1 Chapter 1: The Strange Visitor

It is the first day of May. The day passes quickly and night comes at the busy town of Mabseteer. The sun sets and eventually fades as it goes down behind the tall silhouette of mountains. The stars begin to appear.

The gentle night breeze brushes against the cheeks of the 19-year-old Elvery Warren, eyes closed as she finds solace in the small terrace of her humble one-story boarding house. Sitting on a soft warm chair, trying to relax, she inhales the cool thin air, then lets it out in a deep sigh — like she's been carrying it her whole life.

About two weeks ago, she had packed up and moved from her parents' place to this provincial town for a three-month solo vacation. Her parents let her leave, believing her excuse to train herself of becoming an independent young lady since she will already move to college this incoming school year. Little did they know that she just wanted to escape from their daily nagging about the course she'll take in college.

Slowly, she opens her eyes. She raises her hand under the dark blue sky and carefully connects random stars with her index fingertip.

She laughs, softly, at herself.

How funny it is to connect stars without even forming a constellation, she thinks.

She really has no interest in earth science, astronomy, or whatever in relation to these stars and constellations.

What she really wants is to become a detective, and perhaps, a prosecutor — solving cases, standing in the court, instigating legal proceedings, helping people attain justice — someday.


She laughs at that thought. And although she laughs, it has sadness in its tone. She knows she'll never reach this dream of hers. Not when her medical-inclined parents keep on nagging her to follow their path.

She shakes her head and tries to erase the thoughts. You can deal with that later on, she says to herself. Now, she just wants to enjoy the vacation, with hope of pulling herself away from society's pressure.

"Hi, Elvery!" A dark blue SUV pauses in front of her house. Inside is a man who lives in the neighborhood; his house is within the view from her terrace. He is around fifty, with masculine physique, dark eyes, and brown hair. Elvery can clearly tell that Mr. Smith was handsome when he was a teen. He is also kind, in fact, he greets her every time he passes by.

"A pleasant evening, Mr. Smith," she responds. "Where are you headed to?"

"I'll just take a quick visit at the construction site," he says, then bids goodbye afterward.

Ahh yeah, Mr. Mark Smith and his wife Alexa are the owners of the famous MaXa boutique. The shop is very successful that its second branch is under construction right now.

Elvery bids back with a smile and the car moves away.

She thinks of doing something that will get her distracted, and so, she reaches a book tucked under her chair.

Christmas Crime in Colorado — Cassie Miles

She flips the pages. She realizes somehow that she is like Brooke, the woman in the story. Like her, Brooke also packed up and moved to a place in order to "escape" — the only difference is that Brooke tried to escape from her traumatic past, while Elvery wants to escape from the future awaiting her.

BrzzzZz-b-brzzzZ, her phone alarms.

Aahgh, 9 pm, she grunts.

She didn't notice she is reading the book for almost two hours already. She stands up and stretches her back. She turns around to enter the house.

She is about to open her front door when a green car passes her house with strange high speed.

What's wrong with the driver?! She mumbles.

Then, surprisingly, it stops in front of Smith's residence.


Well, maybe a visitor, she thinks.

Elvery, hiding behind a shrub, continues to observe. She can't help but get curious about the suspicious movement of the guy as he rings the bell. He seems uneased. He keeps looking around, probably making sure no one sees him and whatever he is going to do. The guy brings out his phone and dials. He seems impatient; seems nervous.

No more than a minute, a woman, carrying two bags and a suitcase, opens the gate. The two of them hurriedly jump inside the car.

As they make a U-turn, Elvery hears the man say to the woman, "Don't worry, Aida, it's all settled."

And again, the car halts away with a high speed.

Elvery holds her breath.

For a second, she is left there, standing with wide eyes and mouth open.

What is that?

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