Home > Uncategorized > Chapters 1-3 of Secrets To Keep

Chapters 1-3 of Secrets To Keep

StK_bookcover_mkONE

Jefferson Beale turned right onto Milford Road. A quick glance at the car’s dashboard clock showed the time to be ten after five. It would be another hour or so before the middle-class residents along Milford Road emerged from their homes to go to work. Even though he always paid for the entire evening, Jefferson never stayed past midnight. But tonight, he’d closed his eyes for a moment and fallen asleep, having awakened half an hour ago.

He came to a complete stop at a stop sign, not concerned with any oncoming traffic, but with the possible presence of a police officer. If he were pulled over by a policeman, Jefferson wouldn’t be able to offer a satisfactory explanation as to why he was driving a Lexus not registered in his name. He counted to three before moving his foot from the brake to the accelerator.

The scent of Candice’s perfume, if that were even her real name, lingered on his blue oxford shirt. As soon as he arrived home, the shirt along with everything else he was wearing, would be tossed into the washing machine. Tabitha, his wife, was scheduled to return from her trip that afternoon. Before the smell of Candice’s perfume was replaced with the cleaning agent of Tide, Jefferson closed his eyes and inhaled the scent again.

Later, he wouldn’t be able to remember what had come first, hearing the noise of the crash or feeling the impact against the car. His eyes popped open in time to see the terror-stricken look of a young man as he bounced against the car’s windshield. Jefferson slammed on the brakes and shifted from drive to park.

That didn’t happen. He hadn’t hit anyone. There’d been no accident. Whatever he thought had happened hadn’t. It’d been nothing more than his imagination.

But the cracked windshield eliminated any thought of him having imagined the accident. Through the shattered glass, Jefferson saw dents on the car’s hood. He looked in the rearview mirror and saw a backpack and a mangled mountain bike lying in the street. Jefferson shifted his eyes to the driver’s side view mirror. A young man lay crumpled on the ground. He stared at the reflection trying to determine if the young man was moving or not, if he was alive or not.

If Jefferson were to get out of the car to check on him, to render aid, and if the young man were still alive, then he’d see Jefferson’s face. When the police were called and Jefferson was gone, because he would be gone, the detectives would ask the young man who had caused the accident and he would be able to give a description of Jefferson.

He could drive away, call 911 as he fled, but the police would know he’d been the one to make the call. They’d want answers to questions he didn’t care to answer. What were you doing on Milford Road at ten after five in the morning when you live on the opposite side of town?

Jefferson looked in every direction to see if anybody had emerged from their homes at the sound of the accident, but he saw no one. Not even a porch light had been turned on. He checked the side view mirror again. The young man appeared not to have moved.

Jefferson shifted from park to drive and drove away.

 

TWO

Every fiber of his being, every bone, muscle, tendon, and nerve in Terrence Larson’s body screamed with pain. He couldn’t pinpoint a spot on his body that didn’t hurt. A metal-tasting liquid filled his mouth. Terry, as his friends called him, had landed on his stomach after bouncing off the windshield.

Where had the car come from? Why had the driver swerved into his path?

Terry considered rolling onto his side or back, thinking it might be easier for him to breathe, but since he wasn’t sure how bad he’d been injured, he figured he ought to remain as he was and wait for the ambulance. Isn’t that what they always told people on TV, don’t move?

If an ambulance were on the way, then the police would be coming as well. At some point, they would want to know why he was riding his bike at five in the morning. They weren’t going to buy training as an explanation. Who trains in jeans and a t-shirt? Spending the night at his girlfriend’s would be a good excuse, except he didn’t have a girlfriend and the girls he knew in this neighborhood weren’t likely to vouch for him. His problems would only get bigger when the police looked in his backpack, which he knew they would. How was he going to explain thirty thousand dollars in cash? Tips? He didn’t even have a real job.

Terry looked at his bike. Both wheels were bent in half and most of the spokes had snapped free of the rim. He wondered if he looked as bad as his bike.

