The Grey Girl

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Chapter 18: Research

A few days later, Alex was deep in the archives at the main public library branch. He had found records for the house at 3206 Arlington Road. The house had been sold in 1958. Alex found out it was sold after Eldon had died of a heart attack. It took him a while longer to find out what had happened to Sue. She had moved in with her sister after Eldon died. She had died in 1964. It took him a long time to find out what had happened to Charlie. He was only fourteen when Chloe had gone missing. Alex checked through military records, finding Charlie Miller there. He had been wounded in combat a couple of times, but there was nothing about being killed. He also hadn’t returned to town.

“I’m still trying to find out what happened to your brother,” Alex called over his shoulder. Chloe took the death of her parents hard. She knew they must be dead, but it still hurt more than she could have thought possible. Alex tried to comfort her but felt useless in the end. He couldn’t give her news of her brother or hold her while she cried. With nothing else to do, he turned to research.

Charlie had been with the marines in the Pacific. After the war Alex found out that Charlie had remained with the marines but also went to school to become a lawyer. It was during the Korean War that Alex found more information on Charlie. Lieutenant Charlie Miller was attached to the judge advocate general’s office in Seoul starting in 1952. He had an exemplary record as a soldier and as a lawyer.

It was during this time that he represented the prosecution against Colonel Davis, who was accused of destroying a village without orders or evidence of being combative. Alex found that Charlie had been taken off the case due to his knowledge of the Davis family and a police report from 1938. It was a complaint by Edgar against Alex’s grandfather, and it mentioned that Charlie was also involved.

Alex searched for the outcome of the trial. He was not surprised to find all charges against Davis were dropped. All evidence disappeared while all the soldiers who were to testify were killed in an ambush. Alex got lost in tracking Davis until more charges were filed against him in Vietnam in 1967. Again Charlie’s name came up in the JAG office. Alex stared at the picture attached to the article. Charlie showed every one of the years since Korea. Richard Davis showed none. He looked as he had during the first trial. Searching back through records, Alex found Davis had been in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.

Alex looked away from the screen, rubbing his eyes. A small town in France had been completely wiped out. Davis’s unit had been suspected in the killings, but no proof could be collected because the Nazis retook the area briefly. “God, I thought Edgar was a murderous bastard,” Alex sighed. He scrolled down the page. He gagged and spit out his coffee. There was a picture of Richard. Alex opened a new tab, recalling the article from Korea, then another for Vietnam. Richard never changed.

Alex had to find Charlie. He was sure Charlie knew something about how Richard seemed to be involved in horrible atrocities yet never seemed to get convicted and never seemed to age. Continuing to search, Alex was finally able to find Charlie retired to a town sixty miles away. Problem is he’d be like ninety now, Alex thought.

The next day Alex drove the miles and was now looking at an older home in good repair. The wheelchair access was very well built. “He’d been a lawyer; I guess even military lawyers get paid well,” he told the mailbox. Taking in a breath to gather his courage, Alex walked up to the door. Exhaling and not having a clue what to say, he rang the bell.

“May I help you?” A woman with eyes Alex recognized answered the door. She was older, in her sixties, but her intense blue eyes were unmistakable.

“I, uh, hi, my name is Alex Holt, and I—”

“Let me stop you right there,” she interrupted. “I am not buying anything, and you seriously need to work on your delivery.” The door was closing.

Not sure what to do, Alex began to panic. “I am looking for Charlie Miller; is he home?”

“Sorry, you just missed him,” the woman sighed, “by about two years.”

“I came about his sister,” Alex called to the millimeters left of opening.

One of those blue eyes became visible. “What do you know about Cindy?”

“Wait, what? Cindy? No, Chloe is her name.” Alex looked down, scratching his head. Confusion bounced around in his brain. Who was he talking to? He was so distracted, he hadn’t noticed the door was open.

“Have you seen her?” The question caused Alex to pause.

“Yes.” Alex stumbled over his words. “Well, I met Chloe. I mean, well…”

“Dad was sure he saw her.” The woman stood aside to let Alex in. “He named me after her.” She held out a hand to him. “Chloe Zielsky. Please come in.”

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