Mystery May
The Mystery of the Open Window

The Mystery of the Open Window
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.21

     challenging words:    balled, beat-up, busted, butts, dingy, dunno, mulling, nail-chewed, psychedelic, sullen-looking, tunic, unnoticed, opening, behavior, stress, bookcase
     content words:    Didn't Mom, That C. J.

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The Mystery of the Open Window
By Brenda B. Covert

1     Busted!
2     My lanky brother hung his head. Now that Mom knew the truth, C.J. was in big trouble. I could barely contain my glee. After all, I had solved the mystery of the open window!
3     Mom had been complaining about finding my brother's window open several days in a row. "Bugs will fly in!" she'd yell about the two-inch gap.
4     C.J. always played dumb. "That's weird," he would say. "I didn't do it. I bet Janae did it."
5     Mom would voice what I was thinking. "Why would your sister sneak in here and open your window?"
6     "I dunno," he'd reply with a shrug. "Maybe she wants to get me in trouble."
7     I knew C.J. had to be opening the window, but I didn't know why. His screen had fallen off, so raising the window was like inviting mosquitoes to dinner! We had an electric fan for those really warm, sticky days. It didn't seem likely that he was talking to friends through his open window. My bedroom is next to his, and I would have heard the voices.
8     Over the weekend C.J. was grounded again. That was nothing new. Mom was napping on the couch; it was positioned near the front door and in full view of the back door. (These are important details--trust me.) I was in my room listening to my tunes. The next thing I knew, Mom was asking me if C.J. went out. I removed my headphones and told her that I hadn't heard a thing.
9     Mom's eyebrows met above her nose. "I just found the bathroom door shut with the light on as if he were in there!" Mom said, waving one nail-chewed hand out in the hall. "I thought I was talking to him, but nobody answered. The room was empty! His bedroom door was shut but not locked, so I went in. That room is empty too! He's nowhere to be found, and I had grounded him!"

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