Apparitions Anonymous – Group Session [Part Four]

Apparitions Anonymous – Group Session [Part Four]

This month’s short story is brought to you by the Grim Reaper. Each story can be read individually with the final story bringing all the characters together.

These stories are written differently than I normally write stories. The Spirit World is a void, and the characters are nameless, as the Grim Reaper needs to keep confidentiality for the spirits they speak to.

Enjoy a sneak peek into The Grim Reaper Files, and enjoy.

Group Session

As soon as everyone was seated at the table and had their drinks, I sat down at the head of the table. Sitting before me were an old army veteran, a middle-aged woman, and an older woman.

The 73-year-old woman sobbed into the table while the gentleman rubbed her back gently.

The 48-year-old woman watched with a brow raised, sipping her tea.

“Alright,” I said, clearing my throat, “who would like to start?”

The gentleman turned his gaze to me, nodding to the sobbing lady. “Maybe this young woman would like to say something? Um, if she can?”

The bawling lady lifted her head to stare at the gentleman. “You think I’m… young?” she sniffled.

He nodded, grinning sweetly at her.

The other woman rolled her eyes. She leaned forward in her seat putting her coffee down on the table. “I still don’t think I should be here, but I am. Now it’s time to move on.”

I shook my head. “It’s not that simple for most.”

She sighed, leaning back in her seat. “I know. I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but it’s true. Is there anything we can do to go back to life?”

I shook my head again.

“Exactly.”

The older woman sniffled. “Hey, I was sick. I shouldn’t have died from that. The doctors should have made me better, and I should be with my children and grandchildren. I’m too young to be here.”

The other woman glared at her. “And I’m not too young to be here? I’m younger than you, and I was hit by a bus!”

The elderly woman stiffed, sniffling once more. “Oh, my.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” the gentleman replied.

“We never know where life is going to take us.”

“It takes us straight to hell, apparently,” the woman remarked.

Before I could respond, the elderly man spoke up.

“We’re not in hell, we’re in the Afterlife. Our lives are over, this is what comes after. It’s natural.”

I nodded in agreement, putting those words in my back pocket for later.

It was natural. Dying was the next stage of life, much to what most people believed. In the Living World, death is explained as the end, but it’s just another beginning. Those who believe in the Afterlife are afraid of what they’ll lose from their current physical form. It’s still an end to them, even though they’ll still be connected to that part of them.

“But why did I have to come here when my next grandbaby was just born?” the older woman began to sob again.

The middle-aged woman peered sadly into her beverage. “I was supposed to go on a date soon. At least, I think I was going to. I met someone. I don’t know if it was going to go anywhere.”

The gentleman continued to smile at the two. “I’m sorry to hear your life was cut seemingly short right when something good was about to happen. But those can’t be the only good things that happened to you, surely. Life has no end, so if you didn’t arrive at the Afterlife now, you probably would have gotten here before the next big thing happened to you.”

The younger woman nodded. “I guess that’s a good point. In a way, it’s a good thing I’m here now before I found out what could have been with that guy.”

“It could have been heartbreak or happily ever after. Instead of mulling over the unknown, you can be grateful for the things you do know that happened to you in life,” the gentleman explained.

The older woman finally sat up in her chair. “But what good can come from my knowing that my grandbaby won’t know her grandmother?”

“You arrived here after your grandchild was born?” the gentleman asked.

She nodded.

“Then the good thing that came out of it was you got to meet her. She won’t remember, but she’ll see pictures of you holding her. Your children and other grandchildren and tell her, that’s your Grandma.”

She smiled and I noticed her shoulders finally relaxing. “That’s true. I guess you’re right. She’ll get to know me through memories the rest of my family have of me.”

“And,” I added, “you’ll be able to visit them as a spirit whenever you want. You can drop subtle hints to them so they know you’re alright. You’re safe, and you’re watching over them.”

She finally smiled, letting out a sigh of relief.

“That’s right,” the gentleman agreed. “And if there is anyone here who you want to see, you’ll be able to find them here. Or, they might already be back in the Living World with your family.”

“My husband,” she stated. “He passed two years ago. I can find him here?”

“Of course,” I replied.

She relaxed, melting into her chair. She closed her eyes and I could imagine what she was thinking. She looked to be at peace.

I glanced at the clock, which was still green. I knew the gentleman had already accepted being here, so I turned my attention to the middle-aged woman. She downed her coffee like a shot of alcohol before putting it back onto the table with vigor.

“What about you?” the gentleman asked before I had the chance to. At this rate, I was going to be out of a job; he was doing so well.

She looked up noticing all three of us staring at her. She shrugged. “I wasn’t doing much. I wasn’t married, didn’t have kids. Nothing. I thought I had finally met the one in that coffee shop, but now I’ll never know.”

“You must have been busy with other things in life, then,” the gentleman stated. “What sort of things did you accomplish in that time?”

“Accomplish? I didn’t get married or anything.”

“Did you want to?”

“Not really, now that I think about it. But it would have been nice to have someone to grow old with.”

“Yes,” he said, nodding, “but if getting married wasn’t what you truly wanted, you must have been focusing on something else in life. What was it?”

She shrugged. “I worked. All I did was work.”

“What did you do for work?”

“I sold cars.”

“That’s a respectable job.”

She snorted. “It’s not world-changing or anything.”

“Do you think you need to change the world to live?” I questioned.

She cocked her head to the side.

“Do you think your life mattered any less because you didn’t have a world-changing job?” I reworded my question.

“I guess not,” she said, shrugging. “But it’s not like I cured world hunger or anything.”

“Neither did I,” the elderly woman added.

“But you created life. You had a loving family,” the middle-aged woman countered.

“And you gave a handful of people their very first car, I imagine,” the gentleman remarked. “You might not have changed the world, but you changed lives. I’m sure you sold a car to someone who spent ten times getting their driver’s license, so getting a car was a huge deal to them.”

“What about the people who you sold a car to that spent years saving up for?” the elderly woman chimed in. “It might not sound like a lot to you, but I’m sure the people you sold cars to remember you.”

“They drive by the dealership you worked at and proudly say they got their car from you there,” the gentleman stated.

