Welcome to the second installment of The Nature Trail, the mystery story I wrote in five installments specifically for this week. If you're just joining us today, please take a look at yesterday's post, as it includes all of the rules for the giveaway. Plus, you'll want to read the first part of the story before moving on to this second part, unless you really want to be thoroughly confused!
The Nature Trail (Part Two)
By Amber Stokes
He hadn’t answered. When was the last time Callie had called and Ned hadn’t answered? She couldn’t recall, and the disappointment together with the fear had kept Callie awake most of the night, afraid she would throw up. Maybe she had caught the flu from a co-worker. It was that time of year, right?
In any case, the morning found Callie more nervous than a tree would be in a lightning storm. But as she grabbed a breakfast bar from the cupboard to go along with her cup of milk, the phone rang. Finally. A small smile relaxed her face, and she reached for the phone. “Hello?”
It wasn’t Ned. “Ummm…I…” “Hello?” “The necklace…” Callie stopped breathing for a moment. “What about the necklace?” “It’s yours now. It’s supposed to be yours.” The man sounded uncertain, as if there was more he needed to say. “What? Why? I don’t understand.”
But the man hung up without another word. Why, oh why, didn’t she have caller ID? Not that it would have helped this time. What would she have done with an unknown phone number? The man could have called from anywhere. Frustration surged through her as she unwrapped her breakfast bar, and she bit off a piece with vengeance. The fake food taste didn’t really make her feel any better. Maybe she should have had cereal instead. After finishing her speedy breakfast, Callie decided to go to the post office. She could make it there before she was needed at work. And she was hoping to get a letter from her brother any day now, which would calm her troubled heart for sure. Her brother was always able to make her laugh and let go of her troubles. Five minutes later and Callie was grabbing the mail from her box. Two letters were there, and one was indeed from her brother. Smiling with relief as she got back into her green Honda, she set that one on the passenger seat to savor later. Not seeing a return address written in the upper left hand corner of the other letter, she tore that one open. It was from a woman named Pamela. Callie leaned back into the gray seat, searching her mind for any recognition. Unsuccessful, she finally scanned the letter once. And then again. Words raced through her mind, a veritable windstorm of confusion: The necklace is just the beginning…go to the marsh during your lunch break on Tuesday…await instructions there…he’ll be waiting… What craziness had she stumbled into? And how was it possible for this woman to know that Callie had the necklace—in enough time to send a letter, no less! Who was Pamela, and who would be waiting for her at the marsh? One thing was for sure, Callie didn’t intend to find out. She would rather take her chances staying far away from the whole mess.
Trembling, Callie threw the letter onto the backseat and started the car. She would drive to where she worked at the Foundation and hope that somehow all of this would go away. Maybe Ned would contact her at work. Maybe all of the questions she had would get answered. But most likely, neither of those desires would be fulfilled.
To Be Continued...