Title: Mischief, Mysteries, and Milkshakes
Entry Nickname: Ice Cream Rebel Rousers
Word Count: 45K
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery Humor
Eleven-year-old Gabe and his younger sister Lily are dreading summer vacation. They’d rather do anything than spend eight weeks with Aunt Helene in her creepy old house. No Wi-Fi, no cable, a grandfather clock called The Howler that randomly shrieks, and plenty of rules, the strictest of which is to stay away from the antiques—especially the old writing desk in the library. It belonged to their Great Uncle Patrick and, well, some secrets should never see the light of day.
When Aunt Helene goes out for her weekly tea, where she wears white gloves and eats tiny sandwiches stuffed with pink goo, Gabe and Lily decide that some rules are made to be broken. Finding the key, they sneak into the writing desk and discover a journal written by Patrick when he was young. The journal contains secrets about hidden rooms and tunnels throughout the house where a once-cursed treasure is allegedly buried.
Determined to learn more, Gabe and Lily enlist the help of their new friend, ten-year-old Harper, a self-proclaimed milkshake addict. Faced with riddles to solve, creepy noises that most certainly couldn’t be voices from the past, and a realization that their aunt may also be on the hunt to keep the treasure all to herself, the three children set out to unravel the mysteries of the house, in hopes of being the first to get to the hidden treasure before summer ends.
The rules for Aunt Helene’s house were clear: Nothing slimy, loud, or messy, keep all rooms neat, ask before doing anything, and no fighting with your sister.
Keeping the rules wouldn’t be impossible; they would just be annoying. As far as summers went, this one was officially going down in the books as the worst in my eleven-year history, and it hadn’t even started yet.
“Are we here?” my younger sister Lily quietly asked, clutching her doll close to her body with white knuckles as I peered out the window.
Dad had pulled the car over, but there was no sign we were getting out. Lily stared at me with wide eyes, waiting for some kind of confirmation. But how would I know if this was Aunt Helene’s house? I’d never been here before either. In fact, up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know we had an Aunt Helene.
“Hey, Lil,” I whispered across the back seat of the car.
“I heard Aunt Helene keeps pet rats in her basement.”
“Gabe!” Mom twisted around from the front while Dad looked at us in his rear view mirror with a smirk on his face. “Don’t tell your sister tales like that. You know she scares easily. Lily, honey, he’s just kidding. Aunt Helene is … lovely.”
“But Grandma said—” I started.
“Grandma is the reason you and your sister are going to Aunt Helene’s for the summer. Try to understand. Please?”