My sister has been missing for nine days. That doesn’t seem like long, unless you know her. We text a couple of times a day and talk twice a week. She lives seven miles away on the other side of the city. I went over to her place this morning and used my key to get into her apartment. Her phone and wallet were gone, but she didn’t pack a bag. Her cat, Matisse wasn’t there. She’d never leave him alone overnight. Wherever she went, she took him with her. And no, she didn’t run off with a guy. Yvonne and her ex, Espen broke up eight months ago.
I called our mother, who’s retired and lives in St. Lucia. Mom said not to worry; that Vonnie is fine. She probably needed a change of scenery. I mentioned to Mom that i could contact Farley Friday, her old boss. She said under no circumstances should i do that.
I called Farley Friday. Right before Mom left for St. Lucia a year and a half ago, i got my hands on her little orange moleskine with her list of Agency contacts and their numbers. I could probably sell this little book for a mint, but i’m going to keep it in my safe hands. If Mom didn’t want anyone to get it, she should have been more careful. She shouldn’t have left it in a safety deposit box. Kind of obvious.
Back to Farley. I called him, and he was surprised to hear from me. I told him Mom gave me his number. He said he’s not concerned about Yvonne. He said, though, that if i’m worried, i can try looking in Thirty Emerald Days One. I’ve never heard of it, but he said it’s close to Portland. It’s in southwest, one left turn off SW Maribel. I’ll stay for a couple of days, make a mini vacay out of it. If i don’t find Yvonne, i’ll use this little gem of a book to contact agents who know Mom. There are many family secrets because of her job. Then it occurs to me that what would be fun is to try to find the Three Fates’ velvet couch. I’d love to have the $400,000 reward. Not that i’m broke. I’m far from it, but the trips i could take! But then i figure i can keep the couch for myself. The Fates will never know.
My phone buzzes with a text. It’s from Espen!
It says, Sabrina, i’ve not heard from Yvonne in six days. Do you know where she is? Worried. Call me.
Six days? I thought they hadn’t talked in months! Yvonne didn’t tell me they were back in touch!
I text him back. I’ve not heard from her either. When did you two get back in touch?
Then i figure it would be better to call him. I can hear his voice and tell whether he’s lying or not. I call the number, but he doesn’t pick up.
I text back. Where are you? Just called.
From him, i’m coming over there.
I feel nervous. Why am i nervous? Because i’ve been left out of the loop again? Can i trust Espen? Can i trust my mother or Farley? What about Yvonne? On a hunch, i flip through Mom’s notebook. Yes. On page seven i see his name, Espen Davidsen. It’s printed in green under Duncan de Seckcee. My heart pounds. I look for Yvonne’s name. I scan every page. No Yvonne Clarke. Well, that’s a relief.
I think quick. I want to be out of here before Espen shows up. What does he want? I pick up the little notebook with the telling names, and i pull my little silver lockbox out of my top desk drawer. I place the book in it, lock it, and put the key on the fob with my apartment key and my car keys. The box goes in my suitcase. Glad i’m already packed. I’m ready to walk out the door, and the doorbell rings. I can’t breathe.
Sabrina! Sabrina it’s Espen! I have to talk to you!
I will not answer the door. The hairs on the back of my neck feel electric. I hear a whisper. It says, Sabrina, go to your hall closet and take your suitcase. Wear a rainjacket.
Again, an urgent knock on the door.
Sabrina! Open up dammit.
I whisper, who are you? Who’s talking to me?
Here on the fireplace mantle. I’m the jaguar.
All righty then, i think. All these secrets have finally driven me over the edge.
I walk over to my mantle and look at my lovely porcelain handpainted jaguar with green amber eyes. He’s eight inches tall and was a gift from my grandmother on my fourteenth birthday. I realize that yes, this is where the voice is coming from.
He says again, go to your closet. You can trust me. You can’t trust Espen. Go to the closet. Close the door. Face the back, and whisper the words, three sapphires and a glass of chardonnay. It will take you to a safe place for a few days.
The banging on my door becomes insistent.
I do what my jaguar says. I don my raincoat and go in my hall closet with my suitcase. I say the words and it starts to sprinkle. It’s raining in my closet. Who knew? I feel a breeze. The knocking on my apartment door stops, or maybe i just can’t hear it anymore. I feel sleepy. I drop into a blue velvet chair that wasn’t here two minutes ago. Apparently, this is going to be some trip!
To Be Continued