This is the second part of the mystery story. Please read the first part before this one!
“What was that?” the unknown man asked. Odin held his breath hoping that they would chalk it up to the natural noises of the older building. His tummy started to turn, however, when a snapping noise banged into his ears. Light poured into his pupils making it so Odin could hardly see and the duct angled like the Titanic sinking into the water. He slid forward, his head on a trajectory to acquaint itself with gravity, and no matter how much he tried to find a handhold, he could do no more than scratch at the smooth metal of the duct.
“Sheriff Frey!” Odin heard himself yelling, hoping that the man would keep his head from cracking on the floor. And there he appeared, red as hell and holding his arms out like a dock worker waiting for a fish. In his daze, Odin noted the woman standing behind the Sheriff; her curly red hair swam in front of his eyes causing his tummy to admit defeat. Both he and his blueberry waffles landed in the arms of the Sheriff.
“Oh geez, Odin Ray Jacoby!” The sheriff started, putting Odin onto the ground and shaking out his shirt. “What did I tell you about breaking into places you don’t belong?” Odin blinked through the insulation dust, realized he survived, and then grinned. His hands grabbed the notepad from his pocket, and he licked his pen like he saw them do in the movies.
“Sheriff Frey, what can you tell me about the murder ten years ago?”
“Really? That’s how you’re going to react to this?” The woman named Megan demanded.
“Who are you and what in heaven’s name were you doing in the duct?”
“I’m Odin,” Odin stated.
Megan scoffed, “that clears everything up.”
Sheriff Fray put up a silencing hand, “Officer Wright, let me handle this. Odin is the town journalist. And sometimes he forgets that the rules apply to journalists just as much as the general public.”
“He broke in and listened to confidential matters.” Megan started, her light cadence vanishing.
“Confidential?” Sheriff Frey laughed, “What? That you are going to be a pain in my ass for the next year… the people will catch on. And you can count that as on the record.” He winked at Odin and Odin scribbled the quote into his notepad. “Now, I’m covered in your cookies,”
“I didn’t eat any cookies,” Odin protested.
Ignoring the interruption Frey continued, “which does not make me very pleased son. Also, the stitches in my hand seem to have ripped open, so thanks for that.” He showed Odin the gushing blood coming from his left index finger. “I’ll have to go get it cleaned and sewn back up.” Frey paused and looked around. “I’ll arrest you tomorrow at eight o’clock sharp, and you will return here for your sentence. If I hear you put a pinky out of line between now and then, I will force you to watch ‘The Notebook’ three times and write a five-page analysis on the love story.”
“Aw come on Sheriff, not the notebook.” Odin whined, “My mom makes me watch that, she cries, and it’s so, so annoying.”
“Look at my ceiling.” Frey pointed to the gaping hole. “You and Hank can see your way out, Megan has some cleaning to do.
The woman looked outraged, “Why don’t you make him clean it up?”
“Because I don’t see you as much of a kid person Officer Wright. Odin requires a particular kind of adult interaction, and I need to go to the hospital.” Sheriff Frey turned to the other man in the room, “See ya later Hank. I’ll babysit her until she steps out of line.”
The Sheriff tipped his hat, and Odin followed suit with his Stetson. But as the dismissed parties started to leave Odin paused and turned around, “Tomorrow can you play the siren and put my hands in cuffs?” Sheriff Frey waved Odin out the door.
“Well young man,” the man named Hank said while opening his cruiser, “see that you keep yourself out of trouble.” Odin nodded and put on his best repentant expression, the one he used at school when caught putting glue in Shelly Langford’s hair. For appearances, Odin strolled towards his home until Hank’s car turned the corner. Then, he started towards the town library to consult the best friend he had, the newspaper archives.
It looked like Odin had enough time to make it to the library, on the other side of town, before it started to rain.
He drank the mist with every breath he took, the air so fresh that he could feel it all the way to the bottom of his lungs. The electric air prickled at his skin, and he wished Shelly Langford would cross his path, it was perfect weather for shocking people. The summer thunderstorms restored his belief in magic, a concept that became more hazy with each passing year. When the lightning cracked like a whip, he once again could imagine a magician’s anger. When he arrived at the library, he paused to throw a penny into the fountain, before heading up the stairs.
“Odin, whatever has brought you to the library today?” Mrs. Gardner asked while taking off her reading glasses.
He liked Mrs. Gardner; she often gave him treats, asked him about his stories and acted like a grandmother even though she was only in her thirties. “Some light research in the newspaper room.”
“Aw I see,” said Mrs. Gardner, “are you working on a new story? I didn’t know much had happened around here.”
“Ma’am, I can’t give any information at this time.” Odin tipped his hat in his best Sherriff Frey impersonation and walked himself to the newspaper section of the library.
He could hear Mrs. Gardner get up from her seat and walk towards the staff room; a guaranteed sign that cookies would arrive shortly. Organized by year, the large volumes took up a complete wall; nevertheless, within moments he found the one for 2007. Many times Mrs. Gardner tried to get him to use the computers for his research, but the smell of old papers made him feel like an actual journalist. His fellow colleagues didn’t like the slow death of print, and he stood in solidarity with them. After plopping the volume down on the oak table, he flipped through the pages until he found something.
The Cascadia Gazette
On June 21st a tragedy struck the town of Kinmundy. Susan Campbell, 18, WAS found dead in the woods that surround this typically quiet town. The police are treating the death as a murder due to the unusual circumstances and ask that anyone who knows anything, contact them at the numbers provided. The victim graduated from high school this summer and planned to attend college this fall. Those questioned overwhelmingly called Susan the golden girl of Kinmundy, and no one put a fault to her name. Her boyfriend Jason Stewart, 20, said between tears, “I knew her like no one else did, but I can attest that the shiny exterior went to her very core. She was the love of my life.” We will keep our readers up to date as we get more information, but until then we hope that the town of Kinmundy takes proactive measures to avoid another tragedy.
During his younger years, Paige Campbell was the love of his life. He found it shocking that he never knew about her murdered sister, although it made sense that she wouldn’t advertise such a thing. Luckily his anxiety around talking to Paige had since subsided because he would need to ask her some questions. Finally, he jotted down Jason Stewart as another witness to question, Jason manned the bar at the Redneck most nights of the week. Everyone talked about what a shame it was that Jason didn’t go off to college, and now Odin understood why.
As he continued to look through the book, he found another story that came out a week later, complete with some graphic pictures of the murdered girl. He lugged the book over to the copier and put in the secret code Mrs. Gardner gave to him, so he didn’t need to pay money. Once the final page spat out, he rushed to the door. The picture had given him an idea because he recognized the place of the murder and he wanted to check it out.
“Odin?” Mrs. Gardner’s sweet voice questioned, “are you sure you should go out in that?” She pointed towards the pouring rain, “I have some cookies we could share and discuss your new story.”
“Sorry Mrs. Gardner, but my Mother expects me home, and I want to make her dinner tonight.”
Mrs. Gardner gave the reaction he hoped for, she drew her hands to her chest and her mouth formulated into an ‘o.’ “That is so sweet.” She smiled down at him for a moment, “here take these on the road and be safe. You know you’re my first reporter. I need you for my breaking news.”
“If you insist,” Odin said and grabbed three cookies for the road.