Don't Give Up
A Shirley Holmes Fan Fiction / Lyrics Challenge Format
Original | June 19, 2001 | 2392 words
Revision | April 17, 2002 | 2401 words
There they were, locked in a dark, moist room. Shirley had searched every inch of the room, but she didnt find any way to escape. Bart had given up hope and had collapsed in a corner of the room. Shirley had no idea Barts activities were that dangerous and quite frankly the surprise wasnt nice. If only she had known in time...
(A few hours earlier)
Shirley was on her way to Sussex Academy. It had rained and large pools were covering most of the road she traveled on. Skillfully she evaded the deep ones. Shirley didnt feel happy. It had been weeks since she had a mystery on her hands. But even with scouting the paper and messageboards in the shops she didnt find one single thing that attracted her attention. As Sussex came into view, someone knocked her on the shoulder. Shirley swung around to see who it was.
"Hi Shirley!" a familiar voice greeted with unlimited enthusiasm. This mood surely wasnt contagious. Shirley was still in a dark mood. She didnt even try to crack a smile.
"Oh....Hi Bart. Whats up?" she said with an uninterested tone. Bart looked at Shirley for a minute analyzing any detail in her expression.
"You havent seen any mysteries lately, have you? You look like youre ready to blow up." Bart said. Shirley didnt react in any way. Bart decided to break the news to her.
"Eeeh......Shirley?" Bart stammered.
"Yeah....." Shirley replied still in a sober mood.
"Since youve got nothing to do... Maybe you can help me out." he proceeded. Shirley looked up. She didnt really believe in all the paranormal stuff Bart was into, but proving he was wrong would occupy her mind for a while. It was better than just hanging around, waiting for a mystery to sneak up on her. Her eyes started to twinkle with the glare only Shirley could add to a look. Bart knew he had her full attention now. "The Redington Paranormal Society asked me to check on a house at the north side." He paused for a second for the effect. "It is said to be haunted." He proceeded in a sinister voice. "And I have to prove the presence of the entity. I just need an extra pair of hands." Shirley hesitated just one more second before agreeing to come with him after school.
(Back in present time)
If only she had followed her instincts, they wouldnt be locked in here in the first place. Her eyes had adjusted to the dark and she could make out Barts face. He was still on the floor in the corner of the room. He was crying. Shirley looked around. In the corner opposite to Bart were a table and some chairs. At the wall next to Bart was a workbench that probably hadnt been used for years. The layer of dust accumulated on it was at least a centimeter thick. Above Bart was a small window. It was just large enough to put your arm through, but some bars prevented that. Shirley looked at the stuff around her, trying to find a way out. As if hypnotized she started thinking again.
At that very moment Bart was thinking too. * Why did I draw Shirley into this? * Bart still sat on the ground in the corner of the room. He removed the tears from his face. * It is my fault Shirley and I are in this mess. I should have noticed something fishy is going. * He sobbed silently as he remembered what happened.
(One hour earlier)
Shirley and Bart approached the old mansion. Even though it was a clear and sunny day, the place gave them the creeps. Around the gate that was in front of the garden path was a chain lock. The gate was all rusty, but weirdly enough the lock was not rusty at all. Could be just a coincidence, Shirley thought to herself. To close up the old estate, could just be another useless decision of city counsel. It seemed exactly something they would do. Shirley grabbed her lock picking set, something Bart forgot to bring. She managed to open the lock in minutes. She went on by slowly pushing open the creaky structure and stepping inside. Bart followed her and closed the gate behind him. The plants in the garden hadnt been taken care of for years. Almost every single plant had died. Only persistent weeds kept on growing. From up close the house was even scarier. It seemed like a house taken right out of a horror movie. Slowly they walked across the path until they reached the door.
"So what are we going to do know?" Bart asked Shirley. She looked at him with a frown.
"What about going in? Its not like the ghost is going to open if I knock." Shirley blabbed. She knocked the door as she said it. Both she and Bart were surprised to see the door opening. Bart was about to tell Shirley "I told you ghosts exist." but Shirley gave him a look that made him swallow his words. It was like she said "Don't even say a word!" Cautiously they entered the mansion as the door closed behind them.
Inside the house it was a total mess. There was dust everywhere and several pieces of wooden furniture were broken, turned over or both. Shirley couldnt believe why even a ghost would want to live in this dump. Near the ceiling hung a broken lightbulb. Luckily, they both brought their flashlights. Shirley turned hers on and moved the rays of light along the walls. She didnt notice anything unusual. The wall was just filled with old paintings.
"So, what do we do know?" she asked Bart. Bart removed a small mechanical device from his backpack and showed it to Shirley.
"We check every room in the house for paranormal activities with this." he said. "You see, paranormal activity sends out a certain sort of radiation which-" He was cut off by a noise. Shirley had heard it too. Something was happening upstairs. Quickly they rushed towards the stairs and started to climb them. Shirley was in front of Bart. He almost bumped into her when she stopped, because something near her feet caught her attention.
"Bart? Ghosts are dead, right?" She raised the wire she found from the floor. "Why would they need electricity?"
"Maybe they forgot to cut off the electricity..." Bart suggested. Shirley shrugged.
"Do your wires run along the stairs at home?" the junior detective asked him. Bart realized she got a point. They continued to climb the stairs. They didnt notice the cameras that had been filming them ever since they entered.
The door at the end of the hall was slightly ajar and Bart and Shirley took a peek inside. They saw men dressed in black putting large rectangular things in boxes before sealing them and stacking them in a corner of the room. Shirley gestured Bart they had to go and warn the police. Silently they hurried back downstairs.