She cracked a small smile. “I did meet some good customers. Being in the car business is tricky because everyone automatically believes you’re trying to scam them. Some of my co-workers had difficult customers, but I rarely did. I guess that means I was good at my job.”

“See? You don’t need to change the entire world to make a difference. You were still important. You had a role in society, and you liked your job, I assume?” I asked.

She nodded.

“We’re all given a certain amount of time in our living forms. What we do with it is up to us. Some of those choices may be considered right or wrong, but it all depends on who you ask.” I looked at the gentleman. “Were you happy with your life?”

“I’m happy with my struggles and how I overcame them. It made me who I was and I’m overall happy with my life,” he replied.

I grinned, turning to the older woman. “Were you happy with your life?”

She smiled proudly. “I had a supportive family growing up and created a beautiful, loving family in my later years. I was content with my life.”

I nodded, still smiling. I looked at the younger woman. “Were you happy with your life?”

She hesitated but then nodded. “You know what? Yeah. I had a good job and was able to live in a good home with a few fun roommates. We all got along and became family. I didn’t have to get married for that. And, no offense to having kids,” she added, glancing at the other woman, “but I was able to save my money on myself and have fun with my friends.”

The clock turned red.

I stood, grinning at each of them. “It sounds like you all lived full, wonderful lives vastly different from each other. That doesn’t make one life worth living more than another, though.”

“And now,” the gentleman added, “we can continue helping others live life and find our purpose in the Afterlife.”

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Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Apparitions Anonymous – Acceptance [Part Three]

Apparitions Anonymous – Acceptance [Part Three]

This month’s short story is brought to you by the Grim Reaper. Each story can be read individually with the final story bringing all the characters together.

These stories are written differently than I normally write stories. The Spirit World is a void, and the characters are nameless, as the Grim Reaper needs to keep confidentiality for the spirits they speak to.

Enjoy a sneak peek into The Grim Reaper Files, and enjoy.

Acceptance

“By the time I had gotten out of the army, I thought my life was over, believe me. I had nowhere to go. I had no one to go back home to. Both my parents had died while I was away, and the house was sold. I didn’t know what to do.”

I sipped my tea, listening intently. The elderly gentleman sitting across from me recounted his previous life in great detail to me. Even during the sad parts, he never stopped smiling.

These types of sessions were my favorites. Not that I preferred one spirit over another, but having these kinds of sessions was refreshing. No one was angry at me. No one was yelling at me, telling them to bring them back to life. No one blamed me for the reason they were dead.

The spirits, like the man before me, were already at peace. Logically, they didn’t need to be here at all. However, some of them enjoyed recounting their life. The memories were still very much alive. I wasn’t sure if they thought they’d forget their previous life over time and wanted to ensure they told as many spirits as possible about the things they did, said, and encountered in their physical forms or if they were boasting.

“I almost came here to see you nearly 35 years ago; did you know that?” he asked.

I shook my head. I had no idea when anyone would show up, and I certainly didn’t know anyone before they became spirits, either.

The old man sighed, still smiling. “It’s true. I didn’t see a will to live anymore. My parents were gone, and I wasn’t there to bury them. My best friend from the army had perished in the war. I had no siblings, and no relatives that were close by. At least, not to my knowledge.”

I sipped my tea some more. His story was similar to those I’ve heard before. Not only was he older, but he already had a foot in the grave once before due to his own hand – or mind, in some cases. So, arriving in their spirit form due to other circumstances and at a much later age was a relief to them.

“I was trying to find an apartment, you know,” he continued. “I didn’t have much money, and despite being a veteran, no one wanted to rent to me. I tried one place, and when I told them my income, they tried denying me. But then, a beautiful woman appeared. She barged into the landlord’s office, out of breath, apologizing to me for being late.”

I grinned as he chuckled, shrugging his shoulders. “I had no idea who she was. She pretended to be my girlfriend, though. You see, she wasn’t able to afford any apartments in the area, either. While she waited for her turn to speak to the landlord, she overheard our conversation. We ended up getting the apartment together by combining our incomes.

“She was my age, so we thought it might be a good idea to be roommates. But, of course, we became much more than that.”

I found myself still smiling. His certainly was one of the more interesting stories I had heard. It was true how life throws odd events our way. One moment, you’re down on your luck, and suddenly, all it takes is one person or one instance to give you the boost you need.

“Before I knew it, I had a family again,” the man stated. “We weren’t lovers, though. We remained friends. The best of friends. She had a wonderful family and lovely friends. I became part of their friend group. Her family accepted me with warm hearts. I’ll never forget it. I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if she and I didn’t get along.”

“In most cases,” I piped up, “everything happens for a reason. We may not know that reasoning for a long time since it usually occurs after a long chain of events. Those events, of course, could be good or bad, depending on your outlook. Regardless, I think if things didn’t work out between the two of you if you weren’t able to share that apartment together, something good still would have come of it.”

The elderly man winked at me, wagging his index finger. “Right, you are! I believe in that, as well. Our choices make a difference, big or small. We’ll always ask the what-ifs, but we’ll never know unless we act. We need to take risks.”

“You and that woman took a big risk.”

He laughed. “The landlord eventually found out about our lie. The only reason he didn’t mind is because we still were able to pay our rent on time. We were clean people. We didn’t make noise. We were neighborly to the others. He didn’t mind the bit of fraud at first as long as he was able to keep his money and his tenants.”

I nodded along as he continued to speak.

Still smiling, the elderly man continued his story. “She died three years ago now. We were no longer living together, of course. She had met a wonderful man, married him, and created a beautiful family with him. A new family that she still allowed me to be part of, mind you. I missed her dearly when she left. But I was happy to help her husband with her children, even though they were grown.”

The clock chimed, turning red. I stood from the table. “I’m terribly sorry to cut you off, but it seems as though we’re out of time for this session.”

“That’s alright,” he replied, standing. He grinned at me, and I could see the pure joy in his gaze. “I am thrilled to have been able to recount many of my life’s moments. Thank you for listening to me.”

“You can come back anytime.”

“I’m not sure if I’ll need to. I lived a wonderful life. A blessed life. I can’t wait to find my friend again in the spirit world.”

