The Case of the Marietta Cross- Chapter Two

Written by Cynthia L. Sperko

Editor’s Note: This chapter is part of a series. Future chapters will appear in upcoming editions of The Marietta Traveler. For past chapters, visit

Saturday 11:58 p.m.

Concerned for her friend, Carly caught the Northwest River Trail from New Haven Street and quickly headed for the Gay Street entrance. She was grateful when she saw Jackson running from behind. Stopping him, Carly told him what Sara was planning.

“Oh my gosh, why would she do such a thing? She’s crazier than I thought!” Jackson exclaimed. “Go back to her house. Wait for us there…”

Carly watched as Jackson sprinted down the trail.

“I hope he isn’t too late” Carly thought, watching Jackson disappear in the distance.


Saturday 12:02 p.m.

Sara saw the white van and walked towards it. Keeping her wits, and repeating the out of state license plate number in her head, she approached the opened side door.

Just as she took a step inside the vehicle, Sara felt herself being pulled out of it.

Saturday 12:15 p.m.

Carly waited on the sidewalk in front of Sara’s house. Seeing her best friend coming quickly towards her, Carly ran to Sara and gave her a big hug.

“Oh my gosh, Sara… I’m so glad you’re okay…I was so worried about you…” Carly exclaimed.

Jackson arrived a minute later and sat down on the front porch. Grateful that he pulled Sara out of the van before anything bad happened, he got up and approached the young ladies.

“Sara, I’m sorry for scaring you…I hope you can forgive me…I should go…” Jackson said, walking away from them.

“What was that all about?” Carly asked.

“Nothing. I’m hungry. Want to go to Molly’s?” Sara asked.
“Uh…okay…so you’re not mad at me for telling Jackson what you were doing?” Carly asked.

“No, I’m not. I thought I was simply going to meet with someone along the trail, but it turned into something more…” Sara replied.

“Okay. You know what? I’m hungry too!” Carly said as they both walked a short distance to the eatery.


Later that evening Sara thought back to what happened earlier. She also thought about what Jackson told her.

Apparently, a female friend of Jackson’s was taken right before his eyes. She was found safe, but her ordeal left her with permanent scars.

“It’s no wonder Jackson reacted the way he did” Sara thought.

Sara grabbed her journal and wrote about the out of state license plate number and van details. She also included the smells and van condition. The only thing she couldn’t write about was who the driver was. However, she did remember that the driver was the only person in the vehicle.

And she received a text from him or her.

Closing her diary, Sara pulled out the reference guide she borrowed from the bank. “Let’s see if I can learn more about the Marietta Cross…” Sara thought.


“Morning dad” Sara said, entering the kitchen. “Want a bowl of cereal?”

“No, thank you” Sara’s dad replied. “Jackson stopped by. He mentioned something about a meeting you had with someone along the trail. Do you want to tell me your version?”

“Do I have to?” Sara replied, taking a seat at the table.
“Yes!” Sara’s dad replied.
“Okay…the other night I was on my way to the bank to do history homework. A man rushed out of the building and disappeared out of nowhere…a few days later someone put a note in my locker… someone who claimed to know why the Marietta Cross was taken…I was to tell nobody and meet up with him or her alone along the trail…the meeting place changed last minute…I believe you know the rest, but dad I can give you the license plate number of the van and something else, too…” Sara said, getting up to get the evidence.

Sara came back a minute later and gave her dad the bags with the note and piece of plastic.

“The piece of plastic was found in front of the bank. I was very careful not to put my fingerprints on it. It’s from a pair of eyeglasses” Sara told her dad.

“When were you going to tell me about all of this, Sara? It’s not like you to keep things from me” Sara’s dad said.

“I know. I’m sorry” Sara replied, sitting back down at the table. “If it wasn’t for that man knocking me down, this never would’ve happened.”

“Are you sure you didn’t get a good look at him? Any detail can help” Sara’s dad asked.

Sara nodded her head, got up, and went up to her room. Closing the door, she laid on her bed.


“I can’t believe that I’m actually glad it’s a school day” Sara said, waiting for the bus with Carly and her classmates.

“So how did your dad react when you told him what happened?” Carly asked. “How do you think he reacted?” Sara replied.
“Well, it was dangerous…we could’ve lost you” Carly replied. “What’s your punishment?” “I’m grounded from helping with the case” Sara replied.

It was fourth period which meant Sara had an hour to herself. Entering the school library, she automatically went to the history section.

Once there, Sara reached for a book and pulled it out. Jackson saw her and slowly approached her.

“Hey, Sara. How are you?” Jackson asked.

“Fine, I suppose. Thanks for telling my dad what happened” Sara said, looking at him. “Sara, I did what I thought was right” Jackson replied, following her to a table.
“I know you did. And I told him everything” Sara said. “If you don’t mind, I have to study.”

Once Jackson left, Sara opened the book to the page she was looking for.

Reading a paragraph, Sara now knew why someone wanted the Marietta Cross. In the wrong hands, it could cause more harm than good.

“Somewhere in the town of Marietta is a hidden treasure” Sara thought. “Sorry, Dad. I’m back on the case.”


After school, Sara and Carly spent their time researching the historic town of Marietta. Especially after they learned the jewels on the Marietta Cross held a specific purpose.

“So, each diamond, five in total, is a code of some sort?” Carly asked. “Apparently so” Sara replied.
“A code for what though?” Carly asked.

“A hidden treasure somewhere here, in Marietta” Sara replied. “I read about it earlier today. And for now, mum’s the word.”

“Absolutely!” Carly said. “Sara, please promise me you’ll be more careful. If Jackson didn’t get you out of the van like he did there’s no way of knowing what could’ve happened to you.”

“I promise” Sara replied.


Sara went downstairs to talk to her dad. She was halfway down the steps when there was a knock at the back door.

It was Jackson.

“I hope you don’t mind me stopping by” Sara overheard.
“Not at all son” Sara’s dad replied.
“I’m trying to get Quinn to admit her guilt, but it’s taking more time than I thought it would” Jackson said. “I do believe that she’s guilty of tampering with the security cameras. Quinn is very good with electronics. I know that firsthand.”
“Thanks, Jackson. I know how hard it must be for you. Just know that I appreciate your help. Keep on doing what you’re doing and if at any time it gets to be too much, let me know” Sara’s dad replied.

Sara went back to her room.

“So, Jackson is helping my dad with getting Quinn to admit her part in the theft. Interesting.” Sara thought.


Sara’s dad was in the living room when she came downstairs.
“Hey, Dad, can we talk?” Sara asked.
“Of course” Sara’s dad replied, looking at her.

“I’m sorry for not telling you everything I knew about the case…I still want to help, though…the case has been on my mind…” Sara said.

“Sara, I accept your apology, but you’re still grounded from the case. It’s for your own good.” Sara’s dad replied.

“That’s not fair, Dad. You know I can help. Besides, I’m already involved in it…I need a little fresh air!” Sara exclaimed, grabbing her coat and heading towards the front door.

Once Sara was outside, she walked towards the municipal building. She was surprised to see the lights still on in her dad’s office. He was at home, after all.

Sara saw deputy Adams approaching the exit door. Not wanting him to see her, she hid around the corner. Once he came out of the building, and passed her, Sara followed him.

She was more than surprised to see the infamous white van pull up where he was standing.

Sara accidentally made a loud noise, which made deputy Adams look in her direction. Seeing nowhere to hide, she ran away from him. As she bolted past the Borough office, Sara heard screeching tires in the distance.