Freebie Friday Chapter 25

On Fridays I’m sharing a chapter a week from one of my books. The first book is Souls Lost. If you wish to purchase it to read faster, you can find it at your favorite retailer. Find chapter 1 here.

Sheriff Blake Fellows arrived that morning with a coffee purchased from down the highway. He’d gotten there shortly after Mattie and Taran had arrived. Taran had gotten there as Earline, the night dispatcher, was leaving. Earline always left promptly when her shift was up. She usually played on the computer on her nights and then flirted with whichever of the officers was on patrol. Lately that’d been Bobby Joe.

Unlike Blake, Taran had to make do with the coffee from their own dying coffee maker, making him feel a bit like a poor relation. It also told him a lot about what Blake thought of him. Even the smell from the coffee shop coffee was better than the stuff at the station. That coffee always had the slightest sour scent of vinegar which had once been used to try and clean off the stains from the old machine.

Blake made a face when Taran joined him in the witness room. The sheriff was using it to spread out some information, and he’d said he was hoping to talk to Taran. The chairs had upholstery on the seats which made them less cold, or hot, than plain metal, and Taran found that his butt didn’t fall asleep as quickly when sitting which surprised him for some reason. It still didn’t make them comfortable. He didn’t complain or drag a chair from his office though. He was going to be courteous even if Blake wasn’t.

The table in the witness room was bigger than his desk, and it wasn’t covered with his own notes. In fact, the gray metal table was surprisingly tidy, given that Blake was sorting information. It made the room seem cold and unfriendly, kind of like the sheriff’s attitude.

The walls were brick but there were nice pictures, albeit cheap ones, hanging on two of the walls, images of a forest stream and one of the Atlantic. It smelled only of their coffees, one more sour than the other, and not of the body odor that the other room smelled of. Taran knew that even in that he was lucky. He’d been in interview rooms that smelled of piss and shit.

Even the suspected criminals in Corbin Meadow had a basic level of self-restraint.

Mattie had set about turning on all the lights because Earline left the backrooms in the dark. Taran listened as Mattie’s shoes clacked against the floor. She was probably in heels again, although Taran had tried to tell her to wear flats in case something happened and she had to duck out quickly. Not that such a thing had ever happened in Corbin Meadow, but he wanted his employees to be safe. Mattie refused to listen.

“You finished the interviews?” Blake asked, leaning down to open a briefcase as large as an overnight case.

“I sent the report,” Taran responded. “Not sure there’s anything else to say.”

Blake nodded. “So basically you’ve got nothing?”

“Like the ones from two years ago,” Taran said.

“Has it been that long?” Blake asked while he looked down at pile of papers he’d just placed neatly on the table rather than looking up at Taran.

“Just over two,” Taran said.

“Think there’s anything in the timing?”

Taran shook his head. “We put the crimes through the data base and got nothing, so this would only the second time it’s happened. No way to determine if it’s random or if it’s a pattern.”

“Anything not in the reports?” Blake asked.

Taran told him the story he and Zoe had concocted about her seeing a shadow. Blake didn’t need to know Kay might come to town and help, but he should know that Zoe was in danger.

“But you saw nothing?” Blake said.

Taran shook his head.

“Anything in the yard when you went out?”

Taran shook his head again. He hadn’t really been looking, not after what he’d heard, but he wasn’t going to share that with Blake. He was only talking to him about Zoe in case something happened to her.

Taran kept himself from shivering at that, just. He realized he didn’t want anything to happen to Zoe, not that he’d ever wanted something to happen to anyone in Corbin Meadow, except maybe to Merle Manford, one of the meanest SOBs up the mountain who had an accident-prone wife. Unfortunately she refused to ever suggest her husband had anything to do with her accidents, though everyone knew he did.

But Zoe…Zoe was reaching him in a way the average citizen didn’t. Now here she was, in danger, and he didn’t have a clue how to keep her safe beyond trying to talk his ex-wife into staying in town. First, though, Kay had to get to town where she could be talked to.

Blake sighed. “Almost a clue. I didn’t see anyone from the earlier incidents reporting anything at all.”

“Zoe’s not lived here in a long time. A shadow like that, on a day like yesterday, I can’t imagine anyone else around here noticing. But Zoe lived in a city,” Taran said, giving an off-the-cuff explanation, hoping that he wasn’t over explaining and drawing suspicions from the Sheriff. He didn’t need the man looking at him.

Blake just nodded, oblivious.

They discussed a few things. So far the lab was coming up empty as far as finding anything. Even the garden trowel had no prints on it. Though they had ascertained that all were the same style, there were no clues to help them find the manufacturer.

“Isn’t that strange?” Taran asked, thinking about it. Didn’t manufacturers all mark their products?

Blake shrugged. “It’s possible that these are mass produced somewhere. Trowels aren’t all that different, but most have some sort of mark on them to indicate who made it. Helps the stores know if it could have been their inventory. So it’s a little strange. I’m not sure what kind of lead it is.”

Taran nodded. But it added something to what he knew. It was just another piece that made no sense and made him wonder if the creatures he’d seen in the vision were actually behind the murders. If that was true, how did he protect the town against something like that?

Chapter 26 will be coming next Friday. Don’t want to wait? Find the book here.

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