A Heart of Deception Part 4
This is a 13 part series, featuring a chapter each of my book, A Heart of Deception. The full manuscript can be viewed at my personal website listed on my profile page.
A Heart of Deception Part 1
Holly Everten was lying lifeless on the cool cement that had befriended her for an indefinite amount of time. Blood pooled around her once deep, blond locks that were now a crusty russet hue. Her long elegant fingers she once lavished attention to had several nails ripped off them. Her slender legs had been methodically broken in several places from a wicket...more
A Heart of Deception Part 2
Holly and Darrell settled into Rex Fields, a dry, warm, southern town near Oklahoma and Louisiana border. It was their second home since getting married. This one was special because they were buying it. Rex Fields was not far from the mid-sized Louisiana town of Screaming Trees, where Holly and Darrell both grew up, but never crossed paths due to both moving away in their early teen years....more
A Heart of Deception Part 3
Several years had passed by ever so quickly. Holly chased after Percy who was barking madly at the chickens. Her graying hair cascaded down her shoulders veiling the laugh lines on her face. Holly managed to get the muddy dog cornered into the hall when a rap at the front door echoed through the house....more
Holly drove the rental wooden station wagon to the local shop, aptly named Valerian Feed Store after all the bright red flowers growing in the area. It was their 10th anniversary, and Holly had determined that making smores over the outdoor fireplace at the log cabin they were staying at that evening would be romantic. The chocolaty goodness would be collaborated with their favorite wine, and perhaps the weather would cooperate and reveal a lovely sunset.
The small, quaint resort town of Silver Belle in the northwestern part of the United States was a wonderful getaway for the pair for just a few days. Darrell had too many tests at school to be able to get away for long.
On their last night there, Holly saw a familiar reflection in the window beside her bar stool at the local fish fry grill. Long, dark stringy hair caught her eye and she immediately turned towards it. The female figure eerily looked like Blithe. However, Holly reasoned with herself, Blithe would not have been able to know where they were at or afford to leave her clerk position at Rex Field’s meat market for even a day. The person was gone in a flash; Darrell blissfully unaware of the visitor was continuing to ramble on about his studies at WestfordCollege.
It was, perhaps, a mere two weeks that had passed since Holly and Darrell had returned home from their anniversary vacation that an unanticipated turn of events gauged the very quintessence of their unremarkable lives. Holly had finished her wifely duties and departed from the kitchen. The routine barking from Percy, which had declined with maturation over the years, was quelled by his absence. He was at the vet’s office getting a routine checkup. Holly knew the animals in her shelter were okay for now; most were napping after a full belly of evening nourishment. Holly decided to take a stroll through the relatively well kept farm-side road, riddled with rocks laid down recently because of the rains threatening to flood out the roads. Neighboring houses, some new, most being seasoned with time, cascaded the rural landscape like boats on the ocean waves. Holly found solace in the quietness, with the occasional audacious crowing of birds or bleating from animals. Holly circled around the domestic enclaves on Predence Strand Cove and spotted Darrell's dilapidated truck in the near distance. He was home early.
Holly approached her yard with spotty grassy patches and yellow wildflowers. She slid past the truck parked crookedly in the drive. The paint on the truck had long lost its color and was a sort of light grayish-blue mixed with rusty patches. There was a large crack across the back window, which ironically seemed not to offend any of the local law enforcement. The muffler was secured with wire and the locks on the two doors were disengaged. Dents telling many a story ran amok along the anterior of the truck.
Darrell had presented an exquisite feast on the dining room table. Since it wasn’t either of their birthdays, and their anniversary had obviously passed, Holly knew something was wrong. She sat down with an agnostic approach towards Darrell, fearful of what she would hear from him. He then opened up with a well-thought tone in his voice.
“Have you been using rat poison around the barn, or the house?” Darrell glared at Holly.
“No, why…” she stammered. “ Why would I use poison at all around so many animals?” Holly’s heart sank.
“Dr. Fielding said that Percy got a hold of rat poison.” Darrell's voice cracked, as a tear rolled down his cheek.
“But he’s okay, right?” Holly scanned his face for affirmation. There was none on his slightly tanned face.
“No, Holly, Percy’s dead.” Darrell broke his mutual stare with Holly and looked away, more tears rolling profusely down his cheeks.
“Why? Why did this happen?” Holly could hardly speak.
“Dr. Fielding said it had gone on for a while…you didn’t notice anything at all did ya Holly?” Darrell seemed to be accusing her of killing the dog.
“What are you saying?” Holly cried. She huddled up in a ball on the dining room chair, looking away from him.
“I’m just saying, you didn’t notice if the dog was coughing up blood, was weak, had pale gums, have a swollen stomach?” Darrell was very angry, almost aggressive.
“No! No!” Holly emphatically repeated.
“They said when she got her check up today that she had been exposed to the poison for about two or three weeks now. Small doses, he said. The doctor suspects foul play.” Darrell continued to cry.
“The only other person around Percy was Blithe. She took care of him while we were gone. But Blithe loves dogs and wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Holly reasoned. “Where’s Percy now?”
“I let them have him.” Darrell walked away. “Nothing we could do for the poor thing. He was probably 12 years old and couldn’t survive even the least bit of medical problems.”
Holly sobbed frenetically that night as Darrell consoled Holly. She couldn’t make sense of the whole situation or who would want to hurt Percy. That night yielded little sleep, mostly anguish over the loss of such a faithful friend.
The next morning, Darrell grabbed the newspaper as he sipped his second cup of coffee. He slipped into the cantankerous, old pickup truck and sped away. He had classes finalizing for the semester mere minutes away.
Holly went to check the mail before feeding the animals for the noon meal. Crumpled in between two bills and a piece of advertisement was a note that was hardly legible. ‘Leave while you can’ it said. “How odd and disturbing,” Holly muttered. The mail and the note were flopped on the kitchen bar. Holly returned to her usual chores, forgetting all about the ominous note.
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