She is a grumpy girl who is never content, and she always manages to find something disagreeable in things that other people cannot. Her family constantly gets frustrated with her, and it seems like the only thing in the world she likes is gold. Her room is painted gold, she wears gold bracelets, and refuses wear anything that doesn't have a little gold on it. She dreams of going to the end of a rainbow to find a pot of gold, and reads books about rich girls with rooms of golden things - crowns, coins, bracelets, earrings, everything a rich girl could want.
Grintha lives in a three-story house in Chicago, Illinois. Across the street is Crackerstone High School for Exceptional Girls where her teenage sister goes. The high school isn't just a high school; it's a school for future spies! Grintha doesn't know that, though; her sister keeps it a secret. Down the street is a jewelry store where Grintha likes to go and try on gold necklaces. She got her gold-handled brush there, and she likes to go into the walk-in closet in her room and brush her long black hair in front of the gold-trimmed mirrors inside.
Ashley Morse is Grintha's teenage sister.She has long black hair like Grintha's, but has blue eyes instead of her sister's brown. In her good moods she is creative and cheerful, but in her bad moods, well, you don't want to upset her. She goes to Crackerstone High School for Exceptional Girls, which is across the street, which is a secret spy school, though she doesn't tell Grintha. She loves Hershey's Milk Chocolate and once, when she was ten, she climbed a 100-foot pine tree for a Jumbo Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar. A day after that she climbed the tree again on a dare from Isabelle Brinkman, who is now her rival in spy school. She fell out of the tree and broke her arm, which Isabelle has never let her forget. She has a black-and-white cat named Blackjack, a yellow cat named Pete, a white cat named Duchess, and a calico cat named Belle.
The entrance to the Secret Passage is in the basement of Grintha's house, in the northeast corner, and the exit is in, well, you'll find out in the story. It was made in 1702 by a man named Robert De Beckard, an English sailor. Robert De Beckard was in search of a place to hide his riches, and journeyed farther and farther west to find the perfect cave. When he found it, he melted his gold and silver, lined the walls with the silver and poured the gold on the floor. After that, set his rubies and diamonds into the silver. Finally, at the end of the passage, he hid something of greater value than all the diamonds and rubies put together...you'll discover what it is in the story. With his remaining money he built himself a house on top of the cave, where Grintha's house now stands. He didn't build the house because he wanted to live there, he built it because he wanted something to protect the site of his treasure.
Grintha slipped beneath the gold covers, glad for both the warm blankets and her cozy new blue-and-gold pajamas. The nights were getting colder and colder.... As Grintha thought, she slipped off to sleep.
Suddenly she seemed to be floating in the air above a little town with lots of....apple trees? As she floated closer, she saw that they were apple trees, and lots of them! Everywhere she looked she could see apples, apples, apples!
A breeze came up just then, and seemed to blow Grintha quickly toward the mountains in the north. She saw lots of nooks between boulders, but none of them were bigger than a small cave.
The breeze picked up, and Grintha was blown to the western part of the mountains. She spotted a mountain, slightly bigger than the rest, that she was being blown to, but the breeze died away just barely before she crashed into it. She walked - uh, floated - by herself over to the mountain, and began to climb it. Five minutes later, she found another little nook.
"That's odd, I didn't see it before," she said, "I think I'll see what the inside is like." She walked in, and instead of seeing a small cave like she thought it would be, she saw a long passageway. "Cool, a secret passage!" She said.
Grintha woke up with a jolt. It had been a dream, but what a dream! It was so real... She shook her head. "It was just a dream," she whispered to herself, "there is no town called Bedlam, there is no passageway-" she paused- "how did I know the town was called Bedlam?" she cried, scared. It was getting creepier by the minute - she hadn't seen any signs or papers, but yet she knew the town's name! She looked aimlessly around the room and spotted one of the fairy-tale books on her shelf, The Legend of Bedlam. Grintha sighed settled back down, determined to have dreams about rooms full of gold and jewels, not legendary towns that probably don't even exist.