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By: Katie Gevas

I had spent the past twelve weeks on what was supposed to be a ten week boating trip. My father was an eccentric man with many insane ideas, but he didn't even have to come up with this one. Four generations ago my incredibly wealthy family decided that the next in line to inherit the fortune had to go sail around the world for an extended period of time in order to “Find peace” or whatever my father had said. I doubt he even knows what that means. 

So after the success of turning my great great grandfather from a spoiled rotten kid into a generous and unconventional man, the tradition continued. Elanor Whistleton was the first and only female of the four Whistletons to sail, and after that my uncle Joey made it around the entire world, and then promptly renounced his inheritance. I am pretty sure he lives somewhere in Greenland now, so my father, George Whistleton, was allowed to go on a speedy voyage so he could claim the fortune before my grandfather died. 

I had planned to skip the whole spiritual journey thing and wait until my father died like a normal person, but my family had other plans. Father decided that since my adventure lacked any sort of glamor or exotics, mine was given a very small budget to keep things interesting. Of course, having grown up wealthy and careless, my father had no idea how much a trip like this would actually cost. This was also why our enormous fortune had turned into a moderate one since my father took the reins.  In about a week I had spent half of what I was given on gasoline alone and spent the remainder of my trip coasting around the Caribbean as much as possible. Eventually I had run out of money, fuel, and everything but stale crackers. A week before I was supposed to be back I managed to get some supplies off of a very generous old man and travel the rest of the way at a very conservative level, thus extending my trip two extra weeks. 

Now here I am, totally sunburned, completely exhausted and using the sail to capture the nonexistent wind over to the long awaited shoreline where I will find some  poor middle aged man hired by my father to wait by the dock to see if I've come home yet. The excitement that I’ve been pushing down creeps up as I go over the list of luxuries and normalites that I’ve had to go without. Soft beds, temperature regulated rooms, real food, and company. Being on a boat for two and a half months really puts things in perspective, though I have no intention of telling father that. 

At long last I dock at the end of our privately owned pier. Two of the other boats owned by my family sit side by side, motionless apart from the gentle rocking of the waves. The first one was a large boat called The Chrysanthemum. It was the same boat my father used to propose to my mother. The second was called The Voyager. It was very small and looked merely decorative, but it had been the boat given to my Father so that he could go on his last minute trip after Uncle Joey left. Mine was a very nice boat, and had been used by me many times before this voyage. It had a finely crafted sail and a motor so that I could switch between the two. 

The sun was slowly descending behind the distant peaks as I trudged through the damp sand up to our second house. Even as the distant rays blinded my vision I couldn't keep the smug look off of my face. The irresistible feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment washed over my features, probably mixed in with a bit of spite. 

I met nobody on the way to the front door, which wasn't closed properly. The front room was also deserted. 

“Hello?” I called. Nobody responded. A sudden noise made me leap up in fright. It was loud like a chainsaw, but when I realized where it was coming from I smiled and ran to the kitchen. 

“Mom!” I yelled over the blender. My mother was standing by the counter with her arms folded and staring at the strawberries now being crushed into a smoothie. When she heard me she stopped the blender immediately and cried out. 

“Sam? Samuel, your home!” I expected her to wrap me in a crushing embrace, but instead she hung back a few feet away and took my hands in hers as though examining me for damage. “How was your trip sweetie? Did you do alright? Oh it's good to have you back.” 

“It was great mom. Where is everyone else?”

“Around town I expect. I can't keep track of anybody anymore. Let me go make a quick phone call and then you can tell me all about it alright?” She looked a little bit unsettled as she left, but that was to be expected. I waited comfortably in the familiar, but somewhat distant sitting room. 

“Okay, tell me everything,” She said after a few long minutes. She positioned herself on the edge of the sofa, allowing her rigidly straight posture slack a little as she rested one of her hands on my shoulder and smiled gently. There was a slight sadness in her eyes. 

“Well I’m sure you have a lot of questions,” I said after a small pause, “should we wait for father or is he coming with the rest of the family?” I cast a look around the room and up the staircase, as though he would suddenly rush in at the news that I was finally home. Surely everyone would be eager to hear my slightly elaborated tales of how I had to sleep in a bunk bed and drink bottled water every day. They didn't have to know about the hotel room I rented for my second week, but when I looked back into my mother's face, I found tears welling up in her eyes. 

“Mom? Mom, is everything alright? Where’s father? Let me go get him, he doesn't like to leave the house usually.” 

Her face turned stony and she withdrew her arm into the folds of her apron.

“He-he died Samuel. When you left. Over twelve weeks ago.” A soft ringing in my ears and I almost blacked out for a second, but I didn't. 

“What do you mean he died? That's impossible! He-” I gulped a large mouthful of air, “He was still in his forties! Why didn't you tell me sooner?” I stood up and vacantly clutched the armrest of the sofa. Of course, I was allowed little to no communication while I was traveling, but they could have found a way. “Twelve weeks,” I muttered. 

The doorbell rang and I stumbled in the direction of the door out of habit, losing focus of what's around me. “They will let themselves in. I am so sorry about this. Please sit down Sam.” But I didn't sit down. I didn't say anything either.  My thoughts were cool and sluggish, and ideas presented themselves one by one. He can't be dead. It's just so unlikely. What happens now

“Samuel Whistleton?” said a deep, unfamiliar voice in the entryway.

“Yes?” I said turning and looking up to see two officers standing side by side. 

They glanced at each other, nodded, and in one fluid motion pulled something out from their belts. Mom was standing silently in the corner with her eyes closed and grimacing. 

“You are under arrest for the murder of George Whistleton.”