kind of like it — a followers post

Check this out! It’s well worth the read. kind of like it — TheFunctionalAlcoholic

you stole the air from my lungs, but i’ve got to admit i kind of liked it the way your gaze made me feel like i was free, and i just fell right in it the kind of trance you don’t ever want to wake up from the type of love you just don’t want […]

via kind of like it — TheFunctionalAlcoholic

2020 Tuesday Blog Promotion Announcement

Riverside Peace will recommence Tuesday Blog Promotions on February 4th 2020.

View all 2019 blog promotions HERE

Don’t Forget:
Riverside Peace is an Award Free Blog and I won’t be setting up another Award. Tuesday Blog Promotion will be my way of showing my appreciation of my followers. There’s nothing for you to do to earn the promotion. Just simply keep blogging the way you do.

Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Archived in
Tuesday Blog Promos by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

600 Followers

Followers 600 !!!

I just wanted to welcome all new followers to Riverside Peace .

We finally unpacked the last box. The furniture is in place, pictures hung and now we can enjoy our new home in this new location on the beautiful mid-north coast. I can also start writing new poems and stories to post along with new photos.

I haven’t been able to keep up with all my new followers but I will try to catch up with you all soon. Please check out my introduction page About Chrissy, my book pages Teen Novel and my Poetry Books Page.

Thank you.

Chrissy

Stella’s Plight – Chapter Four

Chapter Four

Stella’s arms had rested and the soreness from holding her baby gave way to the need to hold her again.

Teresa gave up the precious bundle into the arms of her mother not wanting to admit her arms were getting tired too.

Stella continued her narrative. ‘When Kath found me, I was in the maternity ward at the Women’s Hospital in Sydney.’ ‘I had gone into false labour a few times since I was admitted with my fluid retention problem so they decided to keep me there until I delivered. I almost didn’t recognise her. Kath’s face had a green tinge about it and there were black and blue bruises around the white tape across her nose. Her right arm was in a sling. I just held her in my arms until she needed to sit. She was still weak from the ordeal. Her story was frightening.’ Stella cleared her throat. ‘After David had found the bull dead in his paddock, he had stormed inside yelling that he was going to get revenge on Ryan. Kath try to calm him down but he was too angry. She said he went on like that for days after he buried the animal. One night he swore to Kath that he would make me pay and he would take me to court for the property that should never had been given to Ryan in the first place. Kath tried to reason with him but that just made him angrier and turned on her. After he beat her, he took his horse and rode off leaving her on the floor. It was their housekeeper who found her. Her son is the stable boy and the two of them helped her to Doc Stone’s house using David’s utility. Doc’s wife took her in until she was able to catch a train to a women’s shelter in Sydney.’

‘Oh my. That poor woman’, Teresa whispered as she retrieved a tissue from her dress sleeve. Doesn’t she have family?’

‘Yes, but she was afraid he might hurt them too.’

‘And David?’

‘He went somewhere to cool off, or so everyone thought. Probably did the lap of their 92,000 acres. It usually takes a few days when he goes out to check on the fences and livestock.’

‘Why would he want your property if he had so much?’

‘Greed’, was Stella’s short reply. ‘Ryan was given just over 300 acres from his Uncle Rick. Rick had bought it from a neighbour who wanted to retire and live in Bourke with his daughter. It was just a rundown hobby farm really.’

Sarah stirred.

‘Hungry again’, she whispered. ‘Can you take her while I warm her bottle?’

‘Why would I not’, she chuckled as Stella opened the door of the cabin behind them.’

After Stella had returned and repositioned herself in the seat, she focused on feeding Sarah. ‘She has Ryan’s eyes’, she said smiling through her sudden sadness. ‘I don’t think I will ever forget him.’

‘I should hope not.’

Stella found it hard not to like Teresa. They had made an unusual connection in a very short time. ‘We should be in Dubbo by mid-afternoon. Are you getting off there?’

Teresa looked thoughtful. ‘I don’t know.’

Stella was confused. ‘What do you mean? Surely you know where you’re going.’

‘Well it’s like this, I have a ticket to Bourke but I can get off at any station before there.’

Stella was quiet and a hint of fear returned. ‘I’m not sure I understand.’

‘Don’t worry yourself. I’m just a free spirit. I can stay with you through to Bourke to keep you company and return to Nyngan later tonight. I’m retiring and Nyngan is the only home I know.’

‘That’s sweet of you but won’t there be someone expecting you?’

‘Sadly, no. My father’s house is there but he and all my family are gone now. The last of my siblings passed away last June.’

‘I’m sorry to hear that.’ Stella waited for Sarah to finish her bottle before speaking again. ‘I hope David doesn’t come to the back of the train again. Oh, I didn’t think. What will I do when I get to Bourke? He’s bound to be getting off there.’

‘Let’s just wait and see. Don’t stress. Tell me more about your story.’

‘Well, Kath stayed close until after Sarah was born.’ She smiled at the thought. ‘It was nice to have her there with me. Anyway, Kath was visiting me a few days later when David came into the ward. I freaked and Kath screamed. Nurses came running and security was called. David was escorted from the ward and the police came to take him away. He was charged for the attack on Kath and a restraining order was set in place.’

‘Where’s Kath now?’ Teresa was eager to know.

‘She’s caught a train a few days ago to stay with her mother in Dubbo. Kath promised to keep in touch. The police suggested she find a lawyer in Dubbo and see what her options are. I don’t expect she’ll go back to Bourke or David.’

‘Surely not! So, what will you do? What do you think he would do to you?’

‘The day after he was escorted from the hospital he returned. One of the nurses recognised him. He was in the nursery and standing over Sarah. She ran to call security but David had already taken Sarah out of her crib and sneaking toward the elevator. When the elevator door opened, there were two security guards. I haven’t let her out of my sight since and I honestly thought he would be in jail. This morning while I was signing my discharge papers a policewoman came up to me and explained that David had been released after he was charged. I was so scared I think she thought I would faint. We sat in a small sitting area near the entry while we talked. David had claimed he was just visiting his new niece and wasn’t intending to take her anywhere. I don’t know what to believe or what he’s up to.’ Stella paused. ‘He wouldn’t have hurt her. Would he?’

Teresa shook her head. ‘He sounds very angry still and he has already been charged with violence but why would he take Sarah? He may just want to hurt you. Maybe it’s a way to get his property back. I’m not sure but I think you should be careful and get some legal advice.’

‘I know but…’

Before she could continue the train was slowing to a stop at Nyngan. ‘Are you sure you want to come with me to Bourke?’

‘I’m sure and look.’ Stella leaned forward to see what Teresa had seen.

There were two police officers standing on the platform.

‘Why do you think they are here?’ Teresa asked and Stella shrugged.

As the train came to a stop, the police officers walked along the platform looking through windows and doors. There was a curve in the railway at the front of the train so they could see clearly the front carriages and engine. After the police officers had past the first two carriages, David jumped from the first and ran towards the exit sign where two other police officers stepped out and grabbed him. The two walking down the platform continued looking until they came to the last carriage where one of them stepped inside.

He removed his hat. ‘Stella Wilson?’

Stella raised her free arm slowly. ‘I’m Stella Wilson.’

‘Don’t be alarmed Ma’am. We received a call from David Wilson’s wife. He’s being arrested for breaking his restraining order by calling her from Sydney and threatening her and her family.’ He shook his head.

Stella gasped and covered her mouth. ‘What are you saying?’

‘Everything is going to be all right, Mrs Wilson. He’s going away for a very long time.’ He turned to leave but spun around again. ‘Do you have anyone who can stay with you at your property? At least until Kath Wilson returns home.’

Stella felt numb. She looked at Teresa who blinked once and turned to the police officer.

‘Will I do? I’m just an old retired nun but I have a mean kick if anyone comes near her.’

The officer chuckled. ‘I meant for company but yeah, you’ll do.’ He replaced his hat and left the train.

The other passengers applauded.

Stella sat dazed.

Theresa just smiled and took Sarah in her arms. ‘I always wanted to live on a big property. I also wanted to help busy young mothers with their babies.’

Stella just stared at her.

‘Well, do you mind? I can’t leave you alone. Now can I?’

Stella swayed a little with the movement of the train as it left the station. ‘I don’t know what to say. You hardly know me.’

‘I think I know enough about you that we can be friends.’ She looked down at the wee baby. ‘What do you think, Sarah?’

Sarah made a squeaking kind of noise and closed her eyes.

As the train rolled out of Nyngan, both Stella and Theresa watched the two police cars that had stopped at the rail crossing to let their train through.

Suddenly Stella burst into tears. ‘It’s over. It’s really over.’

The End

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Stella’s Plight – Chapter Three

Chapter Three

‘It didn’t take long for the coroner’s report to come through. Ryan died from a burst aneurysm in the brain. His funeral was held a week later and he was buried beside his Uncle Rick. The uncle who left him the property.’ Stella added for Teresa’s benefit. ‘The next day I was called to our solicitor’s office for the reading of Ryan’s latest Will. It was straightforward enough. The property and house were to be left to me. Everything except for the few head of cattle he had been breeding. Apparently, they were on loan from Uncle David so Ryan could breed and start his own herd. Unfortunately, there had been only four calves born at the time of his death. Once they were old enough to be separated from their mothers the loaned cattle had to be returned.’

‘Why wouldn’t this uncle David leave them a little longer so you could have an income?’

Stella was about to answer when she noticed a man through the window of the doors leading to the next carriage. He was leaning slightly forward speaking to one passenger after another.

‘I think Sarah needs her nappy changed.’ Stella stood to retrieve the bag she had put in the overhead storage earlier.

At the same moment the guard came through the rear door. ‘There’s a small table in the guardroom if you would like to use it and a microwave. I won’t be using the cabin for a while.’

‘Thank you’, she smiled and let him pass before reaching for the baby.

She had only just closed the door of the guard cabin when the man entered her carriage from the other end. She stepped aside and peered through the stripped security screen that allowed the guard to see out but no one could see much if they looked in. Muffled voices kept her alert. Sarah stirred. Stella rocked her gently. ‘Ssshhh…little one.’

Stella risked a glanced through the window. She drew in a sharp breath. David?

Finally, David moved out of the carriage and Stella could see him move from the next carriage through the door at the other end.

‘Let’s get you cleaned up’, Stella cooed at Sarah her big blue eyes gazing back.

Minutes later she returned to her seat. ‘I should have bought a baby carrier before I left Sydney.’

Theresa stretched out her arms. ‘That would only make things more difficult for you.’

Once settled back into her seat, Stella looked up to see Teresa looking straight at her.

‘What was that about?’ Teresa asked directly.

‘What was what about?’ Stella replied before looking away. ‘Sorry. That man was Ryan’s Uncle David.’ She turned in her seat slightly to face Teresa. ‘I was about to tell you what happened after David came for the cows.’

Stella kept her voice low even though there were only two other passengers at the front of the carriage since the train stopped to embark and disembark passengers at Katoomba. ‘The bull Ryan bought was lame after stepping into a hole in his enclosure. I had only been filling the food and water troughs through the fence since Ryan died. I was no way going to go in there, pregnant or not. I was about seven months along by then and Ryan’s only income was from the land he leased out to another property owner. David said he would pay to have the bull treated by a vet and then buy it from me at a fair price that included the vet fees. That was fine until the bull up and died. David demand his money back after I had already spent it on feed for the calves.’

‘That doesn’t seem fair’, Teresa interrupted.

‘Well, I don’t know much about what’s fair but Kath, David’s wife, was upset over his treatment of me. She had come to stay with me after Ryan’s death until after the funeral. She’s a real sweetie. Anyway, from what I heard over the radio gossip line and in town that David beat her and she up and left him. I didn’t see her again until I came to Sydney a month ago. I was having problems with fluid around my ankles and Doc Stone insisted I go to Sydney until after the birth. Friends from another property offered to look after the place until I returned.’

Stella was tired. She hadn’t slept properly since Sarah was born and the gently movement of the train made her sleepy. She almost dozed off when Teresa spoke.

‘How did you find Kath, or did she find you?’

Stella squeezed her eyes closed before blinking repeatedly. ‘Kath found me.’ Her voice cracked. Doc Stone told her where I was. She asked him not to tell anyone else, not even David, because she thought I was in danger. I guess he believed her because of what happened to her.’ She turned to Teresa; tears streaming down her cheeks. ‘He broke her arm and her nose for standing up to him – for me.’

Teresa sat quietly and looked out the window for a few minutes. Her heart broke for Stel and her baby. She lifted Sarah and kissed her forehead then turned to Stella. ‘That man just now, your Ryan’s uncle, he asked if I had seen a woman with a baby. I’m sorry…’ Her voice drifted off.

Stella sat up straight and looked down the carriage through the door. ‘What did you say? I don’t understand. Why didn’t he stay or go into the guard’s cabin?’

Teresa turned back to Stella and gazed into her eyes. ‘I knew something wasn’t right. I answered him in German, my second language. I knew it would come in handy one day.’ She winked. ‘I didn’t lie. I couldn’t lie. I won’t, but he had no idea what I said and he just left.’

Stella stared at this beautiful woman that had befriended her. She didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry. After a few moments, she smiled. ‘Thank you.’

‘So, tell me what happened in Sydney.’

After a long sigh Stella continued.

To be continued….

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Stella’s Plight – Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Stella began her story from the day her life changed forever. She had awoken early New Year’s Day with a dry mouth and covered in sweat. Nothing unusual for this part of the world but what was different was that Ryan wasn’t in bed and there was no evidence that he had. A wonderful husband of three years and a baby on the way, Stella’s only longing was for a relief from the heatwave and yet another drought.

Peeling back the damp top sheet Stella sat up on the side of the bed; her head groggy from a restless night.

Making her way down stairs she headed to the refrigerator for the jug of water she had place there the evening before. She peered out the kitchen window and noticed the door of the tractor shed was open. ‘That’s strange. It wasn’t open before I went to bed. Maybe Ryan’s tinkering with the engine’, she spoke into the empty room.

Stella looked around the kitchen for a sign that Ryan had eaten breakfast early. Nothing. Heading to the back door she pushed opened the fly screen door. Ryan often left the back door open to allow any breeze that might stir in the sweltering night air.

It wasn’t until she reached the tractor shed that she realised how quiet it was. ‘Ryan, where are you?’

Flo, Ryan’s Blue Cattle Dog began to bark. Stella turned to see that Flo was still in her fenced off area near the house. Since a recent pack of wild dogs had been seen roaming the surrounding properties at night, Ryan had made sure Flo didn’t wander and so the dogs couldn’t ambush her. No way would he leave Flo in there if he were here.

A sudden chill rushed through her. She stood in the wide doorway. ‘Ryan!’ There was no reply except for Flo’s constant bark. She approached the tractor and looked around. Where are you? It was then she noticed a dull glow of light coming from the small doorless room at the rear of the shed where Ryan used as an office of sorts and to clean small tractor parts.

Stella felt like she was walking in a dream only for the constant barking from Flo. There sitting on a stool slumped over a newspaper that lay open on the wooden bench was Ryan. A moment of relief that Ryan must have dozed off while working past through her. The lantern was struggling to keep alight. With no power to the shed, Ryan had kept an old kerosene lamp ready in case of an emergency.

Placing her hand gently on his shoulder she jerked it back. It was cold, an impossibility in this heat. She moved to where she could see one side of his face. His left eye looked back at her. ‘Ryan!’ She gently shook his shoulder but he remained silent and cold.

Stella heart pounded as she ran back to the house. Letting the screen door slam behind her she rushed straight to the radio in the front room. She forced herself to concentrate on the user instructions. Even though Stella used the radio on occasions, it was Ryan who usually operated it.

Almost immediately the operator came over the line. ‘You’re on air early, Ryan. How can I assist you? Over.’

‘Maggie it’s Stella,’ she sobbed in relief. ‘Over,’ she finally remembered and released the button.

‘What is it, Stel? You sound panicked. Over.’

‘It’s Ryan. I think he’s dead’, she blurted out and released the button without the ‘over’.

‘Calm down, Stel. Doc Stone is over at David’s place visiting Ryan’s grandmother. I’ll contact him there. Stay calm. Over.’

Stella gulped down air. ‘I’ll try. Tell him to hurry, please.’ She sat staring at the radio and took long deep breaths until she heard Maggie’s voice again.

‘Stel, Dr Stone will be there in about twenty minutes. David is driving him over in his off-road utility. Over.’

‘Thanks Maggie. Over.’

‘I’ll call you later,’ Maggie signed off.

Flo’s yapping was beginning to annoy her so she went back out to the shed and closed the door but not before looking in the direction of back room where she could barely see Ryan through her tears. Then she let Flo loose, giving her a long hard hug.

‘Oh Flo…what will we do without him?’

It took less than twenty minutes for Doc Stone to arrive but to Stella if felt like hours. She had managed to change into a cotton house dress that had seen better days but she didn’t seem to notice.

David, who was also Ryan’s Uncle, raced ahead of the doctor. ‘Where is he? What happened?’

He was full of questions but Stella could only point. She was shaking and her eyes hurt from rubbing away the constant tears.

‘He’s in the tractor shed,’ she finally blurted.

David put his arm around her shoulder and tried to soothe her. ‘I’m sure he’s fine. Let’s go with Doc and see what he says.’

By the time David and Stella had reach the shed, Doc Stone had already squeezed through the door so Flo wouldn’t follow.

‘David, I can’t go back in there.’

‘OK, stay here and hold Flo. I’ll see what Doc has to say.’

Moments later David and the doctor returned to where Stella waited. They both looked sad and pale.

‘I think he’s been here since possibly late last night. What time did you find him, Stel?’ The doctor asked gently.

‘It was just after five this morning. I woke on Ryan’s alarm and headed to the kitchen for a drink. I guess it was only five minutes later when I noticed the shed door was open.’ She finished in a sob. ‘What happened to him, Doc?’ she pleaded.

The doctor gently turned Stella back toward the kitchen. ‘You’re in shock.’’

‘She’s shivering,’ David added running ahead to open the door before heading into the front room for a throw rug.

After the doctor gave Stella a mild sedative, he sat beside her at the kitchen table while David brought glasses of cold water.

‘Stel,’ Doc began quietly. ‘From what I can ascertain without an autopsy,’ he coughed apologetically. ‘It appears to be a natural death.’

‘But he’s only thirty-four,’ Stella gasped.

‘We have to wait on the coroner’s report.’ He sipped from the glass that David had placed in front of him. ‘I need to use your radio.’

David pointed to the front room and the two watched the doctor leave the kitchen. ‘Stel, I’ll get Kath to come over. She can stay as long as you need.’

‘Oh David, she has too much to do to bother with me.’

‘You forget I make enough money to pay for a housekeeper to help my wife.’ He sighed heavily. ‘Look, I know I haven’t been close to Ryan since…. since my brother left the property to him instead of leaving it in my father’s family. To me…I’m mean, I’m sorry.’

Stella looked up as if she didn’t hear him correctly.

Only hearing bits of what Doctor Stone was saying in the other room, she waited. Her shaking had eased but she couldn’t stop the tears.

Another few minutes passed before Doc came back into the kitchen. ‘The authorities will be here as soon as they can. They’ll question you. It’s routine but I’ll stay until they take Ryan away.’

David rose from his chair and gulped down the rest of his water. ‘I’ll head back and send Kath over in the Jeep. You can use the Jeep Doc until I can get to town to collect it. I need to get those antibiotics you prescribed for mother anyway.’

The doctor nodded and sipped at his water.

The train lurched as it rounded a curve in the rails. Stella sighed. ‘I can remember that morning like it was yesterday,’ she said looking over at her baby asleep in the arms of Teresa. Teresa had become a comforting traveling companion. ‘You know, I didn’t even ask how David’s mother was. She died a few months later from complications after a long illness…’ Her voice trailed off.

‘I’m so sorry to hear that you went through that. So, the little one is fatherless?’

Stella nodded sadly. ‘That’s only half of it,’ she whispered before continuing her story….

To be continued….

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Stella’s Plight – Chapter One

Chapter One

Stella’s thick black hair momentarily obscured the unpaved footpath. Another April gusty breeze sent the fringe in the other direction but not in time to avoid the muddy puddle. Conscious now of a stain that would ruin her best pantsuit she avoided looking down. She wouldn’t have been able to see much past the bundle in one arm and the heavy khaki carry bag over the other anyway. ‘Can my day get any worse?’ she mumbled.

Oblivious of the people bustling around her, Stella again focused on one thing…to get onto that train; her only escape.

Entering a short, almost empty tunnel the clicking of her heels on the concrete floor motivated her to walk faster. She dared a quick glance over her shoulder. Feeling only slightly easier, she turned a sharp right onto a crowded platform. Side stepping suitcases and groups of passengers that chatted and laughed, she kept going until she found an empty bench seat at the far end of the platform where she would be able to embark closest to the guard’s carriage.

The bundle stirred as Stella sat and eased the heavy bag from her sore shoulder. ‘Not long now, little one.’ She reached into the bag for a pacifier. Sucking was instant. Stella’s attention returned to her surroundings.

In a few short minutes, everyone had hushed and turned to face the approaching train. Returning the bag to her shoulder she stood carefully so not to lose grip of her precious bundle. Once the train had stopped completely, she stepped forward to board the carriage. Someone touched her elbow. Panic filled her until she realised that it was a short, pump woman dressed in very plain old fashion clothing. Around her neck hung a chunky cross on a simple chain.

‘Let me help with that.’ The woman took the bag without waiting for an answer.

‘Thank you, ‘Stella answered as calmly as she could before she stepped across the gap and followed the woman to a seat at the rear of the carriage. ‘Thank you,’ she said again before sitting beside her.

Stella moved the baby to the other arm to relieve the ache that had reached the point of stiffness and also to let the kind woman see her baby. ‘Thank you,’ she said, knowing she had repeated herself again.

The warm smile made Stella feel more relaxed than she had been since the day before but still kept alert of what was happening around them.

‘I’m Sister Anna Teresa, but you can call me Teresa. It’s actually what my father called me.’

‘It’s good to meet you Teresa. I’m Stella… or Stel for short,’ she added with a smile.

‘Such a sweet baby.’ The words were tender.

‘Would you like to hold her,’ Stella asked.

‘Oh, could I?’ Teresa handed Stella the bag and reached over to accept the baby.  ‘She’s so tiny. Must be a newborn.’

Stella searched the bag for the items she needed to prepare a bottle. ‘Yes…Sarah is a week-old today.’

A whistle blew and the train began to move.

Teresa watched as Stella mixed the powder. ‘Such a shame…’ she said. ‘I mean…’

‘That’s all right. I’m fine about not being able to feed her myself,’ was Stella’s simple reply. ‘Would you like to give her the bottle?’

Teresa’s huge grin was all Stella needed to hand over the little bottle and remove the pacifier. She watched as Sarah sucked furiously bringing laughs from both women.

Looking up, Stella saw the guard making his way through the carriage. She closed her eyes and sighed heavily.

‘Do you have to travel far? Teresa asked carefully.

‘As far as the train goes,’ Stella answered without thinking. ‘I mean…I’m heading back to Bourke.’

‘Such a long trip on your own with one so little.’ Her eyes now fixed on Stella’s.

In that awkward moment she leaned forward and looked down at the blotchy brown marks at the hem of her slacks. She cringed slightly and studied the other passengers in their carriage. Some were involved in conversations, reading or preparing for a snooze. Stella took a deep breath and released it slowly before making an effort to respond. ‘I am alone,’ she whispered. ‘It’s a long story.’

‘We have plenty of time and I’m a good listener…if you want to share.’

With a sense of relief, Stella slowly began her story.

To be continued….

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

MEMORY OF DREAD – Part Six

🦋 – a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 6 🦋

Brenda gasped. ‘What?’ She stared back at Constable Hoxley then turned to Inspector O’Malley. ‘When did you find this out?’

