Quiet Lost is a story of betrayal, murder, love and lost love. It will require several chapters to tell Neil’s story.
Tuesday noon, September 15
Neil headed further southeast, paralleling the turnpike until he was just out of town. Several minutes before noon, he pulled into a parking lot riddled with pot holes. Brad’s pickup looked at-home with the other vehicles parked at odd angles in front of an old pub.
The dim interior reeked of years of cigarette smoke. Wallpaper was yellowed and peeling from corners. As the front door closed behind him, all natural light disappeared – the two existing windows were painted black. The only redemption of the large room was an antique mahogany bar spanning the length of one wall; a graceful piece of history that looked as out-of-place as Neil felt. Three patrons, slumped protectively over their steins, blended with the décor. He chose a bar stool close to the TV and ordered a beer.
Channel 9, KUSA was tuned in – good, he wouldn’t have to draw attention to himself with a request for a channel change. The news would come on in a few minutes. He sipped his beer, keeping his head down, anxious for the upcoming headlines.
The local anchor opened the hour, “We have late-breaking news in northwest Boulder. Sharon Singleton is on-scene at the Old Boulder Bar investigating two murders that appear to be related.”
A trim brunette in her mid-thirties gazed intently into the camera. “An abandoned BMW belonging to Boulder resident Neil Durham was found this morning in the parking lot of Old Boulder Bar. Neil Durham’s wife was violently murdered last night. His daughter is in critical condition at a local hospital. Police are looking for Mr. Durham.”
A sharp intake of breath and a small, “Oh,” escaped his lungs. His eyes burned. Cassie! Oh, God! What did I do? Please forgive me!
His face filled the TV screen: he recognized the picture Samantha kept on her vanity table. He smiled down at himself. The self sitting at the dark bar wished he could trade places with the self standing at water’s edge, light brown hair ruffled by tropical breeze, hand shielding blue eyes against a bright morning sun.
He sat still, scared to move; thankful his cap was pulled low.
“Mr. Durham was arrested Saturday night on a manslaughter charge after an altercation here at the Old Boulder Bar.” The camera panned to the front of the large honky-tonk – parking lot empty and quiet, except for his car on the bed of a tow truck ready to pull out of the lot. “Neil Durham was released on bail early Sunday morning. The name of the victim in Saturday night’s slaying has not been released. The Boulder PD has requested that any sighting of Mr. Durham be reported immediately. Chief of Police, Jim Smithing, assures us that Mr. Durham is not currently a suspect in his wife’s murder, but is wanted for questioning.”
Why in the hell is my car at the Old Boulder Bar? Brad, where are you, and what have you done now?
Cassie, Cassie’s alive.
He had to see her with his own eyes. He needed to touch her, hold her hand.
Click on Quiet Lost: Chapter 5 to the right.