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The Academy (Moving In Series Book 6), page 1


The Academy (Moving In Series Book 6)

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The Academy (Moving In Series Book 6)

  The Academy

  Written by Ron Ripley

  Edited by Emma Salam and Lance Piao

  Copyright © 2016 by

  All rights reserved.

  Thank You and Bonus Novel!

  I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your ongoing support. You make this all possible! To really show you my appreciation for downloading this book, I’ve included a bonus scene at the end of this book. I'd also love to send you the full length novel: Sherman’s Library Trilogy in 3 formats (MOBI, EPUB and PDF) absolutely free!

  Download Sherman’s Library Trilogy in 3 formats, get FREE short stories, and receive future discounts by visiting

  Keeping it spooky,

  Ron Ripley

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1: At the Academy

  Chapter 2: In Deer Stag House

  Chapter 3: The Photograph

  Chapter 4: At the Office

  Chapter 5: Bringing Back the Portable

  Chapter 6: The Day is Nearly Done

  Chapter 7: Introducing Herman Emerson Hawthorne

  Chapter 8: A History Lesson

  Chapter 9: A Disagreement

  Chapter 10: A Strange Bird

  Chapter 11: His Dreams

  Chapter 12: Making a Decision

  Chapter 13: Strange Behavior

  Chapter 14: Alma Mater

  Chapter 15: The Name

  Chapter 16: In the Admin Building

  Chapter 17: In the Basement

  Chapter 18: On the Way to the Library

  Chapter 19: Alone with His Thoughts

  Chapter 20: The Messenger

  Chapter 21: The Academy’s Graduates

  Chapter 22: Eddie Fina Loses Some Time

  Chapter 23: Waking Up

  Chapter 24: Patrolling the Grounds

  Chapter 25: Bad News, Again

  Chapter 26: A Conversation

  Chapter 27: Listening Well

  Chapter 28: Sneaking In

  Chapter 29: Eddie Goes Back to School

  Chapter 30: The Northfield Memorial Park

  Chapter 31: Charlie Roy and The Maltese Falcon, 1989

  Chapter 32: A Strange Situation

  Chapter 33: A Curious Darkness

  Chapter 34: The Case Gets Stranger

  Chapter 35: An Interview

  Chapter 36: Herman Gets Away

  Chapter 37: Caught and Released, August, 1980

  Chapter 38: Searching for the Fob

  Chapter 39: On the Academy’s Grounds

  Chapter 40: In the Emergency Room

  Chapter 41: Researching History

  Chapter 42: The Past Returns

  Chapter 43: Meeting at Mitchell’s

  Chapter 44: Dealing with It

  Chapter 45: At the Academy

  Chapter 46: Waiting for Brian

  Chapter 47: Brotherly Love

  Chapter 48: Back at the Library

  Chapter 49: Going into the Office

  Chapter 50: A New Experience

  Chapter 51: Vision

  Chapter 52: A Shock

  Chapter 53: Back at the Academy

  Chapter 54: Hidden

  Chapter 55: Joining Forces

  Chapter 56: Attacked

  Chapter 57: A Wake-Up

  Chapter 58: A Brutal Beating

  Chapter 59: In His Room

  Chapter 60: Regrets

  Chapter 61: At Home

  Bonus Scene Chapter 1: His Father’s Book, September, 1922

  Bonus Scene Chapter 2: Instructions from Father

  Bonus Scene Chapter 3: Gathering the First

  Bonus Scene Chapter 4: How to Hold the Dead

  Bonus Scene Chapter 5: In the Club

  Bonus Scene Chapter 6: In Vincent’s Room

  FREE Bonus Novel!

  Chapter 1: At the Academy

  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 sa
id, “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.

  Chapter 2: In Deer Stag House

  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?”

  Chapter 3: The Photograph

  Mitchell poured two cups of coffee and brought them back into his office. He handed one to Bruce and the other to Larry. Without a word, he returned to his seat behind his desk and looked at the two men.

  They wore matching expressions of shock. And both of them now had white hair. The two of them had appeared at his door, each shaking. Larry held a small box and old ambrotype photograph. Larry continued to hold it in one hand, looking dazedly into his coffee mug.

  “Okay,” Mitchell said gently. “Tell me what happened.”

  Bruce opened his mouth, closed it and shook his head. Mitchell turned his attention to Larry.

  Larry took a long sip before he spoke.

  It was only for a few minutes, but when he was done, Mitchell looked at the two maintenance men and frowned.

  “I’m sorry, Mitchell,” Larry said.

  “I’m not upset with you,” Mitchell said. “I don’t understand what happened. Why is your hair white? I saw you not half an hour ago, Larry. This doesn’t make any sens

  “I don’t know,” Larry said. “I really do not know.”

  “Okay,” Mitchell said. “Alright. I want you two to go home for now. Or go to the doctor. Whatever you think you need to do.”

  “What are you going to do, Mitchell?” Larry asked.

  “I don’t know,” Mitchell said.

  Bruce put his mug on the desk, nodded, stood up, and left. Larry finished his coffee, and then did the same.

  Mitchell sat and waited for the office door to close behind Larry before he stood up. He walked over to the window. Beyond the glass, the campus of the school spread out. The sunlight of the warm June day should have filled him with joy. Usually, he was as excited as the students with the end of school so near. But the events in Deer Stag House had robbed him of any pleasure.

  He turned away from the window, picked up the ambrotype off the desk and opened it. The photograph within, was certainly of Nathaniel Weiss. One of the city’s hallowed sons. A famed writer and one of the founders of the Academy.

  Why was it in a hidden safe? Mitchell wondered.

  He closed the delicately carved frame and put it down on the desk. Mitchell turned off his computer, picked up his keys and walked out of his office. He locked the door and nodded to Marilyn at her desk.

  “Mitchell,” she said. “I managed to get a hold of the plumbers. They’ll be here in an hour to take a look at the damage and get an estimate together.”

  “Good,” Mitchell said. “I’m going over to Deer Stag to look at the damage there. I want to be able to give a good description to whoever is sent by City Hall.”

  “Alright. Mitchell?” Marilyn said hesitantly.

  He paused, halfway through the doorway out. “Yes?”

  “What happened to Larry and Bruce?” she asked. “Why is their hair white?”

  Mitchell shook his head, “I don’t know. It’s why I’m going to Deer Stag.”

  “Should you call the fire department? What if there’s something wrong in there?” The younger woman’s concern made him smile.

  “If I get the slightest hint something is wrong, Marilyn,” he said soothingly, “I’ll leave immediately.”

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