Harry desperately examined the newspaper he’d found in the old china hutch, looking for obvious signs of forgery. Misspellings, ribald jokes, anything. But no, at least as a far as a surface examination was concerned, it looked authentic. The paper had even attained a patina of age, the sort only seen after exposure to the air for months or years.

“Daddy, why are you messing with that dirty old paper?” Madelaine looked up from her frosted flakes.

“Well, I-”

“There’s a new one on the porch, you know,” his daughter said with a five-year-old’s self-assurance.

“I’m…I’m looking at it to see if I can remember what happened way back then,” Harry said. “You know, ’cause I’m old.”

Madelaine nodded. “Yeah, old people are like that sometimes.” She finished the bowl and stood on tiptoes to get it into the sink before wandering into the TV room.

Harry watched her go with a mixture of pride and fear before turning back to the newspaper, which claimed to be an issue of the Sunday Cascadia Post, Tecumseh County Edition. It was dated June 17, 2018: 5 years, 7 months, and 12 days from the date on Harry’s day calendar.

In between mundane articles on the midterm elections and a Deerton millage for a new high school, there was a half-page spread on A2 entitled “One Year Later: A Search for Answers in the Ockham Murder.” The article glossed over events that its readers were presumably familiar with: while the Deerton police had been distracted by a fire on the other side of town, someone had kidnapped and murdered a victim in the old abandoned Petersen barn off US 313.

The picture accompanying the article showed the barn festooned with flowers, teddy bears, and banners of support. The largest banner covered nearly a quarter of the barn’s side and bore the logo of the Deerton Rotary Club.

It read, simply, Madelaine Ockham, beloved daughter, 4/12/07-6/18/17.

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