‘This morning,’ Hoxley replied. ‘Frank Davies’ drive to claim you several years ago set him into a downhill spiral. He began skimming money from your husband’s bank accounts a few years ago as well.’

‘Davies introduced Carlos Lorenzo to Charles as a gardener,’ Hoxley continued. ‘Lorenzo was to spy on your husband’s clients for Davies and to check your comings and goings. He had an elaborate plan that would not only get you but ultimately Charles’ company and investments. Because of Davies’ dirty dealings, he unintentionally put you in danger, even from some of Charles’ clients. Why, we aren’t completely sure.’

Hoxley flicked through his notebook before continuing. ‘Davies’ plans began to come unstuck when you took a disliking to Lorenzo, whose feelings, as you know, were mutual. However, Lorenzo had already become a loyal worker, and possibly a good friend to Charles, at least someone he could trust. Because of this, Charles learned of Davies’ desire to have you and his money. But, he needed proof. The private door was your husband’s idea for private meetings with Lorenzo and clients who were aware of Davies’ dirty dealings. We suppose Lorenzo simply got tired of playing Davies’ sick games, including the blackmailing.’

Brenda sat in dumb silence. This had been going on for at least two years? It was inconceivable. Why hadn’t I noticed? Where was I when these meetings were going on in my own home? She couldn’t even speculate why Charles put up with Frank for so long, proof or no proof.

‘Six months ago,’ O’Malley broke into her thoughts, ‘Davies represented a small-time drug smuggler. The accused walked and Davies’ pocketed a large amount of laundered cash.’

‘And Charles didn’t know any of this?’ Brenda interrupted, her frustration showing from her usual demeanour.

‘Oh… it gets better,’ O’Malley sniggered. ‘Lorenzo found out about the money and dug up some more dirt on Davies.’

His toned softened. ‘But no, I don’t think your husband was aware, at least not until much later. Perhaps only recently. Charles did pay Lorenzo enough money to pay off the blackmail so Davies wouldn’t know things had changed. This we discovered in a ledger your husband kept for his own records, not that he actually recorded it as blackmail money. He recorded Carlos Lorenzo in his last tax records as a business advisor, hence a higher payment.’

Brenda stood and walked back and forth, not that there was much room with the four of them in the small office. The three officers watched her and waited. She turned to Hoxley. Her mind went back to the early piece of news that shocked her most.

‘But I hardly know Frank. He attended business lunches and dinners with us. I sometimes sat in occasional meetings where it involved my own investments but other than that, I only knew Frank as Charles’ lawyer. Why would I be attracted to Frank?’ She hugged herself and grimaced. ‘I doubt I could ever be. You are kidding. Right?’

Hoxley shook his head slowly. ‘Sorry. They were his words. I admit though, he’s one sick man and you have no way led him on.’ He turned to McDougal who had picked up the file on the Asian guy.

‘This Asian character,’ McDougal began, ‘was one of Davies’ clients. He was also a client of Charles’ for a legitimate business. Somehow after a meeting with Charles, Davies and this client, this file got caught between some of Charles’ own paperwork. When Davies went to work on the file, he couldn’t find it and figured out what must have happened.’

‘So, this file,’ she pointed, ‘is what put Charles and me in danger?’ Brenda asked directly.

‘Yes, and this is where it gets messy,’ McDougal replied. ‘You see this client, Fo-Yong-Ho, is also a member of an Asian drug ring. He had met with Davies before this meeting with Charles; the morning before Charles’ murder.’

McDougal handed Brenda the file page. ‘These numbers indicate names of drug dealers, or rather their code names.’ He walked over in two short steps and stood beside Brenda. He pointed to the third number on the list. ‘This number here for instance: 49560HO is Fo-Yong-Ho’s. This sign here,’ he pointed to an Asian character symbol before the number, ‘represents what would be the third letter of their alphabet. What’s so important about the list is that the ASIS (Australia Secret Intelligence Service) would love to get their hands on it, and as soon as we have finished with the murder case, they can have it along with Frank Davies.’

‘You mean he’s on the list?’ Brenda was beginning to understand. She ran her index finger down the page. ‘71062FB! You’re kidding: number 27. As simple as that? But, does this mean he’s just…?’

‘Just a pawn,’ the sergeant finished for her. But a valuable pawn to the ASIS.

Brenda went to the sofa and sat down. With her head bowed slightly she touched her wedding ring. She took in a slow deep breath. ‘Look, I’m grateful for you all explaining all this. It gives me an idea what Charles was dealing with. About Frank I mean.’ Her voice wavered. ‘It’s also good to know why Charles died but what I really want to know is who killed him. Was it Carlos? Was it Frank? Or… this Fo-Yong-Ho person?’

‘Let me give you the facts about your husband,’ O’Malley began. ‘He wasn’t perfectly innocent in a few things but if he was still alive, he would probably be charged for withholding information that would have led to the arrests of Davies and at least a few other names on this list. Also, the fact is he would have known sometime after he employed Lorenzo that he was an illegal resident. For those things alone he may or may not have received much more than an acquitted short term sentence.’ He returned to his chair behind the desk. ‘His gun, as you know, was registered but we’re unsure why it was in his drawer fully loaded.’

Brenda had listened in silence as tears suddenly streamed uncontrollably down her cheeks. She didn’t bother to wipe them away. Had her husband been a criminal or just plain stupid? The thought gnawed at her.

Hoxley came over and sat beside her. As if reading her mind, he said, ‘Brenda, the way I see it, the only thing that Charles was really guilty of was protecting the woman he loved. He wasn’t letting any creep-of-a-lawyer claim you, or his company.’

‘That’s about size of it,’ McDougal conceded.

O’Malley cleared his throat and gulped down his cooling coffee. ‘Let’s finish this up so Sergeant McDougal can continue his research on this Fo-Yong-Ho character.’

The officers returned to their notes and waited for each other to continue.

Hoxley took the lead. ‘After Davies discovered that the file was missing he told Lorenzo to find it or else he would report him to the authorities. Davies informed him that you and Charles would be out most of the night and that he would have plenty of time to search. Fo-Yong-Ho called Davies about 10:00 pm to question him about an error in one of the code numbers. Out of panic, Davies told Fo-Yong-Ho that he had hidden it in Charles’ home safe for security and that he, Davies, could retrieve it in the morning. However, when Lorenzo hadn’t reported back to Davies as scheduled he went to the house to see what was keeping him. Shortly after midnight Davies entered Charles’ home office by the side door, just as Lorenzo had done earlier.’ Looking up he added, ‘apparently Davies had known about the side door but assumed it was just for Lorenzo.’ Here he paused to flip to the next page. ‘Lorenzo had found the file and realized what it was or, at least he had a fair idea. Davies found him in the process of photocopying the file. He hadn’t heard Davies enter, probably because of the noise of the photocopier. Davies struck Lorenzo over the back of the head with the eagle paperweight.’

‘Forensics,’ O’Malley interrupted, ‘had discovered some dried blood on the eagle. At first they thought it was Charles’ but until today we really had no idea whose blood it was. When Davies made his statement this morning, forensics paid a visit to Lorenzo in his cell for a sample.’

‘When Lorenzo regained consciousness,’ Hoxley continued, ‘Davies was sitting in Charles’ chair. Lorenzo was tied up and Davies had Charles’ gun pointing at him.’ He looked over to the sergeant.

‘Yes,’ McDougal confirmed. ‘Lorenzo had admitted in a later interview that he had found the gun in Charles’ desk drawer and had been just checking-it-out while the photocopier warmed up. He had placed it on the desk to press the copy button. A silly mistake no matter how you look at it.’

McDougal took a moment to sip his coffee and waited for any questions. When none came, he continued. ‘Lorenzo also told us that Davies forced him to confess everything including details about the ledger that he found during his own search of the office after rendering him helpless. Davies then gagged Lorenzo and threatened him to keep quiet.’

When McDougal stopped to take a long drink, Hoxley continued the narrative.

‘Davies decided he would wait for Charles to have it out with him, only he didn’t expect the telephone to ring on your arrival. He panicked and forced Lorenzo to hide with him behind one of the large double doors he had opened so he would know when you both returned home. Once Charles picked up the phone in the office, Davies waited a few minutes to be sure you had gone upstairs. By that time Davies had figured out it was Fo-Yong-Ho on the phone. Davies said Charles raised his voice at Fo-Yong-Ho telling him that he would deal with the situation at their next meeting. Davies said he was unsure what the conversation was about but figured Fo-Yong-Ho must have used some weak excuse to call, perhaps to make a visit himself. We don’t know.’

‘Hang on…’ Brenda interrupted. ‘Back up a bit. This Fo-Yong-Ho, Charles had no idea that he was a drug dealer. Right?’

‘Fo-Yong-Ho was a client of Charles with a legitimate jewellery business, which was also a cover-up for the drug dealing, but he used the family company name when dealing with Charles.’ Hoxley checked his notes. ‘Minh Nhung’.

‘Davies has confirmed that Charles knew nothing about the drug deals,’ McDougal added for Brenda’s benefit.

After a quiet minute in thought Brenda nodded for them to continue. She was tired and felt like she had been sucked through an engine of a jet plane but she needed to know the rest so she could make sense of it all.

O’Malley’s phone rang before anyone could speak. ‘O’Malley. Yes, right. Good job! Thanks.’ He hung up. ‘A highway patrol constable has Fo-Yong-Ho in custody but more on that later. We’re almost done. Continue Hoxley.’

‘According to the telephone company the call lasted no more than a couple of minutes. Davies confirmed it. When Charles replaced the telephone receiver, he turned to follow you upstairs only he was confronted by Davies who had stepped out from behind the door with Lorenzo held tightly in his grip and the gun in his free hand. Davies claimed he just wanted to talk. His plan was to take Lorenzo as hostage and leave the country with Fo-Yong-Ho. He told Charles if he called the police or tried to follow, he’d have Fo-Yong-Ho get someone to kill you.’ He paused. ‘Davies also told us that he would never have done that and his real plan was to have you abducted and take you out of the country too.’

Brenda felt ill and must have looked it. McDougal filled a glass with water from a jug on O’Malley’s desk and handed it to her. She accepted it with thanks.

Hoxley continued. ‘Lorenzo kicked and twisted himself out of Davies’ grip. Charles made a dive for Davies but the gun was by then, aimed at Lorenzo. Charles dived between them as Davies fired, taking the bullet for Lorenzo. Charles apparently died instantly. When Lorenzo began to gag on his own vomit, Davies dragged him back out the side door to the garden before he removed the handkerchief from his mouth telling him to stay put and keep quiet or he would get a bullet in his head. Davies then went back inside, wiped the gun clean and placed it in Charles’ hand. He also wiped his prints off the paperweight but missed the blood. Because he was a regular to the room, he didn’t bother to clean up too much else. He was so flustered he left the room without the file and the photocopy he had placed on the filing cabinet behind the door when he hid there with Lorenzo. He returned for Lorenzo and left. When he realised his carelessness he sent Lorenzo back to retrieve the file but by that time they had to wait until the forensics had left. He was in the house when Davis took you back to pack a suitcase.’

‘Thinking back on it,’ McDougal added, ‘Davies’ behaviour was meant to be a distraction and probably timed your visit to make sure Lorenzo wasn’t caught. What he didn’t expect was your sensitive nose.’

Brenda took a deep breath. ‘So it was Frank?’

‘Yes. Davies was the one who pulled the trigger that ultimately killed your husband.’ Hoxley walked over and put his hand on her shoulder and sat down. ‘He died saving Carlos’ life and trying to stop Frank from proceeding with his plans.’

Brenda gave a deep audible sigh. ‘I need to be left alone. Please.’

McDougal and O’Malley quietly collected their notebooks and empty coffee cups and left the office.

He stood up. ‘Do you want me to send in Cheryl?’ Hoxley asked.

‘Not yet,’ she replied weakly. ‘Give me half an hour,’ she added. She managed what she hoped was a thankful smile.

He left and closed the door quietly.

