“TV movies about the dead letter office. Although, I don’t know if their dedication to delivering the ‘lost’ mail that ends up in their hands is actually very realistic. But it does make for some interesting and light-hearted entertainment,” Bertie said.
“Okay, let’s be practical here. The envelope is addressed to Emma, right?” She nodded.
“Does it look as if it was put there recently, or does it look old?”
“Well… it’s a bit yellowed and the ink doesn’t appear to be fresh.”
“Is there something inside or is it empty? An empty envelope could have been used in place of a bookmark.”
“Oh, you have no idea what people will use as bookmarks sometimes, even cards and photos.”
“So?” he prompted.
She frowned. “I… I’m not sure but I think it felt like there was something inside.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere. We’ll start by putting a notice in the paper.”
“Really? That’s it?” She sounded disappointed.
“It’s a starting point. We’ll give it two weeks and if there’s no reply, then we open the envelope.”
“Wouldn’t that be like an invasion of privacy or something?”
Harry shook his head. “If no one comes forward to claim it, that’s the next logical step. And even that will only solve the mystery if there’s something inside with a name on it.”
“Hmm, that’s true, I guess.”
“I will check the lost and found to see if an envelope addressed to Emma was reported lost within the past few months. You get the notice in the paper. If there’s no result, we meet again in two weeks.”
“And bring the envelope with you next time.”
“I will, and Harry… thank you.”
“It’s no problem.” Harry closed the door behind her and went back to his desk. Would he ever start that novel, he wondered?
Exactly two weeks later, Harry opened the front door of his house, and the same faded black Jeep Wrangler was parked behind his truck again. He looked across to the office and there she was. What was it with this woman and early mornings? She was wearing the bright green sweatshirt again but with a pair of snug-fitting jeans this time.
“Make it snappy, Hogan. I need coffee.”
“You and me both,” he grumbled under his breath, then asked: “Don’t you have a coffeepot yet?”
She laughed. “Yes, I do, but I’m eager to get started.”
Within minutes they were inside, seated, and sipping coffee.
“Any response to the ad in the paper?” he asked. She shook her head. “Nothing in the lost and found for the past year either.”
She handed him the envelope. “So now we open it?”
“That’s the only other option now… unless you want to just forget about it.”
“No way! I have to know what’s inside now. I mean, it could be something important.”
“I rather think if it was important, someone would have been looking for it.”
“Maybe,” she agreed, “but it could be old and maybe someone did search for it a long time ago.”
Harry grinned and shook his head as he picked up a letter opener and slowly slit the envelope across the top. He withdrew a single sheet of notepaper and glanced at it briefly.
“What is it?” Bertie asked. “Is it important?”