Quiet Lost is a story of betrayal, murder, love and lost love. It will require several chapters to tell Neil’s story.
Monday 6:30pm, September 14
Neil hung Brad’s keys on the key rack. When I wake in the morning, maybe MY keys will be here. He cut short a laugh, closed his eyes and shook his head as if to clear his thoughts.
He walked into the kitchen. A large pot of noodles was boiling over and hissing on the stove. He turned off the heat under the water, stirred the simmering spaghetti sauce and extinguished the flame when he realized it was sticking.
“Sam, where are you?” It wasn’t like her to ignore her cooking.
He walked around the corner of the bar. His breath caught when he saw Cassie lying on the floor, blood covering her chest.
“Ooh, noooo,” he dropped onto his knees pulling her to him, listening for her breath; shaking hands unsuccessfully searching for a pulse. He fell onto his hip, cradling his baby, rocking her gently like he would when she was little and needed comforting. His mind was paralyzed; a fog dulled any ability for him to reason. Time turned to non-time; his metronomic movement lulling his senses.
But… he needed Samantha; wanted her with him in his grief. Panic broke through the fog; an urgency to find her. “Sam, Sam, where are you? What is happening?” His head popped up; he frantically scanned the room.
Her arm was flung past the end of the couch lying motionless in a large pool of blood, the rest of her hidden from view. The slackness of her flesh told him what he didn’t want to know. Life stood still. He was afraid to move, afraid to look at her.
He laid Cassie back carefully on the floor and shuffled forward, stooped over, barely able to lift his feet. Holding onto the edge of the couch to keep from collapsing, he looked down at Samantha. Her throat was slashed from ear to ear; her face peaceful as if she had no idea what her fate was to be.
He heard a wild-animal wail, a low keening gaining energy as it continued. It tore at his throat as he hurled his mourning at the walls, at the ceiling.
He reached down to touch her hair, her cheek – still warm, tacky with blood. How can her breath be gone?
With great effort he lifted his head at the sound of quick footfalls on the stairs. The suave man from the bar and another man rounded the landing.
Neil’s fight-or-flight instinct kicked in – he ran faster than he ever had in his life – out the front door, grabbing keys as he went.
As he spun the wheels of Brad’s truck, he saw in the rear view mirror the two men running down the long driveway. He turned the truck north onto the street. Still watching the mirror, he saw headlights of a vehicle parked against the curb and knew they would be pursuing.
He turned one direction, then the other on residential streets; saw the shiny black SUV gain on him and then fall back; a rhythm repeated. Street after street, corner after corner he pushed the old truck as hard as he could. Two sharp right-hand turns and he lost the lights in the mirror. He switched his headlights off and raced down a side street; watched behind him as they flew by the opening of the narrow street he had turned on.
He slowly wound through quiet neighborhoods; switched his lights back on when he hadn’t seen their vehicle for several minutes. He drove with abandon; his mind grew numb. Turns and turns and turns. He became aware of coasting on a highway; blacktop marked with yellow lines.
It was all he could do to keep his eyes on the road. Follow the lines; stay in the lines; don’t think of the loss of all that matters in life.
Yellow lines flew by endlessly… He wondered where he was;
Click on Quiet Lost: Chapter 11 to the right.