Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Choice ( a serial work of fiction) Part 15

I pulled the back door shut behind me as I returned to the kitchen. I looked one more time out of the window over the stainless steel sinks . No, nothing had changed - everything was no longer on the black asphalt driveway. Perhaps I was going crazy. I headed towards the front stairs , thinking to gather up my clothes and do a laundry. I rounded the corner, only to find Duncan sitting on the gold couch in the living room. His fingers tapped nervously on the upholstered arm.
" Your uncle," his rich voice rolled over me like an ocean wave, knocking me off my feet," would be disappointed with your lack of good sense. " He pulled an old stainless steel lighter , pulled a cigarette out of what appeared to be a matching cigarette case. He lit it, sucked briefly on it . he went to the living room window and looked through it and out at the garage before turning and facing me . Half to himself, he said"Rome wasn't built in a day. These things take time..." then he turned and looked at me. He placed the cigarette in a leaded glass ashtray . He looked straight into my eyes. " Young woman. "he began. "You did some very foolish things today . Let us review them. You saw the items outside the garage, then you did not,isn't that so? Then, you thought that you would be Nancy Drew and find the culprit,is that not so?" I swallowed and nodded. " Yes. I know it is. You did not lock the back door behind you , which is how I came in. You never saw me because you were not looking. You cannot do that any more. You MUST pay attention. Too much depends on it." I nodded again and his great heavy arm came around my shoulder protectively. " what are you supposed to do, what were you TOLD to do IF something weird happened?"

I breathed slowly. I felt stupid and five years old . caught playing with matches. " If something weird happened, I am, I was, to call your house...because there were measures set in place to deal with such occurances." He squeezed my arm gently then patted my back.


" There are things going on that you donot have the experiance. Remember what your uncle told you. "

" How did you know about today?"

He smiled. " It was accidental. And to answer your next question," he began holding up his hand" Its my house and I was looking for something which I found. " Looking at my puzzled eyes, he went on" Did you not think it odd that the burglar would be so neat about it?"

I had to admit that it was true but that my curiosity had gotten the better of my good sense. He laughed gently , " I thought so. I WILL have to mention this , of course."

Duncan lowered his head, kissed my forehead , fatherly. He recovered his cigarette and opened the front door. " Keep the doors locked, Okay? "

"okay" I replied, following him to the front door and locking all of the locks after he left.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Choice ( a serial work of fiction) Part 14

I do not remember just when I settled down enough to sleep. It was more like a fade to black moment in the movies when the final curtain is drawn just before the credits roll. Sometime, during the early morning, I had taken myself upstairs and gone to sleep fully dressed on white chenille spread which I later coccooned around my body. It was quite bright when my eyes opened. I looked at the clockradio next to my bed-11am. Hopefully there was still time to make appointments to see houses today .

Coming down the stairs, I noticed that the front door was open-held only by the chain lock at the top. Had I done this in my sleep? It seemed unlikely that Andrew had not shut the door properly for even in his previous life, he had always been a stickler for locked doors. Unhooking the chain, I looked for signs of forces entry. There were no marks. Nothing with which I could claim such an attempt. Shutting the door, I noticed that the framing of the door had pulled away from the wall , nearest the lock but again there were no marks . I shut the front door , locking it tightly. Then I searched the house for a hammer. I was soon rewarded by the find of a small rubber mallet with which I pounded the framing back into place , reminding myself that this was , perhaps noteworthy to my uncle when he came by that evening. I returned the mallet to the bottom drawer of the secretary where it had been found, shutting the drawer behind me as I went.

Nothing prepared me for the sight of the back yard which seized my attention as I filled the carafe with water to make coffee. We had come in through the front door the prior night. Out back the two car garage which was independent of the main house, had both doors fully opened. The contents of the garage were neatly stacked in small piles outside of the doors. It appeared that whoever had done this, had plenty of time and knew what was wanted. As it seemed unlikely to me that the neighbors would not have noticed a stranger, perhaps they were familiar. Or perhaps they had arrived between the time that my uncle and I had left for Duncan's but before we had returned. I could call the police, I supposed about that but I did not even know who the owners were . Another mystery that needed to wait till the evening.
The coffee dripped then gave me an insolent raspberry as it finished.

I sat with the coffee in front of me, dutifully dialing the numbers. People were still at work- so I got mostly voice mail. I put a small amount of margarine into the fry pan for a grilled cheese sandwich. The phone bleated from the table. It was an older woman on the other end. Her son did have a house for rent about four blocks from where I sat. We could see it around sseven that evening. I knew the location, it was about a block from the library so was on the busline. I dutifully noted the number that was calling , her name and the address. I had burned one side of the grilled cheese but it was not lost. Then I ran up the stairs and took a hot shower, releasing the kinks from my body and the mystery from my mind.

Returning down stairs, I placed my book on the coffee table , and went back into the kitchen for a second cup of coffee. Looking out of the window, the piles were gone and the garage doors closed as they had been 24 hours ago. I unlocked the back door and proceeded cautiously down the cement stairs, watching for someone coming quickly inside of my line of vision . No one in the yard. I walked slowly around the house. No one. Okay , Rae, I decided You are nuts. Maybe none of it happened...I scooted for the backdoor and locked it once more. I wondered if Duncan would think me an incredible sissy baby if I called. I decided to chance it.