Lucky Girl

By: Mallory Crowe

Harper bent down to examine the box. It was old and rusted, or at least it appeared that way. Looking closer, she saw that the rust was mostly on the surface. Superficial. Whoever had left the box in the woods hadn’t left it there for long.

And she knew it was planted because this was the fifth box she’d found so far, all scattered around the woods and just waiting for someone curious enough to open them up and discover the secrets inside.

Namely, secrets about a particular murder that took place in a small town years and years ago. A murder she happened to be intimately involved in.

She had to admit that part of her had been skeptical when Wade had claimed someone was trying to bring up the past, but she couldn’t deny it now. Someone really was trying to make sure Wade went down for the death of his father. Of course, Harper knew that nobody should go down for the death of that man. If anything, he deserved every bit of torture he was getting down in hell.

Unfortunately, a judge probably wouldn’t see it that way.

She tucked the box under her arm and looked at her watch. Just past seven o’clock. Sunset wouldn’t be far behind. She could look in the woods again tomorrow. For tonight, she’d have to call it.

Harper made her way out of the woods to where she had parked her motorcycle. After the long ride here from New York City, the bike could use a good washing, but she hadn’t had a chance. As soon as she’d gotten into town, she had to help Wade and his new girlfriend with their little problem of his crazy ex-girlfriend. The one who had gotten involved with some crazy actor with a massive gambling debt and then tried to force Wade to pay off those debts.

Harper still wasn’t convinced that Wade’s psycho ex wasn’t the one who’d been planting all these little mystery boxes around, but Wade insisted that she had never known anything about his past with his father.

Which left the list of suspects rather small. The only people who had been involved in the cover-up were Wade, Shane, her, and then eventually Wade’s sister, Sarah, had been told.

Of course, Leo had known.

But no one on that list actually had a reason to want to frame Wade. After all, if Wade went down, all of them could possibly end up serving jail time. Accessory to murder after the fact was still a crime. Leo was the only one of that group who had any problems with Wade, but.... Harper shook her head to clear her mind. She didn’t want to think about it.

Harper opened one of the storage bags on the back of the bike. Because she had packed all of her belongings in these bags, there was very little space, but she managed to fit the box—just barely. After that, she zipped up her summer riding jacket, pulled on her helmet, and then secured her riding gloves. She wasn’t going to be able to figure out any of this tonight, and she definitely wouldn’t do it on an empty stomach. She didn’t want her family to know she was in town, so the best option for food was the Town Pub.

It might sound cute and quaint, but it was basically a biker bar that was trying to get a better reputation. A few of the younger families in town were happy enough to have lunch and early dinner there, but the evenings were occupied by a rowdier crowd.

The new owner, Jacob, was trying his best to get rid of that image, and she bet that in a few years he would succeed. But the past had a way of sticking around, even when you scrubbed at it with the best soap money could buy.

Luckily, she’d grown pretty used to a little bit of dirt in her life.

She threw a leg over the sports bike and leaned forward as she started the engine.

Every fiber in her wanted to go fast. Fast enough to take her away from this place and all the memories that were held within. But she willed her self-control to be front and center. If the road was empty enough, normally she wasn’t opposed to speeding, but these weren’t just any roads. This was Birdsville, Ohio. The place she’d been born and raised and first began reckoning with her rebellious streak. She was going to guess that the local police station still had a warning picture of her up in the main building. If they thought they could give her a speeding ticket, they would in a heartbeat. She was sure she’d cost them thousands of dollars during her hell-raising days.

So she kept it slow and steady as she wound through the back roads and then suburbs and then the main road that led to downtown. She kept her eyes on the concrete in front of her, not letting herself be distracted by the memories flashing by either side of her. Soon enough she was rolling into the Town Pub. There were a few bikes parked out front, a sign of the night getting underway.