In some ways she was relieved; relieved Charles didn’t suffer. Relieved it was all over. Relieved they had found Fo-Yong-Ho and relieved the law would deal with Frank and Carlos. Yet, a sensation of unexpected sadness tugged at her.

Carlos was also a victim and almost killed by this lunatic, perhaps trying to save Charles. Her emotions confused her. ‘Oh Charles, why?’ The pain was drowning her. She rested her head on the back of the sofa. Just as she did, a still small voice spoke within her. ‘Child, lean on me. Cast all your burdens upon me and I will give you rest.’ Brenda prayed quietly until the floodgates opened. It seemed to wash all the pain,  grief and dread of the past few weeks away in one cleansing torrent.

The life she and Charles had shared was over but she knew deep down this was a new beginning. She thanked the Lord for ten wonderful years with Charles, her safety and a closure. It was time to move on, on to a new life with her newfound faith in a God who loved her.

THE END

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

MEMORY OF DREAD – Part Five

🦋 – a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 5 🦋

Time seemed to move in slow motion. Cheryl was chatting away as she busied herself in her kitchen.

Although Brenda had appreciated the conversation, she was way too distracted to comprehend what she was hearing. Her hand was much better after the emergency department treated the burn and re-bandaged it. She smiled briefly as she thought of Peter’s first-aid efforts.

‘This coffee sure beats the cup Peter brewed at the police station,’ she said when Cheryl came over and sat down opposite of her.

‘Brenda, you need to rest. You really should have some sleep before Peter returns home this evening. That’s your fourth coffee since you’ve arrived. Not that I mind.’ Cheryl sighed. ‘Peter has put your suitcase in the spare room. Why don’t I run you a hot bath?  You can change into something more comfortable for a nap. Look at yourself. You’ve been in that stiff-tailored suit all day.’ She tugged at the coffee-stained sleeve. ‘I’m worried about you, and Peter’s going to be worried too if he sees you like this.’

Brenda put her cup down and reached out to touch Cheryl’s hand. ‘You two have become good friends. I wish Charles had a chance to meet you.’ She gulped away another threatening sob.

A sympathetic face looked back. ‘If I have to, I’ll undress you myself and put you in that tub, then, tuck you into bed…for at least a few hours. Cheryl gently squeezed her hand. ‘I’m going to pray with you right now.’ She paused. ‘Please. Did you get any sleep at the hotel?’

Brenda couldn’t lie. She smiled, awkwardly, and rolled her eyes toward the ceiling before bowing her head while her friend prayed the most beautiful prayer she had ever heard.

Soon she was settled into a hot bath filled with bubbles finally allowing herself to relax. She laid back, closed her eyes, and listened to the CD Cheryl had playing in the next room. The music was soothing and the words were filled with praises and promises from the Psalms. She listened and began to hum along. The tune was one she had heard a long time ago. Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out to you and me…

Later that evening, Brenda felt more relaxed and refreshed. A rest, a good meal and a fresh change of clothes did help. Peter updated her, although there really wasn’t much to tell. They were still clueless, and although a replacement lawyer had been found for Brenda, Frank Davies had not yet found legal assistance. He was being uncooperative.

‘What about the client’s file they were trying to find?’ Brenda asked after the brief update.

‘We haven’t found it. At least nothing that looks suspicious. There’s one thing though. Carlos told O’Malley when he was arrested that the gun was on the desk when he was in the house the night of Charles’ death but then he changed his statement and said he didn’t see it. After that, his information was not so forth coming.’

‘So did Carlos kill Charles?’ Brenda persisted.

Peter stifled a yawn. ‘To be honest, I don’t think he did, but, if he did, it was by Davis’ instructions…or someone else’s’ – if there is a someone else.’ This time he didn’t manage to cover his yawn in time and apologised before heading to bed.

Cheryl left a few minutes later but not until Brenda had a private moment to thank her again. Brenda stayed awhile in the living room alone with her thoughts and memories.

The next morning Cheryl accompanied Brenda to the police station at Brenda’s invitation. It would be a long day for her and she needed a friend around while Peter and O’Malley were busy with other things. Cheryl had gone to the kitchen to brew some coffee she had brought from home. O’Malley opened the door and held it open for Cheryl, who followed with two large mugs of steaming coffee.

Once the women were seated on the sofa and O’Malley at his desk, O’Malley held up a thin manila file folder. ‘We found the file.’ He opened it and pulled out what appeared to be a sheet of ordinary office paper.

‘Is that all there is?’ Brenda asked a little confused.

He stood and leaned over the desk to hand it to her. There appeared to be an Asian name at the top, some contact details, and then a whole lot of figures: mathematical symbols and what looked like serial numbers or possibly invoice numbers.

After she gave it a good look-over she handed it back. ‘What’s it mean?’

‘I’m not sure but it was hidden in the lining of Frank Davies’ briefcase. What I want to know is why someone would want to steal a single sheet of paper from your husband?’ He sat down again. ‘And, why would it lead to his death?’ He studied the paper while the women drank their coffee in silence.

Brenda began to pace. After a few minutes she looked at her watch and placed her empty mug in Cheryl’s hand when she had reached for it. ‘Thanks Cheryl. I’m afraid it’s going to be a bit of a bore for you today.’

Cheryl smiled. ‘That’s all right. I’m here if you need me. If you need some space, I’ll be in the kitchen.’ She left, closing the door behind her.

O’Malley stood up and started to leave. ‘Oh, I almost forgot. We sent the forensic team back out to your house late yesterday with some specific instructions. Once they are through with their examination, our cleaners will be sent in and have it ready for you when this is all over. I hope for your sake that it’ll be soon. I’ve taken the liberty of finding you a new lawyer, Cole Webster. We’ll hand over a few of Charles’ personal files, including his current Will. That’s if you’re happy with Webster.’

Brenda nodded before he continued.

‘There was nothing in your husband’s personal files that could help the investigation. I believe everything was left to you except for a holiday cottage which he left to his brother, Patrick.’

‘Yes, I was aware of that. We discussed it some time ago.’

‘We had the authorities speak with Patrick. Everything was in order.’ He paused. ‘Patrick has offered any assistance if you should need it and sends his condolences. I believe he’s been interstate for business trips these past weeks and wasn’t even aware of Charles’ death.’

Brenda’s hand went to her forehead. ‘I hadn’t even thought about contacting Patrick. I feel terrible.’

‘Well, it’s understandable, considering you had been detained, and Davis obviously wasn’t doing his job. Anyway, my office is yours for the day. I’ll be in and out to update you, and get files as I need them.’

He started to gather a few things from his filing cabinet and desk when they heard a scuffle outside the door. They both watched as Cheryl burst in and placed her back up against the door.

‘I believe that’s Carlos.’ Cheryl pointed over her shoulder. ‘He’s not happy.’

Carlos Lorenzo was causing a commotion in the hallway as officers tried to escort him to the holding cell after yet another interview.

The inspector sighed. ‘If he does gets off the murder charge, he’ll be serving a few years for breaking-and-entering, and stealing before being deported. Our friend Carlos is an illegal immigrant. But right now we need to separate him from Frank Davies. Davies, by the way, will represent himself. He doesn’t appear to have too many colleagues that like him. I wonder why?’ He bid farewell to the ladies and left.

Brenda wandered to a small barred window that over looked the parking lot. The bars made her cringe. Would she ever be free of these memories?

The meeting with the new lawyer went well, ending with a promise of a letter going to the magistrate that afternoon to support the new police findings. The letter was roughly drafted for Brenda’s benefit and the Will was read in full. Charles’ funeral arrangements were discussed and partially organized but a date couldn’t be determined until the investigation was over and his body released by the coroner. Cheryl had been there throughout the meeting at Brenda’s request.

After the meeting Brenda wanted to take a walk but she knew, at least for today, would be impossible. Her thoughts involuntarily wondered to the Asian man. Who is he? Where is he? What did he want?

‘Do you have any family of your own, Brenda?’

Brenda felt the urge to hug her friend, so she did. ‘Thanks for being here for me, Cheryl.’ She released her and stepped back to the window. ‘My father passed away after a long painful illness a few months ago. There’s just my mother; I have no siblings. I had finally convinced her to go with a friend on a cruise. She left the day before Charles died. I’m glad she did. I’m not sure if she could have coped with all this.’ She turned to face Cheryl. ‘Anyway, she’s due back next week when this will hopefully be all over. I called her on Sunday after you and Peter dropped me back at the hotel. I didn’t tell her anything. Just that I missed her…’ She finished and looked down at her feet.

Brenda felt Cheryl’s arm go round her waist.

This dear friend was a good head and shoulders shorter than Brenda but she had been a tower of support. She rested her head on the top of Cheryl’s. They stood in silence until a knock came and Peter entered.

‘I’m going to get us some lunch. I won’t be long.’ He stepped inside and closed the door. ‘Brenda, Frank’s told us everything. As soon as we get his interview typed up and some legal paperwork done, we can let you know what’s going on. We need to find this Asian fellow though. All we have is his name a telephone number in a motel’s reception. I’ll be back soon. We’ll need to start praying.’ He kissed Cheryl’s cheek and left.

Brenda was amazed at this couple’s faith in God. ‘Cheryl,” she said eagerly. ‘I want what you and Peter have. I mean, I need hope and you two seem to have that hope in God. Show me how to get that same faith and assurance you have.’

Cheryl’s face lit up and she encouraged Brenda to sit and pray with her. ‘This is a big day for you; in more ways than one.’

After they had eaten and the officers and station staff returned to their duties, Brenda returned to the office with O’Malley and Peter following close behind. Cheryl stayed to clean up the station’s tiny kitchen.

Once the three were seated, Police Officer Sergeant McDougal, joined them. McDougal gave a preliminary report. Most of it Brenda had already heard, except for some details of her own arrest and interview but she was able to add a few extra details to complete the report.

Constable Peter Hoxley then began his report on Carlos. ‘Carlos Lorenzo has been an illegal immigrant of some four years. A year after his arrival, Frank Davies represented Carlos for a minor traffic offense. Davies found out about Lorenzo’s illegal papers and began to blackmail him.’ He placed some notes on O’Malley’s desk and looked over at Brenda before continuing. ‘Basically, Frank used Carlos to do his dirty work.’ He nodded to O’Malley to continue.

‘Frank Davies had been working with your husband long before you and he were married…’

‘Yes, I know that.’ Brenda interrupted. ‘What does that have to do with Carlos?’

‘Carlos Lorenzo was hired to spy on you, Brenda.’ He paused to let this newest information sink in. ‘You see, Brenda, Frank Davies says he was in love with you and still is.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

MEMORY OF DREAD – Part Four

🦋 – a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 4 🦋

The window resembled no similarities of the peaceful beauty Brenda enjoyed in the church window just yesterday. What she recalled though was the early hours of the cold morning less than a week ago. Only it wasn’t her that sat beside Frank Davies in a stark interview room; it was Carlos.

Police Officer, and now friend, Peter Hoxley, placed a supportive hand on her shoulder. ‘Are you sure you’re okay with this?’ He stood beside the plastic chair where she sat staring through what looked like a two-way mirror. ‘They can’t see or hear you, and you are perfectly safe. They don’t even know you have been invited to witness the interview.’

Brenda took a deep breath, and then eased it out slowly, a technique a counsellor showed her at the prison. It helped somewhat throughout her short but terrifying incarceration. ‘I’ll be fine. I just don’t understand why I’m here.’

At that moment Inspector O’Malley stepped into the small room and leaned back against the door.

With eyes still fixed on the two men on the other side of the glass, Brenda began with reluctance. ‘What surprises me…and it probably shouldn’t, is the fact that Frank is here for Carlos. I mean, is it legal for him to represent both of us?’

‘It is,’ O’Malley replied. ‘At least at the moment.’ He walked over to the glass and watched the two men for a few minutes. The whispering was becoming heated and Carlos was fidgeting and shaking his fist at his lawyer.

‘I think we might begin, Mrs Stanton.’ He paused, ‘or would Brenda make things a little easier?’ At her nod, he continued. ‘I asked you to come because something doesn’t fit with Frank’s story, not Carlos’ so much. I need you to listen carefully, and when I come out Hoxley will see you to my office. I’ll join you once I’ve returned Carlos to his cell…and decide how to proceed with this lawyer character.’

