(It’s still the first day I realized she was missing, the 23rd, that I wrote this. But really, who would read a super long blog? Certainly not anyone I know. So I put it into a few different parts to make it a little easier to read.)
All four of us were on our knees, digging, before we actually found Cam’s money. It was buried eight inches deep and two inches away from the cement that held the post in the ground. Our hands looked as though we’d sorted through a months worth of compost.
What we’d dug up looked like a little cardboard jewelry box—one that had been plastered with pink, blue, and white tissue paper like paper mache. On the lid, there was a slip of ripped up paper taped to the top. On it, in tiny printed letters, was scrawled
Jeremy smiled and handed it to me. “If that isn’t all the evidence you need, I don’t know what else there is. She definitely wants you to find her.”
I stared at the words for a minute or so before Eliot slapped me on the back from impatience.
“Open it, man!”
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to open it. It was more that I couldn’t. Why would she leave anything for me, when I’m the one who she was running away from in the first place?
When I worked up the courage to pull the lid off, a wad of dollar bills popped out at me.
“Geez, she rob a bank or what,” Brad asked. Jeremy gave him a look.
I pulled the wad out and handed it to Jeremy. “Count it.” There was something else in the bottom of the box—a folded note.
Jeremy separated the bills into three piles and gave one to Eliot and Brad each. “Help,” he said.
As they counted, I unfolded the note and read it. It went
i know your probly tired of looking for me by now but this is important. i dont know how to tell you that I still love you as my brother and it seemed like this was the only way that didnt include me telling you myself. i dont have words like you do. and i guess you figured out by now that i read your blog. ellie told me about it. it made me realize how much of a jerk ive been to you since the cancer diagnose. im sorry. anyway, there are only two more clues that you have to find. think you can make it?
p.s. jeremy should know what to do with the money. it will take you to the next clue.
When I looked up, I realized the others were done counting.
“You’ve read that, like, three times over,” Eliot said. “Done yet?”
Jeremy smiled before I could answer. “We’ve got a little over thirty bucks here. Thirty-four, isn’t it, guys?”
Brad and Eliot nodded.
“But what are we supposed to do with it,” I asked Jeremy, unable to hold back.
He shrugged. “How should I know?”
I held the note out for him to see. “This is how.”
He read over it once and shrugged again. “I dunno what she means by that.”
Eliot snatched it from him.
“But don’t you have any idea,” I asked Jeremy. “There’s got to be something. Anything.”
“What about when you said that she told you that she had enough money for a costume,” Brad said.
Eliot nodded slowly as he set the note down. “It does say that Jeremy would know. Why else would she tell you about getting enough money for a costume if she wasn’t going to spend it on herself?”
“Well . . .” Jeremy stood and walked a quick circle around the STOP sign. “She said something about wanting to help you buy food for the dogs—“
I was up and to my bike before he’d even finished the sentence. “We’re going to our house. Hurry.”
By the time we got there and to the animal’s shed, it was starting to get dark out.
“How long do you think she was prepared to stay hidden,” Brad asked. “Cause if it wasn’t more than a couple days . . . she’s gotta be starving by now.”
Jeremy’s fists began to ball up, but I grabbed his arm. “She’ll be fine,” I said. “Don’t hit him again.”
Eliot and Brad headed back to Brad’s house to get the dogs and bring them back while Jeremy and I searched the dog’s area of the shack.
I was rummaging through a cupboard as I went through the basket of dog treats when Jeremy yelled, “Found it!”
It was a small pink Post-It note with two words written on it with blue ink pen. Goal Post.
“The soccer field,” I said. Jeremy nodded.
We waited until Eliot and Brad got back with the dogs, got them settled on the shack and headed for the field.
“So you think the final clue is at the soccer field,” Brad said.
“Yup,” I said.
Jeremy rode at my side, smiling.
“What is it,” I asked him.
“I was . . . so worried that she’d actually run away. And then we find out its all just a game.” He laughed a little. “I could hurt her.”
“We all could. Except mom, maybe. She’s in denial for sure.”
“It’ll be okay now,” I said.
Eliot rode up behind us, gripping about Brad being too heavy again. “Are you two done with your heart-to-heart yet, cause it’s getting kinda cold out here and I’m tired.”
I scowled at him. “Sure. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”
Brad sighed. “My mom probably wants me home for dinner.” He hopped off Eliot’s pegs and staggered a little before catching his balance.
Eliot scoffed. “Yeah, right.”
Jeremy shrugged. “Whatever.” He continued on but I stopped beside Eliot.
“You sure, man? We could call her, tell her you’ll be late—“
I noticed that a bruise had begun to form on his jaw where Jeremy had hit him.
“Okay,” I said and rode off, wondering if he’d say anything. Eliot followed.