Bloodhounds Inc: The Mystery of the Invisible Knight

Faceless knight stalking Midvale's merchants... along with the members of the kid-run detective agency, Bloodhounds, Inc... and robberies the result of an ancient medieval curse.

In another hilarious, action-filled mystery, Sean and Melissa Hunter and their computer-generated sidekick, J.E.R.E.M.I.A.H., must unmask the truth behind the knight... while learning to always put their trust in God.

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Chapter 1

THURSDAY, 21: 30 PDST

The alley was dark.

Real dark.

Not dark like the garage when you can't find the light and wonder if the shadow over there is the rake or really a monster waiting to eat you. And not dark like your grandma's cellar when she asks you to go down and get a can of peas. (Thanks, Grandma, I just love risking my life for a green vegetable.) No, I mean dark like being a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. That kind of dark. In other words ...

It was kinda hard to see.

That's exactly what Mr. Morrisey was thinking as he stepped out of his jewelry shop and into the back alley. Once again the streetlight had burned out, which meant he had to fumble with his keys to lock the back door. But that was okay because he'd soon be home eating a delicious plate of overcooked cauliflower and broccoli while watching a Gilligan's Island rerun. He'd then top off this incredibly exciting evening by soaking his dentures. (Does this guy know how to have fun or what?)

But tonight ... tonight would be just a little different because-

Clank.

The loud, metallic sound echoed through the alley. Mr. Morrisey's heart skipped a beat.

Clank. Clank.

Mr. Morrisey's heart skipped two beats.

The sound was closer ... and quickly approaching-The old man thought of running. But at his age, he'd be lucky to outrun a dead turtle. And the best he could make out, this was no turtle.

"Who ... who's there?" he called.

Clank.

"I said, who's-"

Clank. Clank.

Now Mr. Morrisey could finally make out a shape. A very large shape. He began to back away.

Clank! Clank! Clank!

Slowly, it emerged into a faint pool of light. Now Morrisey could see it clearly. It was a knight! From the days of King Arthur. And even in the dimness, its suit of armor seemed to glow.

Mr. Morrisey continued backing away as the knight continued closing in, its metal armor crashing with every step.

Clank! Clank! Clank!

Suddenly the thing came to a stop.

The old jeweler stood watching, shaking like a plate of Jell-O on a Jackhammer, as the knight slowly raised its arm. Then even more slowly, it lifted the face visor of its helmet to reveal...

Nothing!

That's right, it was completely empty-as in the visor was open, but nobody was home!

Mr. Morrisey could take no more. He fainted. Just like that. Out cold. Not dead, but not waking up for a while, either.

The knight calmly closed its helmet and turned back toward the open door of the jewelry store.

FRIDAY 11: 49 PDST

The next morning Sean and Melissa Hunter, along with their faithful bloodhound, Slobs, were visiting Doc in her creaky old house. They were up in her creaky old laboratory, sitting on an even creakier old sofa.

At the moment Doc was carefully applying a thick brown paste to a long, cone-shaped gizmo that was hooked up to some sort of thingamabob that was wired to a bunch of fancy doodads and diodes. In short, it looked exactly like something Doc would invent ... which meant It was probably something that would be blowing up.

But that didn't stop Doc any. No, sir. She plugged it in.

Mistake Number One.

Then she turned the cone toward the window and flipped on the switch.

Mistake Number Two.

Suddenly there was a tremendous FLASH, followed by some rather usual

Whistlings...

Whizzings...

and Bangings!

Having seen Doc's experiments at work before everyone did what they always did when she turned them on ... they screamed and ran for cover. Misty and Sean leaped under a nearby table, and Slobs pushed until she got her head under a sofa cushion.

The machine began to shake and shudder, growing louder and louder. Any second now and the whole thing would blow up. Any second now and they'd be vaporized into a gigantic mushroom cloud that-

PSSSSSSSsssssssss ...

That was it. No explosion. No thermonuclear meltdown. just a loud hiss that slowly faded until the machine fell silent.

Sean and Melissa glanced at each other and sighed in relief.

Doc shook her head, grabbed a screwdriver, and went back to work.

By now you've probably figured out Doc is a woman. If you didn't, don't feel bad. It's hard to tell with her thick hair, huge black spectacles, and baggy lab coat. And you certainly couldn't tell by listening to her talk. The reason was simple:

She didn't.

Well, not much. Doc was born deaf. But don't feel sorry for her. She could do more than a dozen people who could hear put together. Somehow the silence allowed her to concentrate harder on her inventions ... like Jeremiah over there....

"Let's try it again!" the redheaded, 3-D cartoon creature called from inside a computer monitor. "If at first you don't succeed, cry, cry again!"

