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Mystery at the Grand Lion

By Susan Graves All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Poetry

Where it all Began

First of all, I’ve never believed in ghosts before. Honestly it’s kind of the opposite I’ve done everything I can to discredit ghost hunters. Call it a hobby really. But all of that changed this summer. But that’s not the best way to start this story. Let me start at the beginning my name is Maggie white and I am a reporter at the Daily Gazette. I live in the amazing city of New York.

I love the sounds of car horns and police sirens and the hustle and bustle of people crowding the sidewalks. The Daily Gazette isn’t exactly what you would call a dream job. I follow celebrities trying to catch a picture and wrote two-bit gossip on them. Someday however I will write for a real newspaper and I will write something that means something. Little did I know on this sunny August morning I was about to do just that.

The morning started out like any other me scrambling to get out of the studio apartment on time to be able to stop for coffee. The Beanery is my Grandfather’s super cute coffee shop just two blocks away from my apartment and the minute you walk in you feel at home.

The smells of vanilla and hazelnut waft outside and lure you in. Four small iron tables and chairs sit tucked into small corners of the Beanery.

With paintings of the Eiffel Tower on the wall and fresh chocolate croissants and colorful macaroons in the display case you are instantly transported to a Parisian cafe. My Grandfather Thomas is my hero he raised me after my parents died and when I get discouraged he keeps me focused.

His slightly wrinkled face lights up as he smiles. “Ah my beautiful darling you are here!” He embraces me in a large hug.

Even though he has lived in the United States for almost 50 years I can still hear his French provincial accent when he speaks. He looks at me “Are you ready to conquer the world today?” His positivity is contagious. Years ago when I was a child I remember asking him how he was able to stay so positive all the time and he would look at me with a smile and say “C’est la vie mon cherie, life is beautiful!” My iPhone buzzes in my hand bring me out of my memories.

It’s an email from the office.:

Date sent: August 9th

Time: 7:45 am

To: Maggie White <White_Maggie@DailyGazette.com>

From: Elizabeth Rawlings <Elizabeth@DailyGazette.com>

Subject: Daily huddle

Please come into the office early. Immediately.

We need to have an urgent huddle. This is BIG.

Elizabeth Rawlings

Edition in Chief Daily Gazette

My Grandfather hands me a bag with a croissant and a tall skim mocha as if he knows I have leave. “You’re the best” I say giving him a kiss on each cheek. As I open the door he calls out “Remember it is your attitude that gets you the farthest!” I look back and smile “love you” I say dashing out into the summer heat.

The nice thing about New York is that nothing is ever too far to walk. If you have never been in New York in the summer, it can become miserable there is a reason they call it the concrete jungle. Luckily for me the Daily Gazette is a quick five-minute walk.

My boss Elizabeth is one of the only reasons I stay at that this dead end job. She is not what you would imagine. Most women who have climbed the corporate ladder can be pretentious and boring.

Not Elizabeth. She wears flowing skirts and is all about teamwork and wants us to communicate feelings.

But when she knows she is onto a story she refuses to let it go, like a dog with a bone.

Located on Fifth street the Daily Gazette is lucky enough to be on the 2nd floor of a three story building.

When you first look at the outside you see a fancy building from the late 1800s with scroll work and even a large gargoyle on the top. We call it Oscar and he is on our logo.

Call him an unofficial mascot. When I first interviewed here I had envisioned the golden age of newspapers with the sounds of typewriters clinging and someone yelling “extra extra read all about it”. That is not what I found at all but maybe this is why I will make a good writer as I always have my head in the clouds with daydreams.

Elizabeth has recently had our floor of this building renovated which is a great story for another day. Her main reason of renovating was so that there are no separate offices just a large circle of tables and chairs. Elizabeth thinks this promotes teamwork and helps us relay information quicker. On the walls behind the tables are LCD television monitors displaying news and gossip shows. Add this noise to the phones ringing with hot tips coming in and people running in and out of the office for a story. I open the creaky stained glass door just in time for the huddle.

Elizabeth greets me with a smile. “Thank you for making time for us Maggie” she says in a soothing voice.

Seriously she is the best.

“Let us begin” she starts pointing the remote at a large television. A video starts playing images of a face we all recognize. Serena Van Nusten a young A-Lister and Oscar nominee.

Serena is also a well-known party girl in the Hollywood crowd. The video shows her on location filming her new movie. Elizabeth pauses the clip briefly “this is the famed Grand Lion resort located on Lake Louise in Banff Canada. Before I say any more watch this” The video shows Serena sitting in a plush lobby chair being interviewed promoting a new movie; Almost paradise.

“The way I see it” Serena’s voice is in a highly nasal tone almost as if she feels superior to the one interviewing her. Serena was unable to finish this sentence as a perfume bottle came out of nowhere and struck her in the face. The office grew quiet as we viewed this same video from every angle. There it was over and over the perfume bottle is picked up and thrown in midair but no one was there to throw it. It was located initially in the hotel gift shop about 50 feet away from Serena and was aimed specially at her. There was no doubt about it. The video finishes showing the aftermath of this.

“What was that” Serena shrieked feeling her nose and upon feeling blood running down her cheeks she runs away sobbing.

We could briefly hear muffled cries of “I am ruined” as she ran down the hall. Elizabeth stopped and smiled. “This is not the first time Serena has been targeted.” she paused. “we were given access to this video first but once it hits you tube we will have competition”

Elizabeth looked directly at me “Maggie you have always loved puzzles, I need you to go to the Grand Lion and find out who or what is causing this” I nodded to let Elizabeth finish “as some of you may or may not know the Grand Lion is rumored to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world” I laughed out loud. Laughed probably isn’t the best word. I snorted and burst out with laughter is more accurate. Looking from Elizabeth to my teammates I ask “remember what happened when you renovated our office and strange things started to happen?”

I received a few smiles and nods around the room. “Someone was jealous of Elizabeth’s promotion and tried to scare her out of the building by making her think it was haunted” looking at Elizabeth I finish” I proved the ghost wrong here and I’ll do it again at the Grand Lion!”

“This is exactly why I have chosen you find out what exactly is going on” she finishes. I fold my arms across my solid black dress to make a point “honestly, in my opinion it’s a classic story where you need more business you so create a ghost, throw in a celebrity for good measure and instantly you are busier than ever before.”

With this I make a fist and slam it against the table for good measure. At this Elizabeth wore a proud look on her face. The huddle was over and I had my first on location assignment. If this went well I could have the recognition, I needed.

Enough experience to apply for a big name newspaper.

As I pack up my things to leave the office Elizabeth corners me. “These are for you” she states handing me the Daily Gazette charge card and plane tickets. “Stay as long as you need a driver from the hotel will pick you up just get to the bottom of this!” I can honestly say I have never seen her look so impressed with me.

As I open the office door she finishes “Oh and Maggie remember what you can accomplish when you have confidence.” She has a point confidence in myself has always been one of my key weaknesses. As I leave the office I can’t believe the turn my day has taken. I never could have planned Sitting in the taxi driving to the airport I jot down a list of things to remember.

I’ve always been a list person:

- learn about the history of the Grand Lion

- take pictures of the resort and film set

- attempt an interview with Serena

- Research legends at the Grand Lion

- Interview staff

- debunk the person behind the “ghost”

Yes. That should do it. This will be easy, or so I thought.

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