The Academy: Moving In Series Book 6
The Academy: Moving In Series Book 6
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As the death toll rises, Brian Roy must reckon with his deepest fears...
Brian Roy’s heart can’t handle another ghost – his wife would kill him long before his bad heart does! Yet, he can’t leave his cousin Mitchell hanging. Mitch is principal of the Academy. After a cataclysmic senior class prank, the school is in shambles and dark secrets in the cellar escape. Bodies are piling up and Brian has no choice but to step in and hopefully save Mitchell and his school.
Old Nathaniel Weiss, a cunning conversationalist, was the founder of the Academy. Greg Weston, a powerful pugilist, was a graduate long ago. The two sinister spirits wreak havoc as Mitch and Brian race against time to stop them from smooth-talking everyone into doing their deadly deeds or beating them to death! It’s war and Brian needs to prepare for a deadly battle.
As the undead rise again, Brian faces a specter more deadly than any he could ever imagine. He realizes he’ll have to face his own personal demons … and only time will tell if he’ll be the victim or the victor.
Students enjoyed jokes. When it came to the senior prank, the more effort it took, the better it stayed in the oral history of the school.
At Northfield Free Academy, there was a long and proud tradition of seniors who attempted to do the seemingly impossible. In 1972, the senior class had managed to secretly rewire the school’s public address system. The result had been one hundred and sixty continuous hours of Perry Como before a janitor had found the setup. The class of 1980 had bleached a fair caricature of President Jimmy Carter into the school’s front lawn. This hadn’t made itself known until the following Spring when the grass sprouted anew.
The class of 2016 had outdone them all, in terms of both logistical mastery and sheer destruction; the Academy, which was spread out over seven buildings on a large, forty-acre campus, had a total of one hundred and three toilets. Somehow, the senior class managed to get into every bathroom after hours, and simultaneously drop a cherry-bomb into each porcelain receptacle.
The damage was catastrophic.
Principal Mitchell Roy wasn’t impressed with what the seniors had accomplished. What amazed him the most was that not a single one of them had posted to social media about it. No Tweets and no Facebook or Instagram posts either. Not a single mention in the electronic world.
They had even hacked the closed circuit security system, although this hadn’t been too shocking. Some of the kids were exceptionally bright.
Destructive, but bright.
Mitchell turned and looked at Larry Case, head of maintenance.
“I’m sorry, Larry,” Mitchell said, shaking his head. The two men stood in Mitchell’s office. Their shoes were soaked, as were the cuffs of their pants. They had toured some of the bathrooms in Slater Hall to see how bad the damage was. “I’m at a loss for words.”
“Well,” Larry said, sighing, “there’s more.”
Mitchell looked at him and waited.
“Over in Deer Stag House, there’s some significant water damage,” Larry said. “And it looks like we’re going to have to excavate under the bathroom to repair some of the pipes.”
Mitchell closed his eyes and shook his head. He took a deep breath before he looked at Larry again. Deer Stag was the oldest house on campus, and it was also on the historic register. Even the smallest of repairs required Mitchell to fill out reams of paperwork; an excavation would be a bureaucratic hell.
“Alright,” Mitchell said after a moment, “I’ll get started on the requests. How long are we going to be shut down?”
“We’ll have to outsource this one, Mitchell,” Larry said. “I’ve got the water shut down through the campus, but we’re going to need to bring in either a big plumbing outfit or a whole lot of contractors. If we can get them in, and get a clean-up crew to assist my guys, we can probably be up and running by Wednesday morning.”
Mitchell nodded. Monday was already a loss. He had canceled classes when Larry had called him at five in the morning. Tuesday was the kicker, though. Working parents would be upset about the kids being out of school. Mitchell could only imagine the emails and phone calls he would get, parents complaining about how they couldn’t stay at home and miss work.
The many joys of leadership, he thought, chuckling.
“What’s funny?” Larry asked, looking at him.
“Just thinking of the parents,” Mitchell replied.
Larry rolled his eyes. “Better you than me, Mitchell. Anyway, I’ve got Bruce over at Deer Stag checking out the damage in the cellar. Soon as he gives me a report, I’ll pass it on to you.”
“Thanks, Larry,” Mitchell said. He looked down at his wet pants and shoes and shook his head.
“Anything I can get you, Mitchell?” Larry asked.
“If you go out,” Mitchell said, “a cup of coffee would be good. I’ve got to answer calls.”
Larry nodded and left the office.
Mitchell went to his desk, sat down and took a legal pad out of a drawer. He picked up a pen, looked at the blank paper and thought, At least it can’t get any worse.
Bruce Marx sat on the edge of an old desk, lit a cigarette and smoked it in the cellar of Deer Stag House. He didn’t worry about the smoke detector going off. The water from the burst toilets had soaked everything, which meant the first order of business had been to shut down the power to the house. And he had ripped the backup battery out of the detector when he inspected the damage.
Bruce couldn’t care less about being caught. With the amount of damage caused, a little bit of secondhand Marlboro smoke was the last thing anyone would worry about.
He had a battery-powered light on a stand, shining at the pools of water on the floor. The old pipes had burst from the concussion of the cherry bombs and had soaked the old stone foundation directly beneath the bathroom.
