The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

Peacemaker; Part 1

Peacemaker; Part 1
Photo Courtesy of Maahum Alvi

“So, you understand the assignment?”

“Yes, sir,” Flora Embers said, nodding curtly. She grabbed the briefcase and walked out of the office briskly.

“Good,” Mr. Sharp called after her. “Because the fate of my family depends on it, Ms. Embers!”


The sound of a sharp whistle caught his attention just as he was going to grab a book off of his shelf. Will braced himself, waiting for the inevitable.

“Will!” Darryl shouted from his office. “Get the door!”

The office was closer to the front door than Will’s room was, but it didn’t seem to matter. Huffing at his uncle’s laziness, Will rushed downstairs to answer the door. When he opened it, there was a woman in a suit carrying a briefcase and a serious expression.

“Caaaaan I… help you?” Will asked. He glanced into his uncle’s office, but Darryl paid him no attention. As usual. His aunt was out driving his cousins around to their infinite activities. Also, as usual.

“Flora Embers,” the woman replied. “I’m looking for a Mr. William Sharp?”

“Oh, that’s me,” Will said, perking up. No one had ever come looking for him after the year of his mother’s car crash. Everytime he opened the door for Uncle Darryl, it was always someone looking for one of his other family members.

“How old are you?” Ms. Embers asked. Will stared at her. Wasn’t he not supposed to give that information to strangers? He looked at his uncle. Darryl continued mumbling at his computer.

Sensing his confusion, Ms. Embers smiled, but still seemed very serious. “You see, I was a friend of your mother’s, and I have something I was supposed to help you with, but only once you had turned twelve.”

At the mention of his mother, Will relaxed. “Luckily for you, I just turned twelve last week.”

“That’s wonderful,” Ms. Embers asked. Will waited for her to start talking business, as most people who visited the Sharps did. He was pleasantly surprised when she did not. “How was your birthday?”

“Oh, uh, it was… good. It was good,” Will said. A sudden breeze whooshed past his face and he realized just how cold it was outside. “Here, come inside.”

“Thank you, William,” Ms. Embers said, stepping in as he shut the door.

“Call me Will, Ms. Embers,” he said, locking the door.

“In that case, call me Flora, Will,” she said, glancing at Darryl, who was still mumbling at his screen. She still hadn’t smiled, except for the slight smile of reassurance from before.

“Don’t mind my uncle,” Will said to her. “He’s a bit-” – he twirled his finger above his ear as if to say ‘crazy’ – “You know what I mean?”

This time, she genuinely almost laughed, but still kept her serious demeanor. “Why don’t we sit down?”

He led her to the living room, where they sat down and Flora began to unpack her briefcase. The sleek, professional briefcase contained a laptop, a few file folders, and a small silver box. As Flora removed the silver box and her laptop, Will noticed a reddish-orange flower and a white flower pressed onto a sheet of canvas paper and laminated, hiding under Flora’s laptop.

“Is that a papaver californicum and a lilium canadense?” Will asked curiously. When Flora looked back at him blankly, he said, “A fire poppy and a meadow lily?”

“Yes, it is,” Flora said, closing the briefcase. “That was impressive. Can you name all flowers by their scientific names and identify them on the spot?”

Will averted his gaze. “Not all. But my mom taught me a few before she…”

Flora’s expression softened. “I’m sorry for your loss. Lily was an incredible friend, and I’m sure she was just as good of a mother. In fact, she was the one who gave me those. She once told me that, when she was a famous artist, I could tell everyone that I was the first person to receive her official artwork.”

Will smiled at that. His mother had always been talking about her flowers and her artwork. She was the one who had always encouraged him to pursue his passion, storytelling. Of course, she didn’t know that for the past six years, he had taken none of her advice. Flora cleared her throat.

“This is for you,” Flora said, handing him the silver box. As he removed the lid, she opened her laptop and watched him. Carefully, he removed the silk cloth that covered the contents of the box and set it on the table. Inside the box were two flash drives, one labeled with his name.

“She left me… flash drives?”

Nodding, Flora said, “You should save the one with your name on it until we’re done.” Just then, the doorbell rang again. Before his uncle could shout at him to do it, Will rushed to get the door. He was surprised to see both his aunts standing outside- Darryl’s wife, Aunt Bella, and his mother’s sister, Aunt Tina. All of his cousins were staring at each other warily.

Will stared at his family members, who were glaring at each other. “Are you going to come in, or do you want me to leave you here to freeze?”

At that, his family came inside and reached the living room, Aunt Bella managing to drag Uncle Darryl away from his screen. There was a bit of a commotion from Darryl and Tina when they saw Flora.

“Flora?” Darryl said, taken aback. “When did you get here?”

“Like, twenty minutes ago,” Will answered for her. “Which you would know if you weren’t always scrambling to manage your projects the day before they’re due.”

“Shut up, Will,” Libby, Darryl’s daughter, said. She and her brother, Robert, hated each other. The only thing they agreed on was that they hated their cousins more.

“Don’t you talk, Libby,” Bradley, Tina’s older son, said. He and his brother, Ben, were probably the only relatives that Will had alive (aside from their grandfather, of course) who actually liked him. “I bet you would’ve said the same thing if Will hadn’t said it first. Even you know how Uncle Darryl works.”

“Tina, why don’t you and your kids leave?” Aunt Bella said, gesturing to the door. “Flora is probably here to talk to Will and then leave. Nothing that concerns you.”

“Actually,” Flora interjected before Aunt Tina could respond. “While this mainly concerns Will, I believe that all of you should stick around.”

As Flora plugged the unlabeled flash drive into her computer, Will realized just how close the mysterious, serious woman must’ve been to his mother. Flora had clearly learned from his mother on how to play peacemaker between his family members. Step 1 was to distract them. Flora turned her computer around so that they could all see and hit the play button on a video.

“Hi guys,” Lily’s voice said. Will’s breath caught in his throat and he didn’t dare breathe, as if his mother’s voice would disappear if he did. Brad put a hand on his shoulder. “If you’re watching this video, it means I’m not around anymore. I’ve hidden something on Darryl’s property somewhere. I can’t tell you where, in case something happens to Flora and the wrong person gets this recording. But, I can give you a clue. The only way anyone can solve it is if the family works together.

To find what I’ve left behind, you’ll have to find the place where the letters live. I wish you good luck. Love you all!” With that, Lily’s recording waved goodbye and disappeared from the screen. Flora shut the computer. Bradley moved his hand.

Darryl turned to Will. “Why is it that your mother always chose the worst times to give us a mission? And that she always forced us to work together?”

Will tried to speak and defend his mother, but his throat had gone dry and he had to swallow hard to avoid crying in front of his family. Flora responded for him.

“Lily wanted to make sure that what she left behind wasn’t just an object, but her legacy. And if that’s what you see as her legacy, then you’re a horrible older brother, Darryl,” Flora said, looking at him coldly. “Now, if I were you guys, I would get to work solving Lily’s clue. This is probably one of her most challenging, by the sound of it.”

“Don’t you know the answer?” Aunt Tina said. “After all, you had the video. And Lily was your best friend. Surely she told you the answer.”

Flora shook her head. “That information was never disclosed to me. I was just told that, if anything were to happen to her before Will turned twelve, then I was to bring you this video and help you find her object when he did.”

Robert, who had strangely been silent up until now, said, “What exactly is the point of this? Aunt Lily’s dead. We don’t need to listen to her.”

Flora paled visibly. She may have known how to deal with Darryl, Tina, and Bella, but she had clearly never met Will’s cousins before. “First of all, show some respect to your aunt, young man. She was a very capable woman. Secondly, it’s written in her will that this be done. In case any of you were not aware, a will is a legal document.”

Instead of taking Flora seriously, Robert, ever the comedian, began to laugh his head off. “Will! You’re a legal document!”

Will’s ears burned. Ben rolled his eyes. “I’m younger than you and even I know that’s not what she meant.”

Brad sighed. Being fifteen, he was the oldest of the cousins, as well as the most reasonable. “Well, if we have to do it, let’s get started. So, who knows where the letters live?”

“Well, that’s obvious,” Libby said. “Will’s room. He has that shelf full of books. Books are made of letters. Duh.”

Robert shoved his sister. “Will didn’t even live here when she made that video. There was no bookshelf, stupid.”

Will sighed and sat down next to Flora, prepared to watch his family argue for the next few hours. At some point, the argument was sure to shift from the riddle to the Tina-and-Darryl argument, which involved Tina pointing out Darryl’s flaws and Darryl yelling at her. Will felt sorry that Flora had to experience this.

“What do you normally do when they argue?” Flora asked him as the adults began to get involved in the argument.

“Me?” Will said, surprised that Flora cared what he thought. Most people who interacted with him either only cared that he was a Sharp or that he was a way of communicating with the other Sharps. “I usually watch for a while and then go to my room and read. Every argument eventually ends in someone breaking something or my cousins having a food fight. Either way, they all get separated at some point and the argument ends.”

“Mhm,” Flora said, turning to look directly at him. “And what do you think your mother would do?”

“Mom would’ve told them to stop arguing and force them to pair up,” Will said without a second thought. He looked at Flora, who was truly smiling for the first time since she had arrived. She nodded at him and he realized what he needed to do.

“Everybody, quiet!” he yelled over their increasing volume. Since he rarely yelled, everyone turned to look at him. With one last look at Flora, who nodded encouragingly, he took a deep breath. “Right, here’s what we need to do.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Maahum Alvi
Maahum Alvi, Staff Writer
Maahum is a freshman at Freehold High School. This is her first year on The Colonial. She is passionate about writing, especially creative writing. Maahum loves reading, robotics, and spending time with her siblings. 

Comments (0)

All The Colonial Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *