It’s time for chapter 7 of my youth mystery novel, What Was Lost. If you are wondering why I am suddenly writing youth fiction, please read the explanation by clicking here.
Chapter 7 – Wasted
Hannah got home from church on Sunday afternoon feeling refreshed. School was starting up the next day, but she felt prepared. She was looking forward to her new teachers, her new locker, and getting back into the routine of seeing her friends every day. Of course, Milton would only be there at the end of the day. He was home schooled. If she saw him, she only saw him when he came for soccer practice.
Sure enough, the next day after school Hannah happened to see him walking from his car to the practice field.
“Hey Milton,” she called as she waved at him.
He saw her, smiled and waved back. “Good to see you. How’s my hair look?”
“Har har,” Hannah replied. “Are you feeling better? You seemed tired yesterday.”
Milton turned red. Hannah was putting it mildly. Milton had fallen fast asleep during Sunday school, then Hudson had tied his shoelaces together. At the end of class, Milton jerked awake. Hoping no one had noticed, he got up to leave and tripped because of the tied laces. Then he fell into the refreshments table and scattered the leftover donuts across the floor. He still had a mark on his cheek.
“Yes, I’m feeling much better, thank you.” Milton said, trying to keep a straight face. He thought Hannah looked slightly amused, but he couldn’t tell. “I had a… crazy weekend.”
“Crazy weekend?” Hannah inquired curiously.
“Yeah. I, uh, well, yeah, let’s just say it was crazy.” Milton didn’t want to risk embarrassing himself again.
“OK, well you can keep your secrets,” Hannah said.
They were suddenly interrupted by a loud whistle in the direction of the soccer field. It was Hudson. He cupped his hands to his mouth and started chanting, “Milton and Hannah, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I—”
“Hey, lay off, would you?” Milton shouted. He turned back to Hannah, “I should probably go. But I’ll tell you later. It’s nothing special.”
“Ok, see ya,” said Hannah, who also seemed eager to leave.
Milton turned and walked towards a grinning Hudson.
That night, after he got home from soccer practice, Milton headed to his room to text Hannah. She, too, had seen the news reports about the missing semi. Intrigued by Milton’s discovery of the mysterious paper, and by his conversation with the news reporter, Hannah started asking more questions.
“What’s on the back of the receipt?” She asked.
“Something like Amazon, PDL… I can’t remember right now,” Milton replied.
“663?” Hannah texted back.
“Wow, yeah, how did you know?” He asked, amazed. His phone buzzed; Hannah was calling him.
“Milton,” she began in an excited voice, “That’s the license plate number of the semi-truck that disappeared. I saw it on the news this morning. The police were telling people to report any details they might know on the whereabouts of the truck.”
“Really? That’s weird,” Milton replied.
“Weird?” Hannah exclaimed, “It’s down-right crazy! You could have missing clues that help solve, like, a real mystery. This is so cool.”
“Well kind of,” said Milton, “I mean, the news reporter thought it was a waste of time. He said it was probably just some kid pretending.”
“Well I don’t like that reporter,” Hannah retorted. “What does he know, anyway? I mean, does it look like a little boy’s handwriting? And why would a kid bother to gather and write down all those details, anyway?”
“I didn’t realize you were into this kind of stuff,” Milton said, a bit surprised.
“Into it? I love mysteries. My parents gave me the collected stories of Sherlock Holmes for my birthday this year. Oh, this is going to be amazing. What else does the paper say?”
“Um, the note was written on the back of a receipt for some kind of construction company. I think it had an address for a furniture store, along with some other notes.” Milton replied.
“Those are real places Milton. This has to be more than a coincidence. Maybe God wants you to help solve this mystery!”
“Well, I would, only I can’t.” Milton replied nervously.
“What do you mean?” Hannah asked, “You have the clues, so all we need to do is figure them out.”
“Well, about that,” Milton continued.
“You lost the paper?” Hannah asked in an anxious voice.
“Well, I, uh, I threw it away,” Milton confessed.
“You threw it away?” Hannah cried out. “You threw it—Milton! Why would you do that?”
Milton feared yet another a sudden reversal of their relationship status was close at hand. He had to think fast.
“Well, what I meant to say is that I put it in the trash can in my room. Looks like it’s been emptied. Sooooo there’s still a chance it’s in our trash outside. I’ll go check, call you back in a minute.”
Without waiting for her to reply, he hung up the phone and hurried downstairs, out the front door, and opened a gate that led to the side of the house. His parents kept their trash in a large, dark-green bin. Ignoring the putrid smell, Milton flung open the lid and started digging through the bags.
“Let’s see, that was just yesterday, so it should be here on top,” he thought to himself. But the first bag was just garbage from the kitchen—broken egg shells, banana peels, dirty napkins from meals and other garbage. This was not going well. Milton dug through the second bag—nothing. Then the third—nothing again. Nervously, he ripped open the fourth and final bag, the last one at the bottom. After several minutes of frantic searching, he still found nothing. He slumped over the edge of the bin, exhausted and defeated, with his head still inside. Hannah was going to kill him.