Maggie’s sister, Diana stood in front of her repeatedly snapping her fingers close to Maggie’s face.
“Okay, slow down. You saw Poppy’s tools fly? The puzzle box flew open… Crap, I told Mom no more potlucks with her friends. It’s on you if you ate dinner over there. Can you tell me what’s three times five?” Diana’s wavy red hair was in a thick braid down her back, and she was wearing her favorite Wonder Woman t-shirt. The sisters looked just alike except for their hair.
Maggie pushed her sister’s hand out of her face, laughing. “Not while you’re doing that! Come on, Di, you’re a doctor, aren’t you? Does that sound do much for any of your patients?” They were sitting on Maggie’s back porch, bundled up in sweaters.
Her sister smiled. “No, but I’m a bone surgeon and they’re normally out cold and even when they’re awake they don’t see things.” Diana tapped her head. “Different kind of doc.”
Maggie got up and paced in front of her older sister. “I don’t think this one is on Mom.” She glanced at her sister. “Don’t roll your eyes at me. Not unless Mom’s group is baking something that causes momentary delusions that quickly fade.”
Diana’s face gave a hint of concern. “You’re really worked up over this. Burglaries normally make you calm down.” Maggie turned to pace the other way as Diana kept talking. “You work like a machine, like an AI.” Diana pumped her fist in the air. “What? I admire it.” Diana pulled a metal lawn chair closer, brushing off leaves from the tree before she sat down. “Entirely possible Mom’s in this somewhere. Her friends are super clever. They’re legit hippies who all came here to get their bones out of the cold weather and some of them have advanced degrees. I can see them coming up with some new hallucinogenic. It’s like it’s their frikkin hobby.”
“It wasn’t Mom, and you’re not helping. This was something else.”
Diana leaned forward and let out a laugh. “Only other answer is that you saw inanimate objects fly. Come on, Maggie…”
“It’s true, I swear.” Maggie swore under her breath.
“You have Dad’s mouth… but you swear like Mom.”
“That one never gets old for you, does it? Come on, help me pick up Poppy’s tools and save what’s left of the box. Maybe it’ll give me some clues.”
“Maybe it’ll start talking and just tell us what happened.”
“Keep it up and I’m telling Mom.”
Diana stood up, brushing off the back of her tight jeans. “That’ll be the day. You never even told Mom it was me that talked you into roller blading down West Lynn.”
“West Lynn during rush hour.” Maggie rubbed the faded scar just above her right eye. “I was old enough to make up my own mind. Besides, before I hit that speed bump it was one smooth ride.”
“Speed bumps are dangerous. I’ve set more than one kid’s bone because of those things. A hazard.”
Maggie gave her sister a crooked smile. “Aren’t first borns supposed to be the grounded ones?”
“Have you met our mother? I am the grounded one.” Diana waved her arms in front of her body. “This is a big step up from where the family tree was headed.”
“Not that we’re judging…”
Diana let out a laugh. “Never. Mom’s good people and she got us upright and employed on her own.” She tilted her head to the side, just like Maggie. “Ever wonder what we’d be like if Dad had lived?”
Maggie changed the subject. She didn’t like thinking about losing her gentle father who liked to read and kept stacks of books near every chair in the house. “Bernie had this weird earthy smell to him. Would have thought there’d be some good stank mixed in. Did I tell you about the bubbles? Big, large bubbles all bunched up together near the ceiling.”
Diana let the conversation move on without an answer. It was what big sisters did. She sat back down and rested her cheek on her fist, watching Maggie put her hands on her hips and stand up straighter. It was the same tell she’d had since they were kids, every time she was onto something adventurous. There was no turning back now. “All seems unrelated to me. Not getting any connection. Didn’t you say that old garage leaks? Maybe it’s something to do with condensation.”
“Never seen bubbles in there before and these were big.” She held her hands a foot apart.
“Okay… massive fart bubbles, or old guy was making something before you found him, or hey, what about a sign from the cosmos? You were visited by aliens.”
Maggie shook her head, her hands still on her hips. “First, ewww. No, this all fits together, I can feel it. Don’t know how yet, but I’m gonna’ figure it out and get that damn compass back.”
“That’s what makes you such a good detective. You love riddles, the weirder the better and can’t walk away from a challenge.” Diana stood up and hugged her sister. “Also what makes you a good sister. Go see Mom before you head to work, and tell her your theories. She’ll be so far out of the box with her answers that it just might spark an idea in you. I gotta go. Surgery awaits. Have to go put a hand back together again.” She waggled her hands as she headed out the door.
“I’m going to figure this out.” Maggie could still feel the remnants of the humming moving along her spine.
“I have no doubts,” her sister called as she headed down the driveway.