Today’s photo prompt is for our collaborative mystery, part 2. If you want to read part 1 of the mystery, click here.
If you are new to this kind of writing prompt, here are the rules:
- I’ll write two or three sentences in the comments to start the next section of the mystery.
- Anyone who wants to may write two or three more sentences.
- Please no graphic content.
- Next week, I’ll take the last sentences in the comments from this week and repeat them as the lead sentence for the next photo prompt.
- By the end of the month, we’ll have a story!
As soon as I stepped closer, I wished I hadn’t. There’s a person in there, no mistaking it. Is she – dead? I scan my surroundings, and not feeling any more endangered with getting a closer look than gawking from back here, I tiptoe to the window. A young lady, breathing, thank the heavens. Wait, isn’t that Geralyn Moss, the would’ve been valedictorian who disappeared last March? And no, I’m not a creeper to recognize her. Her picture has been on every billboard for three counties. For six months. What valedictorian stages her own disappearance? Or who set her up? And what do I do now? Wake her up? Call the cops? My phone rings. Loudly. I scramble to silence it, but the girl, Geralyn, stirs in her sleep and her eyes fly open.
Geralyn leaps from the rust heap of a truck and bolts uphill, dodging wrecks.
“Wait! I won’t hurt you!” I call after her.
She doesn’t even slow her speed.
I start to run after her when I glance in the truck. On the floor is a photo.Torn in half. With a handwritten note. I pick it up.
I grab the photo and note, stuff them in my jacket and look back toward her retreating figure. It must be the photojournalist in me, or maybe the father in me, imagining Geralyn’s parents when they are reunited with their daughter. I run after her, continuously calling her name, letting her know I just want to help. The girl has obviously been living on meager rations of food, and she soon runs out of energy, allowing me to catch up. I find her ducking between a dead tree and another rusty clunker car. “Did somebody hurt you? Your parents, everyone, they’ve been looking for you,” I say between breaths. She shivers.
“You shouldn’t have found me. They could get us all now.” Her eyes are wide.
“Who could get who now?” I want to turn on my voice recorder, take pictures, really interview her, but I’m afraid she’ll bolt again, so I take the casual, concerned adult approach.
“I saw you take the note. It explains as much as I know.” Huh? I retrieve the note from my pocket, taking a discreet glance at the torn picture at the same time. Looks like a break-up. Hormonal teenagers. I hold up the note and read. Oh this is not what I expected.