Flying Home, Part IV

Part IV

Leigh looked over her sister’s shoulder. “What is this, someone’s idea of a sick joke? Who wrote it?” 

“I don’t know.” 

“No one was here,” Leroy confirmed. “I was in the car right behind you. Could’ve been anyone.”

“I’d rather forget the whole thing and try to get on with the day.” Emily took the note, dropped it into the right hand desk drawer and closed it with a decided slam. She looked up at her boss and her sister. “Let’s get going with this story. From what James told me, there’s nothing extraordinary. A recruit who’d just earned his wings ran into some trouble on a solo flight.”

Leigh nodded. “That’s what I heard, too.” 

“Not much to do yet on this piece,” Leroy said. “But fortunately we have plenty of others. The groundbreaking for the new library is coming up next week and the town council wants us to publicize it beforehand. I need you to interview the head librarian this afternoon, Emily.” 

“Oh, Leigh, I meant to ask you if you’d like to go to the nightclub with James tonight. He invited both of us. Probably asked me out of pity because of the crash, but I thought it might be fun.” 

“Sure,” Leigh said. 

“Mind if I join you ladies?” Leroy asked, running a hand through his short gray hair. “I could use a night off myself.” 

It wasn’t hard for Emily to see that her boss was being a little overprotective due to the note, but she didn’t care. It was sweet. If only she could put the missive out of her mind as much as she had portrayed to the others. It was beckoning from the drawer. 

“That sounds great,” Emily replied. “Apparently Natasha has a new set, which is always interesting.” She sat down and took a sip of coffee from the mug sitting by the phone. 

Leigh turned to her typewriter and rolled a fresh sheet of paper into the machine. “I don’t know how you type so quickly on these, Emily. I hope one day someone will invent an easier way to do it.” 

Emily nearly choked on her coffee. There had been a computer on her desk just the day before. Didn’t Leigh remember? She hadn’t recalled the presence of the smartphone, either. What was happening? 

“Practice, I guess,” Emily said woodenly, lost in confusion. She gave into the urge to reexamine the note, removing it from the drawer and smoothing it out on top of her desk. 

It was impossible to determine from the block lettering whether the handwriting was male or female. The heavy pressure on the pen suggested a male writer, but there could have been other factors she had not considered. Perhaps the writer had been in a hurry, nearly caught by their return. 

One question plagued Emily as she read it again. To whom did the note refer? There was so much mystery surrounding Julian’s disappearance that it all seemed entirely plausible. 

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