Mark backed into the room and turned the door handle to draw in the latch as he closed the door. He eased himself around and faced the room. The light from the window was tinted pink by the curtains. It smelled stale and dusty. His mother said it was the guest bedroom now, but it didn’t look like it had changed much since Liz moved out.
Mark sat on the bed and ran a hand over the colourful comforter. He looked at the posters on the wall, and the dolls leaning up against each other on the bookshelf. He wondered if it was all over the news yet, and if in some way it might be true. That Liz was capable of murder and stealing almost three quarters of a million dollars. Mark shook his head. Of course not.
A lot of years had passed since Mark last saw the book, but he was confident that he would recognize it when he saw it. He always thought it was Liz’s journal, but it turned out to be more than that. She would take it everywhere. The binder held her stories, her plans for world domination, and the odd sketch. It was the kind with the flap that was held shut with a dot of velcro. It had a cartoon character on the cover, Mark couldn’t remember its name. The dead space had been filled with stickers and words scratched in blue pen.
Mark walked to the back corner of the room. He opened the folding closet door, stepped into the closet, and then half closed the door on himself. On the back of the door was a sheet of cardboard. It helped to deaden the metallic sound when the doors moved, but it also made a pretty decent hiding spot. He pulled the cardboard up and away from the door panel. Mark stared at the empty space. He dropped the cardboard on the floor of the closet and walked out into the room.
The binder wasn’t anywhere in sight. Not on the bookshelf or small desk. The dresser and nightstand were empty. He even checked under the bed, and between the mattress and the frame.
Mark ran a hand through his hair and pushed his glasses up his nose. He heard his name being called, and turned toward the door. “Damn it.” He closed the closet and slipped out of the room.
Image by Kaleigh Kanary