This story is being written by myself as well as Sassyk100 for those of you who know her. We can only post it on one profile, and after discussing it we chose to do so on mine. Feel free to send either of us a message if you wish to. We'll both see any reviews that you readers are gracious enough to leave. Now, because there are two of us writing this story, we have to pass the information back and forth and back and forth several times until we get the result that we want. Consequentally, it takes a little longer for us to get things done and posting may not be as speedy as it would be if just one of us was writing it. (And if you've read anything else by me, you know I'm not so great at keeping a wonderful pace anyway ;-D) That being said, we are going to do our best to keep this rolling.

This is the intro to our story. We've combed through it and finally settled on the result below. We've both worked very hard on it and hope that you'll enjoy this. Please, if you read, leave a review. It means the world to us when you leave reviews. Good and Bad alike. Tell us what you like, what you don't like, what you predict, any errors you see, anything on your mind. Thankyou for reading and THANKYOU for reviewing!

This IS a sequel to my story A Misty Mystery. Therefore, Misty WILL be a character! (We make brilliant deductions, don't we!) If you have not read my story, there may be some confusion as to who Misty is. Misty is Nancy's sister. If you want more details, read AMM. However, I must say that the events of the intro happen before AMM.

And now...without further ado, I present:

A Misty Mystery: The Red Rock Robbery

PROLOGUE

A shrill shriek slipped un-beckoned from the deepest recesses of her being. Her scream rang out across the lifeless night sky, slicing through the stars like a dagger.

"No!" Frank Hardy yelled out. Desperation and astonished disbelief shone in his dark eyes. He had one hand on the still upright railing as he leaned out into the emptiness. His other stretched vainly in the direction of her falling form. She had just been within reach! He fumed. Instantly, his mind kicked into high gear. He ran inside, past his startled brother, and out of the room. Sprinting for the stairs at the end of the hall, the eighteen-year old boy burst through the stairwell door.

A bewildered Joe Hardy noted his older brother's urgency and quickly investigated the outdoor scene. It didn't take him long to connect his friend's shriek of fear, his brother's rushed departure, and the malformed balcony rail. Less than a second after Frank had, he ran out of the still open doorway to the hotel room. He headed straight for the elevator, knowing Frank had gone for the stairs.

Panting, Frank took the stairs four and five at a time. He flew down, jumping and sliding all of the way. Please be alright, he kept repeating in his mind, Please just be alright. He could only hope and pray that she was still alive. But he knew even that was unlikely.

Seventeen-year old Joe jammed his thumb into the down button again and again. "Come on. Come on," he said in a low voice, running his fingers through his thick, blonde hair in frustration. He paced back and forth in front of the elevator, strongly aware that every fraction of a second that indifferently ticked by could be her last. "This is taking too long!" he pounded his fists into the elevator doors. Quickly, he turned around and darted for the nearest set of stairs. "Hang on, Nancy, we're coming," he whispered.

To eighteen-year-old Nancy Drew, the fall from the seventh story balcony seemed endless. It seemed unreal. Even the scream that had involuntarily escaped her slightly parted lips sounded wrong to her. In a daze, she looked down toward her feet. Her gaze skimmed past the balcony that was rapidly reducing in size, or so it seemed, and to the hopelessly dark, night sky beyond. She took a long and thoughtful look at all the dazzling stars that it contained. The sky was unbelievably expansive. It never ended, and it seemed like she was just now realizing that in its entirety. Suddenly, she felt so small and helpless. How could this have happened? It looks like curiosity will finally kill the cat, she thought glumly. After what seemed like eternity of falling, she glanced up. She saw the ground hastening to meet her at a scary pace. Instinctively, the girl gasped in fright, placing her arms protectively over her face in preparation for the inevitable impact. She squeezed her blue eyes tightly shut, cutting off the rest of her startled tears, and plunged into the chilly hotel pool headfirst.


