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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: The Great Deception
By Linda Germain


The telephone beside Dr. Bernie Cretser’s bed rang like a siren in the middle of that chilly autumn night. Gentle rain had tapped on the tin roof of his secluded cabin and lulled him to much needed rest. After Hello, his world changed dramatically and forever.

“This is Lathena,” the shaky voice whispered.

Bernie came fully awake when he heard the panic in his twin sister’s usually calm demeanor. “Lallie? What’s wrong?”

“I have to talk fast, Bern. I've discovered something so incredibly amazing, the worldwide implications will be staggering. You won’t believe it!” She began to cry.

“Sis, what are you talking about?” Where are you?” He heard his own voice rising in response to her obvious fear. Then the phone went dead.

Wide-awake now, he grabbed a few necessities and dashed out to his rugged little SUV. He shoved it in first gear and, without looking back, shot off into the darkness to find his beloved sister.

He intended to visit the government compound where she studied the effects of certain bio-hazardous agents on humans. Like him, she was a sought after genius in the field of molecular biology and virology.

By the time the sun began to erase all traces of night he arrived at the sparsely furnished garage apartment she rented from Miss Minnie, an elderly widow. He bolted up the steps two at a time. The door was unlocked. Very cautiously, he stepped over the threshold.

The living room was a wreck. Every drawer was pulled out, lamps were over turned and papers were scattered on the floor. He was shocked at what he saw in the bedroom. Everything was in perfect shape. The blinds were open and light was streaming in as if this were a normal workday. Geraldine, Lallie’s sweet old cat, was sitting on the dresser. She feigned disinterest as she continued her morning bath.

Bernie was stumped. He ran back to his vehicle and roared off to the research facility where she worked. A guard stopped him at the front gate.

“Good morning, Sir. May I help you?”

“ Where can I find Dr. Lathena Cretser? “

The stoic security man checked his clipboard with rapt attention before answering.

“I’m sorry, Sir. There is no one here by that name.”

With no other choice, Bernie wheeled around and raced to the police station to report his sister’s possible disappearance. A detective followed him back to her apartment. Bernie had already told him what a mess he had found in the living room. This time the door was locked. A young man appeared with a key. He said the landlady sent him over with it.

As the portal swung wide open, Bernie exclaimed with a flourish of his arm, “See?”

“All I see,” the detective snarled, “are a few pieces of cheap furniture.”

Lathena’s personal effects were gone; even the cat. The young doctor pounded the wall with his fist and yelled, “Where is my sister?”

No one at the police station seemed to be impressed with his story. He headed back to Miss Minnie’s where he found Geraldine howling at the back door, so he jimmied the lock and they both dashed in. Bernie discovered his sister and her poor old landlady tied to dinette chairs. After freeing them, he helped the two bewildered women into his vehicle and headed for his cabin. For her own good, he took the cat too.

Miss Minnie eventually rode the bus to her sister’s in Arizona. Lathena languished in a daze while her brother read a copy of her well-documented study she had saved on a disc. He understood why she was scared.

“Dear Lord,” Bernie prayed, “ There is no one I can trust but you. I can’t expose this situation alone.

“I’ll help,” his brave sister whispered.

In the perilous years that followed, they provided irrefutable proof of a dastardly conspiracy in the scientific community, yet the brilliant siblings remained impotent voices crying in the wilderness. No one would listen.

Sometimes a puzzle simply has no solution. For their own safety, they gave up the cause and settled into medical mission work. The two geniuses did discover one pure truth. The oldest mystery in the universe is God. He has the answer. He is the answer. Someday we’ll see clearly through that dark glass, but for now, by faith, that’s really all we need to know for peace and hope.


* Loosely based on an amazing and true event.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/12/07
This was well-written and suspenseful--but it frustrated me! What did she discover?
Anita Neuman04/13/07
This was a well-written entry, but I found the ending a bit of a let-down. However, we can't exactly control how true stories end up. Good work on this!
Cheri Hardaway 04/13/07
Very well-written! I too was left wanting to know exactly what the siblings discovered! You have the makings of a book here; go for it! Blessings, Cheri
Sara Harricharan 04/13/07
Definitely novel material here. I sniff a greater mystery than just this here. There's good suspense and good characters. Quite a feat in so few words.