The Case of the Marietta Cross- Chapter Four

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final chapter of The Case of the Marietta Cross. For previous chapters, visit

Written by Cynthia L Sperko

Sara was tossing and turning in her sleep. Eyes open, she sat straight up.

Flipping on the lamp on her nightstand, Sara reached for her journal and pen and wrote about the nightmare she had.

“I was on the ground at school…it was dark and I was all alone except for Deputy Adams who was holding me against my will. He told me that I wasn’t going to get away from him and no one was going to help me escape…”

Closing the journal, Sara checked the time and laid back down. But she was unable to fall back asleep. She kept thinking about how close she came to being taken.


“I couldn’t tell my dad anything about who he was. I assumed it was Deputy Adams” Sara told Carly.

Sara and Carly were in her bedroom. Carly listened to Sara as she once again explained what happened to her at school.

“I was so scared…” Sara said.

“I can’t imagine how terrifying it was for you. If only I was at school that day…I would’ve made sure you were on the bus…” Carly replied.

“It’s okay… it’s not your fault…I should’ve went to the funeral…” Sara said.

“Hey, it’s very much understandable why you didn’t go. In fact, when was the last time you left your house?” Carly asked.

“I haven’t…since…that…day…” Sara replied. “Whoever it was is still out there somewhere…my dad even installed a security system…just to be safe…”

“You’re going to be okay, Sara. You are stronger than you know. I hate to have to leave you right now. I have to go to school. Where you should be. And Jackson should be here at any moment. He insists on escorting me to and from school,” Carly said as the front doorbell rang. “Speaking of the devil…”
“About going back to school? I know you’re right. I’m not ready. Tell your bodyguard I said ‘hello’ though. And be careful. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to either one of you or anyone else for that matter” Sara replied.

As Sara went downstairs to the kitchen, the front doorbell rang again. She peeked through the curtains before opening it.

“Hello Quinn…what are you doing here?” Sara asked.

“I can’t stay…I don’t know if you were told, but I’m partly responsible for the theft of the Marietta Cross…I decided to turn myself in…I have to face the judge today…I just wanted to tell you to watch yourself around Principal West…” Quinn replied, walking away and entering a car that was parked along the curb.

“I did what you wanted…are you happy?” Quinn stated, looking at the driver.


Sara thought about what Quinn told her as she ate her lunch.

“What motive would Principal West have? He did rush out of his office before my attempted kidnapping. Where was he when my dad’s deputy was slain?” Sara thought.


“Wow! Three hundred hours of community service? No jail time?” Sara exclaimed.

Sara and her dad were having dinner which consisted of steak on the grill, baked potatoes, and garden salad. Their dinner conversation was about Quinn’s court hearing.

“The judge was lenient due to her age and pleading guilty. Three hundred hours of community service is a lot when you think about it,” Sara’s dad replied.

“I want to help you with the case” Sara said.

“Sara, we talked about this” Sara’s dad replied. “I tell you what. Get caught up on your schoolwork. We’ll discuss you helping me with the research” Sara’s dad replied.

“My schoolwork is done. I turned in all of my assignments via email earlier today” Sara said. “There’s no talking you out of it, is there Sara?” Sara’s dad asked.
“Nope!” Sara answered. “But Quinn stopped by before her hearing. Told me to watch my back around Principal West.”

“Why would he be involved?” Sara’s dad asked.

“I don’t know,” Sara replied. “Do you have any leads?” “No. Not yet” Sara’s dad said.

“So your dad is going to let you assist with the case?” Carly asked via video chat. “Well, he’s going to let me help with the research” Sara replied.
“That’s a good thing, right?” Carly asked.

“It’s a start. I’m returning to school on Monday, too. I’m a little scared” Sara replied.

“It’ll be OK. Jackson and I will be with you. Both of us will make sure nothing bad happens to you” Carly said, yawning. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Get some rest,” Sara said, before disconnecting the call.


The next afternoon Sara made an entry in her journal.

