Continuing the serialization of an original novel I’ve written entitled SCARED.
I paused, staring through the panes of glass at the terrace and my car parked beyond. This was silly! What was there to be frightened of? I repeated this routine on a nightly basis without even a second thought. Did I imagine a huge fly would come swooping out of the trees and grab me in its hairy mouth? That was ridiculous!
Gripping the handle, I opened the door and stepped onto the terrace. I stopped and cleansed my lungs with several deep breaths of cold, October air. That was better. The apprehension seemed to wane. I stood for a moment, looking about me. The sky was clear. The moon was bright. And the stars “twinkled”.
Feeling better, I skirted the car and walked the fifty odd feet to the wood pile. The outside lights licked the edge of the wood pile but didn’t penetrate it. Laying the canvas carrier on the ground, I began filling it hurriedly. In the penumbra surrounding the stack of logs, the first talons of fear returned, gently caressing the back of my neck.
There was a sudden scurrying in the fallen leaves behind me. I froze. Probably one of the yard cats who habitually turned up at our door to be fed. Cautiously, I turned to look over my shoulder. The cover of the swimming pool reflected the moonlight. Something could be hiding there … it was a great place to hide … until some unsuspecting person came along.
Throwing another log onto my pile, I hefted the carriers and almost sprinted toward the house. Without pause, I threw open the door and entered, closing it firmly behind me. I was surprised at my exhaustion and the rapid beat of my heart. As the warmth of the room enveloped me, I relaxed and sighed. This was all so ridiculous!
I crossed the room, set the logs on the brick hearth and began stoking the fire. The normalcy of the act made me feel better. When I had the fire burning brightly, I transferred the remainder of the logs to the wood bin and then treated myself to another cigarette. Another glass of wine sounded good, but that was a bad idea. I had a drinking problem of sorts, and another glass was not the answer. Besides, I would already have to answer to Chris for the goblet already in the dishwasher.
The phone rang. Knowing the French phone in our bedroom would be sounding its klaxon, I rushed to answer it. “Yes?!” My voice was breathless if not fearful.
“Lieutenant Henderson. Troop 3.”
Jesus! “Yes, Lieutenant …”
“I just wanted to let you know that we checked out your report …”
“Did you find anything?”
A short pause. “Well, not actually. There was no animal that we could find, but there was a sticky kind of substance across the roadway at one point.”
Another pause. “No … what did you actually see, Mr. Campbell?”
I panicked and reached for another wine glass. Pouring a generous amount, I continued.
“Well, nothing … really. As I told you, one of my headlights is out.” When the Lieutenant didn’t reply, I continued. “I know it was big.”
“And that’s all you can tell me?’
I took a deep drink of the wine. It’s warmth bolstered my courage. “Yes … I didn’t stop … I guess I should have.”
“Not a problem, Mr. Campbell.” There was another pause as the Lieutenant seemed to shuffle papers. “Would you be willing to stop into the barracks tomorrow to answer a few the investigating officers might have?”
Shit! I took another swallow of wine and a drag on the cigarette. “Well, I have a very busy busy schedule tomorrow. May I call you?”
“Certainly. If not tomorrow, then perhaps the next day.”
“I’ll let you know.”
“Thanks for your cooperation, Mr. Campbell.”
“Thanks for calling me back.”
NEXT: SCARED continues.