Let’s Write a Mystery Together Online, Part 4

Here’s the fourth installment of “Let’s Write a Mystery Together Online”. If you haven’t played yet, please jump in and add your inspiration to our collaborative mystery. The more people who play, the more fun it is to write the story. You can find parts 1, 2, and 3 here, so you can catch up on what’s happened in our story. I’ll take up after the last comment on last week’s post.

Julia beamed triumphantly. “It helps because I think I can get Hudson to admit he was there and you weren’t, Aiden.”

“How?” I said.

“Because Hudson and I have sort of been dating.”

Aiden’s jaw flopped loose like mine did.

“And you haven’t told us?” Aiden yelled.

I flung out my arms. “There are way, way too many secrets in this family.”

“We haven’t told anyone,” said Julia. “Even though our family looks respectable, that’s not good enough for a Whittaker. Hudson’s parents wouldn’t want him entangled with someone who might keep him from going on to great things–whatever those are.”

“Hudson was at the beach,” I said. “Text him and see if he’s still there.”

As Julia typed, Aiden said, “If he beat it before the cops came that night, Hudson won’t jeopardize his future to help us.”

Julia stared at her phone. “He’s not all that crazy about the future his parents have planned for him. He’s there.” She slid her phone into her pocket. “Let’s mount up.”

Aiden pulled away first, and Julia and I followed.

We’d just turned onto the main road to the beach when bright blue lights appeared in the rearview mirror.

Julia turned saucer-sized eyes to me. “Do you think they want us or Aiden?”

“Maybe all of us,” I said.

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  1. “What do I do?” Julia asked, eyes wide.

    “You pull over! Have you never seen the news? If you’re getting pulled over, you listen to the cops.”

    Julia obediently pulled over, but to my horror, I saw Aiden’s quickly car picking up speed. “What is he doing?”

    “Just what we need. A chase,” I muttered as the cop walked toward us.

    She turned to me and said, “Do I look innocent?” I nodded as she rolled down her window.

    We heard the officer speak into his radio. “I have one suspect pulled over. The other took off, going north on Highway 14, estimated speed 75 miles per hour. Head him off at the intersection.”

    Julia and I exchanged a freaked out look, and then she turned when the cop addressed her.

    “License and proof of insurance. Were you trespassing on private property?”

    Julia fiddled through her wallet trying to get out her license. She was obviously nervous and not accustomed to getting pulled over. She discreetly angled her head my way. “What’s the insurance thingy?” she whispered to me.

    I dug in the glove box and handed her the proof of insurance. She turned to the cop. “I didn’t know it was trespassing.”

    The officer eyed us both. “You didn’t see the No Trespassing signs?”

    A voice on his radio rapidly spoke, but I definitely heard, “Suspect is fleeing. Reasonable suspicion that he’s the same kid accused of arson at the Kelton Mansion.”

    Julia looked at me with panic in her eyes. “We’re innocent,” I whispered. “Hudson will explain it all.” I didn’t fully believe that Hudson would favor a future with Julia over his perfect valedictorian future, but obviously I didn’t know him like Julia did. Hudson and Julia. Did not see that one coming.

    The officer turned his attention back to us. “The owners have threatened to press charges.”

    Julia shook her head and spluttered, “The owners are our parents.” It’s true. And Julia just told a cop. How long before the whole county knew all the family secrets?

    The officer narrowed his eyes, then studied Julia’s license again. For a very long moment he stared. “So that means you’re not trespassers. Where are you going now?”

    “To the beach to visit my friend Hudson Whittaker.” Julia’s fingers anxiously tapped her steering wheel.

    “Are you at all involved with the driver of the car that was in front of you which fled when I turned on my lights?”

    Julia squeezed her mouth shut. I could see beads of sweat forming on her hairline even though it was only 60 degrees today.

    When the officer raised his eyebrows, she blabbed. “Well, he’s my cousin. Her brother.” She pointed to me. Thanks. “But we don’t know what he’s doing now. Why he drove so fast. We thought he was going to the beach with us.”

    The officer eyed us both and finally said he was going to let us go but he gave us a scripted talk to be very careful about who we hang out with and to let our parents know where we are and what we’re doing.

    When he let us go, Julia turned off the main highway and headed toward the beach.

    “Aren’t we going to check on Aiden?”

    “We don’t have time to check on Aiden. We need Hudson to clear his name as fast as possible. That officer’s nametag had the same last name as Olivia. He’ll hear her dishonest side of the story.”

    Julia parked at the beach and she texted Hudson as we walked. “He isn’t responding. Weird.”

    Or smart, I thought.

    As we approached the part of the beach where Hudson had been earlier, we saw lifeguards and beach goers gathered in a group. One lifeguard appeared to be calling 9-1-1. Hearing shouts, we pushed our way toward the group. Hudson was facing off with Olivia.

    Hudson’s face was red as Olivia said, “And why would you, Mr. Perfect, admit that you were at the drinking party where my brother was killed?”

    Hudson’s mom gasped. Julia walked up to him and slid her hand into his. And just then, Aiden’s hatchback tore a sandy path right onto the beach with about six cops barreling behind.

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