Still slightly confused, she nodded in agreement anyway. She knew that Peter had described to O’Malley what had occurred with Frank the day before which may have been part of the explanation. She watched the men squirm in their chairs when the inspector entered the interview room. Peter turned a dial beside the window she hadn’t noticed before. They could now hear the voices clearly.

‘This interview begins at 9.30am. I’m speaking with a Carlos Lorenzo who is with his lawyer, Frank Davies, in regard to incidents relating to the murder of one Charles Stanton.’

‘Carlos Lorenzo, Frank Davies, are you both aware this interview is being recorded and give permission to do so?’

The two answered with clear responses and confirmed that they agreed to the recording of the interview.

Brenda shivered and pulled her jacket around her. She adjusted her posture and leaned forward.

Peter stood with his forearm against the frame of the window, watching and listening.

Carlos was speaking rapidly to Frank in his own native language. Expletives were obvious.

O’Malley raised his hand; palm facing Carlos to halt the outrage. The room fell silent.

‘Mr Lorenzo, please explain in your own words why you were in the home of Charles and Brenda Stanton in the early hours of last Friday morning.’

He cursed again. ‘I look for pay cheque. Mister Charles…he always pay me on Wen-day. I thought maybe I won’t get now he dead.’

‘Why didn’t you speak to Mr Davies in regard to your payment? He is Mr Stanton’s lawyer. Right?’

He glanced sideways at his lawyer. ‘I do not trust Mister Frank.’

Frank crossed his arms and huffed like a spoiled child.

The inspector looked at Carlos; his left eyebrow slightly raised. O’Malley continued a little quieter, a little more direct. ‘Why don’t you trust your own lawyer, Carlos?’

‘Cause he promise good pay when I start work. Mister Charles did not know this when we disgus’ money…two year ago. Mister Charles always keeps my cheque under ee-gull paper-rate on desk. If he not in office, I take. I do always.’

A deep audible intake of breath caused Peter to jerk his head to face Brenda. She looked at him. ‘I never knew that. I’ve never known Carlos to be in my home.’

The inspector continued. ‘Did you find the cheque?’

‘No. It not there.’

‘Tell me, Carlos, how did you get past the officers at the house the morning following the murder? They had been there since daylight. Before that, two other officers were on guard.’

Carlos fidgeted and Frank stood and paced.

‘Well?’ Inspector O’Malley persisted.

It was Frank who answered. ‘There’s a side door.’

‘Where?’ O’Malley’s question echoed Brenda’s, from the other side of the glass.

Peter moved closer to Brenda. ‘Are you OK?’ She sucked in her lips and nodded but had missed the first part of Frank’s reply.

‘It sounded like his closet.’ She paused. ‘Oh God,’ she whispered.

The inspector must have said something similar because Carlos continued with: ‘not clozit. Like clozit. It old window. He ren-no-vate. Missus Stuck Up did not like Carlos.’ He crossed his arms and sat back.

Heat filled Brenda’s cheeks. Her eyes stung.

Frank continued to pace.

‘Where were you on the night Charles Stanton died?’

Carlos glared at his lawyer and swore in English. ‘You tell.’

Pressing his lips together he locked his arms tighter. Frank’s jaw jerked sideways and stiffened. He shoved his hands into his pockets and returned to his seat. He glanced down at his knees and then looked into O’Malley’s eyes. ‘I think I need a lawyer.’

Brenda stood up; her mouth opened.

Carlos smiled and turned to O’Malley. ‘Carlos in Mister Charles house…with Mister Frank.’

Brenda’s knees went weak.

‘Whoa there.’ Peter grabbed her elbow and helped her back into the chair.

She continued to listen but she could no longer watch.

‘Shut up!’ Frank exclaimed and jumped to his feet.

‘NO! You shud-up’

‘That’s enough,’ O’Malley snapped back.

‘Mister Frank said Carlos must get a…’ he clicked his fingers and looked thoughtful.

‘A file, if you must know,’ Frank finished for Carlos. ‘A client’s file.’

‘Go on,’ O’Malley insisted calmly.

By now, Brenda had regained her posture but was taking long slow breaths to help ease an attack of nausea, which threatened to overwhelm her. She noticed that Peter had closed his eyes. His lips were moving in silent prayer. She touched his arm. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered.

Frank started to pace again; hands deep in his pockets. ‘It was the client that Charles was speaking to on the phone that night.’ He paused, and then returned to his seat placing his hands in front of him on the table. He sighed. ‘Carlos is guilty, but for only one thing: he entered Charles’ home that night without permission. I’ll continue this interview only after I make my allowed telephone call and have a lawyer present.’ He leaned back and folded his arms.

A smug grin crossed Carlos’ unshaven face.

O’Malley officially brought the interview to a close and instructed them to wait.

Once O’Malley had closed the door behind him he looked at Brenda with eyes that glistened. He smiled apologetically and asked Hoxley to take her to his office and make coffee for three. It was going to be a long meeting.

‘A penny for your thoughts,’ Hoxley asked, handing Brenda a steaming mug of black coffee. ‘Sorry, no milk,’ he added apologetically.

‘Black is fine, thanks.’ She sniffed the tantalizing brew and sipped. She grimaced and pressed two fingers into her closed lips but not before a sob escaped. ‘Sorry,’ she sniffled.

He handed her a handkerchief from his pocket. ‘Don’t be. That wasn’t something any of us expected…and you’re right, the coffee’s does tastes worse than it smells.’

Brenda wiped the wetness from under her eyes. She glanced down at the smear of mascara on the white cloth. ‘What will Cheryl say?’

‘She’ll understand.’ He sat on the corner of the desk sipping his coffee.

O’Malley entered the room.

Still sitting, Peter pointed to a mug of coffee beside the computer. O’Malley thanked him and sat down. He took a couple of long slow mouthfuls before replacing the cup on a cardboard coaster. Peter stood and moved a few steps to a chair near the door.

The office was small but comfortably furnished. She had sat on a small sofa of sorts that was probably the most expensive piece of furniture in the room. It was a lot more comfortable than Brenda felt in the silence. She sipped more of the foul tasting brew and warmed her hands on the cup.

‘Brenda,’ O’Malley finally said. ‘I can’t go against the magistrates court order but I think once you find another lawyer we can get some of these bail restrictions lifted. By that time we may even get you cleared of all charges.’ He looked up at his young constable thoughtfully and then back to Brenda. ‘Why don’t I have Hoxley drive you to the motel and get your things.’

‘Why? I can’t go home. Not yet.’

‘No. You can’t,’ Hoxley answered for his boss. ‘I think, what Inspector O’Malley is suggesting is that I take you home to stay with Cheryl and me until we organize a few things.’

‘It’s not quite the norm but considering the unusual situation,’ O’Malley pointed in the direction of the holding cells, ‘I think you’ll be safer with the Hoxley’s. No one, except us three, and Cheryl, will know where you’ll be staying.’

Brenda almost spilled her coffee. ‘What are you saying? Am I in danger?’

‘I didn’t mean to alarm you but there’s no easier way to say it. Yes, I believe you are in danger. From whom, I’m not sure. I’m hoping the only two involved are sitting in our holding cells. But, there’s still a missing link and I want you safe until all this is over. You can stay with Constable Hoxley and his wife at least until I can get a safe-house, or witness protection organized.’

Brenda only realised she was shaking when hot black liquid spilled on to her hand and down into the sleeve of her jacket. She felt numb. Even when Peter had rushed out and returned with ice water, she hadn’t realized her hand was scalding red. What the inspector had said in those short moments, she couldn’t comprehend.

‘Why?’ Was all she could manage as Hoxley slopped icy cold water over her hand and dabbed at it lightly with his handkerchief that he had somehow retrieved from her clenched fingers.

O’Malley sat beside her. ‘Brenda,’ he took her hand and checked it as he talked. ‘I’m hoping it won’t come to that, but you need to know before you leave here. If we uncover anything that may show you to be in danger, you have to be protected.’ He released her hand.

Her hand stayed poised in mid-air momentarily and looked down at the now stinging hand and wrist. Blowing on it she accepted the cold glass from Peter and rested it on the back of her hand, the area that smarted the most.

‘Take her via the hospital and get that checked out Hoxley. Call Cheryl before you leave here to make sure she’s alone. No visitors. Understand? At least until we know more. I’ll send an officer around until you finish up here for the day.’

‘Yes, Sir.’ Peter grinned at Brenda. ‘Looks like you’ll be explaining about the mascara yourself.’

Brenda could only force a small smile and thank them. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said to both officers.

‘Don’t be. There’s nothing to be sorry for,’ O’Malley said. There was a measure of gentleness in his voice. ‘Now, I want you to try and relax while I go into the front office and get some of these calls taken care of, and while Hoxley gets organized.’

He pointed to the seat Brenda was sitting on. ‘Put your feet up while you wait.’ Stepping back around the desk, he grabbed his coffee and left.

Hoxley followed but turned at the door. ‘It will be all right. Try and hand it over to the Lord.’ He smiled and closed the door behind him leaving Brenda to herself.

The cushions were soft and inviting but she was too distraught to relax. Resting her elbows on her knees and head in her hands, she wept. Realization had struck hard. Charles was dead. Murdered! ‘By whom? Carlos? Frank? Who? Am I in danger too?’ Brenda bolted upright. She remembered something Frank had said yesterday.

‘Who was he trying to protect me from?’ She said this aloud as Hoxley stepped back into the office. She glanced at him and repeated her question.

‘We don’t know. If we knew that we might start getting to the bottom of this.’ He wrapped a burns bandage loosely around her hand then retrieved a pillow from a locker beside the window. ‘Now, please. Try and rest.’

She smiled. ‘Is that an order, Constable Hoxley?’

‘A direct order.’ He grinned and left the room.

Finally Brenda allowed herself to close her eyes.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

MEMORY OF DREAD – Part Three

🦋 a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 3 🦋

Sunbeams danced through small clear sections of the stained glass window that stood tall at the front of the church. A young and pretty Cheryl Hoxley smiled warmly and introduced Brenda to a few of the women as they found their way to an empty pew.

Brenda returned her greetings quietly; it wasn’t because she felt awkward. In fact, it almost felt like visiting a long lost relative. Memories of her grandmother holding her tiny hand raced into her thoughts. She had been barely eight-years-old swinging her legs back and forth under a long bench at the rear of Kingsley Chapel with her cousins. There had been a simple wooden cross that hung behind a brass eagle lectern. This was back before her parents had divorced and she moved to the city with her mother.

Peter Hoxley handed Brenda an opened hymn book. Her eyes closed to the familiar tune from the pipe organ that began with vibrancy. Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more. The words seemed to bounce off the ceiling and back down to her. I am weak but thou art mighty... Brenda allowed the words to shroud her like a hug.

Young Cheryl’s sweet voice was almost drowned out by a booming off-key male baritone. Brenda looked passed Cheryl. It was coming from the young police officer. His head was held high and his eyes closed.

‘Strong Deliv’rer, Strong Deliv’rer. Be Thou still my strength and shield…’ He sang with no care of who was watching or listening.

Following Cheryl’s lead, Brenda closed the hymn book and shut her eyes. The minister prayed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving before the congregation repeated his amen.

The service proceeded from Bible readings to prayers and then a solo by one of the choir members. Brenda couldn’t recall the hymn but the words were beautiful. The message the preacher gave was based on familiar Scripture. Ecclesiastes chapter three: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

When the service was over, Brenda followed the Hoxley’s to the door where they briefly introduced her to Pastor Steve Knox, a pleasant middle-aged gentleman with greying thick hair and a toothy grin. He shook her hand and thanked her for coming, hoping she had enjoyed his sermon. She said she did and smiled as they left.

They descended the steps of the church to the car parking area. Before they got to the car, Hoxley’s cell phone rang. He answered it and then turned to Cheryl and Brenda with an apologetic smile, walked over to a nearby tree and continued his call.

