Disclaimer: All characters and places in this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual people or places is entirely coincidental.

ALETHA

by Julia Butler

Alicia Harper sat at her desk, feeling anxious. She almost couldn't believe she was working at Newman & Davis. True, she was only a secretary, but this law firm received an amazing number of customers, which meant Alicia would receive an amazing salary: 12 dollars an hour! Well, that was before taxes were deducted; she would actually get only $9 of that.

The phone rang, startling her. "Newman and Davis law firm, how may I direct your call?"

"Is Alicia there?"

"This is she."

"My name is Phillip Masters. Call me back when you get off work today. My number is 639-2551."

He hung up, leaving Alicia confused. She had never heard of this person, nor anyone named Masters. She didn't think it would be a good idea to call this man. She was still pondering the issue when Ralph Newman handed her a stack of papers.

"Miss Harper, would you proofread these letters? I've got to go to a conference, and I'll be back at 10:30."

"Yes, sir." She got straight to work, trying to put Phillip Masters out of her mind.

Arriving home, she checked her mailbox. There was a letter from Laura Bell, head of the Dallas Orphanage. Mrs. Bell often sent her mail; they were like old friends. Alicia had stayed with her for 3 years before being adopted by Peter and Virginia Harper.

The answering machine light was flashing. Alicia pressed the message button. The emotionless, pre-recorded voice stated, "YOU HAVE...ONE...MESSAGES."

*beep* "Hi, it's Phillip Masters. Alicia, you won't believe this, but I am your father. You must come see me at once. Your mother's very ill. We live at 113 Magister Drive. See you soon...I hope." *beep*

"THAT WAS YOUR LAST MESSAGE."

"Oh. My. GOD." Alicia was stunned. Her parents were dead...weren't they?