Pianoforte – Part 5
Greta sent Philip’s mom another text, asking if she could stop in either at dropoff or pickup at the next lesson. Almost immediately, Greta saw the three dots indicating that the woman was typing a response, but nothing ever came through. The dots dropped off and restarted three times before stopping for good.
She waited an hour, hoping Philip’s mother would get back to her, but there was no response. Greta decided to text her again in the morning as a follow-up. If she still heard nothing, she’d call.
Greta was hesitant to call his mom. The woman made it clear early on that she preferred texting as the main form of communication, claiming she was just so busy that sitting on the phone was too much of a disruption. Greta herself loved the innovation of the text message, but sometimes nothing beats an old fashioned phone conversation.
“Can you tell your mom I’m going to call her later?” Greta asked Philip as he packed up his books. The teen stopped and stared at her. She couldn’t tell if he was confused or angry.
“My mom likes texting better,” he stated quietly as if reciting a practiced phrase.
Greta nodded, “I know she does, but she hasn’t been answering me.”
Philip continued to collect his things and said, “Why do you need to talk to her?”
“Adult stuff,” she smiled. Philip didn’t return the grin. Instead, he stared at her like he was trying to read her mind.
Greta walked him to the door and noted that once again, his mom wasn’t there.
“I’m going to be walking from now on,” he mumbled. “My mom can’t drive me anymore.”
“She just can’t,” he whispered and then ran down the porch steps.
When Greta tried to call his mom later that night, it went to voicemail immediately.
“Hi, is this Greta Cranston?” the male voice asked. The number came through as local, but Greta didn’t recognize it.
“Yes, who is this?”
“Ms. Cranston, this is Detective Sean Wooton,” the man began. “I’m investigating the disappearance of a Mrs. Felicity Maren. I believe you are one of her son’s teachers?”
Greta felt her stomach drop. Her throat was dry, and her tongue felt as if it weighed three tons.
“Yeah…yes…um,” Greta stuttered. “I am her son’s piano teacher. She’s missing?”
“Ms. Cranston, can you come down to the station and chat with us today?”
Greta didn’t remember hanging up the phone. She barely remembered getting her shoes on and grabbing her keys. Philip’s mom was dead. She was sure of it. And she knew exactly who did it.