SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is “Blacke and Nu Beginnings,”  that will appear on Saturdays and Sundays over the next several weekends, and then a special daily run from March 21st to March 27th, 2020. This is Part Five.

“That still doesn’t explain why you ordered a bunch of gluten free cupcakes just to meet us,” Cait pressed.

“Look, it just so happens I have celiac disease,” Marcel explained. “Even if this turned out to be a wild goose chase, I wanted to do business with your establishment and compensate you. Everything I eat is gluten-free. Not to mention, your business comes well-recommended.”

“I have twins, a boy and a girl. My son has celiac disease too,” Saundra explained. “So I started this business to always make sure he could have food he could eat.”

“Did you know celiac disease runs in families? Just like multiple births do?”

“My son’s doctor never mentioned that. I mean, they did have me tested and I came up negative, but I figured testing parents was just standard procedure. I didn’t question it. Since I didn’t have it, I thought perhaps their father might. We’re not on speaking terms and he doesn’t want them. And I never thought of multiple births at all, there was no reason for it to cross my mind.”

“So, short of a DNA test, sounds like Marcel here is probably telling the truth,” Cait said. “But what that doesn’t answer is why you two were separated, and who your father is. Would be interesting if those were related.”

Just then, Saundra heard Cait’s cell phone ring.

“You better check that. It might be Vallie.”

“Vallie?” Marcel asked.

“Her half-sister,” explained Saundra. “She’s gone missing but it’s too early to file a missing person’s report. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Vallie’s gone astray.”

Saundra watched as Cait grabbed the phone and opened it.

“Caitlin Blacke.”

Saundra watched as Cait listened to whomever spoke to her on the other side of the phone. Cait looked tense, nervous. Saundra wondered what sort of news Cait received.

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