Elise and Angela stood outside the storage unit. After struggling with the old lock, they finally succeeded in turning the key and pushing the metal slatted door up.
Tommy, at the front desk, had looked up how long their Aunt Victoria had rented the unit and told the women that she had paid in full for the next two years.
“You’re in luck,” he said. “The management owes you a refund check. It won’t be too much because your aunt rented the smallest unit we have, but, hey, it’s something. When you’re done clearing it out leave the door open, and I’ll sweep it out later.”
“Thanks, Tommy,” Angela said reading the young man’s name on his denim work shirt. They started to leave, when she turned and said, ‘Did you ever meet our Aunt Victoria?”
Tommy smiled. “She came in about six months ago to rent the unit. I had started here the week before. I remember her because she was so, ah, charming, I guess. Most customers are only as nice as they have to be to get what they want, a closer unit, an extra hand moving boxes, but Victoria? Well, your aunt took the time to ask what I was studying. She even said she’d once thought pursuing a career in medicine herself but couldn’t shake her love of writing.”
“That sounds like our Victoria,” Elise said. “But I can’t imagine her staying in one spot for eight years of med school.”
“Really sorry to hear what happened. She seemed like a terrific lady.”
“Thanks, Tommy,” Angela said. “We won’t be long.”
He shrugged. “No worries. You ladies have a good afternoon.”
The space was no more than a large closet, 5 X 10 and the women were surprised to only find three boxes. On the side of each box written in black magic marker were the decades – 1980s, 1990s, & 2000s.
“Don’t you think this is odd, Angie?” Elise said. “I mean we’ve spent the last four days going through Victoria’s travel journals, her published magazine articles, and even unpublished files on her computer. “What are we going to find here that warrants a private storage space?”
Angela opened the first box. Inside were three identical leatherbound books. She turned to page one and read silently. Her eyes widened.