It only took Frank thirty-five seconds to reach the ground floor of the hotel, but he was still nineteen seconds too late. Heart pounding and breath short, he flew out of the stairwell, across the hotel, and out to where he knew the pool was without stopping. Stumbling wildly, he stripped his socks and shoes as he ran. He reached the edge of the deep-end of the pool, instantly diving into the freezing water.

Joe zipped through the lobby nearly twelve seconds after his brother. He reached the outside doors that led to the twenty-five foot pool. Joe ran to where Frank had been standing. Immediately after spotting his brother in the water, he turned around and ran for the front desk.

"What's all that racket? What on earth is going on?" the man at the desk was just beginning to investigate the loud splash that he had heard and the multiple slammings of the stairwell door. Joe nearly ran right into the angry man as he shot around another corner.

"Call an ambulance!" Joe yelled, "Someone fell into the pool from a balcony! Hurry!"

"Fell into the pool?" the man's face turned pale, "Oh my, are they going to press charges?"

Joe almost choked the man right then and there, "She might not be alive to if you don't call 911 right now! But you can believe I will!"

"Right then, let's get the phone," the man quickly returned to his desk to make the call.

Meanwhile, Nancy's fall in the air had taken almost seven seconds. She had hit the pool and traveled another fifteen feet in less than four seconds before slowing down. It had taken her another five seconds to cover the last ten feet of water. She reached the bottom, bumping her head just hard enough to knock her out cold. She had been lying at the bottom of the pool for twenty-three seconds when Frank had jumped in after her.

"Ghuh!" Frank gasped for much-needed air as he finally broke the surface of the water with Nancy in his arms. Swiftly, he swam to the edge using his one free arm. He pulled her up and onto the edge of the pool before heaving himself up after her. She didn't move.

"Nancy!" he shook her shoulders, "Nancy! Can you hear me?" He frantically searched for her pulse. Her once pink lips were slightly tinted blue from the cold water and from the lack of oxygen. He could easily remember her smiling at him, laughing at something or frowning in concentration, hunting down another clue. But now, they looked so lifeless and indifferent. In the darkness, her normally reddish-blonde hair appeared a rusted-brown, almost black, as a result of being wet. He gently pushed it back from her pale face. It almost looked as blue as her lips in the moonlight, it was so pale. It broke his heart to see her like this. She just couldn't be dead! There it was, a pulse…beating slowly, but beating nonetheless. He pushed repeatedly against her chest, patiently waiting to see if she would come to. "Come on, Nancy," he whispered, "I know you're strong."

Suddenly, the girl started coughing harshly. She turned on her side, sputtering and gasping for air. Although she had been fortunate enough to take in a deep breath before hitting the pool, when she had hit her head at the bottom she had swallowed a little water.

Frank choked on a dubious half-laugh and cried as he hugged his friend, "I thought you'd finally worn out your nine lives!" She coughed and coughed until she could finally take a slow, deep breath.

"No, not yet," she smiled weakly; her voice was hoarse and her teeth chattered loudly. They both knew that that was her way of saying thankyou.

"You lucky dog!" Joe smiled as he ran up to them, relief washing over him like a wave in the ocean, "Are you alright? We've called an ambulance; they should be here shortly."

"I think I'm alright," she looked up at Joe. The girl shivered violently in the chilly night breeze, "But I don't think I'd like to do it again anytime soon." Nancy and Joe laughed tightly; but Frank only clenched his teeth together, unable to make so light of such an incident.

Frank did his best to suppress his own shivering, but was unable to shake the sensation entirely. "Come on," he said, standing, "Let's get something dry on."

After the medics approved Nancy's condition and the boys assured the worried manager that they wouldn't press charges, the three friends made their way back to the boys' room. Frank and Joe gathered their things so that they could check into a new room, for the police would quarter off the one they had been in. The manager had graciously granted them another room to stay in, free of charge. The boys unpacked in their new room and then went to join Nancy down the hall in her room, three stories below the room that the boys had previously been staying in.

"Come on in," Nancy answered the knock on her door, knowing that it would be the Hardys. She had changed out of her wet blue jeans and purple tee-shirt and into gray sweatpants and a dark green sweater. She held a white hotel towel to her reddish-blonde hair, doing her best to keep it from dripping everywhere.

