Written by Cynthia L. Sperko
Editor’s Note: This chapter is the third chapter in the final story of the Marietta Mystery series. Future chapters will appear in upcoming editions of The Marietta Traveler. For past chapters, visit MariettaTraveler.com.
Edwin was pacing back and forth in his bedroom. Mr. Ames’ death had him very concerned.
He sat down at his desk, opened his laptop and clicked on a file. According to the newspaper article, Mr. Ames was a victim of a fatal hit and run. There were no known suspects.
Checking his watch, Edwin got up, packed his laptop in his backpack, and exited his bedroom. He was expected at the Harland residence at half past ten and it was fifteen after.
Carrying a thermal food carrier, Sylvia walked across the street and went inside the Susquehanna Stage Company. After she delivered the multiple pizza boxes at the reception desk, she couldn’t stop herself from entering the theater. Kurt was working on props at the stage.
“So, this is how you’ve been spending your spare time” Sylvia exclaimed.
Kurt looked up and thought back to the first time he met her. He caught her on the stage dreaming about a career in theater. She must have been thinking about the same thing as he noticed her checking out the room once again.
“Production never stops here” Kurt replied as he walked towards her.
“I can’t believe that it was 2 years ago when we met for the first time” Sylvia said.
“Time does fly, doesn’t it?” Kurt replied.
“It sure does” Sylvia answered. “Hey, and ‘Timeflys’ was the start of your mystery.”
“Yes, it was…is that pizza I smell?” Kurt asked.
“Yes, it is. Better get a slice before it gets cold…I should get back anyways… I’m helping with deliveries today” Sylvia answered.
“Then I won’t keep you from your work, Syl” replied Kurt.
Edwin, and Amy’s father were sitting in the living room watching a news video about the tragic end of Winston Ames’ life. The only new piece of information was that Mr. Ames was on his way home from visiting friends at the Senior Apartments in Marietta.
Amy’s father turned the television off and placed the remote on a coffee table.
“Well, I think a visit to the Senior Apartments is necessary. I’ll ask my driver to get the car ready. We’ll leave shortly.”
“Uh…we?” Edwin asked. “Yes, Edwin. You and I.”
Edwin was grateful for the short ride to the apartment complex. Mr. Harland’s driver, Henry, made him nervous and it wasn’t his driving. It was his piercing dark eyes staring at him through the rearview mirror. It made Edwin feel very uneasy.
Relieved to be outside and away from Henry, Edwin followed Mr. Harland inside the building. It was arranged that Winston’s three friends would meet them in the lobby.
The three remaining members of the Civil Renegades stood before them. Each of them introduced themselves and sat down on the sofa.
Once they were comfortably seated, Amy’s father began to question them.
“Thanks for meeting with us today. We would like to offer our condolences for the loss of your friend. I know this is difficult, but could you tell us why he wanted to meet with you?”
“He wanted to patch things up with us” one of the men started to say. Edwin recognized him from the group photo. His name was Earnest.
“Patch things up?” Edwin asked. “How so?”
“Charles and Winston had a falling out years ago. Charles even left the group because of it…it doesn’t matter now, and we told him so…but he kept on saying how sorry he was” Earnest explained.
“What happened?” Edwin asked.
“Both of them were interested in a piece of real estate here in Marietta. Charles confided in Winston, and Winston ended up out-bidding Charles for the property” another member named William said.
“That’s interesting…On another matter, my daughter, Amy, received a package from Winston. Inside was an old map of Marietta, a group photo, and a non-working compass” Mr. Harland said as he passed the evidence bags around. “We’re trying to figure out the importance. Can you shed any light on them for us?”
Earnest explained: “The ruins were the meeting place for us…a hangout. Charles was there, but left before the photo was taken. As for the compass, Charles grabbed it out of Winston’s hands and threw it in anger. That’s likely the reason it’s broken.”
“What building did Mr. Ames purchase?” Edwin asked.
“One we know very well. The building that hosts the Susquehanna Stage Company” Earnest replied.
“That building?” Sylvia whispered to Edwin.
“Apparently so” Edwin answered. “I’m just as surprised as you are.”
Edwin, Kurt, and Sylvia were sitting at a table at Marietta Pizza discussing the meeting.
“Another piece of the puzzle and we have no idea how it all fits” Kurt added.
“I think we should call it a night. It’s getting late. Besides, don’t the two of you have somewhere to go tomorrow?” Edwin asked.
“Career day and it begins at eight in the morning” Sylvia answered.
“It feels like we never left!” Sylvia exclaimed as she and Kurt entered the school gymnasium.
Upon entering the large room, they made their way to the sign-in table. After receiving their information packets they stopped at the Armed Forces kiosk first.
Sylvia saw a compass on a display table and picked it up to examine it. She wasn’t too familiar with compasses, but she knew that the numbers on the outer part helped with getting accurate directions.
Sylvia made a mental note of the southeastern position, which was 140.
“Kurt, when we’re done here, we should take another look at the ruins. I’ll text Edwin to meet us there” Sylvia said.
As arranged, Edwin and his two friends met at the ruins along the Northwest River Trail. Edwin took out the old Marietta map, unfolded it and laid it out in front of them.
“Just as I figured” Sylvia started to say. “It looks like the other ‘X’ is 140 degrees southeast. The hard part will be getting there since it’s off the beaten path.”
“Tell us again why we should follow it at 140 degrees instead of going the easy way?” Edwin asked.
“It’s likely the path that Mr. Ames wants us to follow. Besides, I think the compass is stuck at 140 degrees on purpose” Sylvia answered.
Slowly the teens walked through the debris looking around for clues along the way. When they were halfway there, Edwin stopped to catch his breath and take a drink of water.
“I’m sorry to say that I’m not in shape to do this” Edwin said, breathing heavy. He noticed that Sylvia and Kurt were raring to continue.
“It’s okay, Edwin. I can use a drink of water, anyway” Sylvia said, taking a sip from her water bottle.
“So how was career day?” Edwin asked.
“Fine. I got some good info from a few schools” Sylvia replied.
“Yeah, so did I” answered Kurt.
“Maybe” Sylvia answered. “It’s so hard to decide.”
Leaning against a tree, Edwin felt something sticky on his forearm and took a closer look. Then he opened his backpack, took out a Q-tip and evidence bag.
“It may be nothing, but it could be important” Edwin said as he scraped a sample of the reddish brown substance, sealed the bag, and placed it in his backpack. “Shall we continue?”
They arrived at their destination about twenty minutes later.
“This is the place, but like before, there doesn’t seem to be anything here” Sylvia said.”Unless this is the anything we’re supposed to find” Kurt exclaimed while digging up a partially buried locket. Holding it up with a stick, the same reddish brown substance was on the jewelry piece.
Unknown to Edwin and his friends, in the distance someone was observing them with binoculars.
Stay tuned for the suspenseful final chapter of the Marietta Mysteries series in the next issue of the Marietta Traveler.