When they had reached the room with the paintings and the broken furniture again, it happened. A dark figure with a hood blocked their path. The figure raised a gun. Then a voice sounded. A voice both Shirley and Bart could recognize from thousands if necessary. With a gun pointed at them, the monologue the figure spoke made the situation a bit more tense.
"I cant believe the great Shirley Holmes lowered her level to hunting down aliens and ghosts." Molly Hardy scorned. "Im sorry, but I cant let you go. Im sure you two will eventually find out what my plan is and I cant have you spoil it, now can I?" the young sociopath smiled, as she removed the safety catch from the gun. "And since Im in control, youre going to do exactly as I say. Otherwise, you die!" She grinned with an evil expression on her face. "Drop your stuff - all of it - and move to the cellar door over there......STOP!" Molly moved towards Shirleys bag and looked at it in approval. "Now, just give me your lock picking set, unless you want to try the hard way." Reluctantly Shirley removed the stuff from her pocket and handed it to Molly. After that they were ushered into the cellar. Molly turned the key in the lock and walked away.
(Back in present)
Finally Shirley had figured out what Mollys plan was. The old paintings theyd seen seemed familiar and now she remembered why. She had cut an article out of the paper a few weeks before that said some extremely valuable, but relatively unknown paintings were stolen from several private collections all over Canada. Molly mustve been behind it. She paid some of her goons to do the stealing so she could sell them. The money she made of it could finance her shady Internet business. Shirley was pretty sure it was as she thought, but she was hardly in a position to tell anyone. She looked around the room to find Bart still crying silently in the corner. She sat down beside him and put an arm around him in an attempt to comfort him. Although he calmed a little bit Bart continued sobbing.
"Its all my fault! I dragged you into this, just because I want to be known for my paranormal research." he said silently.
"Stop it, Bart! Dont torment yourself. Its not your fault. You're gonna get what you're after, youre gonna get your fame." Shirley pleaded. Bart looked up to her through his tears. "Well, weve got to get out of here first, of course." she said, stating the obvious. Shirley stood up again and surveyed the room. There was no way they would be able to escape through the tiny window, so they had to use the door. Shirley would have given anything for her lock picking set at that moment. She looked through the keyhole and saw the key that was inserted from the other side. At the bottom of the door was a small space. That would have been a great escape route if they were some sort of bug. The only other things Shirley found in the room were some newspapers, a bit of string and some small piece of wood. Suddenly she remembered the TV show "MacGyver". The guy was a genius. If it was really necessary he could make a weapon out of a shoelace and some paperclips. The thing that interested her was how he managed to escape a room that was locked from the outside. He shoved the map he was trying to steal under the door and pushed the key out with his Swiss army knife. Shirley decided to try the concept herself. She pushed a newspaper under the door. Then she took a hairpin out of her hair and pushed the key out of the lock. Boy, was she happy she took Alicias advice and decided to wear hairpins that morning. After several minutes she finally heard the sound of the key falling onto the paper. Cautiously she pulled the paper back in and took the key. She turned to Bart.
"Hey Bart, Ive got our ticket out of here!" Bart looked at Shirley in disbelief when she showed him the key.
"When ? How...?" he uttered. Shirley cut him off.
"No time for that. Ill explain it later. I want to get out of here first." Bart got up as Shirley turned the key in the lock. Slowly she opened the creaky door. Her eyes grew when she saw the dusty room again. The paintings were gone. Instead she heard a sound that penetrated her to the bone. It was a bleeping sound that had regular intervals. Just like a bomb. She followed the sound until she reached a chair in the middle of the room. Very carefully she moved to the floor and looked under the chair. She saw a monitor that held some disturbing information. As fast as she could she moved away from the chair and sped back across the room towards Bart, then towards the door pulling Bart along.
"Come on, hurry! There is a bomb over there. If we dont get away, well be toast in 1 minute." Shirley yelled. Barts eyes grew in horror as he realized Molly didnt want to leave any witnesses. From that moment everything that happened seemed to be in slow motion. Together they knocked down the door and ran as far away from the house as possible. Shirley pushed Bart to the ground just as a huge explosion came from behind that, almost throwing them several yards ahead. When the smoke and dust lifted Shirley and Bart left. They didnt want to explain their presence in a house with a bomb to the emergency services.
(That night at Shirleys)
After the phone had rung twice Shirley took the receiver and placed it at her ear. She looked at the screen that was placed near the phone and smiled.
"Hi Bart!" she greeted the young investigator of the paranormal.
"Caller ID, right?" Bart asked.
"Yeah." Shirley smiled. "So, why are you calling?"
"Id like to thank you for saving my butt today." Bart responded.
"Dont mention it. Im just not someone who gives up easily. And youre not either. If there are ghosts and aliens out there, youll find them." she reassured him. She threw the idea that those things could exist out of her mind immediately after she spoke the words.
"Thanks! Bye." Bart hung up his phone. Shirley did the same and went over to her desk where her journal lay. She took the pen that was next to it and started to write.
"Today I learned that giving up isnt always an option. Sometimes friends depend on you, or even trust you with their lives. I wont give up, Ill keep looking for you mom...The explosion in the house wiped out all evidence the paintings were there, if there was left any evidence. No one except Bart and me can tie her to the theft of those paintings, but if we want to tell anyone we need proof. Again Molly has won a battle, but as they say one battle doesnt make a war. I intend to win the war and expose her activities. Some day."