After sending off Diana and the twins for a day of swimming at Callahan Park in Bradford, Janie cleaned up the breakfast dishes and put a kettle on the stove for tea. Sitting at the battered table, she stared at her hands, lost in thought. The knock at the door startled her but she welcomed the distraction of friends. They’d been dropping by regularly, bringing food and offering to help in any way needed.“C’mon in, door’s open.” Smiling at the expectation of a familiar face, she frowned when she realized it was a man she didn’t recognize. She stood quickly, almost knocking over her chair. “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone I knew.”The stranger stood in the doorway, his face shadowed by the sunlight behind him. He was big, huge in fact; standing at over six feet tall and weighing in at over 250 pounds. She was surprised by the long, straight, black hair that shimmered in the bright light. As she walked closer she saw a very sculptured face with a massive scar down one cheek.“May I help you?” Janie wrung her hands, not sure if she should let this man come any house further.“Mrs. Crocker?” His deep voice resonated deep into her bones.“Yes?” she answered shakily, one hand on the doorknob.“First, I’d like to extend my condolences on the death of your husband.”“Thank you.” She hung her head and then looked at him again, “Did you know John?”“In a manner of speaking. We were business partners. May I come in?”Janie wasn’t totally reassured but wanted to hear more. “Please,” she gestured to the rickety kitchen table. “I was just making tea. May I get you something?” She cringed as the old wooden chair groaned out a protest as he sat.“No thank you. I won’t be long.” He placed his battered and scarred hands on the table as he surveyed the room.Janie poured her tea and joined him. “I’m sorry, you are?”The smile that crossed his face somehow made him look more sinister. “Samuel Parker. Nice place you have here.”Janie nodded her head, not sure how to proceed. “You said you and John were business partners? He never mentioned you.”“You have beautiful children,” he gestured to some family photos on the wall, ignoring her question.“Um, thank you. I am blessed. Is there something I can do for you?”“It’d be a shame to see something happen to one of them.” He turned his stony gaze to Janie, all signs of a smile now gone.“What?” she almost shrieked, her heart raced.He pulled a knife out of his pocket, using it to clean his fingernails.“Your children. It would be terrible if there was another ‘accident’ in the family.” The word accident was accentuated.“I’m sorry. I think you should leave now.” Janie rose shakily, trying to ignore the knife. She opened the kitchen door and turned to him, “Please.”He walked towards her menacingly, the knife still in his hand. Towering over her, he continued. “Your husband owed me money. A lot of money. Now YOU owe me money.” His smile was more of a smirk, “A lot of money.” Walking out the door her turned and told her, “I’ll be back tomorrow. We’ll talk again then. Oh, and you should know, my nickname is The Destroyer.”Janie closed the door, locked it and collapsed on the floor, trying to calm herself. She eventually managed to force her wobbly legs to carry her into the living room. Her hands shook as she dialed the non-emergency number.“Bradford Police, how may I help you?”“I’m not sure.” Janie thought quickly, “Um, is Jim Sanders in? The Chief?”“Yes ma’am. May I tell him who’s calling?”“It’s Janie Crocker. John Crocker’s wife?”“Hold please.” Molly got Jim on the line. “Jim, I have Janie Crocker calling. Should I patch it through?”“Mary Allardt just walked in. Please tell Mrs. Crocker that I will call her back shortly. Thanks, Molly.”
Sunday, August 11, 2013
An excerpt from "Barely a Spark"
Klondike Mystery series, "Barely a Spark." Let me know your thoughts....