The Mysterious Miss Silverman :: A Drama Mystery
Another Christmas spent without family. The day after, I was the only one in the police station.
Work. I needed work to distract myself. There was a single report by a Ms. Silverman. The guy who’d rented her spare room for two nights had disappeared after the first day. His luggage was still in the room. Not very promising but I had nothing else. Probably an old dear getting paranoid. My mind went back to family.
Family. I had my beagle, Rock, and I was happy. No ball and chain for me. The letter that I knew would change everything was beginning to burn in my pocket. Am I a bad person for not reading it, knowing what it was? I’ve been carrying it for six months. It came back to family. Emily’s son. My son.
Emily was my girl. We had math class together, and went out for three years. She got pregnant in our senior year but we couldn’t keep the child..
We didn’t think of the child as ours. We had too many dreams and so much to do.
But dreams change. I lost Emily in an accident, a year after we had given up the child for adoption. Just like that.
I never think about it. Until I got a letter from the child. Well, I suppose not a child anymore.
I closed my eyes and returned to the case at hand.
My first stop was Ms. Silverman’s address. I knocked on the door. Ms. Silverman was somewhat of a shock. She was younger than I had thought. In her arms was a bundle of trouble who was happily gurgling away. The baby transferred its attention to me and tried to reach for my hat.
“Emily. No!” A frazzled Ms. Silverman screamed. The shock of the name brought me back to the matter at hand. This day was getting unendurable.
“You have reported a disappearance of a tenant. He was six feet four, brown haired, brown eyed.” I repeated from her statement.
“Esh” squealed a very excited Emily. It made me laugh. Ah, Emily.
Mrs. Silverman opened the blinds and said “He’d rented the room online, already paid for 2 days but then he disappeared, and I got worried so I called the police. It’s been 24 hours.”
“What do you know about him?” I asked.
“Nothing, other than his name - Hugh Devereaux. He wasn’t very chatty. Just said he was going out for a walk.”
She took me to the spare room. True enough, there was one small suitcase in the room.
I opened it to find two sets of clothes, undergarments and a box of maple candies from Vermont.
No clue as to his identity except he’d travelled to or was from Vermont.
I left the room and looked back to see baby Emily crying.
I smiled for the second time that day.
The next thing for me to do was inquire about Ms. Silverman. I asked around the neighbours.
A pleasant woman who’d come to stay there two months back, her husband had died in the army. She well respected and well liked. Nothing suspicious there.
I went around asking about the missing man. Nobody had seen him. This seemed a bit surprising since in this small town, strangers stick out like a sore thumb.
I went back to the station. Some people were back for holiday duty. I asked the analyst to check up on the booking and find anything about Hugh Devereaux.
The booking seemed legit. However, it didn’t give us much to go on. There were three hundred and forty two Hugh Devereauxs in the country. I asked her to narrow it to Vermont, and we were left with 22.
“Here’s an interesting article, Hugh Devereaux, the chief suspect in a hit and run was found dead--”
“This Hugh Devereaux was seen alive, two days back.”
“Another news item Hugh Devereaux suspected of treason, is missing. Nope, oh, he was found dead.” the analyst corrected himself.
I just glared.
“Hugh Devereaux married Jeanine Silverman on 10th Oct in the presence of families.” The analyst continued.
“Silverman.” I said and left.
Ms. Silverman opened the door sans Emily. She looked at me seriously “Have you found him?”
“What is your full name?” I asked
“Agatha Silverman” She replied.
“Jeanine?” I said. She looked blank.
Maybe I’d jumped the gun. Was it a coincidence? The problem with me however is that having been a policeman for 25 years, I don’t believe in these funny things that drop out of thin air. There are always wheels within wheels.
It was time to dig a little deeper. Four hours and nine coffees later, I had nothing. Her name was indeed Agatha Silverman, I got her papers from the agent who sold the house. They were many Hugh Devereauxs.
A part of me hoped for Emily’s sake, that her mother wasn’t a criminal. Emily. That put me on the track of finding her birth records.
Emily Silverman, born in Washington to Gary Bordoc Agatha Silverman.
Gary Bordoc was a decorated soldier who died in the line of duty 6 months back. I was about to dismiss it when I looked at Gary Bordoc. I’d glanced at it blindly.
But a closer look was shocking. It was like looking into a mirror twenty years back.
The time to read the letter had come. I was trembling and to calm myself before opening the letter, I went for a walk.
There is a place in this town, where nobody goes. It is beautiful to behold but it was the site of the tragic mass suicide of a few students eleven years back.
It has a long path, which culminates in this beautiful arched structure that stares into the mist. It felt like a metaphor for my life. The promise of beauty, destroyed by tragedy.
I opened the letter.
My name is Gary Bordoc. I’m your biological son.
I’m going on active duty tomorrow. I’ve known about you for a long time but out of respect for my parents, I didn't reach out.
There is something about war which makes us forget our scruples. I have followed your career. I know you’re a good man.
You have a granddaughter Emily. Maybe someday you could come visit her.
My tears fell into the lake. Unseen.
Or so I’d thought.
Agatha walked up behind me. Emily in her arms.
“He was a hero, our Gary. Losing him destroyed me. I was a wreck. My sister Jeanine helped me get through it. She took care of Emily while I fought depression.
Her husband Hugh Devereux was a weak, pathetic man. He’d lost money gambling and needed Jeanine’s insurance money. A few days later my sister had a bad reaction to some mushrooms she ate. My sister hated mushrooms. Nobody believed it was murder. But I knew. That man walked free.
I have been on meds, trying to not to give in to depression. I wanted to make sure Emily has someone to take care of her. So, I came here. But getting justice for Jeanine became an obsession. I couldn’t rest until Hugh Devereaux got what he deserved. I lured him here. You can guess the rest. The last two days have been bad for me. I can’t go on. I can’t.”
She gave Emily to me and wordlesslessly walked to the end of the path into the mist.
The next year, I spent christmas with a mischievous toddler and an excited beagle going in opposite directions.