Bruce wasn’t looking forward to the clean-up, and the stone wall hadn’t stood up well against the water. The original mortar had broken apart, and there were two and three-inch gaps between some of the stones.
Larry better get a mason to take care of the wall, Bruce thought. Then again, they’ll probably have to bring in one of those artsy-types from Mystic since this is a ‘historic’ building.
Bruce shook his head and exhaled a long stream of smoke. He watched it curl through the bright, fluorescent light and slip between the stones.
Bruce blinked. He stood up, took a couple of steps closer, took a long drag off the cigarette, and blew the smoke directly at the wall.
Once more, it disappeared into the spaces left by fallen mortar.
Bruce turned away, grabbed hold of the light and brought it closer to the wall. He squinted and looked in. He saw a small space and what looked like the door to a safe. Bruce took a step back, pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and called Larry.
“Bruce, what’s going on?” Larry asked when he picked up.
“You need to come here,” Bruce said. “You need to come over to Deer Stag. You’re not going to believe this.”
“Is it bad?” Larry asked, concern filling his voice.
Bruce shook his head as he answered, “Larry, I don’t know. Just get over here.”
Bruce ended the call, stubbed out his cigarette and went back to the wall. He angled the light as much as he could, trying to get a better look. But there was nothing more he could make out. He stepped back and lit a fresh cigarette. Bruce paced back and forth, work shoes splashing in the water. A few minutes later, he heard the front door open and then Larry’s footsteps on the stairs.
“Bruce,” the older man said, frowning at the cigarette, “what’s going on?”
“Just look through the cracks,” Bruce said as he took hold of the light and raised it up. “Tell me what you see.”
Larry walked to the wall, leaned in, and then took a surprised step back. He looked at Bruce. “Holy Jesus Christ, Bruce, is that a safe?”
Bruce nodded. “Yes!”
Larry looked in again, putting his hand against the wall to steady himself.
And the stone he pressed against moved. Not with the grace and ease of a hidden lever, but with a groan. Bits of mortar dropped to the floor, splashing in the water. Larry hesitated, and then he gave the stone a firm push. A second later, it fell in on the other side, crashing down loudly.
A hole, the size of a basketball, now opened to the small space beyond.
Bruce held up the light higher, letting the bright beam penetrate deep into the hidden space. He didn’t see a handle on the safe, just a keyhole and hinges. And hanging on a hook near the top was a steel ring with a massive, curiously-shaped key. It was long and slender, with a round opening at the end; it looked almost like an oversized clock key.
The air in the small opening was damp and stale as if all of the life-giving oxygen had been stolen from it long ago.
“We need to tell Mitchell,” Larry said after a moment of silence.
“The hell we do,” Bruce said.
Larry raised an eyebrow.
“Listen,” Bruce said, “we can tell him in a few minutes, right? I mean, let’s take a look around. Once we tell Mitchell, he won’t let us go in there. We’d have to wait for a ‘specialist’ or something, and who knows if they’d even let us in the cellar.”
Larry looked back through the hole, then at Bruce. A grin crept across Larry’s face. “Yeah, let’s take a look.”
Bruce laughed happily and pulled another stone out of the wall. Larry did the same, and in a few minutes, they had the wall in front of the safe dismantled. Bruce picked up the light and shined it around. The safe was only two feet by two square feet and was set in ancient cement. Larry reached into the space, took down the skeleton key down from its hook, and looked at Bruce.
“Ready?” Larry asked.
Bruce nodded excitedly. He watched as Larry fit the key into the hole. Larry turned it first to the left, and then to the right. A harsh ‘clack’ sounded, and the door moved out an inch or two. Bruce waited, his heart picking up its pace.
Larry gripped the exposed edge and pulled it open.
Bruce angled the light.
The space revealed was little more than the size of a bread box. The walls, though, were lined with a dark metal. Bruce could make out individual hammer marks. At the base of the wall across from him was a small, ornately carved box.
Larry reached in and took it out. He held the box up to the light, and Bruce watched as Larry turned it over in his hands. The box was hinged, and Larry glanced up at Bruce. “Should we?”
“Yes,” Bruce said, nodding.
Larry opened it.
Inside, it was lined with a deep, red velvet. Set within the fabric was an ambrotype. The image was an old man, his eyes deeply set within their sockets. A long beard stretched down and vanished into the edge of the photograph. The man’s forehead was tall and bare, the hair swept back.
“Jesus,” Bruce said. “He looks like he would have been miserable to deal with.”
Larry nodded. “You know, I think I’ve seen this guy before.”
“What?” Bruce asked, leaning forward, squinting. “Oh, yeah! In the main hall, right?”
“Yeah,” Larry said. “He’s, oh damn, what’s his name? Weiss! Nathaniel Weiss.”
When the name left his lips, a wave of cold air slammed into Bruce, pushing him back and knocking the light out of his hand.
Bruce quickly picked it back up, his hands shaking. He shined the light on Larry and said, “Oh Jesus!”
Larry turned and looked at him, his face pale, and his hair was no longer a light brown but shockingly white. The man’s eyes were wide.
“Bruce,” Larry whispered. “What did we do?”
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