I chuckled. “Well, might I suggest finding her family in the physical world? I have a sneaking suspicion she won’t be too far away from them.”

His grin grew. “Even better! I’ll get to see my family again.”

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Apparitions Anonymous – Bargaining [Part Two]

Apparitions Anonymous – Bargaining [Part Two]

This month’s short story is brought to you by the Grim Reaper. Each story can be read individually with the final story bringing all the characters together.

These stories are written differently than I normally write stories. The Spirit World is a void, and the characters are nameless, as the Grim Reaper needs to keep confidentiality for the spirits they speak to.

Enjoy a sneak peek into The Grim Reaper Files, and enjoy.

Bargaining

I made a cup of steaming tea appear in front of the woman sitting across from me and a cup appear before myself. I decided to drink coffee this time. The burning sensation still felt good, and even though the caffeine had zero effect on me, I still liked to believe it made a difference. Some sessions were easier than others.

The woman had her head down on the table, sobbing. She had visited me twice before. The first time, she was in denial. She didn’t think she should be here. It wasn’t her time to go. It got harder for me not to roll my eyes. I couldn’t count the number of spirits who had told me it wasn’t their time to cross over.

What most spirits don’t know is the moment you’re born into a physical form, a clock begins to tick. The clock being much like the one on this black wall. It didn’t measure time in the way we understand it. It measured how much time you had left. No one can see it. No one even knows it’s there. And if they did know it was there, they wouldn’t know how to read it.

Then, the last time she was here, she was angry. Like, really angry. At me.

I had to admit, out of the countless spirits I’ve aided, I think she took the top spot for scaring me the most. And I had dealt with a lot of vengeful spirits before.

Like the many before her, she was angry she was here and not back in the physical world with her children and grandchildren. She was only 73 years old, and her third grandchild had recently been born. She couldn’t believe I had the audacity to take her away from her family so soon.

The problem was I couldn’t control her illness. It was all up to the clock.

Sometimes it was a short amount of years, and sometimes it was long. Even I didn’t know how it worked.

The other problem was that she believed me to be the bad guy since I was the one who took her away from her physical form. It was an old story I heard time and time again, and, as the Grim Reaper, I had to grin and bear it.

For some reason, a rumor started in the physical world that the Grim Reaper, me, caused death. But I had nothing to do with it. I was here to help, and no matter how many times I tried to explain that, I would always be viewed as the bad guy.

Spirits would plead with me, argue with me, to release them back into the physical world. But I wasn’t keeping them here. I had nothing to do with them dying.

As much as I wanted to clear my name, it wasn’t my job to convince the spirits of this. They’d eventually realize, even though the physical world would never understand.

The woman wasn’t much different from the others. She was simply going through the stages of grief. Yes, spirits encountered grief much like they would if they were grieving someone else in their physical form.

First denial, then anger, and now…

“Please,” she begged, her head still on the table. She raised her fist, banging it on the table.

Bargaining. The worst stage.

I could handle denial and, of course, acceptance. I could also handle the yelling of anger and blubbering of depression. But bargaining? There was absolutely nothing I could do. I was powerless, yet the spirits thought I held power within my scythe.

Which was another rumor the physical beings made up – my scythe was supposedly the one who aided me in killing them. It was my “weapon.” But, really, I thought it was cool and mostly used it as a walking stick.

“Have a sip of tea,” I said gently.

She lifted her head enough for me to see the darkening of her eyes as she glared daggers into my soul.

“It’ll help you feel better, I promise,” I coaxed.

She sat up in her chair, staring at the tea. She held onto the mug with both hands, sniffling. “It’s warm.”

I nodded. Some bits of her physical form still lingered so she could feel its warmth. She’d also be able to taste a bit of it.

“Is it poison?” she asked, arching a brow.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. Although, what I really wanted to do was remind her that she was already dead.

She took a sip, making a disgusted face when she put the mug back down on the table.

“You’ll begin to lose your taste buds, which is probably why it tastes a bit funny. But, for now, the effects of the tea will still help you feel calm,” I explained.

She sighed. In a gentle tone, she spoke again, looking at me with pleading eyes. “What can I do to fix this? My grandchildren need their grandmother, and my daughter still needs her mother.”

I shook my head. “I’m sorry, but all I can do is make you feel comfortable here now. Once you get used to the spirit world, there is a way to check in on those left in the physical world.”

“I can speak to them?”

“Not exactly. You can leave subtle hints to let them know you’re around.”

She slouched in her seat. “But what can I do to go back?”

“Nothing,” I replied. Maybe that was a little blunt, but sometimes that was the only way to get through to them.

“Do you see that clock?” I pointed to the giant circle on the wall. I noticed it was already orange, which meant time was running out for this session. “Every person has that inside of them once they’re born into the physical world. Yours turned red. That’s why you’re here.”

The woman stared at the clock and then turned back to me. “Can’t I change it’s batteries?”

“Batteries?”

“Can you recharge it?”

“What?”

“I need to go back to my kids!”

I sighed. “I’m sorry… But that clock is human nature. It has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t even have anything to do with you. No one can reverse time or fast-forward it. We can’t pause it, no matter how much we want to. Once it turns red, that’s it.”

“But how was I supposed to know it was going to turn red soon…?” she sniffled, tears beginning to spill from her eyes now. It seemed as though we were exiting the bargaining stage and entering depression already.

“No one knows when it’s going to turn red,” I explained. “I don’t even know when the clock up there is going to turn. All I know is that it gives us the right amount of time we need. How we choose to spend that time is up to us.”

Before she could say anything else, the clock on the black wall turned red.

“And that’s it for this session,” I said, standing from the table. “Will I see you again?”

She, too, stood, wiping the tears from her face. “When can I come back?”

“Anytime you need to. I’m always here.”

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Apparitions Anonymous – Unsure [Part One]

Apparitions Anonymous – Unsure [Part One]

This month’s short story is brought to you by the Grim Reaper. Each story can be read individually with the final story bringing all the characters together.

These stories are written differently than I normally write stories. The Spirit World is a void, and the characters are nameless, as the Grim Reaper needs to keep confidentiality for the spirits they speak to.

Enjoy a sneak peek into The Grim Reaper Files, and enjoy.