Good old Jeremiah. He was some sort of computer intelligence that Doc had created nearly six months ago. (Although "Intelligence" might be a bit of an exaggeration when it came to Jeremiah.) It's not that he was stupid, it's 'just that the only reality he'd ever experienced was inside the TV screens, computer monitors, and digital watches where he lived.

Even that would have been okay ... except for his little run-in with the fortune cookie factory. It seems one day he had traveled down line, accidentally entered the factory's computer, and downloaded himself with a gazillion proverbs and catchy old sayings. Unfortunately, his circuitry had majorly overloaded, so although he had learned every proverb and saying, they were all mixed up and garbled.

"Let's try again," he shouted. "A stitch in time saves nine lives!"

See what I mean?

As he spoke, the words formed on the bottom of a

nearby screen so Doc could read them. She nodded and reached over to the switch for another try.

Sean threw Melissa a look. "Uh-oh," he groaned, "here we go again!"

Before they could duck for cover (or at least buy a good life insurance policy), Doc flipped the switch.

But this time there was no flash. That was good news. Neither were there any whistlings, whizzings, or hangings. More good news.

Unfortunately, there was a little bad

BOINNG-OING-OING-OING-OING-OING-OING....

The noise was deafening, filling the room and going on forever. And just when you thought forever had come and gone, it went on a little longer.

Sean and Melissa covered their ears. Poor Slobs howled and bayed. Even little Jeremiah was in pain as his face turned every color of the rainbow (cartoon characters can do that). Of course, Doc didn't hear a thing and kept working ... until she turned around and saw their expressions. Then she reached down and immediately pulled the plug.

The noise slowly faded.

... OING-OING-oing-oing-oing-oing-oing

"What was that?" Melissa cried.

Sean would have asked, too, but he was busy sticking his finger in his ear, shaking out any excess BOINGs still rattling around in there.

"That's the Age Detector," Jeremiah chirped. "All you have to do is smear that paste over the cone, turn it on, and point it at something to learn its age."

"Is it supposed to be that noisy?" Sean asked.

Jeremiah nodded. "Sure. Each BOING represents one year."

As the two talked, Melissa crossed toward the window.

"But those BOINGs went on forever," Sean complained. "What was she pointing at?"

"l think I might have an answer," Melissa called.

They turned to her.

"Wasn't she pointing it out this window?"

Sean moved closer. "But at what?"

They turned to Doc. The woman was already typing her explanation into the computer:

"I WAS AIMING FOR THAT TREE, BUT MISSED

AND HIT THE SUN. UNFORTUNATELY, THE

SUN'S A LITTLE TOO OLD ... WHICH MEANS

A FEW TOO MANY BOINGS. SORRY."

Sean and Melissa looked at each other and sighed. Once again Doc had almost made an incredible breakthrough. But "almost" was as close as she ever seemed to get. Like Jeremiah and everything else she invented, there was always a minor little problem-a minor little problem that usually led to a major catastrophe.

Suddenly they were interrupted by another sound-the squealing and squawking from a nearby radio. They turned to the stereo and saw Jeremiah inside the digital tuner, pushing and pulling at the numbers.

"Jeremiah," Sean called, "what are you doing?"

"It's show time," the little guy cried as he continued to push and kick at the digital numbers until they hit the right frequency. "Time for your dad's newscast."

". . . big story in Midvale today." Their father's voice came in loud and clear. "Seems there was a mysterious robbery at Morrisey jewelers."

The word "mysterious" definitely perked up Sean's and Melissa's ears.

"Mr. Morrisey was found unconscious at the rear entrance to his store last night. When he awoke, he claimed the place had been robbed by a ... get this now ... he claimed the place had been robbed by a knight dressed in full armor."

"Did you hear that?" asked Sean.

Melissa nodded. "A knight."

"In full armor."

"Sean, you're not thinking-"

"You bet I am." He beamed. "Sounds like another case for Bloodhounds, Inc."

"I don't know," she said reluctantly. "If you ask me, I think-"

"Come on, let's go!" He turned and started toward the door.

Melissa was never sure how Sean had talked her into forming the private detective agency. Unlike her brother, who loved any kind of adventure (as long as it didn't require a whole lot of thinking), Misty's idea of excitement was curling up with a cup of hot chocolate and reading about it in a book. But as the older of the two (by a whole eleven months), Sean had been able to wear her down until he'd finally gotten his way. (Older brothers are good at that sort of thing.)

So now, thanks to Mr. Morrisey's break-in, the stolen jewels, and a mysterious knight, it looked like they were about to start another adventure.

The two said quick good-byes to Doc and Jeremiah, then headed down the stairs with Slobs hot on their heels. Another case was about to begin...

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