Cheryl opened the car door to allow Brenda into the back seat.

‘Sorry about that,’ Cheryl said, as she settled into the front passenger seat. ‘It comes with the job, but he loves what he does…and he does it well,’ she added, just as Peter opened the door and got in.

He reached over and touched his wife’s hand. ‘And, I have a very understanding wife,’ he finished with a boyish grin.

Turning back to Brenda, Hoxley turned sombre. ‘That was Inspector O’Malley. He needs to see you first thing tomorrow at the station.’ He paused. ‘Sorry’. Then he looked at his wife and smiled again. ‘But now, how about lunch for you two special ladies?’

Brenda didn’t ask why the inspector wanted to see her, but she did ask: ‘Officer Hoxley, would you mind if we drive pass my house? I just need to see it. I think…’

‘Please,’ he interrupted. ‘Call me Peter when I’m not on duty, and of course we can do that. In fact, I think it may help you. That’s if Cheryl doesn’t mind us taking a little detour.’

‘No. That’s fine,’ Cheryl replied with a warm smile.

It was a quiet ride to Brenda’s house. Peter slowed as he turned into her street. He pulled up in front of the gate and turned the engine off.

‘That’s strange,’ Brenda said softly. She looked over the leaf covered lawn and the rose garden by the gate. The dead dried up blooms created an unkempt appearance. ‘I wonder where Carlos is.’

‘Who’s Carlos?’ Peter asked.

Brenda looked at him through a haze of interrupted thought. ‘The gardener. Carlos works every Sunday, rain or shine. No matter what’s going on, he always shows.’

She looked at Peter then added, ‘his reliability is the only thing I liked about him. Charles hired him a couple of years ago. I didn’t like him. He…’ Brenda froze and stared at a spot on the windscreen. She felt suddenly cold and nauseous.

‘Are you all right?’ Cheryl and Peter asked in unison.

‘Brenda?’ Peter turned in his seat to face her. ‘What is it? What about Carlos?’

Brenda suddenly snapped out of her trance. ‘We need to go. I need to get my jacket from the motel before we go to lunch. It’s getting cool.’ She glanced at Peter, then to Cheryl. ‘If you don’t mind.’

Brenda could feel Peter studying her before he turned and started the car.

Once they had turned out of the street Brenda apologized. ‘I remember the thing I couldn’t stand most about Carlos. He smelled. No. He stunk…of garlic. I’ve always hated the smell of garlic. I refused to have anything to do with hiring him. I left the interviews up to Charles. It was the same pungent odour I smelt the other day on the stairs…and that night.’ Brenda grimaced.

Peter braked gently, pulling to a stop in front of the motel. He looked over his shoulder. ‘Are you telling me you could smell Carlos in the house?’

Her eyes met Peter’s. ‘Yes. Yes, I’m certain of it.’

A loud rap on the car window beside Brenda startled them all. It was Frank Davies, Brenda’s lawyer.

Brenda opened the window. ‘What is it, Frank?’

‘What is the meaning of this?’ He directed this question at Peter then turned back to Brenda. ‘Where have you been? Come on. I think you better get inside.’

Peter opened his door and came round to speak to Frank. ‘Excuse me, but Brenda’s bail doesn’t include your twenty-four hour a day surveillance. You were only required to escort her to collect personal belongings from the house after her release and take her to the motel.’

Frank stepped back. ‘Oh…um…sorry. I’m only trying to protect my client.’

‘Protect her from what?’

‘It doesn’t matter.’ Frank apologized again and walked hastily to his Cadillac. He got in and drove off.

‘He’s an odd fellow,’ Peter said, as he assisted Brenda from the car. ‘Do you want me to come with you?’

‘No. I’m fine, thank you. I think the media have given up following me. I won’t be long.’

She dashed into the motel and headed for her room to retrieve her jacket before returning to the waiting Hoxley’s. She wasn’t gone more than five minutes.

Peter took Cheryl and Brenda to a small restaurant. The waitress led them to a quiet table in the back, as Peter had requested. Brenda slipped into the booth first and then decided to use the opportunity to thank the couple for their hospitality and friendship.

‘I enjoyed your church service. Thank you,’ she said, and meant it. Small talk followed until their orders were taken.

‘Brenda?’ Peter’s voice was low and seriousness. ‘You were telling me about Carlos. What else can you tell me about him?’

‘I’m sorry. As I said, I left all the employment details to Charles. I know that Carlos was recommended by Frank Davies…’

‘Your lawyer?’

‘Frank was Charles’ lawyer. He hired him to do the legal stuff in regard to his contracts. Frank seemed to just appear at the police station and took over my case.’

Brenda hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she saw a server walk by, carrying hot plates brimming with food, but she still needed Peter to answer a few questions of her own before she could think about eating.

‘Peter, why do I need to go to the police station tomorrow? Does Frank know? Will I need him there?’

Their meals arrived at that moment and the next few minutes were spent enjoying the aroma and the presentation of their meals.

Peter placed his napkin on his lap and sighed. ‘I can’t say much more right now but I can tell you that we have Carlos in custody. Apparently he was the person Sergeant McDougal chased the other day.’ He reached for Cheryl’s hand, then Brenda’s. ‘My only suggestion in regard to Frank Davies is we should help you find another lawyer.’

Peter bowed his head and gave thanks.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

MEMORY OF DREAD – Part Two

🦋 a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 2 🦋

The gate slammed behind Brenda, causing her to shudder. The sounds of prison still echoed in her mind.

Frank Davies reached for her elbow to steady her.

‘It’s all right, Frank. I have to do this sooner or later.’

They walked down the autumn leaf-covered pathway that led to Brenda’s home, still ribboned off by the authorities. A uniformed police constable stood with his hands behind his back in the opened doorway, blocking their way. The badge showed his name to be Hoxley. Frank handed the thirty-ish Hoxley a copy of Brenda’s bail conditions, one of which she could collect personal items from the bedroom of the crime scene under the supervision of her lawyer.

Hoxley tipped his cap to Brenda. ‘I’m sorry, Mrs Stanton. Please accept my condolences.’

Brenda nodded and tried to smile and wondered at the thought of how strange a statement it was, made by one of those who had arrested her.

Frank led her into the front entry toward the stairs but Brenda froze and her head involuntarily turned toward the opening that led to the study where she had last seen Charles. Another police officer stood to the side of the wide double doors. An outline of Charles’ body had been drawn on the carpet. A darkened dried bloodstain remained in the beige plush pile they had chosen together when they refurbished after their fifth wedding anniversary. Brenda shuddered and forced herself to look away. She felt Frank nudge her gently forward snapping her out of her nostalgia.

Part way up the stairs she paused to glance over the rail and beyond to the kitchen. Her chin lifted slightly and her nose wrinkled before she proceeded up the steps to the bedroom. Frank stood just outside in what seemed an attempt to Brenda as an unspoken gesture of privacy.

In the bathroom, Brenda reached for her make-up bag. Her eyes fell on Charles’ razor and the aftershave bottle that she had purchased for him on a recent trip to Hawaii. The familiar scent lingered on Charles’ robe that hung behind the door. Silent tears flowed as she forced herself to pack a small suitcase she had placed on the bed. There’s no time for memories right now, she pondered while shoving some clean nightwear and underclothing into a zipped section inside the suitcase. She methodically continued to pack, stopping briefly to fold Charles’ bathrobe around their wedding photo.

Brenda closed the bag and zipped it. Looking around the room, she considered tidying up the mess the police had made searching for who-knows-what.

‘Are you ready to leave?’ Frank asked, approaching her quietly and reaching for her suitcase.

‘Yes. Yes, please let’s go.’

She turned and walked promptly to the landing where she stopped suddenly. Her head jerked downward.

Frank moved quickly to her side. ‘What is it?’

A slight thump beneath caused them both to move to the railing and look over. The officer that had been by the double doors had drawn his gun and was rushing in the direction of the kitchen.

‘You heard that, right?’ Brenda whispered.

‘I think we all did,’ he replied, nodding toward Hoxley who had rushed into the front entry hall.

‘But what was it? It’s the same sound, the same…’ She sniffed. ‘The same odour.’

Frank sniffed too and then shrugged.

They continued to the stairs and began the descent. Partway down Brenda stopped again where she had paused earlier. She sank down onto a step and touched her forehead with the palm of her hand.

‘Are you all right?’ It was Hoxley.

‘Yes, thank you. I thought I saw something…or at least remembered that I had seen something.’

A gunshot sounded, then nothing. A few minutes later the other police officer returned.

‘There’s something definitely strange going on here,’ he said to no one in particular before he replaced his gun into its pouch.

Brenda looked down at him. ‘W…what…?’

Young Hoxley dashed toward the kitchen generating strange looks from both Frank and the other officer. Brenda just let her head droop slowly forward to fight off a moment of dizziness.

It seemed to Brenda that Hoxley had just materialized in front of her a few steps down. He placed a glass of water to her lips.

‘Thank you,’ Brenda said after a few sips and taking the glass from him.

‘What do you mean by there’s something strange going on here?’ Frank suddenly demanded. ‘Shouldn’t we take a look? Who were you shooting at? What’s going on around here? Shouldn’t I…I…’

The other officer rushed up the stairs before he could continue. He grabbed Frank’s elbow and pulled him roughly down the last few steps and out of Brenda’s hearing. However, she did notice the signal for Hoxley to stay with her.

Brenda thanked Hoxley again and gave him the glass before attempting to stand, but he gently placed his hand palm-down on her shoulder to keep her seated.

‘I know I heard something that night,’ she began, ‘and I saw something. I just can’t remember what.’

‘It’s all right Ma’am. We’ll get to the bottom of it. Leave it to the authorities. Inspector O’Malley has had two officers here since day one keeping an eye on things. A few things don’t fit, but we’re working on it.’ Hoxley sat beside her and took something from his shirt pocket. ‘In the meantime, you may like to get some help…and maybe some other answers.’ He handed her something that looked like a business card and Brenda took it distractedly.

At that moment Frank returned. He appeared exasperated but Brenda didn’t know him well enough to read him. Although he seemed to be a good lawyer, he was also a very strange man with not much in the way of compassion.

Brenda gave her thanks again to Hoxley after he helped her into the car. He smiled through the side window and returned to his post by the front door. The thump of the closing boot lid startled her and she watched in a daze as Frank opened the driver’s door and got in.

‘What’s that?’ Frank asked, peering over the driver seat at Brenda.

She stared at a small card in her hand. She wondered momentarily how it got there. ‘City Central Family Church,’ she read aloud.

‘Ah…that’s not far from my own church. If you want, I can take you to either one on Sunday. I haven’t been for months. I never get the time these days. At least not since my wife up and left with the kids.’

When Frank turned the corner the tree lined street disappeared from sight. His one-sided conversation seemed to fade into a haze of an all ready confused dream. She studied the front of the card and then the back. There was a phone number for a Peter and Cheryl Hoxley.

God and church had never been a priority in their busy lives. The only times they had gone to church were for weddings or funerals. ‘If there is a God…why would he let this happen?’ She whispered.

Placing her hands in her lap she looked out the window barely aware of Frank’s constant chatter. ‘God, help me. Help me to remember. Help the authorities find Charles’ killer. Please God…’

‘Frank?’ Brenda finally interrupted as his pristine restored Cadillac pulled to a stop at the motel. ‘What did that other police officer have to say to you that I couldn’t hear?’

The engine silenced along with his chattering. ‘Sergeant McDougal? Um…nothing for you to worry about. It um…appears the police have some new leads. That’s all I should say for now.’

With the short conversation ended, Frank led her to the motel lobby. He was about to place the suitcase down to wait for the elevator when reporters and cameramen rushed toward them. The ding of the elevator announcing its arrival had them rushing in before the doors opened fully. Brenda whimpered as the doors closed. Frank pressed the button for the fifth floor.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

MEMORY OF DREAD – Part One

🦋 – a short murder mystery for the Christian reader – Part 1 🦋

The steel doors closed behind Brenda Stanton with a clang. It was only a few nights ago that she and her husband, Charles, had celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary. A few hours later he was dead, killed by his own revolver at close range. That’s what the coroner had said.

