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The Mysteries of Charming

By Courtney Elayne All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Mystery

Chapter 1

     I straightened the collar on my coat and pulled up my hoodie so that it could block out my face. I had planned this day many times, and of course today of all days it decided to rain. It's like those movie scenes where you see a mysterious figure under the street lamp. It's pouring outside, so you know the person is hunched over in the alley. I always thought the stance was pretty obvious. Yet here I am hunched over, under a street lamp, in the rain.

A car zipped by as I was about to cross the street. Already soaked from head to toe, the extra splash of dirty water didn't really matter much at this point. Of course it’s annoying but when you’re in stealth mode, you just have to adapt. I watched as the tall Latina walked into her office.

From all the surveillance I've done, I knew she'd be back tonight. As soon as she shut the door, I ran across the street and into the side alley by her building. I took off the backpack I'd been wearing, for what seemed like an eternity, and retrieved the box from it. I eased the box down to the spot in front of the door without being seen. I banged on the door, and then bolted. It was so dark down the side alley; I almost tripped over the old guy sleeping there. Checking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't pursued, I walked down the main street and hailed a cab.

Everything was in Ms. Santiago's hands now.

Riley Santiago, Private Investigator, were the words she'd been proud to stick on her new office door. She'd been moving nonstop for 17 years and now she finally had a place she can call her own. Toledo, Ohio is just the place to start her new life and P.I. firm.

She had just arrived into her newly furnished, even if pretty small, office when something banged on the door. She was just about to hang up her jacket but ended up draping it over one of the guest chairs, when she turned to see who was at her door. She grabbed the cold metal of the door handle and yanked it open, a way to startle the stranger, but no one was there. She stepped outside, forgetting it was pouring like crazy, to get a better look to where they ran off to. After checking the side alley she walked back inside guessing that the person was long gone.

"Damn kids." she muttered to herself.

Just as she stepped over the threshold in to her office, she tripped over a box. Riley picked up the medium-sized box and stepped inside. She walked the few feet from her door to the back hall to get a towel, and tossed the box on the table. As she dried her hair, she made a pot of coffee to warm her and keep her up. Paper work wasn't going to write itself. She pulled out a pair of scissors from her desk drawer and sat down.

"Hmm, no address. Return or otherwise,” she said as she looked over the box.

She ran the blade of the scissors across the brown tape and popped open the tabs. In the box were papers, manila folders, an envelope, and a note:

Dear Ms. Riley Santiago,

In this box is evidence that Charles Novak was murdered. I have included: photographs from the autopsy, transcripts from email and phone conversations, bank statements showing large sums of money being deposited from an "unknown" source and contact information for his family. I also added your expenses for the trip and a week of your time. I know this may seem strange that you are getting an unmarked box from a person who must stay anonymous, but the killer must be caught. Novak was a good friend of mine and I want to see him have justice, even if it comes out he was doing something he wasn't supposed to. If in the end you decide to not take this case, just send this box and its contents to his son Quinn.

Thank you for your time.

Sheriff Quinn Novak

152 Summons Rd

Charming, Ohio 45215

In her car a few hours after she got onto the highway, she thought that maybe she should have just sent the box to the son. But the evidence seemed legit, she even made a few calls to a buddy she knew at the FBI to check into the back statements. She wondered why this person didn't just go to the Sheriff. Whatever the case, he had a right to know. That's why she was driving 5 hours to Charming.

This needed to be solved.

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1. Chapter 1
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