The Stray: Part I

When I woke up this morning I could sense that something was going to go horribly wrong. The earth felt off balance. I put two different sneakers on, forgot one of my client’s keys, and didn’t have time to get coffee. My schedule is so tight that I needed to get right to work. At least the company I have is adorably fluffy.

I opened the door and Darwin greeted me with her usual spins and insisted belly rubs. Her canine grin making me feel welcome. I grabbed her leash and placed it on her collar. Our walk around the Arlington neighborhood was consistently the same but also ever changing with the seasons. The smell of Spring and nearby coffee shops lingered in the air as we made our way down the street. I could see Darwin’s hackles rise as we turned a corner and I knew it was her usual feline nemesis. The cat always hid in the bushes, waiting to pounce and I was always a step ahead, crossing the street to avoid the fight. We were heading back to Darwin’s house when I noticed a flip phone in the grass next to the sidewalk. I’m not sure what made me pick up that phone, but it changed my life forever.

I glanced at the phone and could see that it was a young girl’s phone by her most recent contacts of “Mom” & “Bff.” I put the phone in my pocket and continued my walk with Darwin. When we got back, I left a note for her owners that she did her usual Number 1 & Number 2. I finished my dog walks for the day and decided to call the contact listed “Mom” from my phone.

“Hello?”answered a cautious motherly voice.

“Hi, I think I found your daughter’s phone,” I said.

“Who is this? Where did you find it?”(a bit more anxiety this time in her voice).

“I was walking a dog and found it near the Dunkin Donuts on Broadway,” I explained.

“Can you meet to give me it at the Walgreens parking lot on Comm Ave. in an hour? I will be in the red minivan” she muttered.

“Sure , no problem!” I said.

I was waiting in the parking lot for about 15 minutes when I saw the minivan pull in a few spots next to me. I went over and gave her her daughter’s phone and didn’t think twice about it.

Later that evening, I received a phone call from my client. She asked me if I had found a phone that afternoon. When I said yes, she told me that the teenager that owned the phone was missing and the police wanted to talk to me.

My heart sank so low I couldn’t breathe. I began to sob uncontrollably because I thought the worst. I thought she was picked up by some creep and taken away to be murdered. Maybe I watched too much CSI lately but that terrifying feeling haunted me. Where could she be? I wanted to go and look for her but I had no idea where to begin. I turned on the news and heard them referring to me as “a stranger” who found her phone.

It was around midnight when they found her at the Boston Public Library. Who runs away to a library? Something didn’t seem right and I had to find out…