Unsure

“I don’t think I was ready. I had always dreamed about moving away. I wanted to get away from my family for many reasons. But I never wanted it to get to the point that I would never speak to them or see them ever again.” She took a sip of her coffee, sighing. She peered into the mug, frowning. Did she not like the taste? Maybe I had put in too much sugar.

“I had dreams, you know?” she continued, putting her mug down on the table. She let it go, folding her hands together and looking me in the eyes. “Everyone says you shouldn’t take life for granted. Anything can change in an instant. But you never think it’ll ever happen to you, you know?”

I nodded, sipping my own drink. Earl Grey. A touch of milk to cool it a bit. I never wanted to cool it too much, though. I enjoyed the burning sensation on my tongue. The tingling feeling allowed me to feel something. It had been so long, after all.

She chuckled, breaking me out of my thoughts. I stiffened, staring at her, but quickly realized she wasn’t looking at me. She was looking out the window into the void beside us.

“You must hear that speech a lot, huh?” she asked.

“No,” I said, clearing my throat. “Every experience is a unique one. Whatever you have to say to me comes from your heart.”

She frowned again. “What heart? Mine is no longer beating.”

“That may be,” I replied reassuringly, “but your heart is still part of you. Your heart carried your soul for 48 years, allowing you to feel emotions, encounter milestones, love others and yourself, and experience life. Now, your soul carries that heart. It may not beat anymore, but it holds many memories and feelings.”

She smiled. It was a sad smile, but the smile was there all the same. Maybe I was being helpful, maybe I wasn’t. Maybe she was trying to be nice because what else could she do?

There was no going back. She was here to stay, and she knew that. Whether she accepted it or not was up to her.

“You know,” she said, leaning back in her chair, “you’re right. I did experience a lot in life, didn’t I?”

“You absolutely did,” I agreed.

Although, I really had no idea what she experienced in life. This was our first meeting together, and so far, all she’s talked about was how she wasn’t ready to cross over to the other side.

It was a common side effect of separation. I had seen it many times over. Nine times out of ten, the spirit is confused—sometimes angry, but mostly confused and sometimes somber.

Those are the emotions I’d expect to see, so it never really bothered me. I do sometimes feel bad for them. Some days, my caseload is filled to the brim with unexpected cases. I can deal with anger and sadness, but when they’re young and confused about why they’ve crossed over, I feel for them.

Occasionally, I had some cases where the spirit was already at peace. Those were easy. Just last week I helped an elderly woman, 111 years old, cross over. Her relief and joy was almost contagious.

The woman sitting across the table from me now was not so lucky. 48 years old, on her way to work in the rain, and hit by a hydroplaning bus. She never stood a chance. Luckily, it was an instantaneous death. Not that it makes it any easier, but if you’re going to separate from your physical form, it’s best if it’s quick. If there’s no chance of saving yourself, you might as well not be aware you ever had the option in the first place.

She buried her face in her hands. “Ugh, I met someone at the coffee shop just two days ago. I was supposed to call him. Now he’s going to think I’ve ghosted him.”

She let go of her face, her eyes wide, staring sheepishly at me. “I mean… no pun intended, of course.”

“Of course,” I replied gently.

“Was that offensive?”

“Not to me.”

She breathed a sigh of relief, leaning back against her chair once again.

I looked to my right, where a large circle clock hung upon the wall. It had no hands or face. Time didn’t exist where we were. The circular clock glowed orange, though, which meant the session was almost done. Even I wasn’t sure how long the clock lasted. Some sessions seemed to last as long as a snap, while others seemed to last forever – however long forever was.

“It looks as though we should wrap things up now,” I said, pointing my thumb to the large clock.

The woman looked over her shoulder, nodding. “I see. I’m sure you’re very busy.”

I smiled in agreement. The truth was, I was never busy and always busy at the same time. Numerous spirits left their physical forms every second, day and night. The bridge to cross over was always filled. I either had to help the spirits along or I was here, talking to them about what the next chapter for them endured.

“Would you like to come back again soon?” I asked.

She hesitated.

“You can come back whenever you’d like. If you need help figuring out where to go from here, what to do, or if you feel the need to talk things out some more, that’s okay. I’ll be here.”

The woman stood from her chair. She stuck her hand out for me to shake, and I took it without hesitation. Our spirits were physical when they needed to be. The brain was a powerful tool, no matter its form.

“Thank you,” she said politely and left.

There were no doors, and we couldn’t see beyond a certain point even though there were no walls. The farther she walked away, the lighter her spirit became before it disappeared.

I peered into her coffee mug. She barely drank any of it, though that didn’t surprise me. Most spirits were afraid to eat or drink anything shortly after arriving. It was difficult to get used to the non-taste.

I caused it to disappear along with the hot tea I had been drinking. Then, I turned around, facing the large clock that had turned yellow. Someone was waiting, so I let them in.

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Vanilla Latte [Part Five]

Vanilla Latte [Part Five]

March’s short story is brought to you by a random idea I had one day that spiraled into something bigger.

(Yes, this is a sneak peek of “Vanilla Latte.”)

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!

Vanilla Latte (Part Five)

The police station was nothing like Andrea had imagined in her head. Her nerves pestered her the whole car ride, assuming there would be crooks and murderers wandering about. She had pictured burly police officers downing coffee, scratching their heads at seemingly unsolvable cases, or hustling to bust someone at a call.

Instead, the station was quiet. Upon walking inside, Andrea and Katrina were greeted by a uniformed woman sitting behind the front desk. Andrea tried to see what was going on behind the main lobby, but it was difficult to tell.

“Can I help you ladies with something?” the female officer asked.

“Yes, we’re here to see if Josh Hagger is done with his questioning? We’re here to pick him up,” Katrina explained with a calm tone.

Andrea folded her arms together tightly. Her anxiety began to take over again. She felt light-headed, knowing they weren’t supposed to be there. However, if Andrea mentioned that she wanted to wait in the car, she’d feel silly. She knew Katrina would understand, but the reason Andrea was here was to keep Katrina company. She was here to support Josh with Katrina. If she ran away to wait in the car, what good would that do?

“His ride, huh?” the officer repeated quizzically. She clicked a few things using the mouse on the desktop computer, not that Andrea could see what she was doing.

