Prompt Used: The Mysterious Note
(Approx. 1020 words)
It was a comfortably warm Sunday afternoon.
As a matter of fact it was the kind of comfortably warm Sunday afternoon one would ordinarily enjoy by lounging in a hammock whilst sipping from a glass of cool iced tea. Unfortunately for Duncan Jori, sipping iced tea in a hammock was far from how was actually spending his day.
You see, rather than lounging in the warm afternoon sun like the majority of his neighbors, Duncan was hauling miscellaneous items from within his garage and stacking them rather haphazardly in his driveway. A task that seemed to be entertaining his nearest neighbor Tom Parkins, who had taken it upon himself to keep count of Duncan’s trips in and out of the Garage. Tom sprawled lazily in a lawn chair with a mischievous smirk on his face as he held up a note board upon which was written, in large red dry-erase characters, the number twelve.
Duncan did his best not to look Tom or his sign. He, Duncan, was well aware of how many times he has been in and out of his garage and found Toms goading annoying to say the least.
“He is only doing it because he overheard you arguing with me about cleaning it.” Said a gentle voice from behind Duncan.
The voice, Duncan knew, belonged to the ghost of Jessica his first wife.
“ … But I am glad you decided to do it just the same.”
Hearing her voice, Duncan paused and looked around for the ghost of his second wife, Samantha. If Jessica was here then it was almost a guarantee that Samantha was skulking about somewhere nearby as well. It was a rare occurrence that Samantha would allow Jessica to be in Duncan’s presence alone causing Duncan to wonder who Samantha was actually haunting. Surprisingly however, Samantha was nowhere to been seen.
Duncan paused a moment to wipe his brow with the back of his arm then took a large gulp of water from a glass he had sitting on the hood of his car. He turned away from Tom who had by now erased the large number twelve and replaced it with the words, “You can do it Duncan!”
Duncan kept his back to his neighbor and in a low voice spoke to Jessica who just now faded into view.
“I’m not doing it because you asked me to Jess.” He said as he pulled out a mysterious note from the pocket of his shirt, “I found this behind the water heater last night.”
“What were you doing behind the water heater?” asked Jessica surprised.
“Trying to find what was causing that knocking sound I’ve been hearing the last few days.” Duncan said, “I thought it might have been something going on with the pipes so I crawled behind it to listen. That’s when I found this!”
He handed the note to Jessica, who took it, unfolded it and began reading aloud.
“Left the money in the file cabinet. No time, have to go”
“You’re emptying the garage over this?” She said returning the note.
“Well yeah,” Duncan replied, “The only file cabinet I have is the green one under the workbench there.” He pointed into the garage at the scratched and dented file cabinet which except for the bike that leaned against it, and the lawn dart kit that was stacked on top of it, was the only item left in the garage.
Having decided that he had waited long enough to see exactly how much money had been hidden in the little two drawer file cabinet, Duncan strode forward, placed his hand on the handle of the top drawer, and pulled. The drawer slid open easily.
Duncan and Jessica peered inside only to find the drawer completely empty.
“No worries,” Duncan said unconcerned, “It’s probably in the second drawer.”
He put his hand on the handle to the second drawer and pulled. The drawer didn’t budge.
He tried using both hands and pulled hard, but still the drawer remained stubbornly closed.
Not to be deterred, Duncan dashed out of the garage to the driveway where he left his toolbox, rummaged around inside it for a moment or two, then smiled as he retrieved his crowbar. He returned almost as quickly, stopping just long enough to give Tom Parkins a rude hand gesture before entering the garage once again.
“Do you know who wrote the note?” Jess asked.
“No clue,” said Duncan, who was now squatting in front of the file cabinet with the crowbar, looking for the best place to pry open the drawer.
“So you’re just going to take it a face value then?” Jessica challenged.
“Oh come off it Jess,” Duncan said, though he had to admit that it seemed a little fishy now that he was thinking about it.
Suddenly there garage was full of the sound of a woman laughing.
Duncan and Jessica looked at each other for a moment. Duncan’s face fell, while Jessica wore an expression that simply said “I told you so.”
Dropping the crowbar Duncan came to his feet and faced the ghost of his second wife ,Samantha; who was just now fading into view.
“It took you long enough Duncan dear,” Samantha purred.
“Damn it Sam, why?” he asked, feeling more embarrassed than angry at the moment.
“Well,” Samantha said with a laugh. “After I watched you argue with Jessica about cleaning the garage I decided I would help her out. I knew you would tear the place up if you thought there was money to be found. So I wrote the note and put it behind the water heater, then spent a couple of evenings knocking on the pipes to get your attention. “
Duncan looked accusingly at Jessica who only shrugged, indicating that she had no part in any of this.
“Okay Dear,” Samantha said to Duncan as she gave him pat on his cheek, her ghostly touch sending an icy chill down his spine, “Time to get back to work. You know it will be dark in a couple of hours and you need to but all this stuff back into the garage.”