“Someone…a man…pushed me down at the bank…the Marietta Cross was stolen after Quinn disabled the security cameras…the piece of plastic from a pair of eyeglasses…who is the wearer? Principal West? Was he wearing new eyeglasses the other day? Someone wanted to meet up with me to likely take me to who knows where? That same someone made a second attempt…they likely killed Deputy Adams…is Principal West responsible? Quinn could be misleading me about his involvement…who else could it be? And the code…the treasure…”

Sara closed her journal and thought about the night the Marietta Cross was taken. “That man who ran me down…who was he?” Sara thought.
Getting up to stretch her arms and legs, Sara peeked out her bedroom window. “I can’t stay inside all my life…here goes nothing…” Sara said.
From her bedroom window, Quinn saw Sara leave her home and walk towards the Northwest River Trail.

“I’m already in so much trouble…I thought if I turned myself in, I would be free and my sister would be safe, but we’re not…” Quinn thought.


Carly sent Sara a text about meeting her at Molly’s Café. She was concerned when Sara texted her back and said that she was taking a walk.

“I told Sara this morning that she’s braver than she knows…now she’s trying to prove that to herself…” Carly said.

“By doing what?” Jackson asked.

“Taking a walk around town…alone…” Carly replied.

“We should look for her…just to be sure she’s OK…” Jackson replied.


Sara felt uneasy knocking on Ms. Harris’s door. She hoped she was at home. Sara was about to knock again when she heard a commotion from inside. She was relieved when she saw Ms.
Harris at the doorway.

As soon as they were off the bus, Jackson used an app on his phone to track Sara’s location. “It looks like she’s on West Front Street” Jackson said. “Let’s go.”

“Uh…when were you going to tell us about that tracking app?” Carly asked.

“Uh…likely never…” Jackson replied.


Ms. Harris let Sara in. Once inside, Sara briefly looked around.

Over to the left was an office. On the opposite side was the living room. A small hallway led Sara to the kitchen where Ms. Harris was headed.
“Have a seat. I was about to have a cup of tea. Would you like to join me?” Ms. Harris asked.

“Tea sounds amazing. Thank you.” Sara replied, noticing several prescription bottles on the kitchen counter.

“Why don’t you tell me why you’re here?” Ms. Harris asked.

“I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. I’m helping my dad with some research” Sara replied.


While they were walking on Front Street, Jackson had a thought.

“Carly, did Sara ever think that Principal West might be involved in the theft?” Jackson asked. “She said nothing to me about it…” Carly replied.
“Think about it… someone placed a note in Sara’s locker at school…that same someone has her phone number… someone attempted to kidnap her on school grounds…Principal West was unreachable around the time Sara was taken…” Jackson said, facing Carly and placing his hands on her shoulders.

“Gosh…when you say it like that, maybe you’re right…” Carly replied. “Check the app again.” “Sara’s not too far from here” Jackson said.
“I’m going to warn her…I hope we’re not too late…” Carly replied as she pulled out her phone.


Sara was about to take a sip of her tea when she received an incoming text. As she pulled her phone out of her back pocket, it slipped out and fell on the floor. Before Sara could reach for it, someone beat her to it and it wasn’t Ms. Harris.


“Why isn’t she responding? And why is she at Ms. Harris’s place? Oh no…” Carly asked. “Call Sara’s dad. I’m going in” Jackson replied.

Sara’s dad opened a file that was on his desk.
“Blunt force trauma is how Deputy Adams died…” Sara’s dad thought. He was at a loss with the case. Leads were slim and none.
“Principal West has yet to return any of my calls. I need to know his whereabouts during the time Deputy Adams was killed and when my daughter was nearly taken” Sara’s dad thought. “It’s time to issue a warrant for his arrest.”

Just then, his acting deputy entered his office.

“Excuse me sir…I just learned something very interesting…Quinn stopped me as I was leaving Molly’s…she claimed to have seen the white van parked in a garage on Front Street. You’ll never guess who the home owner is” the deputy said.

