Inside the Box


        Charlie sat on my bed as I stared at my computer. On the screen was a map of our town. “C’mon Charlie, help me solve the mystery.”  

        Charlie laid back. “Callie, I told you, I can’t help you. You are going to need to solve this one on your own.” 

        I sighed. Charlie was the one who got me into solving mysteries when I was young. My older brother always had a new mystery for us to solve even if it were small, like Where did mom leave her glasses? or What’s that weird smell? 

        The muffled sound of the news on TV came into the bedroom through the crack in the door along with what sounded like crying. 

        “You know the answer, though,” I argued, irritated. “Just tell me. I can’t solve this one without you.”  

        Charlie did not respond. He simply turned on the bed behind me to face the screen and look at what I was doing. He knew this would be my biggest and most important mystery. I looked back at him, sighed, and faced my screen again. I had searched for our town, Port Red Claire, on the internet, and the results were all grim.  

        “We used to live in such a nice town, Charlie. what happened to us?”  

        “You know exactly what, or who, happened,” he whispered, his vision focused on the screen. He shut his eyes. 

        Charlie was right. I did know, and so did everyone else who lived in our town.  

        Jon Dietrichson, his face, his name. His legacy will forever haunt the people living in our area for generations to come. I shuddered at the thought of him and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I closed my eyes and wondered how such horrible people could live in this world. 

        Charlie fidgeted with a string on the bed. A tear rolled down my face. “Focus. I know you can solve it by yourself,” he reassured me. 

       Steeling my resolve, I looked from the screen to the map I had in front of me. I had noted all the findings down on the map, and discovered that they formed a perfect square, twenty miles on all sides. Even after redrawing the lines at least thirty times, I had to conclude that Jon did not leave any room for error in his work. He was meticulous, so the last clue to this mystery must be something that I was missing. The other four were so easy to find, so why was number five so hard? They were all important. He made it seem number five  does not even exist. He completely ignored it like it does not even matter. But number five mattered to me.  

        “You are overthinking it, Callie. You are too caught up in emotions.” 

        I groaned and rolled my eyes. What does Charlie know? He does not know what I am feeling, and he never will. “I can’t figure out what I’m missing.” I turned to my brother who was still in the same position as before. He said nothing. I felt like I was going crazy. The topic was completely mad. It is not a simple mystery like the ones we solved together when we were children. It involved people. Alice, Sarah, Ben, and Dani, numbers One, Two, Three, and Four. They needed help which I couldn’t provide. I had to try the number five, which is why this was so important.  

        “Help me, Charlie, please just help me.” I pleaded. 


        “Where should I look?”  

        “Think inside the box.” 

        “That makes no sense, Charlie, plus you messed up the phrase. Just answer the question.”  

        Charlie turned to face me, his eyes never breaking contact with mine. “Callie. Inside the box.”  

I stared at him for a moment, confused, but then it hit me. Of course. Inside the box. I quickly looked at the map again, and finally, I saw what I had been missing. The center of the box pointed to one place. It all made sense now. I began to cry. “The canal. Red Clarie Canal. It took a week, but I did it, Charlie.” 

         Charlie smiled gently, his eyes glistening. 

        Tears rolled down my face and I could hear my dad rushing towards my room.  

        “Callie, it’s on the news. They found him! They found Charlie’s body in the canal.”