Paul thought he knew everything about Linda, but where was she now and what on earth had she got herself into? He nearly dropped the blue soap stone box when the phone rang.
“This is Paul. Are there any new developments?”
“Have you gone psychic on me now, Paul? Nah, nothing new except that we found an unusual object near where she was reportedly last seen.”
“What unusual object? Do you want me to come down to the station to take a look?”
“Please stay put, Paul, just in case. I’ll come round and we can look this over together. See if it gives us any clues.”
“Okay, see you shortly so.”
Paul sat down at the kitchen table and placed the box in front of him. He had found it under the bed, her side of the bed. He had never seen it before. Was it new or had it been there for a long time? Why had he only discovered it now almost a week after Linda had gone missing?
The lid had a carved yin and yang design on it. That is so not Linda he thought. Linda doesn’t do spiritual and she doesn’t do trinkets. Paul’s little Buddha and elephant figurines had been evicted from the mantelpiece the day she moved in with him. Wall hangings were all taken down and the walls got a fresh white lick of paint.
He opened the lid. Inside was a crumpled piece of paper. Paul straightened it out.
“Damn, shouldn’t have touched it. What if it’s not Linda’s, if it has someone else’s prints on it? Too late now.”
“Verum, sine mendatio – it is true without error, and it is the sum of truth that that which is above is also that which is below,” he read.
Paul couldn’t help it. He looked up at the ceiling then down at the floor to compare the above and the below. What the hell is that about and why would she keep it under the bed and hidden from him? The note was in her handwriting alright. He’d have to show it to the policeman. Sean should be here any moment now with that unusual object whatever it was going to be.
Ah, there he was now. Linda would have given out stink at the force with which the guy was pounding on the door.
The two men stood at opposite sides of the table staring down at the miniature cast iron cauldron. Black with an upturned crucifix painted on in red oil paint. It was filled to the brim with pebbles. Paul turned the thing upside down and the pebbles clattered onto the glass surface. A small red dog collar fell out. There was a big bone shaped tag attached to it. On its front was engraved “Release Me”, on its back a mobile telephone number.
“Ring it,” said Sean, “and then just leave us be.”
He heard the sound of Sean closing the door behind him at the same time as Linda answered the call.
(c) Ash N. Finn, 2016