Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?
A Friends of the Library Mystery

When she got outside it was dark. Celia leaned against the wall of the barn and gazed up at the clearest stars she had ever seen. The night was cool, but the warmth of the sun lingering on the barn felt good. She just rested there for a while, enjoying the view. Even with the light spilling from the barn, it seemed that the heavens were illuminated more brilliantly than she’d ever seen before. As she stood there she saw a falling star trace its way across the sky.

Star light, star bright, first falling star I see tonight. Wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. Please, I want to go home.

Celia heard a voice in the darkness.  “No!” a girl’s voice was saying. “I’m not going back to Lincoln!”

Celia realized it was Emajean’s voice. She held still, hoping she wouldn’t be noticed. Maybe this way she’d get some answers to this mystery.

“But I won’t be here, and your family needs you. Your father is not well and I need to go to Hungary to bring my mother here to Chicago. When I return I’ll come to Lincoln to get you.” The voice was clearly Lazlo’s.

“I’m afraid you’ll never come back from Hungary,” Celia heard Emajean say quietly.

“I promise, I will,” came the soft reply. Next Celia heard a rustling noise and László continued, “this is my only possession of any value. I’ve put it on a chain for you so you can wear it under your uniform each day, near your heart. So a part of me will be near your beating heart. I like that thought,” his voice rumbled.

Celia could hear the couple kiss and tried to ease away, but to her horror, she heard an awful ripping noise and felt a sudden draft. Lazlo and Emajean stepped into the light spilling through the doorway. Celia tried not to look like an eavesdropper.

“Will you please keep my secret?” Emajean asked. “You know I would be asked to leave school if the nuns find out I’m seeing someone, even one of their own doctors!” Celia started to argue that no school would throw out a good student in her last year, but once again, remembered these times were not her times.

"I won't say anything Emajean," she heard herself promising.

“There, you’ve said it again,” said Emajean. “Rosa said you were strange tonight, and I think I agree with her. But I do know you’ve always been a good friend, so I’ll trust you to not say anything to anyone. Thank you, Celia,” Emajean finished speaking and pressed her hand on Celia’s arm as she leaned close to her. A faint scent of floral perfume wafted up to her nose.

Celia suddenly felt woozy and began to sway. She heard Emajean’s voice as from far, far away, calling her name. Celia wanted to answer but couldn’t get the words out. The edges of her vision were growing gray and she slipped into a faint.

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