Was Josh not getting released? Did this woman know they were lying? Did Josh already call for a ride? Did he already make it home?

What if the police thought that Andrea, Katrina, and Josh were all in one this murder together? Assuming the customer was, in fact, murdered by the vanilla latte. What if the police were looking for Katrina and Andrea as well? They walked right into the station willingly!

“Are you alright?”

Andrea snapped out of her thoughts, suddenly feeling hot with embarrassment. She felt Katrina’s gentle touch on her shoulder before noticing the officer staring with concern.

“Do you need to sit down? You’re pale,” Katrina said.

Andrea swallowed a lump in her throat while shaking her head. “No, I’m alright. Sorry.”

“Are you sure?” the officer pressed. She pointed to a few seats on the other side of the lobby. “You can go sit over there. There’s a water bubbler, too.”

Andrea cracked a smile at the woman’s generosity, but she shook her head again. However, before she could politely decline again, Katrina began pushing her over to the seats.

“You sit here,” Katrina ordered, pushing Andrea into a chair. “I’m going to get you some water and then find out where Josh is. Don’t move.”

Andrea opened her mouth to protest, but Katrina had walked away to the water bubbler. She didn’t dare move, knowing Katrina would have words with her and she certainly didn’t want to make a scene. Especially not inside the police station.

Katrina came back within moments, handing Andrea a small paper cup of water. “Take deep breaths and drink small sips. I’ll be right back,” Katrina ordered. She turned her back immediately walking back over to the officer behind the main desk.

Andrea, without argument, obeyed. She took a small sip of the cool water, feeling the chill run down her throat. Admittedly, it did make her feel better. The room had stopped spinning too when she sat down.

From this angle, Andrea was able to see what was behind the main desk. She could take a glimpse at the other officers, sitting at their desks. Some seemed to be filling out paperwork, some were talking on the phone, and others were chatting amongst themselves.

Andrea wondered where Josh was in all this bustle of police officers. She knew there were a few floors to the police station, so Josh must have been upstairs somewhere, or maybe even downstairs, if there was a downstairs.

Andrea glanced back to the main desk where Katrina stood chatting with the officer. She sighed, wondering what they were talking about. Was Josh coming out soon and they were waiting? Or was the officer explaining that Josh was being booked for murder?

Even though Andrea knew Katrina needed the company, she had no idea what she was doing here. She wasn’t contributing anything helpful. If anything, Andrea’s boss had to babysit her so she didn’t get sick in the middle of the police station embarrassing them both.

Also, Andrea barely knew Josh. Sure, it sucked that he got called in for questioning, but that wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t even Katrina’s fault. She didn’t know what she was doing here.

“I don’t know,” Andrea said, expressing her thoughts out loud.

“Um, you don’t know what what?”

Andrea jumped, suddenly noticing a tall gray-suited man standing before her.

It was Harvey.

Of course.

“I said, it was fancy meeting you here,” Harvey repeated himself. Andrea hadn’t heard him the first time, let alone seen him sneak up on her.

Andrea sighed, wanting to jump back into bed and hide from the world. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you, I was thinking out loud.”

Harvey pointed to the seat beside Andrea. “Do you mind?”

She did mind, but Andrea shook her head.

Harvey sat down. “Are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

At this moment, Andrea would prefer to meet a ghost.

“I’m fine, just got in over my head for a second, that’s all,” Andrea replied. She glanced back over at Katrina, who was now laughing with the other officer. Andrea snarled to herself, knowing she would get no help from her boss.

Harvey pointed between Andrea and Katrina. “Did someone call you guys in for questioning?”

“No,” Andrea replied curtly.

“Oh, good. I was just going to say, I’m in charge of this case and I don’t recall ever asking someone to get in contacted with you two.”

Andrea looked at Harvey, confused. “You’re in charge of Calvin’s murder?”

“Death,” Harvey corrected gently, “we don’t yet know the cause or if there was any foul play.”

Andrea nodded, suddenly feeling embarrassed.

“So, you came here concerned for your co-worker, is that right?” Harvey asked, a glint of amusement in his eyes.

“Katrina dragged me along,” Andrea replied, deadpanned. “If you don’t suspect foul play, then why call Josh in? Why not me or Katrina?”

Harvey’s expression changed back to neutral, taken aback but the sudden question. “Mr. Hagger was the one who made the drink.”

“So, that automatically makes him a suspect?”

“No, but he might know more about the process, especially since the victim was a regular at the coffee shop.”

“But I was the one who delivered the drink to Calvin, why not call me in for questioning?”

Harvey snickered. “Are you upset that we didn’t?”

Andrea huffed, leaning back into her seat. She took another sip of water.

“Are you assuming we’re questioning Mr. Hagger because we believe he put something in the victim’s drink?” Harvey asked.

Andrea found herself nodding. “All I’m saying is that I’m capable of putting something in someone’s drink, too.”

Harvey pressed his lips together, holding back a grin. “Are you now?”

“Yes,” Andrea replied firmly. She winced at the memory. “I put salt in someone’s coffee once. Katrina was pissed.”

Harvey laughed.

“It’s not funny,” Andrea said defensively. “Well… it’s kind of funny now, but it wasn’t in the moment. The customer never came back, but I’m assuming he didn’t drink the coffee.”

“Why would you ever think to put salt inside someone’s drink?” Harvey questioned.

“He was being a jerk to the other girl I was working with,” Andrea replied. “So, I might have accidentally forgotten which container held the sugar and which container held the salt.”

Harvey laughed again. “Well, then. Now that I know how sinister you are, I guess I should ask. Did you put anything into the victim’s drink when handing it over to him?”

“No!” Andrea replied insulted. “I mean,” she cleared her throat, “no, of course not. Calvin was a regular and he didn’t bother anyone. He was polite and kept to himself.”

Harvey nodded, still grinning. “I see, I see… well, thank you for your time.” He stood up as if he was getting ready to leave.

“Wait,” Andrea grabbed his arm, “I do have something to tell you. Something I remembered last night.”

Harvey’s expression switched back to detective mode, suddenly serious. “What is it?”

