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 over the next  fourteen days is “Shining a Light on Crime”. This is Part 12 of 14.

DUE TO UNEXPECTED CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS STORY WILL TAKE A TEMPORARY HIATUS. LOOK FOR PART 13 OF 14 ON APRIL 20, 2019.

Roxane watched the publicist pick up her phone and make a call, more than likely to the police. Roxane was prepared to end in failure, but at least she would have tried. However, she wasn’t sure just why her father said to disguise as the deceased sister’s name.

 

“There is someone here named Chelle to see you,” the publicist said to the person on the other end. “You instructed me to contact you if someone named Chelle paid a visit.”

 

The publicist eyed Roxane suspiciously.

 

“I can ask that, yes.”

 

The publicist again looked over at Roxane and asked her a question.

 

“What is your daughter’s name?”

 

Roxane thought for a moment. She had two daughters, but the question only asked about one daughter’s name. At first, she meant to ask which daughter.

 

Then it clicked what the right answer would be.

 

“Roxane.”

 

“Could you hear that?” the publicist asked to Zelle, on the other end of the phone. “You could. I see. So what should I do next?”

 

Roxane strained to hear as the publicist received instructions.

 

“Yes. Yes, I can do that. But I need to be out of the office the rest of today. My assistant will still be here, and you can use my office to be discreet. Hold on and let me see if this Chelle agrees.”

 

The publicist looked at Roxane.

 

“She is willing to come meet you here, if you are willing.”

 

Roxane eagerly nodded her head in the affirmative.

 

“It appears she agrees,” the publicist said. “I’ll tell my assistant to expect you “

 

The publicist  hung up the phone.

 

“As you heard me say, I need to go. But the person who can give you the answers you seek will be here shortly.”

 

She started packing up her things into a briefcase  in front of Roxane.

 

“I don’t know much about her really. She pays me well to spin the story she desires, keep away the undesirables she doesn’t want to talk to. You seem to be have found the keys to the gate. I must say I’m impressed. Before I go, tell me, what is your real name?”

 

Roxane waited. She wasn’t just going to hand that over.

 

“Zelle told me the person who gave the name and answer you did wouldn’t really be the person she claimed, but if the tests were passed she needed to speak to you. So I know you aren’t Chelle. Who are you, really?”

 

“Roxane Sheridan.”

 

Roxane decided the publicist knew enough that she didn’t have an advantage.

 

“Interesting,” the publicist mused. “So you are the daughter in question. I believe you’ve called on us before, as yourself. My assistant mentioned your call as a very unusual one.”

 

“I know a lot more than I do now,” Roxane told her. “My father told me this would be the way to get through to Zelle and speak with her.”

 

Just then, the publicist’s intercom speaker buzzed.

 

“Yes?” she asked her assistant.

 

“Zelle has arrived. Shall I show her in?”

 

The publicist picked up her briefcase.

 

“Excellent timing. I was just headed out. Show her in.”