed hat. Tracey’s
short dark hair was tucked under her
“Hi.” Tracey smiled as Krystal
Krystal’s face was pink from
her brisk walk. Her bright
sparkled and her face broke into a large grin.
“Hi,” Krystal replied,
slowing down her fast walking
joined Krystal, and the two walked quietly
together for a few moments.
“Got any ideas for the
camp?” Tracey turned her head
to ask her
“Sure have!” Krystal replied, grinning from
ear to ear. “...about four pages!”
“Wow!” Tracey stopped in her
Krystal's eyes twinkled. “What about
“I’ve written down a few,
definitely not four pages!
will be happy,” Tracey commented as
girls continued walking and talking.
“I just hope she likes my
ideas. Gosh, I can’t wait to go
Tamborine. I’ll never forget last year! Do you
Krystal’s excited voice was
stopped by a
strange ‘whee’ noise coming
close to the girls.
Krystal and Tracey jumped in fright.
Tracey stopped again, her
hand over her heart. “I nearly had a heart attack. It’s that
brother of mine.
Matthew, I’ll tell Dad,”
Tracey yelled at the two
and their riders.
“You too, Kevin,” Krystal
shouted at her younger
The two girls watched as the
boys disappeared into the
stack hats glinting in the sun.
“Brothers...,” Tracey sighed heavily.
“Yeah, they have so much
fun.” Krystal’s voice had a
“Oh, I wish the camp would hurry up. I just
can’t wait, Tracey. Only two more months to go, then
Mount Tamborine and fun, fun,
Chapter Two ~~~~
seemed like minutes before the two girls were leaving
the school grounds and waving goodbye to their
Krystal held the brim of her
hat as they walked along.
Her face was
flushed from the day's activities, and
several strands of golden hair had fallen out of place.
She glanced at her friend. “I don’t think
Goldsworthy liked some of my ideas!”
“About the camp?” questioned Tracey.
“Yeah, she had a ‘no way’ look on her face
when she read my sheets.” Krystal kicked a stone.
“I’m not surprised. I nearly
died when she read yours
throwing, rotten egg- rolling, tree climbing
in pillowcases....” Tracey was grinning widely.
“Well, it's fun to do
something different sometimes.”
could not help smiling, directing her gaze to a
nice tall mango tree. “I love climbing.” She stared at
top of the mango tree. “I think I'll be
climber when I grow
A drop of rain landed on her
nose. “Hey, looks like a
storm's coming. I
just felt a drip.” Another drop landed
her hat. “Let’s run home,” said Krystal, pushing the
straps of her bag higher on her shoulders and
in a fast run. After a few
moments she looked back.
Tracey was quite a
way behind. “C’me on, slow coach, she called out. The rain became
heavier as Krystal placed her bag near her feet and stood next to
the tree for a few moments, watching the black cloud move slowly
over them, and the rain getting heavier.
“Yuk, I’m getting wet,” Krystal moaned, as a large
drop of water landed on her nose. She moved right
against the tree trunk. A few more drops
landed on her
. “My hat’ll get wrecked. I’m
going up on the
verandah; it’s dry there.”
She picked up her school bag
and ran up the
rickety wooden front steps, leaping two at
a time. In a few moments she was in a dry patch near
front door of the old
“This is good Trace. C’me
on. It’s really dry,” she
yelled at Tracey,
who was still standing under the ‘ghost’
“Okay.” Tracey brushed a
large droplet off her jacket.
She picked up
her school bag in one hand, and holding
hat with the other hand, dashed to the steps. She
paused for a moment and then carefully walked up
“You must have the whole
library in here,” Krystal
murmured as she
took Tracey's bag and placed it in a dry
Tracey stood next to Krystal, slightly out of
breath. Each girl took one side of the double door to lean
“It might stop soon,” said
Tracey wistfully, looking
at the black
“Maybe.” Krystal pressed
against her side of the
door. Suddenly she
almost fell backwards
as the door
A Ghostly Idea
“It’s unlocked.” Krystal
pushed the door a bit further. It
as it moved. She peered inside the opening, then
stepped cautiously inside the building. “It’s nice
in here.” Krystal crept through the
hallway of the house.
Tracey sniffed as she stood
in the doorway, peering in.
“Looks dark and
spooky, and it smells.”
“It’s okay. May as well look
around while we’re
waiting for the rain to
stop,” said Krystal, venturing
the entrance of the house.
This was exciting! The
children had always been a bit
to visit this house since the owner
mysteriously disappeared and the place was left
abandoned. Now that they were actually inside,
did not want to waste the
opportunity of checking the
The light from the opened
front door showed that there
doorways off the hallway. There was an
opening to the right and a closed door on her left.
“Right or left?” Krystal
chose the closed door. “Left,”
aloud, answering herself and turning the knob of
the door. To her surprise, it opened!
Krystal stared into the
room, her eyes adjusting to the
lighting. The windows were boarded up, with only a
small crack of light filtering in. The room had
walls on the lower half There was
a timber ledge about
as high as Krystal's
forehead going right around the
wall above the ledge was painted a dull grey.
The ceiling had some fancy
work around the ledges that
made it look
even higher than it was. Krystal reckoned
the ceiling to be about three metres high. There was a
hole in the middle of the ceiling where some sort
used to hang.
On the far side there was an
enormous brick fireplace,
with the bricks
going right up to the ceiling. The
fireplace was as wide as Krystal's extended arms.
could just imagine some beautiful
lady in a long dress,
checking the ledges
for dust and then sitting down in front of a nice log
“Trace, it’s really cool.
Come and have a look. Bring
my bag in
please. I don’t want it to get saturated on the
verandah.” Krystal turned her head towards the front
door. She felt a thrill as she walked carefully
room, checking the creaking
In a few minutes Tracey’s
shy figure stood in the
doorway, with the
two bags near her feet. “We might get into trouble for coming in
here,” she whispered.
“We’re just lookin’. Don’t worry, it’s
tone was firm.
moved around the room. “Isn’t this magic?
Hey, why don’t we pretend to be spooks. We could get
old sheets and frighten anyone who comes in
here.” She waltzed around the room as she spoke.
“But nobody comes here.” Tracey felt a shiver
run down her spine.
“Well, we could peep out the
windows at bad kids
passing by and make
spooky noises. Hey, that would give them a fright,” Krystal
“Maybe we could scare
Matthew and Kevin. They
frightened us this
morning.” Tracey began to feel slightly
excited about the idea.
“That’d be cool. I think we
should check the rest of the
Krystal headed through the door into the
hallway and into the open doorway on the right of the
entrance. She ‘floated’ around the room.
Krystal called out. Her voice
“It sounds eerie,” Tracey quivered.
This room also had a wooden
lower wall with a ledge
and a painted
section above the ledge. The paint was
peeling in many places.
was high and there was, again, a