Why hadn’t the driver gotten out of the car to check on him? Where was the ambulance? He moved his head and lightning hot pain shot throughout his entire body. That was a good sign, right?

“Come on, dude. Hurry up.”

Terry thought he heard the car shift gears so he lifted his head. He saw the brake lights dim and the car begin to move forward. “What are you doing? You can’t leave me here.” He tried to yell but his words came out as a whisper.

Terry focused on the back of the car and memorized the license plate, 557-BLB. He repeated the combination of numbers and letters to himself as he rolled onto his side and pulled his cellphone out of his front pocket. The screen was cracked, but the phone still worked. He typed the license plate into a note before he called Colin.

Colin would know what to do.

 

THREE

Linus Walker limped into Molly’s Cafe. The two Advil he’d taken an hour earlier had only helped to take the edge off of the pain. Everything below his hips ached. Instead of being here, meeting a prospective new client, he’d rather have been at home on the couch with ice bags covering his legs. Yesterday, a fifty-mile run had seemed like a good idea. Today, not so much.

He scanned the room of diners looking for a white haired man in a green polo shirt. This was the description the prospective client had given him. Linus spotted him in the back corner of the restaurant and approached the table.

“Jim Horner?” Linus asked.

“You Linus?”

Linus nodded his head.

“Have a seat.”

Jim pushed a menu towards Linus, but he moved it to the side. “I already ate.”

When the waitress arrived, Linus ordered a glass of water while Jim ordered a cup of coffee and the All American special, which consisted of two eggs over easy, bacon, hash browns, and a side of toast.

“So what can I do for you?” Linus asked.

“You want to skip the pleasantries?”

“No sense in wasting anybody’s time.”

“Do you have any kids?” Jim asked.

“No. Never been married.”

“I had- had– one son. Taylor. Seventeen, smart, athletic, and a great future ahead of him. Pitcher on the baseball team. Pro and college scouts started checking him out a year ago.” Jim paused while the waitress set their drinks on the table. “Now he’s gone. Suicide. Two weeks ago.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

Jim took a sip of his coffee. “As wonderful as my son was, he wasn’t perfect. He was driven. His whole life he had to be the best. I guess that’s what led him to steroids. My wife and I aren’t naive, we know what people in sports do, but we don’t believe in drugs. When we found out, we demanded he stop. And as far as we knew, he did. We noticed he was becoming more withdrawn, not going out as much with his friends, but we didn’t connect it to the drugs. We figured it was normal teenage stuff, maybe a girl or something. We thought he would snap out of it.”

The waitress returned with Jim’s breakfast and placed it on the table in front of him.

“Two weeks ago, my wife and I went to a dinner party with some friends. Taylor told us he was going to stay home and study for his SAT.” Jim paused and picked up the fork with his right hand. “We found him when we came home.” Jim reached into a briefcase to his left and pulled out a cellphone and charger, which he slid across the table towards Linus. “You’ll need these. That’s Taylor’s phone. His closest friend was Roger and his number is in there. From the looks of Roger, he’s probably doing steroids as well.”

“I’m a little confused. What exactly do you want me to do?”

Jim stabbed at the egg yolk until it began to bleed across the plate. “Lots of people tell me I need to let the police handle this and get on with my life. Well, let them have a child commit suicide and see if they find it so easy to move on.” He scooped up a forkful of hash browns with egg yolk dripping from them. “A reporter came by to interview me, Jenny I think, and I asked her if she knew of any good private investigators. She gave me your name. Said you were the best around. I checked you out with a friend in the police department and he told me about you and what you did.” Jim set the fork down on the plate. “I want you to find the person who sold these drugs to my son.”

“And then?” Linus asked.

“And then do what you do best.”

*****

This week, I’ll be posting 10 chapters from my mystery novel, Secrets To Keep. Tomorrow, chapters 4 & 5.

To read the rest of the book, you can purchase the e-book for $2.99 (or the paperback for $11.95) at the following:

Amazon
iBooks
B&N Nook
Smashwords

 

 

 

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