The note arrived in a plain white envelope, addressed in flowing letters to “Mr. Henry Bennett, Miss Callista Leary, and Miss Nia Rivera.” It had nothing else on it: no addresses, not even a stamp. I feel strangely honoured to be the one the note was sent to, and the one with his name written first.
I’m shocked by the sight of our three names written together on the envelope like that. Yeah, we hadn’t exactly been secretive about our friendship, but normal people didn’t get mysterious letters from anonymous senders to themselves as well as two of their friends. It’s how I know it must be from, or at least about, Amanda.
Excitedly, I tear the letter open, realizing belatedly that I probably should’ve told the girls about it first. But oh well; it was too late now.
I carefully unfold the stiff paper. The first thing I notice is the familiar purple coyote sticker.
So it IS from Amanda, then, I think. But that doesn’t make sense. The handwriting on the envelope clearly isn’t hers.
Only then do I take in the writing, the huge letters written in the same fancy script as the names had been.
*AMANDA IS DEAD. FORGET ABOUT HER.*
“She can’t be. It’s as simple as that.” But Callie’s voice cracks slightly even as she says this. We’d all known it was a possibility, but it hadn’t felt so…. possible. Not until now.
“And why can’t she be? Is there some crazy law out there that states that Amanda can’t die?! Look, I like Amanda just as much as you two do, but if she is dead, like it seems like right now, we can’t keep wasting our time being in denial.” Nia speaks harshly, but I know she’s hurting just as much as we are. But that doesn’t stop me from getting angry.
“So you’re just gonna give up on her?! After all she’s done for all of us?! After all we’ve done to find her?!”
Nia doesn’t reply to that, just looks at me.
“I won’t believe she’s gone unless I see a body,” Callie whispers.
Just then, Nia’s computer pings. One new email. She ignores it, until she sees the name of the sender.
She quickly opens it, and all three of us crowd around her computer. The email is blank except for a single link.
It seems like no one in the room can breathe as she clicks it.
Amanda’s face and voice fill the screen. “If you’re seeing this, Callie, Hal, Nia, then congratulations, you’ve almost solved all of my clues.” She pauses, and seems to stare at all of us. “In that case, you’ve probably gotten a letter saying that I’m dead as well. And you want to know if I am.”
It seems that everyone is holding their breaths, waiting for her to continue.
“Well, right now, I don’t know either. Please stop glaring at my image on the monitor, Nia” – Nia blinks guiltily – “and listen to me. Actually listen.”
Several voices tell her to hurry up in the background, all of them rather familiar, though I can’t seem to place any of them.
“Just another few seconds!” Amanda calls over her shoulder. “Okay, so I don’t have much time left. I’ll have to cut this short…” That last part is muttered, in a rather un-Amanda-like way, I think.
“For the answers you want, keep solving the clues. Now, gotta go. ‘Kay-thanks-bye!” The screen abruptly goes dark after her just-as-abrupt (and just as uncharacteristic) goodbye.
“That really doesn’t solve anything…” Nia mutters, but there’s a hint of hope in her voice, her face, and I see that same hope in Callie as well.
“Well then…” I announce, “Should we work on our next clue now?”
The girls nod in unison.
Author’s Note: I actually put in clue-things there, since I’m considering continuing this. So… yeah.