Written by Cynthia L Sperko
Editor’s Note: This chapter is the fourth chapter in the final story of the Marietta Mystery series. For past chapters, visit MariettaTraveler.com.
Edwin, Sylvia, and Kurt sat in front of the computer screen watching a video. It was accessed from a small flash drive that was found inside the locket.
The video showed Mr. Ames in a wooded area. Edwin noticed that he looked scared.
“If you are the watcher of this video, I hope that you’ll have better luck with finding the Angel’s Heart than I did. It’s hidden somewhere inside the Presbyterian church that I purchased. Time is of the essence. Someone wants the Angel’s Heart. Someone who will stop at nothing to get it. The only clue I can give you is Pacificus Angelus and this drawing of the jewel. Whatever you do, don’t abandon the ship.”
Edwin played back the video and stopped it at the image of the drawing. “We need to find it before anyone else does” Edwin told his friends.
“Count me in,” Kurt replied.
“Me too,” Sylvia said.
“According to my research the Angel’s Heart was designed for a gentleman’s true love. She tragically passed away before he gave it to her though” Edwin explained.
“So, he hid it in the church?” Sylvia replied.
“And the Angel’s Heart is the reason Mr. Ames died?” Kurt asked.
“Yes. And unfortunately yes,” Edwin replied.
“What did he mean by not abandoning the ship?” Sylvia asked.
“I believe it means to not give up. Keep going,” Edwin replied.
Early the next morning the threesome began their search at the theater.
Prior to their arrival, Claire gave them a piece of her mind. She was concerned about their plan. She didn’t like it one bit.
At least Sylvia convinced Claire not to tell their mom.
Sylvia thought about what her sister said, but she shook those words off. “We’re going to be fine,” Sylvia thought silently.
“Pacificus Angelus is Latin for ‘peaceful angel’. I have no idea how it will help us” Edwin said.
“It can be anywhere,” Sylvia replied. “Kurt, you know this place well. Do you have any ideas where it might be?”
“No, I don’t. Perhaps we should check the prop room first” Kurt replied.
“Good idea” Edwin said as they made their way to the room in question.
Amy and her father were in the dining room when Claire arrived.
“I’m sorry for coming unannounced, but I believe that my sister, Edwin and Kurt are in serious trouble” Claire exclaimed. “I tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn’t listen to me. I didn’t know what to do so I came here.”
“What’s going on?” Mr. Harland asked.
“They’re at the theater searching for the Angel’s Heart” Claire replied.
“How did they learn about the jewel? We just found out about it ourselves” Mr. Harland asked.
“They found a locket. A flash drive was inside. Sylvia told me that Mr. Ames died because of the jewel” Claire replied.
“We need to bring them here” Mr. Harland said as he looked at Amy.
“Why?” Claire asked.
“You’re right, Claire. They are in danger. Thank you for telling us” Mr. Harland said as he got up to leave.
Amy was told to stay with Claire.
The threesome searched the prop room for the Angel’s Heart for several hours. They were discussing what should be done with the fine jewel.
“It should be donated to a museum” Sylvia said.
“No, it should be used as a prop for a show” Kurt replied.
“I have no idea what should be done with it” Edwin said.
“I could use a break.” Sylvia agreed.
Edwin and Sylvia left to use the restroom while Kurt stayed in the prop room.
From inside, Kurt heard running feet approach the door, followed by it being locked.
“Ha-ha, guys. Very funny” Kurt said as he tried to open the door.
Sylvia was on her way back to the prop room when someone placed a smelly rag over her mouth and nose, making her pass out. The last thing she remembered was seeing a tattoo.
Edwin tried to save Sylvia, but he too was overpowered.
Mr. Harland went inside the theater. Walking down the hall and rounding the corner he saw Sylvia and Edwin laying on the floor. Henry was already there and checking on Sylvia. Edwin was awake.
“Are you okay?” Mr. Harland asked as he approached Edwin.
“I think so” Edwin replied, getting up slowly.
“Sir, Sylvia’s out cold. We need to get her out of here” Henry said, pulling his shirt sleeves down and picking her up.
“Kurt’s in the prop room. We can’t leave him here!” Edwin exclaimed.
“We have no choice. He’ll be alright” Henry said.
Once at the Harland residence, Edwin, Amy’s father, and Henry, carrying Sylvia, entered the living room. Claire was by her sister’s side as Henry laid her on the sofa. Amy excused herself to get Sylvia a glass of water. Henry also excused himself.
Her eyes open, Sylvia sat straight up followed by laying back down, pressing her hand against her head.
“Where am I?” Sylvia asked.
“We’re at the Harland residence” Claire replied. “Are you alright?”
“She will be” Amy said as she gave the water glass to Sylvia.
“Thank you” Sylvia said as she took a sip. “Where’s Kurt?”
“We don’t know at the moment” Edwin said, approaching the sofa. “Are you sure you’re OK?”
“I’m fine” Sylvia said remembering what happened. “I was grabbed and… everything went dark. How did we get here?”
“Henry and Mr. Harland” Edwin told her. “Do you know who it was?”
“No. Do you?” Sylvia asked.
“No” Edwin replied.
“I’m sorry, Syl. I came here after you left. I was so worried about what all of you were doing” Claire replied.
Claire hugged her sister. Tears began to fall from her eyes and Sylvia took notice.
“Hey, I’m OK. You did the right thing. What we really need to do is find Kurt” Sylvia said, looking at Claire and wiping the tears away.
“Agreed!” Edwin exclaimed.
“We also need to figure out who wants the Angel’s Heart” Mr. Harland said.
Kurt was sitting on the floor, his back leaning against the wall. He had no idea where his friends were.
Most of what happened was a blur. Kurt was looking around the room when he heard a noise from behind him. He was rendered unconscious by an unknown individual.
He awoke to find his phone and keys gone and an unfamiliar voice at the door telling him to find the Angel’s Heart or his friends would be hurt.
Slowly, Kurt got himself up and started to rummage through the many boxes that lay before him, not knowing if the jewel was even in the room.
Through looking over the numerous clues, it was discovered that Mr. Ames loved to amuse his family and friends with riddles and puzzles. They also learned that he had a grand nephew named Frankie Stone.
“Mr. Harland, do you think that the grand nephew could be a part of this? Looks like he’s been in trouble with the law before” Edwin said as he showed Amy’s father proof.
“It’s possible. We won’t rule him out just yet” Mr. Harland said. “My staff and I questioned Mr. Ame’s friends from the Senior Apartments again. Earnest was an antique collector and has an eye for pieces like the Angel’s Heart. His alibi is being verified. I’ll ask them to check Frankie Stone’s alibi, too.”
“Why am I finding it hard to believe that either one of them would be guilty of something so horrible?” Edwin asked.
“Because you see the good in people. In this line of work, you have to learn to trust your instincts” Mr. Harland said.
As the team continued to work on the case, the housekeeper came in with a tray of sandwiches and drinks, leaving afterwards.
Sylvia got up to excuse herself. Once she was in the hallway, she experienced a flashback.
“The tattoo. I saw a flash of it before…I… everything went black” Sylvia said as she rushed back in the room.
Thinking more clearly, Kurt thought about where the jewel could be hidden.
“If I wanted to hide something of value, I would hide it in something that makes sense to me”
Kurt thought. “If only I knew more about the person who had it designed.”
“It was an anchor…a blue one” Sylvia said.
Amy sketched it as Sylvia described it to her. Then Edwin looked at the drawing.
Edwin searched the social media accounts of their two suspects with his phone.
“Based on the images I’m viewing, it’s hard to tell if either of them have tattoos” Edwin announced.
From a distance, a smartphone rang. Recognizing the sound, the threesome looked up at each other.
“That’s Kurt’s ringtone” Sylvia said as they got up to locate it.
Edwin found it on the kitchen floor. Once the others joined him, Mr. Harland put on a pair of latex gloves and picked it up.
“That’s definitely Kurt’s phone” Edwin said. “It must’ve fallen out of someone’s pocket.”
Kurt reached for a box labeled “Sea Worthy Props”. Once he placed it on the floor, he opened it.
“Come to papa” Kurt said, pulling out an item.
In his hands was a small wooden boat named the “Pacificus Angelus.”
Now all Kurt had to do was figure out where the Angel’s Heart was hiding. And that wouldn’t be easy.
“He isn’t here…he left without any of us noticing” Henry said as he entered the dining room.
“Why would your housekeeper be involved in any of this?” Edwin asked Mr. Harland.
“I don’t have an answer for you” Mr. Harland answered.
“What do we do now?” Edwin asked.
“We go to the theater. It’s likely that there we’ll find Kurt and Benny, my ex-housekeeper” Amy’s father replied.
“I’m going too!” Sylvia exclaimed. She was starting to feel different about Kurt than when they first met. Sylvia didn’t know if Kurt felt the same way about her, though. She just wanted him back and safe.
“OK, but only if you do exactly what you’re told” Mr. Harland said.
Kurt yelled out for the kidnapper to come.
Within a minute, Benny was in the room.
“The Angel’s Heart is hidden inside this boat” Kurt said, holding the object in both of his hands.
“What do you mean it’s in that boat?”
“Just like I said” Kurt replied, handing it to him.
“You better not be playing any games with me, boy. You just better not be…”
Why do you want it so badly, it’s just a jewel?” Kurt asked.
“The jewel is worth more than you think. The diamonds alone are worth millions!” Benny exclaimed.
“So it’s all about greed?” Kurt asked.
“The jewel is my ticket to financial freedom!” Benny exclaimed.
“Why did you hurt Mr. Ames?” Kurt asked.
“He wanted to restore the church back to its glory days. At Charles’ funeral Mr. Ames said if he found the Angel’s Heart he would donate it. I was going to search for it myself, but you kids came along. I followed you so you could lead me to it. The night Winston died I followed him to the Northwest River Trail parking lot near the ruins. I tried to follow him along the trail, but I lost sight of him and went back to my car. I don’t know what he was up to, but I followed him out of the parking lot. When the time was right, I rammed his car off the road,” Benny told Kurt.
Unbeknownst to Benny and Kurt, Mr. Harland, Henry, and Edwin were outside the prop room door. Claire was waiting at home. Sylvia and Amy were waiting outside at the back entrance.
What happened next took a few seconds, but it felt like minutes.
Mr. Harland and Henry charged inside the room and subdued Benny. Edwin ran in, grabbed Kurt and took him out of the room.
Once outside, Sylvia ran to Kurt and hugged him tightly.
“Are you alright?” Sylvia asked Kurt, looking at him. “We were so worried about you…”
“I’m much better now. Feeling grateful that the both of you are OK” Kurt replied looking at Sylvia.
Knowing what would be happening next, Edwin stepped away from them and approached Amy.
As Kurt kissed Sylvia, a commotion could be heard at the back door.
Henry led a handcuffed Benny outside, followed by Mr. Harland who was holding onto the boat. An approaching police officer took Benny away.
Seeing what was going on, Sylvia moved away from Kurt. Then Kurt walked up to Mr. Harland and showed him where the jewel was.
“It’s hiding in a compartment behind the helm” Kurt said, getting the Angel’s Heart out of its location and removing it from a black velvet pouch.
The jewel was a heart shaped pure gold pendant surrounded by angel wings that had rubies, sapphires, and diamonds on them.
“It’s so beautiful!” Sylvia exclaimed.
“What’s going to happen with it?” Edwin asked.
“For starters, it’s evidence. Once the case is complete, the Angel’s Heart will be given to the rightful owner” Mr. Harland replied.
Later that evening, the foursome were sitting on the theater steps discussing the day’s events.
“Solving mysteries is a lot of work. I’ll stick with science,” Claire said.
“Me too” Edwin replied.
“I don’t know…I would like to solve more cases” Sylvia said.
“Hmmm…law enforcement…that could work for me” Kurt replied. “You do know that regardless of what we choose, our lives will never be the same?”
“For now, I choose to live one day at a time” Edwin said.
Edwin watched as Sylvia and Kurt stood up and held each other close. Claire smiled at the couple and walked across the street, then entered Marietta Pizza. Edwin followed Claire and closed the door behind them.
Only time would tell if the foursome’s lives would find themselves in the heart of another “Marietta Mystery”. After all, life itself is an ongoing mystery.