PREVIOUSLY: Carrie vanished during the school talent show. Everyone has parts of the puzzle…
PART 81a: MUM’S THE WORD
Hank Waterson opened his front door almost before his visitor had a chance to knock. “I’m sorry to have called you so early,” he apologized, opting to get straight to the point. “But I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know what to think about this, but her note mentions you, so I thought you might have more information. I don’t want to leave the house either, lest she come home…”
“It’s fine,” Luci assured him. “But like I said, I’ll need to see what Carrie wrote for myself.” She gestured to her companion. “And I hope you don’t mind, but I brought Julie along. She, um, specializes in cryptic Carrie notes.”
Julie gave him a quiet wave.
“That’s fine,” Hank said, beckoning them both inside. “At this point, I’ll take all the help I can get. From what I can gather, Carrie was last seen at the talent show? Is that why she insisted to me that I not be there? How far in advance had she planned her trip? Why didn’t she tell me about it, and when is she coming back?”
The two teenagers exchanged a glance, Julie offering Luci a small shrug.
“We’re not sure about any of that stuff,” Luci hedged. “Aside from yeah, she was last seen at the talent show. Maybe we don’t know that much more than you. Can we see the note?”
Unable to get any sort of read on their expressions, he nodded. “It’s upstairs, in her room. I left everything the way it was. I’d appreciate if you’d do the same, in case we need to open any sort of police investigation into her disappearance.”
“Why, do you think Carrie was coerced into writing whatever it was?” Luci wondered, as they ascended the stairs.
“I don’t know what to think,” Hank admitted. He let them into her room, gesturing at Carrie’s desk, over by the window.
Both Luci and Julie walked over, peering down at the note. Almost immediately, Julie turned to speak for the first time. “How long has Carrie been using this stationery? With the little pocketwatch in the corner?”