A prison guard stepped ahead of Brenda. ‘Move along. Don’t dawdle.’

Brenda moved one foot in front of the other, oblivious to the handcuffs that dug into her wrists.

The guard unlocked another heavy door. ‘Your lawyer’s here to see you. You have half an hour. Don’t waste it.’

The door opened with a creak and Brenda entered. A table and two chairs were the only furniture in the small room. The door slammed. She shuddered with the echo.

Frank Davies spoke solemnly as he stood to greet her. ‘Brenda, please sit. You look pale.’ He sat opposite. ‘I’m sorry about this. I’m working on an appeal for bail.’

‘Why am I here, Frank?’ Her eyes stung but no tears came. ‘I … I want to go home. I want to go back to the way it was before,’ she gulped.

‘You know that can’t happen. He’s gone. If you didn’t do it, please, let me find out who did. You have to talk to me.’

Frank sat with his right leg crossed over his left; his face expressionless. He just watched her. Waiting.

She shivered. Nothing seemed real to Brenda except the coldness of the interview cell.

‘My life was complete Frank, before I found Charles lying motionless on the carpet soaked in blood.’ She covered her mouth with both hands and dry retched.

Frank’s face contorted and handed his client a large handkerchief. ‘Take a deep breath.’

He sat back and waited again.

‘Keep going, Brenda,’ he said calmly and took a pen from his coat pocket. ‘You haven’t told anyone anything. Not even the police. Tell me what happened before you found Charles? What happened after you found him? I need to know everything. It’s important I have all the facts.’

Brenda wiped her mouth and tried to gulp away the lump in her throat. The handcuffs bumped her chin while trying to blow her nose. She stared momentarily at the metal bracelets on her wrists and the chain that hung between them.

Taking a slow deep breath she finally continued. ‘I don’t think I want to really know myself. I just want…’ Again, she breathed deeply. ‘Charles got a late night telephone call. It was unusually late, but it does happen with international clients.’ She paused and looked up at Frank. ‘From what I could understand from Charles’ side of the conversation, a contract fell through.’

‘All right, back up a bit. Do you remember the time of the call?’

‘Yes, we had just arrived home. I remember because we both looked at the clock when the telephone rang. It was almost ten minutes after one.’

‘Who answered the phone?’

‘I did.’

‘Did you recognize the caller?’

‘No. But it was a man. He was impolite and demanded to speak to Charles.’

Frank wrote in his notebook before looking up. ‘Did you stay in the room while he talked on the telephone?’

Brenda looked at a spot on the wall behind her lawyer and concentrated before speaking again.

‘I had answered it at the bottom of the stairs – in the entry hall. Charles nodded and pointed to the study. I waited until Charles picked up before I hung up. Charles turned to face me, smiled and signaled me to go upstairs and … blew me a kiss.’

Brenda sniffled quietly before continuing. ‘When I got to the top of the stairs, Charles’s voice raised something awful. I waited a moment but he seemed to have calmed.’

‘And you didn’t hear anything more?’

‘Nothing. I shut the bedroom door and put some music on.’

Frank tapped the notebook with his pen. ‘How long was it before you realized he hadn’t joined you upstairs?’

‘Well, I had a shower and … oh wait, I think it must have been almost two. I had just set the alarm clock for seven. Charles had a meeting at nine.’ She paused and studied her wedding ring. ‘I didn’t wait any longer. I just went downstairs.’

‘After the incident, the police said you were covered in blood and your fingerprints were on the gun. How can you explain that, Brenda?’

Brenda bowed her head and pushed her fists into her stomach. ‘I saw Charles. I saw blood and the gun near his hand. I just froze… I couldn’t speak.’ Her voice faded. ‘I just wanted him to be alive.’

‘And after you realized he was dead,’ Frank pushed on. ‘You called the police?’

‘No. Not immediately. I guess I should have. I didn’t want Charles to leave me. I tossed the gun aside and held him. He was gone. His eyes were open … staring.’

Suddenly the floodgates opened and Brenda sobbed uncontrollably into her hands.

Frank closed his notebook with a snap. ‘I believe you. I’ll get your bail organized.’ He packed up his notes and placed them into his briefcase.

Sniffles replaced sobs. Brenda tried to wipe her eyes and nose on Frank’s soggy handkerchief without success. Looking up at her husband’s solicitor she apologised for not remembering much more. ‘What happens now? Will the authorities believe me?’

Frank nodded. ‘They will. We’ll find answers and get you cleared.’

‘I just want to go home, Frank. I just want to climb into bed, pull the covers over my head and hope I wake up from this horrible dream.’

She drew her feet up onto the chair and put her cuffed hands over her knees. It was only then Brenda realised she was still in her bedclothes and bathrobe.

Frank stood and picked up his briefcase. ‘I’m sorry things won’t be as they were before but I hope you can move on.’

He walked quickly around the table and stood behind Brenda, hesitated momentarily, then placed his hand on her shoulder.

‘Everything will be OK,’ his voice almost a whisper.

With the interview over, Frank Davies called the guard.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

🦋 A note from the author: I hoped you enjoyed Part one, a short introduction to Memory of Dread.  -Chrissy

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Faith and Blue Eye!

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-imp‘WOW this little guy has one blue eye,’ Ken exclaimed.

Luke took the pup from Ken. ‘”Heterochromia Iridis.” It’s rare. It occurs as a result of too much or too little melanin in one eye. Can happen in humans too.’ He studied the pup further before reviewing the eyes again; a torch in hand.

‘So what does that mean?’

‘Well, nothing we can hope. It’s certainly striking. You may have problems selling him but I wouldn’t worry about that just now.’

Ken reach for the pup. ‘What do you think, Faith? Shall we call this little one Blue Eye?’

Faith licked her pup.

‘Thanks for coming around, Luke. Much appreciated.’

I see you built two new kennel yards. Great size.’

Ken led the vet through the rear door. ‘Yes, it seems to be working well. I bring Faith out onto the verandah with two or three pups at a time before bringing Shield out.  He’s certainly clumsy. He almost squashed one on of them trying to play with it.’

As if on cue, Shield barked and jumped at the fence.

‘It’s sounds like a plan. Faith’s area is large enough for the next few months if you don’t sell them all by then but let Faith and Shield out together for an hour or two every day. Just watch his behaviour though.’ He looked beyond the enclosed area to the rest of the small acreage and chuckled. ‘A good place to wear them out as they grow, and believe me, they’ll grow.’

The two laughed and shook hands.

‘Call the clinic when their ready for their vaccinations. If its easier, bring Faith in at a different time.’ Luke left by the side gate.

Ken released the catch on the Shield’s cage. ‘Hey, Boof! How about a sprint around the acreage?’ He started the three-wheeled farm buggy and sped off.

Shield leapt out of the enclosure and chased after Ken while Faith and the pups looked on.

On a sunny day five weeks later while the pups were exploring the back yard beyond their enclosure, Ken released Shield for the first time with his whole family.

Ken mounted the buggy and turned the key. The buggy rumbled to life. ‘Let’s go! Shield, Faith.’

Faith turned to her pups and barked a couple of times before chasing after Shield who had already bolted after the buggy.

It wasn’t until Ken sped past the litter on his first lap that the three bigger pups joined the chase. On the second and third laps all but one pup had joined the game.

Faith slowed and plodded over to the little one that just sat staring out at the paddock. Aw…come on little Blue Eye. She nudged the little one but he remained staring. She woofed gently before she turned and ran to follow the last of the slower pups.

Blue Eye leaned forward. His eyes focused only on the buggy.

Again Ken sped past. ‘COME ON BLUE EYE! YOUR’E MISSING ALL THE FUN!’ By the time Ken had passed Blue Eye the pups were spread around the full lap of the paddock.

Still Blue Eye sat and focused on Ken and his buggy. Then…One, two, RUN! With an awkward leap forward, Blue Eye raced directly out across the worn track almost colliding with his youngest sister. With eyes focused straight ahead he ran faster than he thought his little paws could carry him. He crossed the centre of the paddock just as Ken made the bend to take the back straight.

Blue Eye yapped and slid sideways into the dust cloud that had formed behind the buggy. He was now leading the pack ahead of his father. Yap Yap Yap

 Ken glanced behind. ‘How’d you do that?’ 76007BD7-imp

Ken steered into the final bend toward the start place with Blue Eye yapping close behind. He glanced over his shoulder as he approached the turn to begin a new lap. Blue Eye had slowed and returning to the same spot to sit and stare as he had before.

Ken watched Blue Eye in amazement. ‘You must be kidding me,’ he said out loud to himself when Blue Eye again dived out to cross the paddock. ‘He’s figured this out.’ He laughed. ‘Go Blue Eye!’

Again Blue Eye skidded in behind the buggy and yapped loudly. This time however, the others were slowing, including his father. Ken slowed to let Blue Eye pass but to his surprise the pup came up beside him and slowed to match the speed of the buggy.

The two continued side by side until Ken stopped and turned the engine off. ‘Well I’ll be…we have one smart pup here, Faith.’

The proud mother didn’t need to be told. She was all ready smothering him with licks. Shield however was not so pleased and bared is fangs.

‘Shield! That’s enough!’

At Ken’s pointed finger, Shield returned to his enclosure.

‘Well, Faith,’ Ken said. ‘I think we had better get these pups cleaned and fed.’

While Blue Eye enjoyed a few moments praise from his mother, the rest of the pups headed to the back porch. Ken approached Shield where he had waited at the entry of his enclosure. ‘Ah… Shield. Don’t be jealous. You should be proud of Blue Eye…all of them. You have a great family. Try to get on and don’t be so rough.’ He patted Shield before filling his food and water bowls. Leaving the gate ajar, Ken headed over to feed the rest of the family.

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© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Faith’s Becomes a Mother

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impThe aroma of fresh coffee brewing and the sound of country music playing announced the new day before Faith even opened her eyes. Squinting against the brightness that burst through the kitchen window to the laundry, where she had slept the past week, she stretched out her front legs.

Ken came over with her breakfast bowl. ‘Hey, Girl. How’d you sleep? You were restless last night. Uncomfortable?’ He returned to the kitchen and poured a coffee.

Faith ate her breakfast hungrily without rising, lapped some water and rested her head on her paws. She woofed but it sounded more like a grunt.

‘I’ll be here all day; in fact I have a few weeks off. It’s going to get busy for all of us. Shield will be back later today. He’s at yet another training session.’ He paused to take a sip of his steamy brew. ‘I’ve missed you the past few months. Don’t get me wrong. Shield’s been a good help on patrols but he’s not my Faith.’

Turning awkwardly in a circle on the bed she settled back into the same position. If only I could get comfortable. I hope the doctor is right. This time tomorrow I’ll be quite a few kilos lighter. Well, except near feed times.

‘You know, I called him “Boof” at the end of last night’s shift.’ Ken chuckled when Faith lifted her head. ‘Yeah, I know. He’s OK and he’ll make a great dad. I’m just not sure he’ll ever be a great security dog.’

With her head resting again on her paws she closed her eyes. Maybe you’re right…on both accounts and yes, I think Boof suits him.

 

It was just after she had eaten a few nibbles of lunch when the first puppy arrived, quickly followed by six siblings.

‘Well done,’ Ken exclaimed while checking the last puppy for signs of stress. I’ve called Luke – your favourite vet. He’ll drop by on his way home from the clinic. I can’t believe you’re a mother of seven.’ He watched the puppies feed and noticed that she had eight nipples. ‘Well, at least there’s plenty to spare.’ He patted Faith before leaving her to nurse her family. A830DBAE-imp

Shield was delivered safely home shortly before the vet arrived. He danced around the kitchen just outside the laundry door until the knock on the door.

gggrrrr..

 ‘All right Shield’ Ken warned. ‘That’s enough.’ He grabbed his collar and led him out the glass sliding door that led to the rear verandah and closed it before Shield could push his way back in.

