The Riddles of Hillgate
Zoey Kane is known around Riverside for making risky purchases. When her daughter Claire learns a most recent investment is eighty acres on the haunted side of town, she is simply flabbergasted. Amazement takes over the whole community, however, when an old mansion is discovered deep within trees. After the estate is turned into a popular hotel, no one could have expected just how risky this purchase would be.
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Claire did spot something out of the ordinary. A closet door was slightly open and something was hanging from inside. “Look, Mother, over here.” Claire went over to the closet, opening the door wide.
They both shined their flashlights inside. Part of a ladder hung down, slightly swaying, made of rope.
“Should we climb it?” Zo whispered.
“Follow me up, Mom.”
“How about you pop your head up there first and tell me what you see?”
Zo added, “You know I’m not good with ropes or trapezes or anything of that nature.”
“Be careful, dearest.” Zo hesitated. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to let your only daughter go into a creepy attic alone at night, her conscience warned. “What do you see?”
Claire climbed enough just to see inside. The temperature instantly dropped a few degrees, just by that small distance. The rain beat hard on the roof, sounding as if she were in a drum. She shined her light in the space. She followed the glow of the flashlight’s ray along the walls. The attic was bigger than she expected. There was no sign of anyone in there, so she decided to pull herself all the way up and inside.
“Are you all right?” Zo called, afraid.
“Just come up here. You’ll be surprised,” Claire said.
“Is that a good thing?” Zo asked rhetorically. She decided to try her legs on the rope ladder and did much better than she thought. “Good news, Claire: I didn’t get tangled in it.”
She pulled herself up and into the cold attic. “Boy, the thunderclaps sound twenty thousand times louder up here, huh?”
“Yes, Mom,” Claire said, busily running her fingers along a wall, her eyes intently searching.
“What is it?”
“Flash your light over here.”
They scrutinized the display on the wall. “Newspapers?” Zo said. “For insulation perhaps?”
“No, Mother. Look closer, read it.”
She glanced at some papers and her eyes stopped and zeroed in. “They are all the same article. The front page news.”
“Yes, of the same old newspaper you had in that trunk…”
“About the fire…,” Zo finished. “Do you suppose it means something?”
“Of course, Mother. No normal human being would have such an excess of the same issue of the paper, unless they worked for the paper, and decided to recycle the overruns.”
“Ah… I see…”
“This person was obsessed with the fire of 1927.”
“A pyro,” Zo noted.
About the Authors
Claire has a Masters in Journalism, was Editor for Eye Witness Magazine and can't make Irish Rum Cookies to save her life.
Zoey has dabbled in modeling, is a licensed real-estate agent, seeks for treasures (great and small), and is often underestimated.
Together, Zoey and Claire are a mother-daughter mystery solving duo. During their downtime, they dream of island men whisking them away.
(Zoey and *Claire are also fictional, and their authors are a real life mother and daughter who use their names as pseudonyms. Don't tell them that, though.)
*Award-winning author, Molly Snow, writes under Claire Kane. To see her paranormal romantic comedies, visit mollysnowfiction.blogspot.com
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