FM 18

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I paced up and down the sidewalk outside the precinct, trying desperately to gather my nerves. This was it. “I can do this!” I pepped myself up. I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders, and headed to the police chief’s office. I stood there awkwardly waiting for Chief James to notice I was there. “Sit down, Officer Casey. You’re early.” My eyes grew round. “I’m so sorry, mam.” She shook her head at me. “Stop apologizing. It gets you nowhere. Now, I hear you’re wanting to go into a different field. Homicide.” She glanced up from her files and gazed at me evenly. “It’s not a dog and pony show…are you sure this is what you want?” I cleared my throat. “Yes, mam. I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life.” She seemed satisfied with my answer. “You’ve got it. Congratulations on your promotion.” She extended her hand to me. “Detective Casey.” I smiled widely and shook her hand energetically. “Thank you, mam. I’ll do my best.” She sat back down and flipped through her files once more. “Right. Your partner is transferring in from San Myshuno. You’ll have to show him how things are done around here.” I nodded my head up and down. “I sure will, Chief.” She continued. “He’s to report to your office first thing Monday morning. The name is Gallagher.”

SS 5

12131415

After our meeting with the fortune teller, we parted ways for the evening. Surprisingly, we didn’t hear from Hannah and Aiden again until nearly a week later. There was a knock at the door, then Hannah stood in the middle of our living room wearing a bewildered expression. Her mouth kept trying to form words but nothing would come out. I looked over to her husband. Aiden had made himself comfortable next to Sheldon, pulling out cigars and muttering to himself while shaking his head. “What in the world happened?” I cried irritably. “Elaine, you won’t believe it. Even I’m still in shock.” Hannah said dramatically. “My uncle died.” I put my hand over my mouth. “Oh Hannah, you poor dear.” I wrapped her into a tight hug. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” She patted me on the back and pulled away. “It’s okay, I never even knew him.” She shrugged. “Oh.” I was at a loss for words. “But that’s not what I needed to tell you. He left me everything in his will. His money, his land, his seaside mansion! We’re moving into it this weekend. It’s huge…I think there’s like ten bedrooms. And it’s all ours. Elaine…we’re rich!” I raised my eyebrow. “We?” Hannah grinned at me. “You surely didn’t think I wouldn’t look after my best friends? You and Sheldon mean the world to us. We can’t leave you behind. Sheldon looked up from his cigar, but his face was expressionless. “We’ll definitely think about it. Thank you Hannah.” I told her warmly.

FM 17

1234

I tossed and turned all night watching the minutes on the clock pass. By the time the first rays of morning sun peeked through my blinds, I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to close my eyes. But I had a meeting with the chief of police in four hours. We were going to be discussing my promotion. I jumped up and got dressed. It wasn’t even 6am yet but sleeping was out of the question. “Guess I’ll go for a jog” I muttered to myself, changing my clothes quickly. Fresh air was exactly what I needed. Feeling rejuvenated, I headed into the kitchen for something to drink and found Madison and Dad eating breakfast. “What are you guys doing up so early?” I asked suspiciously. Maddie smiled. “Today is the big day, right?” I grunted and took a big gulp of orange juice. “We just wanted to see you off. Moral support…and all that stuff.” She winked at me. “Much appreciated.” I stuck my tongue out at her. “Somebody sounds nervous.” Dad chimed in. “Maybe a little.” I admitted. “Honey, you have nothing to worry about. They would be crazy not to give you the promotion. You’re a hard worker and very dedicated to the job. You’re gonna be just fine.” I cocked my head to the side and grinned. “I hope you’re right.”

SS 4

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Sheldon interrupted before we could go on any further. “Fortune-tellers…hmph. Nothing but scam artists. Wouldn’t our time be better spent at the cinema?” We walked over to the building to see what was showing, but nothing would be on until that evening. “Looks like our minds have been made up for us.” Hannah said with a giggle. “Let’s go!” We made our way down Main Street and at the very end, the road met dirt. To the left, there was a small clearing with several caravans lined up in the grass. Upon entering the clearing, we noticed a woman standing near the top of the steps of the largest caravan. “Welcome, welcome. I am Sharla. Please come inside.” She spoke in a heavy accent and motioned towards the door. “What is that smell?” I asked once we were all in the small room. “Sandalwood.” Sharla replied with a smile. “Who shall have a reading first?” She looked towards Hannah who could barely contain her excitement. Hannah plopped down into a chair in front of the crystal ball. Aiden leaned in from behind her. “Keep your fingers crossed that she tells us we become rich one day.” He joked quietly. Sheldon closed his eyes and mumbled, “I can’t bear to watch.” I playfully elbowed him in the side. “Just let them have their fun.” I chuckled. “Very well.” He said sourly. The crystal began to glow and Sharla peered into it. “I see great fortune coming in your future.” Hannah gasped and Aiden froze in place. She glanced at the crystal ball again. “Something big will happen tomorrow.”

FM 16

5678

I walked out onto the porch and the door slammed loudly behind me. “Oops.” I said to no one in particular. It was a warm and beautiful summer morning. I basked in the sunlight for a moment before gazing up at the sky. “Hey Mom.” It’s been almost seventeen years since she’s been gone, but most days I still feel her all around me. I sighed and strolled across the street to Dad’s law firm. It was my day off and I needed to find something to do. I peered into the large windows and could see my father and sister typing away at their desks. Guess I was going to sit around and watch them work. I plopped down in a chair in the waiting room and grabbed a magazine to help pass the time. I listened to Madison clack away at her keyboard and Dad argue on the phone with a client. I shook my head and read another sentence before flinging the magazine back onto the coffee table. Sitting at a desk and answering the phone all day seemed mighty boring to me. But the two of them looked perfectly happy. As for me…an office job just wasn’t in the cards. Tomorrow marks my third year on the police force…which means I’m up for a BIG promotion.

SS 3

2345

It was a long time ago but I remember that day well. The circus was in town, and our dear friends, Hannah and Aiden, invited us to go along with them. “Look a carousel!” Hannah squealed grabbing me by the hand and pulling me towards it. “Come on! It’ll be fun!” After the ride, she noticed some games partly hidden by curtains. She pointed at them excitedly and beckoned towards us. I nodded my head and allowed myself to be dragged along once again. Hannah was loud and unruly when she didn’t get her way. Almost like a child. She always needed to be entertained. Aiden was the exact opposite. Quiet and sweet. But somehow, they were perfect for each other. As the day dwindled on, we took a short break to eat. Hannah stretched and scrunched up her nose. “I’m bored.” She whined. “Let’s find something else to do.” Aiden wrapped his arms around her waist. “What do you have in mind, my love?” He asked softly. She perked up and said, “How about a walk? To the dead end in the road? Sometimes fortune-tellers camp out down there.” She said smugly. “Really?” I asked skeptically. But I was intrigued. “Okay fine. Let’s hurry, before it gets dark.”

FM 15

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The Creekside Strangler’s trail led Kolt Gallagher deep into the mountains. We all dared to hope that the sheriff was finally closing in on him…but in reality, it seemed the strangler was always a step ahead. I read in the newspaper that Kolt saved a woman from being abducted but in doing so, the strangler got away yet again. The very last thing I heard about Kolt was that he and his son moved into a cabin in Granite Falls. I think Kolt planned to chase the strangler to end of the world if he had to…

As for Maddie and I…we’re doing okay. Our father quit his job so he could take care of us. So much has changed in just one summer. We miss our mother…but sometimes it feels like she’s still with us. I feel like one good thing came from the tragedies we endured…I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. A police detective.