Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: Finding Helene McGregor
By Sara Harricharan
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Our travel teacher and current chaperone, she looked as clueless as the day I first met her.
Here we are, stuck in a French police station, attempting to give a description for the missing girl in our party of seven. Party of eight. I think. I can’t say I miss her.
Helene McGregor is a rich, spoiled brat, an equal braggart and a dedicated pain in you-know-where for you-know-why.
Now because of her, I’m stuck here. Dreams of Mom’s spinach pizza were quickly fading.
“What if I can find her?” I blurted out as the imaginary slice evaporated. Grasping at straws was a more accurate evaluation of my offer, met by looks of indignation and distaste.
“Nola, if you know where Helene is-” Mrs. Davis began.
“I don’t Mrs. D, but I could give an educated guess!” I tugged at my new earring. “Anyone could.”
“Please let her try, Mrs. D.” Brenda begged, slipping a piece of gum into my hand as she stood next to me. “She has an elephant memory like my Agatha Christie book.”
Mrs. D shrugged. “Couldn’t make it any worse, I guess. All right, go ahead, but don’t leave the station!”
“That’s impossible! How’s she gonna to find Helene if she doesn’t leave?” Margie’s forehead scrunched into a knot.
I sat down to think and mentally double-check my memory of the brat. “Was she wearing her red scarf?”
“The one her grandfather gave her?” Margie looked at Brenda who shook her head and they both shrugged. “Don’t remember. Sorry.”
“She wasn’t.” I murmured, ticking it off with one finger. “She talks about it nonstop whenever she’s wearing it. I didn’t hear her mention it this morning…except when we passed that dress boutique.”
“The one with all those gorgeous dresses?” Margie closed her eyes in bliss.
Too flashy and expensive for my taste, but Helene said she’d get that red to match her scarf.
I ticked off another finger. “Brenda, did you tell her she left it in the lounge last night?
Brenda shuddered. “Are you kidding? She’d eat me alive-wait, you think she went back to the hotel?”
“We already checked.” Mrs. Davis interrupted. “Try again Nola.”
“Margie, lemme see your event guide.” I waited while she searched for it, relieved when it was handed over.
Thumbing through it quickly, I scanned the page for today. “Boren’s college for young men are hosting a charity brunch.”
Cute guys serving you food for a good cause. What rich heiress would pass that up?
“She must have bought the dress after she got the scarf.” I mused, handing the guide back. “She probably saw a poster and figured she was already on her own, so why not?” I crossed two fingers. “What time are we supposed to be at the airport?”
Mrs. Davis frowned, checking her watch. “Half an hour from now.”
I couldn’t stop the smile taking over my face. “She’s at the airport. You have her passport, right? No matter what she does or where she goes, she can’t get home without it! I bet she’s waiting right there. ”
“At the airport?” Mrs. Davis repeated.
“It’s the only place she knows we’ll be for sure.” I shrugged, unable to explain it any clearer.
The policeman, who’d been listening, dialed the airport right away. He smiled a moment later and confirmed that they’d found her. “She’s sitting in the airport lobby, wearing a red dress and matching scarf. Excellent detective work, miss.”
I half-nodded, visions of fresh spinach pizza already floating through my head.
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