Color Me Dead #14

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CALLING ALL READERS!

In honor of Black History Month, I will be offering a FREE, signed copy of “Southern Strife: A Novel of Racial Tension in the 1960s” once a week for the next two weeks.  All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment on one of my blogs.  Winners will be chosen at random.  

Good luck!

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Color Me Dead

#14 

I walked up the driveway, and on a sudden impulse went around to the side of the house.  The garage had a window.  I glanced around me.  No one was watching.  I cupped my hands around my eyes, shielding them from the outside light as I peered in the garage. 

It took my eyes a moment to get adjusted to the dimness.  Then I saw the outline of the SUV I’d seen the day before.  The Ferrari was missing.

That’s it then, I thought.  They must be out for the evening, or have left the country already.

I came around to the front, gazed at the lighted window, and stood there, not quite certain of what to do next.  Then I made up my mind.  I could still deliver the report and photos. Although I was convinced Irene and Phillip weren’t home, I still clung to some belief that someone must be in the house.  Resolutely, I went up the sidewalk to the front door and rang the bell.  I could hear the chimes from within.  Then there was silence.  Surely, they were—

That’s when I noticed that the front door was slightly ajar.  Odd.  Would they have forgotten to lock up before they left?

That’s when I knew I should leave.  But…

I opened the screen door and rapped on the frame of the wooden door that was open a few inches.

“Hello?” I called.

There was no answer.

Taking a deep breath, I pushed the door open.

In was deathly quiet inside.  The only sound I could hear was the low hum of the air conditioner.

“Hello?” I called again. 

Silence.

I stuck my head in.  There was an ornate end table with a lamp next to the door.  That was the light I had seen from across the street.

“Irene?”  I stepped into the room.  In the dim light, I could see some 18th century antique furniture around the living room.  There was a smell I couldn’t define.  Maybe stale food?

“Phillip?” I was all the way in now.  Part of me was screaming to just get the hell out and go home.  Lock the door on my way out and pull it shut.  Mind my own business.

But with the wine I’d had to drink, it was easy to ignore that part.

Cautiously, I took a couple of steps toward the right, where the dining room was.  Off that door, I could see another light was on.  

Suddenly, there was a loud click.  I drew in a sharp breath and whirled around.

It had come from the area off the dining room that was lit.  Probably the kitchen.  

What had it been?  Did someone have a bead on me, setting their sights, getting ready to pull the trigger?

Get out, the sane part of me said.  Just leave now.

But after all that wine…

“Hello?” I took a few steps toward the dining room.

No answer.

Squaring my shoulders, I took a deep breath and walked into what was the kitchen. 

The refrigerator was humming.  That must’ve been where the click came from.  I sagged in relief, but it was short-lived.  

Lying on the floor by the sink, in a pool of blood, was Irene Simon. 

 

 

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