Jeananne knew she was ready for a change. She left the Pennsylvania farming community where she had taught for three years to return to her native Missouri, hoping to find a way to indulge her passion for food into something that would also feed her soul. She grew up in the dusty musky back room of her mother’s thrift shop, her vivid imagination nurtured among the fabric colors and textures as she found and made treasure out of things that seemed to have no value.
She began to nurse the idea of having a food truck, and did research into the possibility of it. She also scoured craigslist and looked at several trucks. One day, she found a house in a cool part of town, pretty affordable. Still indulging her imagination, on a lark, she checked it out. It was a small brick bungalow by a beautiful park and a fantastic Thai restaurant. On a lark, she talked to the bank about getting a loan. Just to see. She realized how much she would save by purchasing a home rather than paying rent. On a lark, she asked a friend to inspect the unit, then had it inspected professionally. She talked with friends and other trusted homeowners; making sure she did all she needed to do, crossed every T. She could barely sleep she was so nervous, so surprise by her own chutzpah.
She bought a house. On a lark. From craigslist. Found a treasure amidst something that seemed to have no value. When she finally finished signing the paperwork and making sure the insurance and financing were straight, she finally relaxed. The weight and worry of making a mistake or ruining something fled – the house was hers. She was confident she could handle anything that happened now that it was hers.
She began cleaning and renovating it. A mild early summer air made working in the house pleasant, and her mind was filled with possibilities for décor and gardening ideas. Singing absently, she sat on the floor of her kitchen and began to clean under the sink. She found a small cubby around the pipes under the sink, and in it was a book. A brown leather bound book leaning against the side of the concrete wall. A secret book, as though someone had stashed it there. “What an odd place for a book,” Jeananne thought as she pulled it out, expecting to see pages warped from water damage.
Instead, she found bullet holes! One had gone clean through, but the other one hadn’t. It had been stopped by the book, though it wasn’t lodged in there. It wasn’t on the concrete shelf, either, so someone had removed it. She flipped through the pages and saw beautiful pictures, where the pages weren’t torn by the bullets. The Great Conquest, Book 4. It had been published in 1932, though it was highly unlikely that the book had been under the sink for 80 years.
Bullet holes! Who had put the book here? Was it intentional? Was that person hiding something? How long had it been there? Finally, what had happened? Did it happen on a lark?