She knew everyone should be at the viewing so this was the perfect time. She parked a block away and walked down the alley to Hope’s house and looked around for potential witnesses before trying the back door. As usual, it was unlocked.

            Her movements were as quiet as humanly possible and she listened for any evidence that someone remained in the house. Quietly, she crept up the stairs and into Hope’s room. Although she had been in Hope’s room hundreds of times and, as Hope’s best friend, had slept over dozens of times, the room suddenly looked different. Instead of funky and cool, the room looked juvenile. Perhaps it was finding out that your best friend was found dead in the woods, or perhaps it was breaking into her house, but suddenly she felt like her childhood had melted away like the snow in April.

            Obviously, the police have searched Hope’s bedroom but she doubted they had discovered the treasurer she was after. If they had found it, there would likely have been an arrest. She opened the closet door, turned on the light, and then shut the door just in case. To pull the carpet back far enough to access the secret stash, she had to move shoes, boxes, and an organizer rack. She lost her balance and landed on the floor with a thud. Looking up at Hope’s cloths, hanging like skeletons, gave her the creeps. She made quick work of removing a floor board, fishing out a well worn manila envelope, and then reassembling everything back into place.

            The sound of a car pulling into the gravel driveway set her into action. She was on her feet, out the bedroom door, down the hall, and on the back porch in a quarter of the time it took her to get into the house. She saw a car turning into the alley and, panicked, realized there was nowhere to go except back inside. She walked in a bent over position toward the front of the house to avoid being seen through the windows. She was just about to the front when she remembered the package in her hand. A quick shove into the nearest shrub seemed her only option. She straightened and, with no one in the front yard, went to the front door as if she planned on attending the wake.

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