Mystery at the Washington Monument

Mystery at the Washington Monument by Ron Roy Read Free Book Online

Book: Mystery at the Washington Monument by Ron Roy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ron Roy
1
Strange Lights
    KC snuggled deeper inside her sleeping bag. She was camping out on the White House lawn with her best friend, Marshall Li. KC could smell the grass and the rosebushes. The traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue made a humming sound from the other side of the tall hedges. Fireflies danced in the bushes.
    “Why does the Washington Monument have those flashing red and white lights?” Marshall asked. He was sitting up in his sleeping bag a few feet away.
    “It only has red lights,” KC said. “I think that’s so airplanes won’t hit it.” Sherolled over to look at the tall Monument. It was white against the night sky. At the top, red lights blinked on and off.
    “KC, they’re red and white,” Marshall said, pointing. “Look.”
    “They’re red, Marsh—” KC stopped speaking. Marshall was right. The red lights were flashing, but KC could also see white light in the windows at the top of the Monument. The white light seemed to move around. Sometimes it was bright. Sometimes it was just a glow.
    “It looks like someone with a flashlight,” Marshall said.
    KC shook her head. “The Monument is closed at night,” she said, climbing out of her sleeping bag. She walked toward the hedges.
    “Well, someone is up there,” Marshall insisted.
    KC watched the white light. It seemed to move from window to window. “Let’s go find out what it is!” KC said. She grabbed her flashlight.
    “Now?” Marshall asked. He was standing up, pulling on his sneakers.
    KC wanted to be a TV reporter when she grew up. She was curious about everything. She was especially curious about things that were strange, like those dancing white lights. But she knew her mom would kill her if she went walking around the city at night. With a sigh, she turned off the flashlight.
    “We can go on one of the tours tomorrow and look around inside the Monument,” KC said.
    “Look around for what?” Marshall asked.
    “A ghoooosssst,” KC whispered as she crawled back into her sleeping bag.
       After breakfast the next morning, KC and Marshall walked to the Washington Monument. A sign on a booth said that tickets for the tours were free. KC asked for two tickets for the nine o’clock tour. A park ranger in a gray uniform handed her the tickets and a pamphlet. His name tag said BUTCH.
    Marshall stared up at the Monument. “Wow, how tall do you think it is?” he asked.
    KC checked the pamphlet. It had a list of facts about the Washington Monument. “Five hundred and fifty-fivefeet,” she answered, “and five inches.”
    “How do they know that?” Marshall asked. “I mean, how could they measure it? They’d need a really big ruler!”
    KC shrugged. “No idea. Let’s ask when we get inside,” she said.
    At nine, another park ranger opened the door at the base of the Monument. “Hi, my name is Opal,” she said. “I’m your tour guide today.” She took tickets and led the small group to the elevator.
    “I thought we had to climb the stairs,” Marshall said to the park ranger as they waited for the elevator.
    Opal smiled. “Not anymore,” she said. “There are almost nine hundred steps. Until around 1970, you had a choice. You could either climb the stairs or take the elevator. But a few people were breakingoff pieces of the memorial stones to take as souvenirs. Now you can only go up in the elevator.”
    “What are the memorial stones?” a man asked.
    “When the Monument was being built, many countries sent us huge stones to put inside,” the ranger explained. “Our own states also sent stones. In all, there are one hundred ninety-two memorial stones. You’ll get to see them when we come down in the elevator.”
    The elevator door opened and everyone stepped inside.
    “The ride up is fast,” Opal said. “But on the way down, it will be slower so you can see the stones.”
    The door closed and KC felt a jolt as the elevator rose quickly. A minute later,the door opened again. “This is the observation deck,”

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