“There was another customer, but I don’t know who he was or where he went when Calvin croaked.”

“Croaked…?”

Andrea ignored the detective. “This customer was the one who noticed that Calvin was slumped over in his booth. He was the one who told us about it. We called the police and the cafe became a crime scene and we were all held to get our statements, but I realized, that customer left. I don’t know when he left. He must have run out after announcing that something was wrong. Everyone was so concerned over Calvin that none of us seemed to notice he left. So, you guys are missing a statement from one of the customers.”

Harvey looked around the area, before sitting down again. He took a photo out of his suit jacket pocket, handing it to Andrea. “Is this the guy?”

“Why do you just have that in your pocket?” Andrea asked.

Harvey sighed. “Just answer the question. Was this the other customer?”

Andrea took the photo in her hand. It looked like a screen shot from the security footage at the coffee shop. A man sat at one of the tables in the middle of the cafe with a clear view of Calvin taking a sip of his vanilla latte in the booth beside the table.

“I can’t be sure if this is the guy, but since he was caught on camera, I’m going to assume it was him. I didn’t get a good look at him and forgot about him until last night,” Andrea explained. “He doesn’t have a drink in front of him either, so I don’t even recall what he ordered, if anything at all.”

Harvey took the photo back, putting it into his pocket again. “His name is Declan Kerns, and he’s Calvin Miller’s business partner.”

Andrea’s jaw dropped. “Do you think he…?”

Harvey shook his head. “I’m not saying one thing or another. All I’m saying is that we’ve been looking for him since the incident occurred and we haven’t been able to get a hold of him.”

Andrea hid her shock behind another sip of her water.

“Knowing that he was the one who first noticed Calvin collapsing and then running away from the scene, well…” Harvey’s voice trailed away.

“It’s suspicious?” Andrea suggested.

Harvey sighed. “Mr. Hagger is just about done. One of the officer’s was getting some of his info. He should be out any minute now.”

“So, he’s not being arrested?” Andrea asked, watching Harvey stand up.

Harvey shook his head, buttoning his suit jacket. “Not today.”

Andrea frowned, wondering what that was supposed to mean.

Harvey smiled at her. “Despite the circumstances, it was nice seeing you again. I’m doing everything I can to solve this case so you guys can get the coffee shop reopened as soon as possible, okay?”

Andrea nodded. “Thanks.”

Harvey dipped his head and departed further into the station.

Katrina walked over, sitting down beside Andrea. “Is that Harvey, your sister’s boyfriend?” she asked.

Andrea nodded, taking a sip of water.

“He’s handsome, huh?” Katrina said, watching Harvey turn the corner and out of sight.

“I haven’t noticed,” Andrea replied.

“Oh, please.”

“No, really. He’s dating my older sister, why would I look at him that way?”

Katrina let out an exaggerated sigh. “You’re no fun.”

“Hey,” Andrea said in a hushed tone, “guess what? Harvey showed me a picture from the security cameras at the cafe. The other customer I remember seeing? Apparently, he was Calvin’s business partner. They’ve been trying to find him, but can’t.”

Katrina sat straighter, her attention suddenly sparked. “Really? That’s… unnerving, actually.”

“And also, guess what?” Andrea continued. “Harvey says they don’t suspect foul play, at least not yet, but I noticed, in the picture Harvey showed me, Calvin was drinking his coffee.”

Katrina furrowed her brows in confusion. “So?”

“So,” Andrea began to explain, “that means if foul play was involved, there’s a good chance someone poisoned Calvin’s vanilla latte.”

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

Vanilla Latte [Part Four]

Vanilla Latte [Part Four]

March’s short story is brought to you by a random idea I had one day that spiraled into something bigger.

(Yes, this is a sneak peek of “Vanilla Latte.”)

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!

Vanilla Latte (Part Four)

The following morning, Elle had already left for work. Andrea laid in her bedroom, with the TV on, mindlessly flipping through the channels. Her only plans for today were to go to work, but now that she couldn’t go to work, she had no plans.

She was determined to make it a good day. She hadn’t had a day off in a while. So, despite the circumstances, she wanted to look at the bright side of things.

But she was bored.

Andrea’s channel flipping landed on the news. It was the traffic report and, while Andrea hated watching the news, she never minded watching the traffic. Watching the tiny cars from the helicopter camera was always funny to look at.
Unfortunately, it was the tail-end of the report, so she didn’t see much.

She was just about to flip channels again when the next anchor mentioned the cafe. Andrea sat up in her bed, trying to get a better view of her TV, as if that’d move the camera man showing the coffee shop.

“Yesterday morning, this cozy cafe was the scene of a gruesome murder. In a shocking turn of events, a barista at this coffee shop has been brought in for questioning by the police.”

Andrea scrunched her face in disgust.

Gruesome? The customer passed out, it wasn’t like the guy got stabbed or shot. He could have had a heart attack that no one noticed right away. It might not have been murder at all.

“When one of its patrons received his coffee, he took a sip, and never woke up. Police have brought in the man who made the customer the drink, Josh Hagger for questioning. The victim’s name has not yet been released to the public and no major suspects have been named a this time.”

The news reporter changed subjects immediately and Andrea turned off her TV. No matter where she looked, someone was talking about what happened at the coffee shop yesterday morning.

She sighed. Josh was brought in by police? Was that because they suspected him without calling him a suspect or were they making their rounds?

Was Andrea going to be next?

Rockin’ Robin played on the nightstand beside her. Andrea jumped at her ring tone. She reached out and groaned upon seeing Katrina’s name pop up. She didn’t want to ignore her boss, even though they weren’t working anymore. So, she picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“They’ve arrested Josh!” Katrina shouted.

Andrea winced. “Technically, he’s not arrested. I mean, they only brought him in for questioning. That doesn’t make him a suspect or anything like that.”

“They took all our statements yesterday. They should already know everything we know. Why would they want to question him again if they didn’t think he was a suspect? Besides, if they’re going to call Josh in, are they going to bring me in? You? They even put poor Josh’s picture on the news, but the name of the victim hasn’t been released? It makes no sense.”

Andrea nodded at her boss’s words, even though Katrina couldn’t see her. She had to admit, Katrina had a point. It was odd for them to release Josh’s name and picture when he wasn’t technically considered a suspect.

