Voices from beyond.

Imaginary friends.

Unsettling sights.

New houses.

Dead dogs.

The scares go on and on.

The Taylor Detective Agency

My name is Ellis. My friends and me are detectives. Olaf and Izzy and Windy. We are the Taylor Detective Agency. We all live on the same street and meet every day under the Waiting Tree in my garden. We do lots of detective things. These are the stories of our adventures.

It is Tuesday morning and there is no sunshine. I am sitting under the Waiting Tree waiting. We meet every morning in the summer holidays. We are a team. We work together well. That makes us better detectives. It was my Dad’s idea to form the agency to give me and him something to do. I carried the notepad and a pencil. He carried a camera and a telephone. We would walk around the streets near my house looking for clues. Once we found some pieces of pasta that must have fallen from a shopping bag. Dad said that was the Case of the Broken Spaghetti.

Another time we found a dead bird – Dad called it the Case of the Bird That Doesn’t Fly Anymore. I would write down any important details in my notebook and phone them through to Mum at home.

‘Mum, we have found a dead bird – D-E-A-D.’

I spelled out the word carefully so that she could write everything down.

‘We request permission to proceed with the investigation.’

‘Roger that,’ said Mum. ‘Permission to proceed.’

Olaf is my best friend. He lives next door and only has to climb over the garden wall to meet me under the Waiting Tree.

‘I think I saw something important today,’ he says. ‘I was looking out my window and I saw it.’

I get out my notepad and pencil.

‘Now begin at the beginning and tell me what you saw,’ I say.

‘It was Mister Birdfoot,’ says Olaf. ‘He had a big box that he put into the boot of his car.’

Mister Birdfoot lived next door to Olaf and all the kids in the street think he is a bit mad. He has bright red hair and lived alone. Mum said his wife had died recently. Just like my dad.

‘Why would Mister Birdfoot have a big box?’ asks Olaf. ‘What has he got inside it?’

I say I don’t know. Windy appears.

‘Hi Windy,’ we say. ‘Mister Birdfoot has got a big box and we are wondering what is in it.’

‘I don’t know,’ says Windy. ‘It sounds like a job for the Taylor Detective Agency.’

Windy thinks that we should sneak into Mr. Birdfoot’s house and take a look.

‘We should sneak into Mr. Birdfoot’s house and take a look.’

Olaf doesn’t like the idea of that. He thinks we might get caught.

‘I don’t like the idea of that. What if we get caught?’

‘Get caught doing what?’ asks Izzy who has just sat down next to me.

‘Sneaking into Mr. Birdfoot’s house,’ I say. ‘Olaf saw a big box and we think it is a mystery for us to solve.’

‘I hope so’ says Izzy. ‘I love us solving mysteries.’

‘I have a plan,’ says Windy. ‘We should all sit on the bench opposite Mr. Birdfoot’s house and wait to see what happens next.’

‘Follow me,’ says Olaf. ‘Don’t forget your notepad, Ellis.’

‘I have it here,’ I say, patting my small rucksack. ‘I’ve also got my pencil and a tape measure.’

‘Why a tape measure?’ asks Izzy.

‘Just in case,’ I say. ‘My dad always said you never know what you might need to know.’

It makes me happy to remember what my dad used to say. But it makes me sad that he’s not here anymore to say it.

‘I’ve got four apples,’ says Izzy. ‘One for each of us as always.’

‘I think that my bottle has some water left in it,’ says Windy. He shakes it to see. We all hear the slosh.

It was later. We had been waiting a long time. All the apples were gone. And the water. I felt a bit strange.

‘Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.’

Olaf pointed at some bushes.

‘Would you feel better if we were hiding?’

‘Hiding,’ said Izzy. ‘I love hiding. Let’s do that.’

I looked at the bushes. They were big. It would be safe there.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Let’s hide in those bushes.’

‘We can still see Mr Birdfoot’s house,’ said Olaf, ‘but he won’t see us.’

It was more later when Mr Birdfoot finally came home. He stopped his car.

‘Ssssh!,’ said Olaf. He put his fingers to his lips.

Mr Birdfoot opened the boot of his car. He looked around. He didn’t want anyone to see him. We kept watching. I felt scared and safe together.

Mr Birdfoot got out the big box. It was really heavy. He looked around again. The box had all red stuff coming out of it. The red stuff fell on the pavement. Mr Birdfoot went inside his garage. When he came back he had a big brush and a bucket of water. He scrubbed the red stuff on the pavement until it went away.

It was the next day. Me and my friends sat under the Waiting Tree. Olaf and Izzy and Windy. We talked about Mr Birdfoot.

‘Who carries a box of red stuff around in their car?’ Olaf says.

‘I don’t know,’ said Izzy.

‘Me neither. I don’t understand.’

Windy had an idea.

‘I think this is definitely a job for the Taylor Detective Agency.’

‘Me too,’ said all of us.

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