SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is part one of “Mysteries of the Phoenix,” which will run Saturdays and Sundays over the next three weekends as part of a SUMMER SPECIAL run. This is Part Six, which is also the final installment.

“So, when they left, you thought it would be more than a year before you saw one another again,” Geraldo said as Phoenix finished her story.

 

“Honestly, I thought it would be years,” Phoenix told her brother. “Maybe never.”

 

“So, when Geraldo let you know about the Jane Doe that looked like Moira, you already knew what was going on?” Lizza asked, clearly quite surprised.

 

“Not immediately. I had to enlist Romey’s help. But I think I know what happened now. Now I’m going to tell Mario’s and Moira. When I called Marios, he and Moira insisted on flying over from Greece with the baby in tow.”

 

With that, Phoenix put her empty cup down on the table.

 

“Time for Geraldo and I to meet Marios at the airport.”

 

The flight arrived without incident. Phoenix made sure to give Geraldo a proper introduction as not just a police officer, but family.

 

Phoenix handed Mario’s  a folder. He opened it, and it contained clippings and notes that he looked through, Moira peering over his shoulder trying to quiet her baby girl.

 

“This answers how Moira’s twin came to America.”

 

“A baby black market ring? In Greece?” Marios said aloud as the facts sunk in.

 

“Yes. And Dawn’s doctor in Greece was one of the physicians arrested. When he told us one of the girls had not made it, it appears he lied. He did this to other women as well,” Phoenix explained. “Romey and I didn’t expect it to blow up this big. She’s sorry she’s at work and can’t meet up with you.”

 

Marios closed the folder of information.

 

Moira stepped up, and held her father’s hand with the one not supporting her baby.

 

“I’ll take you to the authorities here right away,” Geraldo told Marios. “This shouldn’t wait another minute. I’m sure this and our Jane Doe story are connected.”

 

Phoenix could see Marios struggling to suppress emotion, but his eyes clearly revealed a broken and disheartened man.

 

“And then I will ask them if I can take my daughter home to Greece and bury her beside her grandmother, since the family she was given to failed her so horribly.”

 

Phoenix  couldn’t help but to hug Marios. She had come to realize how much she cared for him, and felt with him. Now he was family, and he’d be part of this wild ride as well for years to come. 

 

“I’m so sorry, sorry about everything,” she told him.

 

“Once that’s done, I want to be back here. Moira’s set on taking advantage of her dual citizenship to make a life here for her family. That means there will be no one left for me back there. But there’s no guarantee that they will let me return to the United States.”

 

Phornix took Marios’ hand in her own.

 

“There is a way to improve your odds.”

 

She looked Marios in the eye, to let him know she was serious. He figured it out without another word 

 

“I can’t ask you to do this.”

 

“You didn’t. I’ve learned a lot after what I’ve been through, and I’m a grown woman who can make my own choices. Maybe we’ll learn to love one another, and maybe we won’t. But we both love the people around us. There’s no mystery in that.”

 

Within days, after matters were cleared up with law enforcement,  and then Mario’s and Phoenix married in a quiet civil ceremony. With Phoenix’s former agent out of the picture, she hoped Mario’s could be a father figure for her children 

 

Phoenix still hadn’t gotten used to the renewed spotlight on her and her family from the incident. Her siblings certainly disliked their lives no longer being private, especially the brother and sister that her father conceived with another woman while Dawn struggled with memory loss. Everyone in the family worked hard to protect their parentage, but the story of how Moira came to be born revealed it all.

 

One day, not long after Marios and Moira left, the phone rang and Phoenix found her former editor Gilly on the other end of the line.

 

“I’m looking to see your manuscript, dear. We should get it out while the public remembers your name.”

 

“Even though I don’t have an agent?”

 

“My dear, you have in house connections!”

 

Phoenix could easily see they only wanted her now believing her current fame would bring money. That meant she might be able to get other agents or houses to publish her, or even self-publish.

 

“No thanks, I got options.”

 

At that moment, Phoenix chose to hang up on her past.