by Rachael Keane

Chapter 1
7:00 A.M, Monday, August 12, 2024…Happy Birthday Anne Marie Spencer  
The blue holographic lights scrolled through the air a few feet above her head just as a loud 
hum went off to wake her up. She didn’t need it; she woke up two hours ago. 
She already knew what the words and numbers were without looking at them, 
her memory was just as good or even better, then her dad’s. Today was her 15th birthday, 
but that’s not what was keeping her lying awake in bed since 5:00 A.M…it was the 
anniversary of her mom’s death. 
~~~Seven years ago on Anne’s 8th birthday, her mother Juliet, left for a quick 
undercover spree with her partner Lassiter. Wearing a cute party hat over her wavy 
blonde hair, she begged her mother not to go. “But mom!” She complained, her blue eyes 
narrowed, looking upward. “We haven’t finished our game of Virtual Stoppers yet.” 
“Honey,” Juliet said, kneeling down so they were eye to eye. “You know how important my 
job is. But I’ll be back before you know it.” She kissed the top of Anne’s forehead, 
and got up to leave.~~~
Finally she swung her long legs over the side of her bed. They felt like they weighed a 
ton as she walked downstairs to the kitchen. She looked around the deserted messy 
kitchen and living room. She pulled cereal out of the cupboard and started to pour it 
into a tall cup. All the bowls along with other dishes were stacked a mile high in the 
sink. Neither Shawn nor Anne Marie were very good at house keeping, and their automatic 
dish loader broke down a few weeks ago. 
“Morning!” Shawn said bouncing down the stairs with so much energy it was suspicious. 
“Mm,” Anna mumbled without looking at her dad. 
“I thought…” Shawn said with too much enthusiasm. “That we could go to the amusement park 
Anne Marie looked at him warily, putting down the spoon. “I have school.” 
“But you also have a life.” He stated. “Come on! It’ll be fun; I’ll call the school and 
tell them you have a case of…rollercoasteritus.”
She just stared at him. 
Shawn let the act drop a little. “Look, I know it’s the anniversary of your mom’s death, 
but it’s also your birthday, you need to allow yourself to have some fun.” 
Anne Marie took her cup and downed the remaining milk like a shot. “You should take your 
own advice dad. I don’t see you having fun anymore, not since you sold Psych.”
With that, she slung her bag over her shoulder and strode out the door. 
~~~She was only a year older in this memory but seemed so much different and mature 
standing by her father as they took one last look at the empty Psych office. 
Even Gus with his eight year old son, Derek, showed up to make sure they didn’t miss 
anything. Anne wondered how a place that had once been so full of life, 
could feel so cold now. The pineapple smoothie stain that was once on the walls was 
hidden with new white paint. The clay Anne Marie and Derek threw up onto the ceiling had 
been scrapped off. Right then she hated her father for abandoning the agency.~~~
“Anne Marie Spencer?”  The substitute biology teacher called out. 
 It’s a great day outside. Why didn’t I just take my dad’s offer? Missing one day of 
school couldn’t hurt. I love roller coast—  

“Ann!” Tasha, Anne Marie’s best friend hissed to her. “Tell her you’re here or you’ll be 
marked absent.”
Anne dragged herself back to reality. “Sorry! I’m here.” 
The older women turned around. “Spencer, is it?”
“Well that’s my last name but I prefer to be called Anne Ma—
“No, I was just wondering if you were related to Shawn Spencer.”
Anne studied her face and body language, something she did by heart. The new substitute 
seemed just purely curious. “He’s my father.” 
She smiled, reminiscing. “Oh he was so nice. It’s been years but I remember when he 
helped find the arsonist who burnt down half of the cities building projects. 
Isn’t he a psychic?” 
She shifted uncomfortably in the plastic desk chair. She tried to avoid that question. 
“He’s not a private detective anymore.”
Her face lit up. “Oh did he become a cop? I know his wife is. What’s her name? 
Oh it’s on the tip of my tongue...Juliet! How is your mother?” 
Anne Marie looked from side to side. Tasha watched her worriedly; knowing how trapped her 
friend felt. Tasha was friends with Anne Marie since pre-school and knew full well Anne 
hated talking about her mom’s death. 
Tasha came to the rescue, waving her hand through the air. “Umm…Mrs… teacher…something” 
She felt lame saying that but couldn’t remember the substitutes name “Do we have to take 
notes today?” 
“Oh! Yes of course. I need to put in the documentary.” She turned to the rest of the 
class. “Everyone needs to write down ten facts from the movie.” 
Even though she was supposed to be writing down boring facts she couldn’t help but hear 
that question replay in her head. She didn’t just have a photographic memory; she could 
remember things word for word too. ‘How is your mother?’
Dead…that’s how she is. How are you? 
~~~The casket sat closed by the hole in the ground. How crude it all seemed to Anne Marie. 
So barbaric, putting her mother in a box in the ground. But she sat through the stupid 
readings and ceremony and didn’t cry at all. 
Shawn didn’t cry either, but he sat so stiffly and confused. Gus didn’t say a word and 
Lassiter seemed to be lurking in the back. Karen was the only one who seemed genuinely 
herself as she gave a small speech about how the entire department would miss her. 
She even promised everyone they would find who it was that killed Juliet. Well, 
weren’t promises made to be broken? 
In the church banquet hall people came up to her and said, things like. 
“We’ll miss her darling.” Or, “If you ever need someone to talk to…” Yeah right, 
you’re all just here for the food.  One lady she didn’t even know that well gave her a 
twenty dollar bill. Oh thanks! Money makes it all better.   

Mrs. Taylor, Tasha’s mom came up to her, directing Tasha from behind. She whispered in 
her daughter’s ear, “Give her a hug.” 
Tasha and Anne Marie silently hugged. It felt forced and awkward but was still nice, 
because they both knew no matter what they would be there for each other.~~~
The documentary wasn’t even that important to Tasha either. She looked over at 
Anne Marie. They locked glances and grinned. 

To Be Continued...