Written by Cynthia L Sperko
( continued from Chapter 1)
The school bell rang for the final class of the day. Within seconds, students filled the
hallways heading to their lockers, the school bus, and to after-school activities.
Sylvia and Kurt quickly walked down the hall and out the front entrance of the high
“Sylvia, what’s the hurry?” asked Kurt, placing his hand on her shoulder to slow her
“My mom is picking me up today,” Sylvia answered. “We’re picking up Claire at the train station. I cannot wait to see her!”
Just then, Edwin approached both of them, slightly out of breath.
“Hey Edwin, are you okay? You’re breathing kind of heavy,” asked Kurt.
“I’m fine. I was trying to catch up to both of you. Should we plan to meet at my house
Saturday evening? We still have to figure out the latest clue,” replied Edwin.
Sylvia answered first. “I’m not sure if I can make it. My mom wants to take Claire and I out for dinner tomorrow. I might be able to stop by afterwards. What about you Kurt?” Sylvia
asked, looking at him.
“I should be able to make it. What a strange clue, too?” replied Kurt.
A honking car horn made all three teens look toward the school parking lot.
“There’s my mom. Talk to you later,” Sylvia said waving them off as she headed to the
Kurt and Edwin watched Sylvia enter the car. As it drove by both of them, she waved
her hand out the window, smiling.
Kurt and Edwin made it on the school bus seconds before the bus driver was pulling
out. They found a seat and discussed the first clue they found at the clock repair shop in
Marietta. Edwin removed the envelope from his backpack and gave it to Kurt. At closer
inspection, Kurt’s name and the clue itself was written calligraphy style. The paper stock
was typical stationery, off white in color. It also smelled like lavender.
“Lord through this hour/ Be thou our guide/ So by thy power/ No foot shall slide.”
“So we’re no closer to solving this clue?” Asked Kurt.
“It appears so,” replied Edwin. “I did a little research in chemistry class. There was a
short blonde strand of hair on the seal, so I looked at it under a microscope. The only
thing I learned was that the strand was dyed and the person might be between 40 – 55
“You learned all that from a strand of hair?” Kurt asked Edwin, looking at him with
“You would be surprised what our hair can tell us. It’s quite interesting when you think
about it. Don’t you think so Kurt?”
“Oh, yeah. It keeps me up at night,” Kurt answered sarcastically. “So, you said person,
and not a female?”
“Yes. Unfortunately, it could be a man or a woman who wrote the note. The strand was
short after all.”
“Well, that rules out my dad. His hair has been gray since I was seven years old.”
Sylvia ushered Claire up the steps to their shared bedroom. She opened the door and
Claire stepped inside and looked around the dwelling. The room was nice and tidy with
both beds made, free from the cardboard boxes and suitcases except for Claire’s rolling
bag that their mom brought up a few moments earlier.
Claire sat down on the bed furthest from the window. Migi, Sylvia’s cat, hopped onto the
bed and rubbed her fur against Claire’s side.
“I know it’s not much Claire, but it’s home. At least for now,” stated Sylvia. “I missed you so much,” she said hugging her sister.
“Really Sylvia? You missed me more than Dana? How is she?”
“Dana is doing well. She’s going to be visiting me later this summer. Maybe the three of
us can do something together.”
Claire got up, approached the window, and peeked out. Then she turned towards her
“That sounds nice, but what is there to do here in Marietta?”
“You might just be surprised, Sis!” Sylvia replied smiling. She filled Claire in on the
strange historic clues, how she met Kurt, and Edwin, and the latest news about her best
Just then, Sylvia’s phone rang. “Speaking of the devil herself…” She said as she looked
at her phone. Picking it up and looking at the LCD screen, Syliva started the
“Hey, girlfriend. Your ears must have been burning just now. What’s up?”
“What’s up? Are you kidding me? We haven’t spoken with each other in two whole
days.” Claire stepped up closer to take a look at the blonde haired girl on screen.
“Claire, you made it home okay!” exclaimed Dana. “How was the train ride?”
“It was fine. Long, though. There was a delay at 30th Street,” answered Claire.
“Those darn delays! Always happens on Fridays it seems. Claire, do you mind if Sylvia
and I have a moment?” asked Dana.
“No, not at all,” Claire responded. “I’ll see if mom needs help with dinner.” Claire closed
the door behind her and put her ear to it to see if she could hear their conversation. “Just mumbles. Oh, well.” Shrugging her shoulders, she went downstairs.
Back in their bedroom, Sylvia spoke with her friend. “We still don’t know who is sending
the weird texts or where the clue came from. It’s so strange. Any ways, enough about
that. Did you ask your parents when you can come visit?”
“Yeah, about that. Remember when I signed up for Fashion Camp last year?”
“Yes. I thought there were no openings though,” replied Sylvia.
“Well, it appears that someone canceled and I’m next in line for the spot. I really, really
want to go, but I miss you too.”
Kurt sat at his desk in his bedroom. He opened the history book to a page that was
folded and started to read the text. Not being able to concentrate, though, he slammed
the book shut and took a pocket notebook out of his book bag. Edwin had got Kurt
into writing important history notes in it. So far, he documented receiving the scrambled
word. He wanted to write what Edwin told him on the bus ride home from school while
the info was still fresh in his mind. Finishing that up, he reopened the history book back
to the folded page. His phone beeped indicating a text. Looking at the words, it was
from the unknown stranger.
“Mind if I ‘Chime’ in? Here’s a hint: The power in an hour will put you in tune, but watch that thy foot doesn’t slide you by noon.”
“What in the world? How is this supposed to help?” Kurt sighed and threw his phone on
his bed in frustration. Then he stood up and pondered a moment. “Do we need to solve
this by noon tomorrow?” he said out loud.
Camera in hand, Sylvia looked at the historic two story building that stood before her.
The Union Meeting House broke ground in 1818 and became a place of worship.
Shared by many religions, the congregations wanted a place where many could share
God’s love, his words, as well as various gatherings.
Sylvia snapped a few photos of the building while she waited for Kurt and Edwin.
A late night three way phone call between the teenage sleuths had them piecing
together the latest text. They decided to meet in the center of historic Marietta to aid
them in solving the first clue with the help from the hint that Kurt received. It made sense to
Edwin that the new hint might be a place of worship. Sylvia didn’t understand it, though.
Both Kurt & Edwin arrived together. Edwin began “Between the historic clock tower and
the Union Meeting House, hopefully we can solve the mystery.” Looking toward the
town clock he continued “It’s fifteen minutes to noon. To be honest, I don’t know why
there’s a rush to solve this puzzle.”
Kurt added “Either way, the sooner we solve this mystery, the better. Maybe we should
go inside. My dad told me that someone rented the Meeting House for a party later
tonight, so it should be open.”
The three approached the side entrance and found it to be unlocked. Entering, the door
closed quickly behind them making a loud noise. The white wall painted room was
plainly decorated with finished hardwood flooring. Tables and chairs were set up for the
gathering happening later.
“What exactly are we looking for here?” Asked Sylvia.
“The word ‘Chime’ likely means something, as well as, power in an hour,” said Edwin.
“How so?” Asked Kurt. “And what about the foot sliding by noon?”
“One step at a time, Kurt,” replied Edwin. “Power in an hour may pertain to a church
service. As for the foot part, I’m not sure. Let’s split up and look around.”
Both Kurt and Sylvia made their way to the upper level while Edwin stayed on the first
floor. Just then, the side door opened. It was Claire. Again, the door slammed shut
making Edwin jump and Sylvia and Kurt approach the choir loft opening.
“Claire, what are you doing here?” asked Sylvia.
“I didn’t mean to scare anyone. I wanted to know what the three of you are doing. Mom
told me you were coming here,” Claire answered. “Besides, I thought I could help.”
“I suppose more heads are better at this point,” said Sylvia. “Okay. Come up here with
me and Kurt.”
Claire did what she was told and observed her sister and Kurt. Her attention was then
drawn to the pipe organ. Approaching the large instrument she placed her right hand on
the keyboard, pushing her index finger on a key. Not realizing the organ was working,
Claire jumped back when she heard the musical sound.
“Claire, what are you doing?” asked her sister. “Nothing, Sis,” she replied walking
Edwin appeared on the second level. “Claire, play that sound again,” Edwin told her.
Sylvia and Kurt looked at Edwin with confusing expressions on their faces. Claire slowly
approached the pipe organ and did what Edwin asked of her.
“I got it!” Edwin exclaimed. “At least I think I do.” Both Sylvia and Kurt were really
confused at this point. “What is it, Edwin?” asked Sylvia.
Edwin approached the pipe organ and motioned Claire to move over. Then he played
the tune from the first clue while repeating the words out loud.
“Lord through this hour/ Be thou our guide/ So by thy power/ No foot shall slide.”
“The chime!” exclaimed Sylvia. Looking at her sister, she continued. “Dad’s clock still
chimes that tune at each hour. I never knew there were lyrics to the chime, though.”
“Yes, there are apparently,” said Edwin. “And the tune is the pipe organ.”
Kurt added “The foot sliding by noon might be the foot petals.”
Looking down at the petals, Claire saw something that caught her eye. Upon picking it
up, she noticed that it was an envelope addressed to Kurt. It had the same calligraphy
writing, and same stationery, as well as a tiny hint of lavender. Claire gave it to Kurt. He
opened it and pulled out a sheet of paper.
“The boots of old may be black, brown, or worn, but the small feat that walked in them
longs to be known.”
“Another puzzle,” said Kurt. “Just as strange as the last one.”
Sylvia added “Look at how the word ‘feat’ is used. Looks like we have another history lesson to figure out.”
Just then, the town clock chimed twelve times.
To be continued in the next issue of the Marietta Traveler!