"So," Frank crossed his arms after closing the door, "What happened?"

"I wouldn't mind knowing how you fell from a seven story balcony either," Joe plopped down onto a bed.

Nancy sighed, placing herself on the bed opposite him. She put the towel into her lap, fidgeting with one of the corners. Her fingers still shivered slightly, though no longer solely from the cold. Whether she was willing to admit it aloud or not, the night's events had shaken her to the core. "Boy, just wait 'til Dad hears about this," she mumbled, after taking a shaky breath, "I'll never hear the last of it."

"Nancy," Joe sat up, "Tell us what happened."

Nancy sighed, "I was standing out on the balcony, watching the sun as it set. Well, I heard something that sounded oddly familiar—it was almost like a silent, pulsating sound that had a heart and will of it's own; it was a low, nearly inaudible, yet rhythmic and persistent tone that the wind just happened to carry my way—and so naturally I turned toward the noise." She looked up at her friends. Her tone darkened and her eyes glazed over, lost in the still-fresh memory, "It was a bomb on the side of the building. I didn't know how big or small of an explosion it would cause, but I did know that there was very little time left before it detonated. So, I climbed over the rail to diffuse it." She shrugged, "I guess the rail couldn't hold my weight for that long."

"You guess the rail…" Frank trailed off, anger rising inside him, "Nancy I walked into my room and looked out the open door and onto the terrace only to see you hanging at the end of a broken rail just before you plunged to your death! I thought I'd never see you again! How could you be so careless? Nancy, what would I have said to your family? I thought we had lost you, Nancy!"

Nancy rose and stepped toward him. Something inside her snapped like a thin twig, "And you think I should have just let the bomb go off?" She stood in front of him, poking her finger into his chest. She trembled, now a result of the anger that flushed her cheeks and hardened the already natural intenseness of her blue eyes, "You think I enjoyed the thrill of falling into the depths of the pool that I had no idea was even there! I thought I was going to die! You think I did it on purpose just to make sure that you had to tell my father what happened to me! You think I was smiling all the way down, so pleased that I had accomplished—"

"Enough!" Joe stepped in between them, "Now, this was nobody's fault. Nancy you were reckless— "

Frank smirked at her, "Thankyou."

Nancy opened her mouth to protest, but Joe cut in unsympathetically. "But," he glared at Frank, "you may have saved many lives, Nancy." He turned back to her, "It was brave, but foolish. Now what are we going to achieve by arguing. Frank, you should be thankful that she's still alive. Nancy, don't forget he's the reason you made it out of that pool in the first place." Joe pointed at his brother while staring at Nancy with a scolding look that a father would give his child. Looking back and forth between both of them he continued, "Why don't we channel all of this energy toward something useful; for instance, finding out who planted that bomb."

Frank refused to look at either Nancy or Joe; but he knew that his brother was right. Nancy glared at the floor, her arms crossed. She didn't understand why Frank had to jump down her throat like that. He had never been so harsh with her. It especially hurt her because she had never before been the source of his anger. She didn't like it. He had never glared at her like he just did, and she felt terrible for making him feel the way that she knew he must. It wounded her that he could be so infuriated with her, so disappointed and disgusted with her. She strained to keep tears from falling down her cheeks, but one slipped down nonetheless. Joe stood tentatively between the two, waiting to see what would come next. After a tense silence, Frank spoke to Nancy.

"I'm sorry," he apologized, "I was just…I was just worried about you. It wasn't your fault."

"I should have gone to get you and Joe," she admitted, "instead of just doing it myself. That way one of you guys would have been there when the rail broke. I could have avoided all of this."

Frank shook his head, "If you had done that, who knows how much damage that bomb could have done. You wouldn't have had time to get us and diffuse it. You did the right thing."

"Let's not blame each other or ourselves," Joe said, "It was an accident. What's happened has happened. We can't change it now. All we can do is learn from it and move on. Now, who would have planted that bomb and why?"