As Sara’s dad got up, his phone rang.

“Yes Carly…slow down… we’re on our way…” Sara’s dad said.


Sara was forcibly taken to the office. On the desk was the Marietta Cross.
“I just want to go home…” Sara said.
“You’re not going anywhere… don’t even think of escaping…” Sara’s assailant said. Knowing there wasn’t anything she could do at the moment, Sara did her best to stay calm.

Fearing for Sara’s safety, Jackson crouched down low and went to the back of the house. Once there, he peeked inside one of the windows, being very careful not to be seen.

Jackson watched as he saw Sara being pushed harshly in the kitchen.
“I have to find a way inside…” Jackson thought.

Sara’s dad’s police cruiser arrived with no flashing lights or sirens. Opening the car door, he got out of the vehicle and approached Carly.
“Sara didn’t respond to a text. This is her last known location based on an app Jackson installed” Carly said.

“Where’s Jackson?” Sara’s dad asked.
“Doing something very stupid” Carly replied.
“OK…stay in the cruiser until it’s safe” Sara’s dad replied.


Sara was sitting on a chair in the kitchen. Ms. Harris was tying her wrists to the back of her seat. “Just let me go… there’s no reason to keep me here…” Sara said.
“We’ll figure out what to do with you…after we figure out what the code means…” Ms. Harris said, making sure Sara’s hands were bound by the rope.

“Code?” Sara asked as the doorbell rang.

“We found a series of numbers on the Marietta Cross…we’re one step closer to finding the treasure” Ms. Harris replied, leaving the room to answer the front door.

Sara couldn’t believe what she just heard from her once favorite teacher.

“I have to get out of here…” Sara thought. “Why did I venture out on my own?”


Sara was relieved to see Jackson come into the house. “Are you alright?” Jackson asked.
“I will be once I’m untied and out of here…” Sara replied. “Hurry…Ms. Harris and someone staying with her are in on it…she will be back any second…”

“What?” Jackson asked as he quickly began to untie the rope that bound Sara’s wrists. “She has a lot of explaining to do…”

Sara’s wrists were nearly untied when they heard Ms. Harris walk closer. “She’s coming…you need to hide…” Sara said.
The next few seconds went by in a blur.
Seeing Sara’s dad enter the back entrance, Jackson pushed Sara down on the floor and covered her with his body.

Meanwhile, Ms. Harris’s houseguest who was also wearing the broken eyeglasses, pointed a knife at Sara’s dad.

“Give me a reason to use it” Sara’s dad said, advancing and pointing his firearm at the culprit’s forehead.

Raising his hands in the air, and knowing the gig was up, he dropped the knife and surrendered without incident.

The deputy found Ms. Harris walking towards the kitchen.

“Treatments stopped working…my work here is done. Do what you have to do, officer. I haven’t the strength to fight” Ms. Harris said, raising her hands.

The acting deputy placed handcuffs on Ms. Harris and led her outside. “Are the both of you OK?” Sara’s dad asked them.
“We’re fine” Sara replied. “I just want to go home.”


Sara and her friends were in her living room discussing what just happened.

“So Ms. Harris and her nephew Walter were the ones responsible for taking the Marietta Cross, and she’s sick?” Carly asked.

“My dad told me that her nephew confessed to murdering Deputy Adams. He was the one who literally ran into me at the bank the night the Marietta Cross was taken…” Sara replied.

“Well, I’m just grateful that you’re safe. That’s all that matters” Jackson said. “And here we thought that Principal West was involved.”

“I thought that, too” Sara said. “Jackson…Carly…I can’t thank you enough for saving me.” “You’re very welcome” Jackson and Carly replied in unison.
“Ms. Harris was trying to figure out the code. They were nearly one step closer to finding the treasure” Sara said.
“Who cares about that? Let’s just enjoy each other’s company. Tomorrow is another day” Jackson replied.

“You’re right. We’ll finish where she left off at tomorrow” Sara said, grinning.
The end!