Chapter 2: the Phantom Package


A package appeared.


Nobody left it.


It just appeared.


The twins might not have noticed except, at that same moment,

the doormat burst into flames.


Emma and Edward were used to hotel emergencies,

like running out of ice, or tourists choking on hermit crabs.

They grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher and hurried over.


But the flames were already gone.

So was the doormat.


There was just a package left behind.

It was a small box, wrapped in fancy silver tissue with the letters


stamped in gold.


“Don’t you think it’s odd,” Emma frowned

“that this paper isn’t burned? It’s not even warm.”


Edward was too busy staring at the empty spot

where the doormat should have been.


“Here’s another odd thing,” Emma said.

“This package is addressed to us -


and it says it was sent from us!”


Edward leaned over for a closer look.



Emma & Edward Underspell

The Hotel Underspell

13 Ridley Road

Nervis Beach, CA



“Is there’s a card?” Edward asked.


“No, I already…” Emma stopped short.


There was a card –

 though Emma was sure it hadn’t been there

just a moment ago.


After all, a bright purple envelope with glowing green eyes

is pretty hard to miss.


She opened it and read aloud:


Dear Us,


Please open this package immediately!

We are in terrible danger.

No time to explain.





Emma turned over the card and found a scrap of paper stuck to the back.

It was a newspaper clipping – a very, very old one.


The paper was yellowed and there was a black and white photo that looked ancient.


“Look at their clothes!” Emma whispered, pointing at the two people in the photo.

There was a boy wearing a very old fashioned suit

and a girl in a scratchy looking dress and a ridiculous hair ribbon.


“That girl doesn’t look very happy to be wearing…” But Emma stopped short again.


The girl in the old photo was her!

And the boy was clearly Edward. The headline read,


“Underspell Twins Vanish!”


The article that followed was badly faded,

but Emma read aloud what she could.


“Emma and Edward Underspell, heirs to the fortune

of hotel tycoon Ridley Underspell Nervis are missing.

The two vanished last night during the opening night party

of R. U. Nervis’ strange and fantastic new hotel, the Castle Mysterium.”


The date on the newspaper read:
 “November 1, 1910”