“What’s this going to do to Josh’s reputation? Even though it’s just an interrogation, people are going to assume he’s a suspect. Whether he did it not, this is how people are going to remember him.” Katrina continued rambling.

Andrea shrugged, picking at a thread on her woven blanket. “I don’t think people will get too caught up in the details like that. We’re a popular coffee shop, sure, but I don’t think anyone is going to hold this against us. Josh made the drink so the police are just being thorough, that’s all.”

Katrina sighed.

Did Josh do something? It was hard to say since Andrea didn’t know him all that well. Still, Josh made the drink but Andrea handed it to the customer. She could have easily done something to the poor man’s drink, not Josh.

She shuddered at the thought of the police suspecting her of murder.

“I’m just so shaken about the whole thing, that’s all. I mean, I always wanted to protect you kids from people trying to rob the the register or even if they were just being rude to you guys because their coffee was too hot or something. I never imagined ever that a man would die in the cafe and we’d get blamed for it.”

Andrea offered a small smile even though Katrina wasn’t in the room. “Again, I don’t think we’re getting blamed for anything. The police are doing their job and they’re trying to be through. They might call in the other customers who were at the cafe when it happened, too.”

“But why put Josh on the news?”

“Because he’s the guinea pig? He’s the first one to go in for interrogation and the media is having a field day with it. You know you can’t trust anything the news says. They’re always making things sound much worse than they really are.”

“You’re right, you’re right… I guess I shouldn’t get so worked up about it. But I feel responsible for Josh, you know?”

“Why? He’s an adult,” I replied.

“Josh’s parents moved out of state. They left him the house, but he’s alone now. He was really worried about being on his own, especially without his parents nearby. I think they moved like, three states over or something. They’re ten hours away or whatever,” Katrina explained.

Andrea nodded. She had no idea about any of this with Josh. Maybe she should have talked to her co-workers more often. “You really are a mama bear to us all, aren’t you?”

Katrina laughed on the other end. “I do my best! Although, I’m doing a bang-up job if my children are getting arrested, huh?”

Andrea chuckled though she didn’t respond. She knew it wasn’t Katrina’s fault that Josh got brought in by the police, but she also knew that no matter what she said, Katrina was still going to blame herself.

“What are you doing today?” Katrina asked, sounding like she was changing the subject.

“Nothing. You?”

“I was thinking about taking a ride to the police station. Do you want to come with me?”

“What? Why are you going there?”

“I want to make sure Josh is alright. He might need a ride home.”

“I assume the police would give him a ride home if he needed one. Or he can take the bus.”

“If you don’t want to come, all you have to do is say so. But I want to be in this together.” Katrina explained.

Andrea sighed. Weren’t they already in this together? They shared the same traumatic event.

“And Josh admires you, it might be nice if you were there for him.” Katrina added.

Andrea raised a brow. “He admires me?”

“Your work ethic.”

“Okay?”

“I mean, he likes working with you, is all.”

“I don’t even talk to him.”

Katrina snickered on the other end. “I think that’s why he likes working with you.”

Andrea sighed. Elle always wondered why Andrea could never get a date. Maybe it was because people preferred it if she didn’t interact with them at all.

“So, what do you say?” Katrina pressed.

“Do I really have a choice?”

Katrina hummed to herself. “Not really.”

Andrea couldn’t help but chuckle at that one. “Alright, give me twenty minutes.”

*

Katrina picked Andrea up from her apartment building roughly thirty minutes after their phone call. The police station was only 15 minutes away from Andrea’s apartment. However, with the city traffic, they knew it would be at least a good 30-minute ride.

“Do you really think the police are going to call in the other customers for questioning?” Katrina asked, continuing their phone conversation.

Andrea peeled her gaze from looking out the window to turning her attention to her boss. “Uh, I don’t know.” She really didn’t know. It was just something she had suggested over the phone to help put Katrina’s mind at ease.

Katrina shook her head, almost as if she were deep in thought with herself, not really hearing anything Andrea said. “I don’t think it would make much sense for the police to question any of the customers. Calvin was a regular, but the customers there yesterday weren’t. Well, except two people. But I never noticed them engage with Calvin or anything, so I double they’d want him dead.”

Andrea chuckled. “And that’s what they call speculation. All of your thoughts would end up in the trash.”

Katrina laughed. “I can’t help but think about the situation though, you know?”

Andrea sighed. “The situation is that a customer died in our coffee shop. It’s sad, of course, but it happened. People need to realize that the police are trying to figure out how he died and, for some reason, because the police are involved, everyone assumes that it was murder. But Calvin might have just… I don’t know. Had a heart attack or something? It might have been weird timing for the rest of us. And for him too, I guess.”

Katrina nodded, while inching forward in the traffic. “You bring up good points. I never really thought of it that way before. The news even said murder though, so that’s why I have it wrapped up in the head. That’s why I’m annoyed the media called Josh out like that. Even if it’s not murder, people are now going to brand Josh as a murderer.”

“Do people really have that must time on their hands?”

“Have you ever watched those true crime internet videos? The ones where regular people try to solve decade-old crimes?”

Andrea sighed, turning her head to face the window again. She should have stayed in bed.

“Although, speaking of the customers,” Katrina continued.

“We weren’t talking about the customers anymore,” Andrea stated.

“I wonder how they’re all doing? I have no way to get in touch with them, of course, and I don’t know any of them personally, but I do hope they’re all right,” Katrina said, beginning to ramble again. “I remember all their faces, so when the coffee shop is ready to be open again, and they all come in, remind me that their next coffee is on the house.”

Andrea cracked a small smile. “Sure, I’ll try to remember to remind you.”

“Thank you.”

Andrea gazed back out the window again. She wondered when the coffee shop was going to reopen, if it was ever going to reopen. Crime scenes took a long time to clear. When it did, Calvin’s death probably still wouldn’t be solved, so would people even want to come back to the cafe? Especially if they thought one of the drinks killed a man?

The coffee shop might be over and all they had to cling onto was hope.

“You know all the customers’ faces?” Andrea broke the silence again.

