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 Three.

Now Arianne became more apologetic.

 

“Let’s all go sit down and work this out inside. I have a feeling it will take a while.”

 

“Not until I know Moira is safe!” Marios insisted.

 

“Listen,” I told Marios firmly. “I’ve been through a lot today. I’m tired. And I’m still not sure Moira – if this is who you think it is – is still where she was last reported. I need to make some phone calls.”

 

Marios acquiesced and let us all come in and sit down. I called Susanne back at the home where my mother lived.

 

“Susanne? Is that girl still there?”

 

“Heck, no. The staff got her to leave before they called the police. What a nuisance.”

 

I looked over at Marios.

 

“Listen, there might be some truth to what she’s saying. Her father is here from Greece, my grandmother’s husband. He’s claiming he and Dawn conceived when she was there with her mother. They knew each other from back in college. I have no reason not to believe him.”

 

“With your mother’s history, neither do I,” Susanne agreed.

 

“But how do we find this girl? When will be back? Did she leave any info?”

 

“She said her name is Moira, I didn’t catch the last name. Told the desk she’d be back tomorrow, same time.”

 

“The guy with me is looking for a young lady named Moira. I’m sure it’s the right person. Now I have to figure out to keep him here until tomorrow.”

 

I hung up and caught Marios up on what I did know.

 

“I’m sorry to make you wait a day, but it’s all I can do. You’ll have to come stay at my place, with my children. We can’t impose on Ariana any longer.”

 

Marios got back up from his chair.

 

“Let us go, then. And thank you both for all you’ve done.”

 

I returned home to my young daughters, who were being taken care of by my sister Romey, always flexible to help as a successful young technology entrepreneur able to set her own hours. 

 

“Welcome back, sister,” Romey told me when we entered. “And welcome to your friend.”

 

“Actually, we just met. This is Marios, an old friend of Mom’s. He lived in Greece when Mom was there taking care of her mother. And the story’s more complicated than that. I know it’s all last minute, but can you stay for dinner? There’s a lot to explain.”

 

Romney checked out her calendar on her smart phone.

 

“Nope. Don’t see any conflicts. You want me to make the order from Right2UNow?”

 

Over dinner, Phoenix filled both Romey and Marios in on the current state of the family from the respective sides.

 

“So,” Romey said as she finished up the last of her dinner. “Your Moira is yet another sibling of ours. I’m thankful I am happy being married to my work. Our family’s more than done its share of increasing the population.”

 

Romey’s response frustrated Marios.

 

“All I want is to take my daughter home with me. After everything I’ve lost… my wife, my lover, my baby girl.”

 

Both Phoenix and Romey turned to look at Marios.

 

“You said that like you didn’t mean Moira,” Phoenix finally got up the nerve to say.

 

Marios collapsed back in his chair.

 

“I promised your mother I’d never tell.”

 

“Our mother can hardly remember her life. We need to remember fir her,” Romey stated analytically.

 

“Romey!” Phoenix chastised Romey.

 

Romey shrugged.

 

“Well, it’s true.”

 

Phoenix reached out for Marios’ hand.

 

“We can’t help if we don’t know.”

 

To Phoenix’s surprise, Marios reached out his hand in return.

 

“Your mother gave birth to two girls. You know her odds of having multiples. One was stillborn, and after that day your mother and I agreed never to speak of it. Moira believes she was born an only child.”

 

“I promise we’ll get you there tomorrow and make this right.”