“I want you to discover the significance of this.” The gray-haired lady pulled a handkerchief from her purse and placed it on the desk.
Detective Edward Brady opened the handkerchief, staring at its contents. “It’s a…rock.” He looked at the elderly woman for explanation.
“I know it’s a rock, detective. What I would like to know is what the rock wants with me.”
Joseph Brady leaned over his mahogany desk. “What makes you think this rock wants something with you?”
Mrs. Cleary lowered her voice. “The rock is haunting me. Every day, I wake up and it’s on the nightstand. I throw it out at night, and every morning, it’s returned. Sometimes I just find it around the house.”
Edward stroked his chin. “What exactly would you like us to do, Mrs. Cleary?”
“Your father said you would be more than happy to assist me with this dilemma.” She laid a bag of coins on the desk.
The two brothers looked at each other and nodded. If their father had sent her, this was not a serious case. Thomas Brady, self-made businessman, only agreed to finance his two sons’ detective agency to keep them away from the family business.
Edward handed the satchel to the lady. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Cleary, but my father was mistaken.”
“I see.” She returned the coins to her purse, with clear disappointment. “Thank you for your time, gentlemen.” When she turned to leave, Edward rushed over to open the door.
“Don’t forget your rock, Mrs. Cleary.” Joseph pointed to the desk.
“Don’t worry.” She turned and smiled. “It’ll find me.”
Edward closed the door. “Poor woman.” He ran a hand through his dark brown hair on his walk back to his desk.
Joseph picked up the morning newspaper, reclining in his chair. “It’s probably some neighborhood kid pulling a prank on her.”
Edward sighed. “Still, it would’ve been nice to have at least one case to solve.”
“Look at this.” His younger brother slapped the front page of the Boston paper. “Lewis and Clark finally left on their Corps of Discovery yesterday. They’re saying August 31, 1803, will go down in history. A hundred dollars says they’ll never see the Pacific Ocean.”
Edward lit a cigar and puffed a ring of circles into the air. “I’ll take that bet. I think Louisiana is going to make these United States very rich.”
Joseph snorted. “Next thing you know we’ll be buying some giant piece of ice from the Arctic.”
While his younger brother flipped through the paper, Edward glanced around the room. Aside from the two beautiful hand-carved desks and chairs, the room showed very little character. A coat rack graced one wall, while a giant mirror enhanced the other. His own desk boasted only a small oil lamp, a gaudy gold clock given to him by his mother, a stationary set, and Mrs. Cleary’s handkerchief. “By the way, what did you do with the rock?”
“Hm?” Joseph was engrossed in the newspaper.
“The haunted rock. Where’d you put it?”
Joseph looked at his brother, annoyed. “I didn’t put it anywhere. It’s right where she left it.” He returned to reading the paper.
“You’re very funny. The haunted rock has disappeared. Ooh. Scary.” Edward rolled his eyes. “Now, seriously. Where did you put it?”
Joseph put down the paper and walked to his brother’s desk. The handkerchief was empty. “I swear, I didn’t touch it.”
Edward frowned. “Perhaps Mrs. Cleary took it.”
The younger sibling shook his head. “That’s impossible. I pointed to it as she left. We would’ve seen her take it.”
Edward walked to the coat rack. “I think we should pay Mrs. Cleary a visit.”
SEE WHAT HAPPENS AND READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT THE BOOK LAUNCH FOR A WORLD OF THEIR OWN ON AUGUST 14, 2010 FROM 11:30 - 2:00 AT SAXBY'S, 72 HORIZON RIDGE PKWY, HENDERSON, NV