Katrina nodded. “I try to, at least. I may not remember all their names, but being a cafe, we get a lot of regulars. I try to remember so that we’re more personable, more friendly, more welcoming. You know, basic hosting shit.”

“Sure, sure,” Andrea agreed, although she never really tried to get to know any of the customers. She remembered some of them because they came in so often, but that was it. She never treated anyone differently.

“Anyway,” she continued, “do you remember how many customers there were in the cafe when Calvin?”

“Five,” Katrina replied with confidence. “Three women, two men. They were all shoved into the corner booth by the front door when Calvin keeled over, remember?”

Andrea nodded. “I do, but what about before Calvin… uh, keeled over?”

Katrina furrowed her brows, thinking. “I’m pretty sure it was still five. Well, six, if you include Calvin.”

“You don’t remember seeing another man?”

“Not that I can recall. Then again, I was in the back a lot taking inventory and restocking some things. Why do you ask?”

“No reason.”

Katrina scoffed, briefly glancing at Andrea. “Of course there’s a reason. Why else would you ask? What’s the reason? Was there someone else there?”

“I think so?”

“You think so.”

Andrea shrugged. “It’s hard to remember, honestly. Everything that happened yesterday morning is a bit of a blue and I’ve been trying to forget it.”

Katrina sighed. “Listen, Andrea, we all went through something strange yesterday. But we’re going to get through it together and you know how we’re going to do that? We’re going to talk about it and not forget it. It happened, it’s part of our story now. We were there to witness the end of Calvin’s life and, as tragic as it is, no matter what happened to him, we can’t simply forget it. We need to honor him by pushing through our own anxieties about it. Calvin deserves that.”

Andrea let a small groan escape her lips, as if she were being lectured by her mother. “We didn’t even know him. How can we honor him?” She had no idea what Calvin did or didn’t deserve.

Katrina frowned at Andrea. “Thousands of people die every day. You don’t hear about 95% of them but you do hear about someone from the news or some interview video. They’re strangers to you, yes, but does that make their life any less valuable?”

Andrea shook her head.

“No, exactly. Just because it doesn’t affect you personally, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t forget,” Katrina scolded. “Besides, Calvin might have died by weird circumstances or health reasons, but it happened in our coffee shop. We need to take a little responsibility for that even though we didn’t do anything except try to help him when he collapsed.”

“Okay, I understand,” Andrea said. She wanted Katrina to stop talking, but she did understand where her boss was coming from. It was selfish of Andrea to push the situation out of her mind completely. However, she still needed time to process and that wasn’t selfish at all.

“So, I ask again, was there someone else in the cafe?” Katrina asked.

Andrea inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. “Yes,” she said, picturing it in her mind. “A man sat at the table beside Calvin’s booth.” She opened her eyes. “He was the one who noticed Calvin slumped over, I’m sure of it.”

“Did you recognize him at all?”

“No, I don’t think he’s been to the cafe before. Or, if he has, it wasn’t during one of my shifts. At least, I don’t think.”

Katrina hummed to herself again. “What did he do when he shouted that Calvin needed help?”

Andrea shook her head. “I don’t know. I think he must have left because, when the police came, there were only five customers left in the coffee shop and he wasn’t one of them.”

Katrina sighed. “Well, maybe it spooked him and he just ran out of there as fast as he could. I guess you can’t blame him for that. It was a scary thing that happened. Still, he should have helped. Did you tell the detective about him?”

Andrea paused. “Harvey?”

“Who’s Harvey?” Katrina asked. Then she grinned. “Did you meet a man?”

Andrea groaned. “No, no. Detective Harvey Dayne, the guy who took my statement.”

Katrina couldn’t stop grinning. “First name basis, huh?”

Andrea threw her head back. “Ugh, no. It’s not like that. He’s dating my sister.”

“Wait, what?”

“I didn’t know they were dating at the time. I met her boyfriend last night at dinner and it turns out he was the detective who took my statement.”

Katrina scoffed, though she was still smirking. “Wow, talk about a small world.”

“Anyway,” Andrea said harshly, “No, I didn’t tell the detective about that other customer. I didn’t remember him until I was thinking more about situation last night. I completely forgot about him, to tell you the truth.”

“Well, you need to tell the detective about this other customer when we get to the station,” Katrina said matter-of-factly.

“Why?” Andrea questioned.

“Because this other customer might know things we don’t, duh. If he was the one who noticed Calvin keel over, then he might have witnessed the exact moment something happened to him. This customer might be the one who can tell the police whether or not Calvin actually took a sip of his vanilla latte before he died. If he didn’t take a sip at all, then that automatically makes us all in the clear.”

“We’re already in the clear. We’re not suspects,” Andrea replied.

Katrina remained silent.

Andrea rolled her eyes, even though she knew Katrina was right. They were most likely all suspects even though the police hadn’t said anything to them about it.

“I see your point, though,” Andrea said. “If I get a chance to speak to a detective, I can tell them about this other customer. But I don’t even remember what the guy looked like, so I don’t think it’s going to do us any good.”

Katrina cast an amused expression over at Andrea. “Well, it’s a good thing the coffee shop has cameras now, doesn’t it?”

“Wouldn’t the police have already looked at the footage?” Andrea asked.

Katrina nodded. “I’m sure they did, but they might have only looked at when the incident occurred. Maybe they didn’t look at the whole picture. It’s worth noting regardless.”

The conversation drifted to an end as Katrina pulled into the police station, parking in the visitor’s lot. She turned off the car, getting out as Andrea stared at the building. She had passed it by so many times before, but she had never been inside.

She hoped Josh was alright and almost done with his questioning.

She hoped she and Katrina wouldn’t get stuck there for too long.

She also hoped that talking about that other customer wouldn’t cause things to get worse than they already were.

Finally, Andrea hoped Harvey was off-duty today.

Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and other work from me in the past, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.

Any money I receive on Ko-fi goes directly back into my writing to help me afford editors, book cover designers, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rachel Poli

Rachel Poli

Author

Rachel Poli is a multi-genre author with a soft spot for mystery.

She often experiments with short stories and flash fiction, however, she's currently working on the first book of her detective fiction series.

When she's not writing, she's usually cleaning, reading, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.

Website | Ko-fi

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