It was her first day at Pawar Public School. Tiya was in the 2nd grade. She missed her old school and was quite sure that she was going to hate this new place.
At lunch break, Junie and Pam, two girls from her class introduced themselves to her. They took her to a tree that stood at the corner of the playground.
“Would you like to come to the Hole of Mysteries with us?" Pam asked her.
“Hole of Mysteries! Where’s that?" Tiya asked astonished.
Near the tree was a hole, covered with hay and sticks. “This is the Hole of Mysteries," said Junie.
“Come on, let’s jump into the hole," said Pam.
Holding each other’s hands, Pam, Tiya and Junie jumped inside. The hole became darker as they went deeper and deeper.
Then all of a sudden it became bright. Lighted candles were everywhere. Tiya was frightened. Seeing her, Pam laughed. Junie pointed out to a rabbit lighting a candle.
"That is Binkie the rabbit," said Pam. “She plans all our adventures."
“Hi Binkie!" said Junie. “This is Tiya, our new friend. Do you have a mysterious adventure for us today in the mysterious school?"
Binkie smiled and said, “Hi Tiya, welcome to the Hole of Mysteries. Sorry girls, I only have a tiny adventure for you. It’s not easy, mind you. You have to be very alert as it’s to do with sounds. Be aware of he who can talk. Now follow me. You have to find your way out." Binkie went ahead.
The girls followed her. They came to a small room. Binkie had vanished. Once they got inside, the doors locked automatically. There were three animals in the room: a cat, a dog and a fish (inside a bowl). They could hear loud grunts from outside.
“I think there’s a monster nearby," said Tiya, frightened.
“We have to take the help of these animals to get out!" whispered Junie.
“Or else we will have to stay here for ever," said Pam.
“How do we find our way out?" asked Tiya, feeling quite nervous.
“Let’s think hard!" said Junie.
“I think I know!" said Pam. “Remember Binkie told us to be aware of ‘he who can talk’. I think one of these animals can talk."
“But which one?" asked Tiya.
“Let’s find out," said Junie.
“Did you notice what the animals were doing when we got here? The cat was shaking its head and scratching itself. The fish was waving its tail and the dog was thumping its tail. I feel it must be either the dog or the fish. Let’s find out."
Pam went up to the fish and said, “Can you help us?" The fish did not seem to have heard her and continued to wave its tail in the water.
Then Tiya went up to the dog and said, “What’s your name?"
“Spike," replied the dog. “If you are looking for the exit, I can help you."
“Can you really talk?" the girls asked the dog.
“Yes I can," said the dog. “Now press hard against the door and chant ‘Ashanti’ three times. When the door opens run fast until you reach the top. Don’t look back ever!"
The three thanked the dog and as soon as they chanted ‘Ashanti’ thrice, the door opened.
But, the grunting sounds grew louder, frightening the girls.
They ran up the dark path, stopping only when they reached up, at the beginning of the tunnel.
“Hey, we made it!" shouted Pam in excitement as they found back themselves in the mysterious school playground.
“But what about the animals?" asked Tiya.
“They are in there, perhaps helping Binkie plan our next adventure!"
“Wow!" said Tiya. “I think I’m going to have a great time at Cedars!"
The bell rang just then and the trio returned to their class in the mysterious school.