The Ghost at Camp David

This book is dedicated to my readers.


The Deer in the Fog

The Lonely Little Cabin

The Strange Red Stain

Mud or Blood?

Noises in the Night

Mysterious Visitor

What’s Under the Floor?


A Face at the Window

Marshall and the Mole People

The Deer in the Fog

KC and Marshall hurried through the White House gate. It was three o’clock on Friday afternoon, October 14. School was out, and the kids were going to Camp David with the president for the weekend.

“Are we really taking the helicopter?” Marshall asked.

“Yup,” KC said. “My stepdad said it will only take half an hour to get there.”

Both kids had packed the night before. Their duffel bags were already in the president’s helicopter.

KC and Marshall ran across the White House lawn. Two marines stood at attention next to the helicopter. They gave
KC and Marshall a boost up into the passenger compartment.

President Thornton was sitting next to his pilot. “Hi there,” the president greeted KC and Marshall. “How was school?”

“We had science, and it was great,” Marshall said. “We learned why leaves turn different colors in the autumn.”

“And this March we’re gonna go to a place where they make maple syrup,” KC added.

“There are plenty of maple trees at Camp David,” the president said. “Maybe we can try making syrup this spring!”

“Cool!” Marshall said.

“Okay, buckle up, you guys,” the president said. He clicked his seat belt shut.

KC and Marshall buckled themselves into their seats.

“You can take off now, Jeff,” the president said to the pilot.

“Yes, sir!” Jeff said. The copter lifted into the air. KC and Marshall waved at the marines down below. They waved back as Jeff turned the chopper into the clouds.

“Where is Camp David, anyway?” asked Marshall. He had to shout to be heard over the noise of the helicopter.

“In Thurmont, Maryland!” KC yelled back.

The president turned around. “Camp David is in the Catoctin Mountains,” he explained. “If we’re lucky, we’ll see some wildlife. There are plenty of deer, bobcats, and a few bears.”

“I wish Mom could have come,” KC said. Her mother, the First Lady, had gone to Florida to visit KC’s aunt.

“You’ll have lots of stories to tell her when she gets back,” the president said.

About thirty minutes later, the helicopter hovered over a thick, dark forest. Fog covered the trees, making it hard to see the ground.

“Gee, how can we land with all this fog?” Marshall asked KC. He had his nose mashed against his window.

KC didn’t answer. She was watching the fog swirl over the tops of the trees. She thought it looked like flying ghosts.

“There’s the camp,” the president said, pointing.

KC’s breath was fogging the window. She wiped it clean. She could just make out a few buildings through the fog and the blue water of a swimming pool. A tall fence wound among the trees.

“Taking her down, sir,” Jeff said to the president.

KC and Marshall watched the ground get closer. The wind from the helicopter blades blew the fog around and bent the tree branches.

Just before they landed, a deer bounded from a clump of bushes. “Look!” KC shouted. “A deer!”

“Where?” Marshall asked. He leaned across KC to look out her window. “All I see is fog!”

Then KC spotted something else—or thought she did. Something the color of fog was scurrying between the trees. She couldn’t tell if it was a human or a wild animal. She wiped her breath from the window and looked again. The thing had disappeared.

The Lonely Little Cabin

Jeff helped the president and the kids step to the ground. He handed a heavy briefcase to the president. KC knew it was filled with books, files, and a laptop. The president had told her he had a lot of work to do that weekend.

“Here you go, kids,” Jeff said. He gave them their duffel bags.

“Thanks, Jeff,” the president said. He was shouting over the noise of the helicopter blades. “Have a good flight back.”

The president led KC and Marshall away as the helicopter rose, then vanished into the fog.

KC looked around. They were in a
grassy clearing. Through the fog, she saw what looked like a guard’s hut near the fence. Two marines stood near the hut. Then she saw a shed near a grove of trees. The shed door opened and a man jogged toward them.

“That’s Gus,” the president said. “He’s the caretaker here.”

Gus and the president shook hands. “Gus, this is my stepdaughter, KC, and her friend Marshall.”

KC glanced at Gus’s green overalls. Had he been what she saw from the helicopter?

“We didn’t expect you this weekend, sir,” Gus said.

“I know,” said the president. “Sorry about the short notice.”

“It’s fine, sir. Always a pleasure!” Gus
said. “Aspen Lodge is all ready for you.”

“Who’s Aspen Lodge?” KC asked.

The president chuckled. “That’s the name of the cabin presidents always stay in,” he said. “There are a lot of smaller cabins for guests. Each one is named after a different kind of tree or plant.”

Gus led them to a small golf cart. He climbed into the driver’s seat. “Hop in!” he said.

Gus turned a key, and the golf cart lurched forward. It putt-putted along a gravel road lined by trees. Most of the leaves had turned red and gold.

Parked between two small cabins was a white van with the words WHITE’S LAUNDRY SERVICE on the side. Not far away was another guard hut. KC had read that Camp David security was especially
tight when the president was visiting.

After a few minutes, Gus pulled the golf cart up in front of a large building. It had two floors, a lot of windows, and a tall chimney. A sign near the front door said ASPEN.

“Here we are, sir,” Gus said. He looked at the sky. “Storm coming, I’ll bet.”

“I think you’re right,” the president said. “But we’ll be cozy and dry inside Aspen.”

After KC, Marshall, and the president hopped out, Gus left with a wave.

The door to Aspen opened. A woman in a black dress and white apron stepped out. She had dark hair and a round face. “Welcome, Mr. President,” she said. “I’m Anna. Florence is sick, so I’m filling in for her. She had to stay home.”

The president shook hands with Anna. “I hope it isn’t serious,” he said.

“Just a bad cold,” Anna told them. “Please, come in. I already lit a fire and made a snack.”

“Thank you, Anna.” The president led the way to the large living room. On one wall, a fire crackled in a stone fireplace. Filled bookcases and display cases ran along the other walls. KC counted three sofas and at least ten big chairs.

“This place is awesome!” Marshall said.

KC walked over to a long window. “Hey, Marsh, there’s the pool I saw from the helicopter,” she said. “Too bad it’s too cold for swimming.”

KC thought the pool looked spooky with fog over the water. Then she noticed a tiny cabin not far from the pool. It
resembled the cottages she’d seen in fairytale books when she was little.

KC grabbed the president’s hand. She pulled him over to the window. “Can Marshall and I sleep in that little cabin?” she asked. “It’s so cute!”

“Sure, I guess so,” the president said. He looked at Anna. “Can you get someone to make up the beds?”

“Sir, there’s only the one bed and the sofa,” Anna said. “I’m afraid it’s a bit dirty, too. No one uses Witch Hazel.”

“The cabin is called
Witch Hazel?”
Marshall squawked. He peeked out the window. “It looks like a witch lives in it!”

The president laughed. “Witch hazel is the name of a tree,” he explained. “Come on. While Anna gets Witch Hazel ready, I’ll show you around Aspen.”

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