‘Ah,’ Luke sighed as he entered the kitchen. ‘The over-protective father. He’s a bit clumsy too if I recall correctly. You may have to be here when he’s around Faith and the pups.’

‘I will. No problems about that.’

Luke checked Faith first then each pup one at a time making sure they had good suction. ‘A nice litter you have here. Don’t forget I have first choice,’ he said with a grin and a wink. He stood to wash his hands in the laundry tub. ‘OK. That’s about it.’

‘When do you want to see them again?’

‘I’ll drop by in a few weeks to check when their eyes are open. Bring them into the clinic say in eight week after that for their vaccinations. Call me any time if Faith has any issues with her health or feeding.’

It was when Luke moved past the back door to head up the hallway that Shield barked and jumped at the glass.

‘That’s enough, Shield!’ Ken pointed and directed him to sit. ‘I’ll limit his visiting times or he’ll be stressing Faith out.’

‘It’s probably a good idea and if he get’s rough with them, you may have to ban him from any close contact.’ Luke paused before opening the front door. ‘You will need a bigger area for the pups anyway. Perhaps a divided area where Shield can oversee without you having to watch him every minute.‘

‘Sounds like a good idea. It will give me something to do while I’m off work. Thanks again for stopping by.’

Back in the kitchen Ken stood watching Faith and the pups to his left and then Shield licking the glass to his right. ‘Ah Boof, what an interesting few weeks we have ahead.’

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Faith’s Discovery

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impAsh threatened to gag her with each breath she took but Faith continued to sniff the charred ground around her. The smell of burnt flesh occasionally assaulted her nostrils and smouldering debris quickened her steps. Small puffs of smoke drifted upward here and there. It was a dismal aftermath.

‘Mind your paws, Faith,’ Ken’s voiced in a raspy whisper.  He cleared his throat before continuing. ‘I don’t think there’s anything out here but death,’ he added and knelt on one knee beside the burnt carcass of a small wallaby.

Faith nuzzled Ken’s elbow. He lifted his arm and drew her near. There’s always life after a fire. We just have to keep looking. With her head held low she continued her search.

Ken’s radio crackled to life. ‘Hey you guys. Did you find anything?’

‘Not yet, Chief. Mandy and Steve are searching along the creek then up to Wattle Road. Faith and I are moving in the same direct along the top of the ridge. Hopefully, we can cover more ground this way without walking right past any life. The air is still thick in places. Oh, and there’s been a few spot fires we had to extinguish too. I’ll check in when we meet up with the other two.’

‘OK, Ken. I know it’s not the best job but someone has to do it. Later.’

‘Come on, Faith. Let’s get moving.’

Faith thought about the conversation Ken had with his fire fighter friend Joe earlier today. Poor Joe. He found that old man in that burnt-out shed this morning. Not much left of him. Faith shuddered. Counselling, Chief had told him. I think I would need it too. A high-pitched whistle broke into her dismal thoughts.

Looking around, Ken whistled back. Faith’s ears pricked up and shifted back and forth. The whistle came again and they both turned toward the sound in a hurried walk.

‘What’s up,’ Ken shouted as they approached two figures slumped over a mound on the ash covered ground.

‘Looks like a backpack but there’s no one around here,’ Steve said. ‘At least not in the ten-metre circle we’ve searched.’

‘It could have been here for months,’ Mandy added poking at the pack with her fire fighter’s axe. ‘We can take it back for further investigation.’

The guys nodded in agreement and continue toward the road that was just within their hazy vision. Faith led the way with her head close to the ground. No one spoke until they stopped in the middle of the deserted street. They all walked slowly in a small circle just staring. Three burnt-out cars smouldered on the side of the road. They appeared to have been heading north out of harm’s way. Ken approached the closest vehicle and peered inside before moving to the other two. Faith stayed by his side.

‘Well, at least the occupants seemed to have escaped,’ Ken said to no one in particular. He removed his hat and wiped his sweating brow with the sleeve of his filthy jacket.

‘This has been a day of deaths and sadness,’ Steve said quietly. ‘Down right depressing it is.’

Steve and Mandy dowsed what flames they could. Dark puffs of dark clouds formed and died above the cars.

Faith began to walk in circles sniffing the ground.

Ken crouched on the warped bitumen.  ‘What is it, Girl?’

She barked and headed up the road with Mandy, Steve and Ken following close behind.

Most of the houses on both sides of the road were burnt out; some still burning.

‘Anyone here?’ Ken shouted.

‘Hello’, Mandy and Steve called in unison.

Faith barked.

Silence. Except for the crackling of nearby flames and the shifting of rubble, it was eerily quiet.

‘We’ll split up. Faith and I will check out these two houses. Mandy, Steve, take those two,’ Ken pointed across the road opposite the burnt-out cars. ‘Don’t go in unless you see someone…but call for us first.’ He removed Faith’s lead. ‘I’ll call for you if we find anything.’

Steve nodded. ‘All right. Be careful, Ken.’

Faith looked up from the steps she had been sniffing to see Ken jog through the charred remains of the front gate. Nothing here….or is there?  With ears twitching back and forth she listened.

‘Hear anything.’ He stood beside her and waited.

She wagged her tail and proceeded to circle the entire house before returning to Ken and looked up. Nothing. Let’s go. She bolted through the side fence while Ken took the long way around.

The second house revealed nothing as well. They returned to find Mandy and Steve putting out spot fires near an outdoor BBQ and gas bottle. ‘Nothing?’ Ken asked.

‘Nope,’ Steve sighed.

Faith’s ears snapped to attention. There it is again. Something…

‘Faith?’

She looked over her shoulder at Ken and woofed.

The three followed her around to the rear of the house to what appeared to be a workshop or garden shed. As they neared the opened door they heard a faint cry. Faith was nudging a shelf that had collapsed.

‘Let’s see what we have here,’ Ken said quietly. Faith moved out of his way and sat beside Mandy who patted her gently.

‘Oh my. How did you get stuck in there? Steve, give me your rake.’

Steve obliged and placed his fireman’s rescue rake into Ken’s hand.

A few minutes later Ken stood up with something in his hand.

‘A flower pot?’ Mandy gasped.

Ken turned the pot around to reveal a little bundle of fur. A kitten, to be exact.

Faith whimpered and Ken placed the kitten, still in the pot, under Faith’s nose.

 She  gently licked the ball of fluff. Hi cutie. I’m sure glad Shield is spending the day in training. He’d eat you alive.

‘Smart dog,’ Steve finally reacted and moved outside with the others close behind.

The three fire fighters laughed. Faith barked. The Kitten meowed. Their depressing mood had suddenly been lifted. Mandy took out her water bottle and removed her glove. The kitten lapped from her opened hand.

Just above the commotion the chief’s voice was heard. ‘Hey, what’s happening out there? We haven’t heard anything for some time. What’s happening, Ken?’

Ken handed the kitten over to a jubilant Mandy. ‘We’re fine Chief,’ he yelled. ‘You won’t believe this.’

The cheering rose and Faith jumped up and down barking excitedly.

‘Ken?’

‘Everything’s OK, Chief. We found a kitten. He’s alive!’ Again, cheers went up.

The chief responded with a chuckle. ‘I’m glad for you guys. It’s been a depressing day. Oh, and another search and rescue team found a backpacker. He’s all right. He was dazed and wondering around. Says he lost his backpack in the fire somewhere by the river.’ He paused. ‘Return to headquarters. I think you all need a break.’

‘See you soon, Chief. We’re bringing in the kitten. Mandy’s already named it.’ He laughed. ‘Lucky, I think. We also have the backpack. Hope that makes the owner’s day. Over and out.’

Faith bounded over to Ken at his call. Let’s go home.

 © Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

Faith’s Close Encounter

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impWith his gloved right hand still holding Faith’s lead, Ken pulled his overcoat tightly around him. His brush with death a year earlier had left him somewhat thinner. ‘It’s a cold night for security, hey Faith.’

Faith looked up in response and Shield shook himself causing Ken to drop his lead.

Just as Ken picked up the lead and twisted it around his bulky glove they heard a faint thud in the darkness beyond the path that led to the administration block of the high school they were patrolling. There had been a number of recent school break-ins and Ken and his dog team had been called in for an extra night’s security shift.

The thud came again and the murmurings of voices carried in the chilly air.

A quick directive from Ken silenced an anxious Shield.  ‘Let’s get closer.  Quietly,’ he added for the benefit of the newly trained canine. Shield was a quick learner but he had the tendency of being impatient.

Deep masculine voices sent chills through Faith’s body. Cold is right and these guys sound dangerous and I can’t even see them yet. Where are they? She stifled a whimper.

Ken stopped to point his torch at the ground and switched it on. Slowly directing the light in a sweeping circle around him, he found his bearings. He flicked the torch off again before continuing toward the voices.

Ah… they must be between the Administration Block and the Science Building. Thankfully they mustn’t have seen the glow of the torch.’

Before taking the path between the two two-storey buildings, Ken knelt and drew his team close to whisper. ‘I need to call for back-up but if something goes wrong before they arrive Shield, follow Faith, she knows the drill.’

They took a few steps back and hid behind a retaining wall that lined the garden on one side of the path. Here Ken touch his radio that had been surprisingly quiet tonight. ‘Bluelight, this is Canine Security over.’

‘This is Bluelight. What’s up, Ken. Over.’

‘I hope you’re in the vicinity of High and Green. Over.’

The radio crackled again startling Shield. ‘The high school? Over.’

‘That’s a big ten-four. Trespassers. Over,’ he said quietly listening for any changes in the distant voices.

‘On our way. Be careful.’

Ken turned the radio volume dial down. Peering around the retaining wall, he listened and watched for a few minutes before leading Faith and Shield toward the corner of the Administration building.

Faith stood close to Ken’s right side and followed his gaze down the path where she could just make out the tall broad silhouette of a man with his hands reaching above his head. A ladder leaned against the Science building. There are at least two of them. If there are three, we still should be ok but they sure are big.

Ken took a moment to glance at his watch then estimated the distance between them and the trespassers to be at least twenty metres. If he could get closer he could see exactly how many and what they were up to.

Faith resisted against the lead a little but trusted Ken. They moved soundlessly toward the men whose voices became clearer as they approached.

‘Hurry up,’ one of them shouted in a whisper. ‘We have enough computers. Grab some cables or something to tie them to the trolley or they’ll fall off.’

‘OK, OK,’ someone from the first floor window called back. ‘Pasco’s gone to look.’

Faith’s hair stood on end. Shield made the quietest of whimpers but it was enough.

The dogs froze before Ken could stop causing the leads to become taut.

‘WHO ARE YOU?’

Ken looked up at the huge dark figure that seemed to have stepped out of the wall just a few steps in front of him.

Oops! This must be the lookout. How did we miss seeing him? Faith stood her ground.

‘I asked you a question, Weed’.

Ken kept his voice clear and steady. ‘Well, I’m Ken and this is my Faith and my Shield.’

Another huge figure appeared and the two looked down at the dogs in surprise.

‘RUN!’, Ken yelled and turned before the men realised what was happening.

Faith and Shield bolted.

Ken’s feet hardly touched the ground as they raced around the corner and back up the path. ‘The oval,’ he panted. He gripped the leads tighter hoping they wouldn’t slip through his gloves.

‘COME BACK HERE, WEED.’

Faith made a sudden turn to the right causing Shield to gasp as he was jerked along. Ouch! Where do you get you strength, Girl?

The three kept running until the voices faded.

Faith slowed and panted to a stop. They all collapsed on the damp grass in the middle of the sports oval just as a distant siren broke the midnight darkness.

Ken turned the volume up on his radio and panted a brief update… ‘I think there’s three, maybe four. They have computers on a trolley of some sort. Over.’

‘Ok, Ken. Take it easy. We have called in another Bluelight. We’ll get them to cover the south of the Science block. Stay where you are until we have them in custody. Over.’

‘No worries about that.’ He signed off and hugged his team.

Shield nuzzled Faith. That was so cool. Can we do that again?

Faith gave a quiet woof and pushed in closer to Ken. Her Ken…the weed.

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dogs Faith and Shield all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace