Mines Mystery: A Hike and a Theft

Casey had always had a knack for noticing things. That was part of what made her want to study engineering; details and problem solving were a big part of engineering projects. Her uncanny ability to put two and two together often led to her figuring out all sorts of things. Currently, however, the only thing she was noticing was the ever-growing pile of homework spread out in front of her. She also didn’t have to reason too hard to guess that her friends, Julie and Percy, were also feeling the stress.

“You know, we should do a hike tomorrow morning,” Percy said while slamming his notebook shut, in temporary defeat.

“I’m down for that,” said Julie “only if it stops snowing though,” she looked out at the heavy flakes falling from the gray sky.

“It’s Colorado, it’ll be like it never even snowed tomorrow morning. What trail should we do? South Table?” replied Percy.

“Mmm. Probably not. Remember how muddy it was after it snowed last time? South Table wound up climbing us!” Casey said.

“Let’s see what the weather’s like tomorrow and decide then.”

Casey and company stepped outside into the crisp February sunshine. The sky shone a clear cobalt blue and despite the slushy snow on the ground, she was already feeling the need to unzip her jacket.

“Since we decided against South Table, what trail are we doing?” asked Percy while watching crystal clear water droplets drip from a set of spindly icicles.

“Chimney Gulch?” suggested Julie.

“Mmm, we’ll have the same problem as South Table. How about the trail along Clear Creek? We still haven’t hiked it fully.” No objections were raised.

“Alright, Clear Creek it is!” Percy pointed to the north.

Their hike proved to be a lovely one. All of the trees along the trail shone with a delicate sheen of ice. Multiple types of birds explored the remaining mounds of sparkling snow and the sky shone bluer than ever. Comments on the loveliness of the day were shared and pictures were taken. After their hike, the gang treated themselves to a hearty lunch before trodding back in the direction of their waiting piles of homework.

The trio did not get very far, however, before they ran into a commotion outside of Hill Hall. A professor and a TA had stopped a small group of three students on the stone walkway of the building and the five people were currently engaged in a very heated conversation. Julie recognized the girl, Rachel, from her physics class and Casey knew the two boys, John and Dustin, from the marching band.

“What’s going on? Is something wrong?” asked Percy.

“Yes!” exclaimed the exasperated TA “someone broke into the hot shop display case and stole one of the glass pieces. These three were the only other people in the building,” he gestured aggressively to the three students.

“I don’t even care who took it, I would just like it back,” sighed the tired professor.

“What were you all doing in the building?” asked Casey.

“I was studying in an empty classroom,” offered Rachel. “I like coming here on Saturdays, it’s always quiet and I can get my work done. I have a massive physics test coming up and I want to be prepared,” she shifted the slipping strap of her heavy-looking green backpack back onto her shoulder. John pointed to the glistening slopes of South Table, “I took a morning hike up South Table and I only just finished. I came by Hill Hall to pick up some paperwork and was on my way to lunch when I got stopped,” John was clearly dressed for hiking, he wore hiking pants and a neat pair of hiking boots. A bright orange backpack with a nearly empty water bottle hung from his back. Dustin rolled his eyes and rubbed his forehead, “I was just turning in some work to one of my professors. I put it in their mailbox, you can go look if you don’t believe me. I really need to go, I have tons of work to do,” he frowned grumpily and crossed his arms.

“No one is going anywhere until the glass piece is returned,” the professor frowned back. Another round of outbursts rose from the group.

“We better go, this looks like it could take a while,” whispered Percy. Casey frowned and raised an eyebrow. She glanced over the bickering trio, two dressed for studying and one for hiking. She glanced in the direction of South Table and then spent a long moment looking at the now open doors of Hill Hall.

“Actually, now that we’ve heard where each person was or claims they were, this whole thing can be wrapped up pretty quickly,” Julie looked at her friend, “You know who the thief is?”

“Indeed I do,” said Casey as she marched towards the culprit. Who stole the glass piece and what gave them away?

For the answer, make sure to pick-up a copy of Issue 9, our annual satirical issue or visit @theoredigger on Instagram!

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