Marietta Mystery Chapter 3- “The Number Four”

Written by Cynthia L Sperko
Editor’s Note: This work of fiction is part of a series. For past chapters, please visit

Sylvia quickly ran down the steps to answer the front door. Once opened, she stepped outside
and gave her best friend, Dana, a big hug.

“Syl, I’m just as happy to see you, too, but I need to breathe” said Dana

“Sorry” Sylvia said apologetically, and releasing her arms from the blonde haired, young lady.

“It seems like forever since I’ve seen you.”

“Right back at you, best friend.”

Sylvia’s mom and sister appeared at the doorway.

“Hi, Dana” their mom said while holding the door open. “Come on in. I’m sure the two of you have a lot of catching up to do so I fixed up the guest bedroom for Claire who readily agreed to stay in while you’re visiting. Both of you will have the girl’s bedroom to yourselves. I hope you still like chicken parmesan. Dinner should be ready in an hour.”

“That sounds amazing. Thanks so much for letting me stay here” Dana replied.

“No problem, Dana.”

A short time later, Sylvia and Dana were telling each other what was going on in their lives.
Then, Sylvia told Dana about their new mystery.

“So, let me get this straight. Your Aunt Maxine gave you a skeleton key, and a bunch of photos,
all as part of an inheritance?” Dana inquired.

“Well, there’s more to the story than that, but yes. Leave it to our dear aunt to give us an
unsolved mystery.”

“Tell me more about this Jonathan character. Is he good looking? Did he ask you out? Did you
say yes?”
“It isn’t like that, Dana. If anything, we’re friends, but we’re classmates more than anything else” Sylvia answered.

Sylvia wanted to trust Jonathan. After all, her aunt did, but her instincts told her to be careful. At
least she was able to convince him to let her hold onto his skeleton key. All three keys were
placed in the wooden box for safe keeping.

Sylvia pulled out the wooden box from under her bed and showed Dana what was inside.

“Between the rings, skeleton keys and my aunt’s sketch book, l still think that the Railroad
House Inn will help us solve this mystery.”

“You did tell me that she was very fond of the place. But when you searched the room she
stayed in, you found nothing?”

“Yes. And that dream I had…about following the rings…led us to the mantle clock, which we still
have no idea how that factors in.”

“Is that the clock?” Dana asked, getting up from Claire’s bed and walking towards the dresser it
was set on.

“Yes, it is. We asked our mom if we could borrow it.”

“I don’t know too much about clocks, but I know someone at school who might be able to help.
Remind me to text him later.”

“Him? Really; Dana?”

“It’s not like that, Syl.”

“Okay, okay. Anyways, Jonathan told me about the history of the place and apparently spirits
have been known to roam around. A lady named Annie appears to single young men, and other
strange things have happened, too.”

“I read about that on the train ride in. Was your Aunt into ghost hunts and such?” Dana asked.

“Not to my knowledge. She really enjoyed creating artwork there” Sylvia replied.

That night, Sylvia had another dream. She was a child and was sitting on a chair next to her
Aunt Maxine. The room they were in was painted pale pink and the walls had black and white
posters on them. In the middle of the room was a hospital bed. A man wearing a white coat
approached Sylvia, then picked her up and placed her on the bed. She stretched out her arms
in her aunt’s direction, and yelled for her aunt to help but all she did was smile back at her and
reassured her that everything would be okay.

Sylvia awoke to Dana staring at her, looking concerned.

“Syl, are you okay? You were screaming in your sleep” Dana asked.

Before she could answer, her mom and Claire entered the room.

“She was having a bad dream. She seems okay now, but…”

“Mom, Dana’s right. I’m fine” Sylvia said, reassuring everyone.

A short time later, both Sylvia’s mom and sister left the room. Dana wasn’t convinced that her
friend was alright, though, and demanded to know what her nightmare was about.

“Maybe it was a memory that surfaced due to this whole mystery” Dana concluded.
“I suppose you could be right” Sylvia replied while yawning. “Can we discuss this more in the
morning? I am really tired.”

“Okay. But if you scream in your sleep again, I’m sleeping in the guest room.”

The next day Sylvia took Dana on a tour of historic Marietta. She showed her the Susquehanna
Stage company. She also took her to the Old Town Hall, and other historic landmarks.

Needing a break, they stopped at Molly’s Courtyard Cafe. Both Edwin and Kurt were waiting for
them inside.

“Dana, I would like you to meet Edwin and Kurt.”

“The pleasure is all mine” Dana said, reaching out her hand to them.

“So, Dana. What do you think about our small town?” Edwin asked.

“Well, for starters it’s not Manhattan. I can’t believe how quiet it is around here” Dana

“Quiet isn’t the first word I would use” Kurt said, under his breath.

“It’s a nice place to call home” Sylvia added.

“Syl, I thought you couldn’t wait to leave here?” Dana asked.

“I guess I’ve gotten used to quiet living” Sylvia replied.

After Sylvia got up to retrieve their food order Dana quietly told Edwin and Kurt about Sylvia’s

“I’m worried about her” Dana exclaimed. “We need to solve this mystery ASAP.”

“Agreed” the young men replied in unison.

“Agreed to what?” Sylvia asked as she gave Dana her order and sat back down at the table.

“We agree to do all we can to help Claire and you figure out the clues” Dana answered.

“Speaking of, Sylvia, did you bring the keys with you?” Edwin asked.

“Yes, I did” she replied as she removed them from her jeans pocket and set them on the table.

“Did you get in touch with the jeweler?” Sylvia asked Edwin.

“Yes, I did, but I’m afraid there’s nothing new to report, though.”

“So, we’re back at square one” Sylvia replied.

“Maybe not” Kurt added. “Since two keys were needed to find the third key, is it possible that
we need to find an item with three locks?”

The teen sleuths spent the rest of the day going through clues with a fine-toothed comb, but they
were unable to find an item with three locks.

Feeling defeated, Claire, Sylvia, and Dana retreated to their rooms for the night, but not before
thanking Edwin and Kurt for their assistance. They planned on picking up where they left off in
the morning.

Dana laid down on Claire’s bed. “Who knew that solving mysteries could be so exhausting?” she
Sylvia looked at Dana through the dresser mirror while taking off her earrings. Her glance
moved towards the mantle clock that was on the dresser.

“The clock” Sylvia murmured. “We forgot about the clock.”

Dana sat up from the bed and looked quizzically at her best friend.

“What is it?” Dana asked.

“I’m not sure” Sylvia replied, approaching the mysterious clue.

Sylvia took out all three of the keys from her pocket and placed them on the dresser. Feeling
around the clock, Sylvia touched what felt like a keyhole. She inserted the first key and turned it
counter clockwise.

The glass door opened.

Finding another key hole, Sylvia used Jonathan’s key to remove the number board. To her
surprise, all of the numbers appeared to be removable.

Instinctively, she removed the number four and looked at it closely. Then, Sylvia inserted the last
key in a tiny keyhole that she noticed on the backside. When it opened, something small fell
onto the dresser.

“Is this what I think it is?” Sylvia asked, showing Dana what she found.

“Well, if it’s a tiny flash drive, then I would say yes” replied Dana. “But, more importantly, how
did you know to remove the number four?”

“Four rings…the number four just made sense” Sylvia replied.

Stay tuned for the final chapter of the Marietta Mysteries Story #2 in the next edition of the
Marietta Traveler.