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Scavenger Hunt

A Missing Person Case Becomes A Game

By Alexandra ZellerPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Scavenger Hunt
Photo by Julia Kadel on Unsplash

Owen went missing in the spring of 2017.

By the summer of 2018, they had dubbed the case cold.

His mom packed up all his belongings. She wrapped them in drab paper boxes, some she labeled, but most were not. I guess she was hoping that we would forget about him.

We designated a corner of the attic to store all of his things, our last attempt at having a "just in case". The police, however, liked to remind us that most people who are alive are found within 72 hours.

It's been four years since Owen went to take Theo for a walk.

At least the cops found Theodore. Poor guy was cold, covered in brambles, but otherwise was found safe roaming the local wildlife refuge. He's been a light in my life, filling the emptiness Owen left behind. Unfortunate that Fido couldn't talk, I wonder what secrets he would have to tell.

I sipped my coffee as winter settled in. The flakes fell outside the window in big clumps. At least the furnace in here keeps us warm. It would be a lonely Christmas, as Owen's mom stopped visiting after the first two Christmases. I guess she had no reason to stop by anymore now that Owen wasn't around. I don't blame her, socializing isn't my cup of tea. Owen was always the better host. He loved to play games, anything from Bananagrams to Monopoly. Occasionally he even dabbled in different culinary endeavors. Owen was the outspoken one, I was always the quiet one.

A delivery guy pulled up, thankfully breaking me from my melancholia. Theo barked incessantly as the man set down a package on the porch. I had to admit I was slightly annoyed, I wasn't expecting any packages and my family knew better than to send me something unexpected. I waited till the driver left before opening the door to retrieve it.

As I pulled the door open, a crisp, perfect-looking package was sitting squarely on my doormat. If it weren't for me being there, I'd think someone was staging it for a photo shoot. It was wrapped in pristine brown paper, with a twine bow holding it all together. The attention to detail was almost like I had wrapped it myself.

Theodore stood at my side as I brought the package in, closing the door behind me with a loud thud. There was no name written, no return address. I turned it over multiple times looking for some sort of identification, there was nothing.

I carefully pulled off the paper, letting the shreds fall to the floor. A milky box now sat in my hands. It was untainted, except for the name "Sophia" scrawled in cursive across the top. Whoever sent this package intended for me to open it.

I sat back down in my chair, carefully placing the box in my lap. Opening the box greeted me with vibrant ruby paper. It stored a filigree-laden note that was sealed with a gold wax stamp. I didn't recognize the seal- it was two ravens flying in opposing directions carrying some sort of fabric.

Sliding my fingers over the seal, I broke it to reveal a letter that was inside. The penmanship is what caught me off guard. It was like they had been taking calligraphy their entire life.

'Sophia Satterfield,

Unfortunately, we must commune in this archaic manner.

You do not know me, but I know you very well. If you value the past, don't look toward the future. Check those boxes you've saved for a rainy day. You may just find a key.

Regards, P.'

Whomever P was, they were sick. Owen had been gone for three years, why on earth did they want me to delve into the boxes that held all the history? All the memories? It was like they wanted me to experience the pain again. It was never knowing what happened, but having to pretend he no longer existed that created the most pain.

Angrily I tossed the note into the roaring fire, trying to ignore the little voice in my head telling me to go upstairs and look. Eventually, after the paper charred and fell to ash, I had to know.

Dust immediately fell as I pulled down the ladder to the attic. Theodore sneezed, inhaling every bit of dust as it fell to my feet. He couldn't leave me alone for more than three seconds.

After a quick brush-off, I climbed into the dimly lit space. It was small, so I had to crouch my way into the furthest corner. Amidst the usual boxes, a new silvery package sat atop the rest. It was a long, slender, rectangular box with a shimmery finish. Much like a jewelry box that would carry a necklace or bracelet. I plucked it from its perch and lifted the lid.

My stomach churned and reviled the contents inside. Vomit covered the floor next to me as I gasped for air. Inside the box lay a finger, at the base an all too familiar ring. Attached to the ring was a tag, tied neatly around it.

'He touched what wasn't his. And you knew. So think, Sophia. What did he see that he wasn't meant to see?

- P'

I knew exactly the touching 'P' was referencing. Owen had dabbled in money laundering early in his career, he was never caught but decided to retire early when he came into an unexpected fortune. I asked about it regularly but he blew it off as luck. Deep down, I knew Owen had gotten into something he shouldn't have. My head was reeling, Owen was clearly alive, but he was in danger. I flipped over the tag, noticing more writing.

'We're going on a scavenger hunt, Sophia. We're going to find out what your husband did together.'

Mystery

About the Creator

Alexandra Zeller

A young adult still trying to find her place in this world.

You can follow me on all my socials!

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    Alexandra ZellerWritten by Alexandra Zeller

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