What happens when you go home again? Murder, maybe?

From Candy, Corpses and Classified Ads

Setup: Molly's ex-husband was found dead (buried under her rose bush) and her ex-lover, JT, is investigating the murder.

The phone went dead. There wasn't a dial tone or anything. It just stopped working. I checked the charging base, but the red light was still on, which meant it was getting power. I put the receiver back into the base unit. As I did, I glanced outside and saw the motion light come on over the barn. It was a black night out, with no moon, but I could have sworn someone was walking through the edge of darkness cast by the light and shadow.

I moved to the other window, which faced more fully onto the drive. As I did, the light came on over the garage. This time I was sure there was a shadow there—a tall shadow that was not a raccoon.

Fear hit me hard. Somebody was in my yard and my phone didn't work. This was like a bad Alfred Hitchcock movie. I was a mile outside of town and the only protection I had was a fourteen-year-old overweight neutered tomcat.

I stepped away from the window and raced down the stairs to the dark kitchen. My bag was lying where I'd dropped it. I fumbled inside and pulled out my cell phone, normally just used for long distance calls. I opened it with shaking hands.

The kitchen door started to open.

Oh, shit. I panicked. I raced back the way I came, through the dining room toward the back door that led to the seldom-used back stoop on the south side of the house. Mr. T watched me curiously from the couch in the living room. I considered pausing to pick him up, but decided a struggling cat would probably be a liability. I wished him a silent good luck, pulled open the door and stepped out into the night.

Cold assaulted me. I was wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt and my old felt clogs. I sank into snow up to my knees, piled there by the wind. I bit back a curse and edged around the side of the house. That was when I realized I still had the cell phone in my hand. I turned on the phone, punching in the first number on my speed dial.


Damn. I'd called Mom. "Call the police," I whispered. "Something's happening."

Yolanda hesitated just a second. "Molly? What's going on?"

I heard a door open and slam shut behind me. I inched around the side of the house. "I don't know, but there's somebody here. Call the police."

"Why didn't you call them?"

"It's a long story, Mom. Just call the damn police." I closed the phone. Pressing against the house, I edged along the west side, which faced the barn in the distance. The motion light had gone out and the drive was just a snowy ribbon in the meager moonlight. I considered making a break for the garage, but decided it would be safer to aim for the windbreak and the relative safety of the trees. If I stuck to the trees that bordered my back yard, I could cross the drive near the barn and head for the woods behind it.

I took a long, deep breath, trying to still my shivering. I began to inch forward, sticking close to the lilacs that bordered the yard, hoping for a bit of cover. One step forward, then another. I hazarded a glance to my right, at the side of the house that faced the garage. The kitchen was brightly lit. Someone had gone inside and turned on the light.

I took another step forward. Something hit me so hard I spun, losing my footing on the snowy ground. I fell backward, toward the dormant herb garden and the azalea bushes that Melvin had tried to uproot in one of his first forays into my yard. I did a crazy two-step dance, struggling to keep from falling into the sharp, spiny bushes. I wasn't aware of pain but I was aware of a blinding, stunning heat that radiated out from my right arm, encompassing my entire chest.

I stared down and saw the blood, glistening black in the pale moonlight.

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