Half way back home her SUV sputtered and died at a stop light, but it started up again. She dreaded having it break down. She’d freeze solid if it did.
She had a dead man in her loft.
A blue car was parked in front of her shotgun two-on-two ancient vintage bastardized bungalow. Cars all looked the same to her, but this one had steamed up windows. As she passed the car the SUV, of course, died.
As she frantically tried to restart it, a hole in her side window popped open, the bullet angled into the front windshield, spiderwebbing them both. She actually heard the bullet go past her head.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” Another bullet hit the side of her SUV just before the vehicle finally started. She slammed it into reverse. That’s when she saw the license plate on the blue car lit by her headlights--which she made herself memorize, go figure. Somehow her brain still worked.
Fumbling the cellphone, she managed to dial 911 for the second time today. She headed to the North Market St. Police Department. “GJX473,” she hollered to the 911 operator who answered her call. “Write it down. Write it down. It’s the license number of the car that shot at me.”
Sirens blared in the distance while the operator asked a hundred questions. She skidded into the police department parking lot, jumped out and ran to the PD’s front door. She grabbed the door’s handle but stopped and looked back for the blue car she was sure followed her.
When no cars tore into the parking lot with gunmen blasting away at her, her heart rate started to slow down. She shut the door behind her.
Magers showed up an hour later. She guessed he had to cover the search of her loft, call all the people whose names she’d given him, take care of the body, talk to the Coroner, have time to get to his office. It seemed like it took a century. His remarkable blue eyes had turned the color of granite, which bored into Belinda. She was okay until he looked at her with such sympathy. It made her cry again.
“Don’t do that. You can’t help us while you’re out of control.” He walked a circle and stopped in front of her again.
“But I don’t know why that guy shot a gun at me. I don’t know why the dead man was in my loft. I’m afraid to go home.”
“Somebody is looking for something. Any idea what that might be?” He reached for his iphone, scrolled through some items, stopped and said, “We got enough glue off the dead man’s face to get a profile picture. It’s rough but I want to know if you recognize him. You’re okay, right?”
She’d never be okay again, but she clenched her teeth and looked at the small screen on Sam’s phone.
She choked. “Th-that’s Reedy.”
“So who is Reedy?”
“He was my husband until he disappeared four years ago. I got a divorce decree from him just this morning because he is presumed dead. Oh my god. I had no idea he was even in
Chris texted to her: where r u?
She looked at the text message but didn’t want to tell Chris she was at the police station. He’d freak out.
Sam insisted he take Belinda home to pack then some place to stay a few nights because she shouldn’t be alone. He said, “A person who is more concerned about blood in her paint than who killed cock robin isn’t thinking entirely straight.” She could see his point. “And, the blue car that held the shooter at your house two nights ago has the wrong serial number. It’s registered to a Tom McKinzie.”
“But it looked like my step-brother’s car.”
“Is his name Tom McKenzie?”
“Tom McKenzie is dead. He was 84 when he died of a heart attack, best I can tell.”
“What? That’s insane.”
“I know...stay tuned for the next episode, whenever I find it.” He rolled his eyes.
He opened the door with the key she dug out of her purse, looked inside. “Oops.” The couch and other furniture were torn and upside down, the glass on the front of her mother’s picture was broken out of its frame. Her fairy figurine collection was pulverized to powder on the hearth. Sam pulled his gun out, firmly pulled Belinda away from the door on the front porch, said “you stay here,” and left her to search all of the rooms for any intruder who may still be there.
When he hopped into the room, gun in both hands just like the movies, her heart pounded as she plastered herself up against the outside wall of her house and waited in terror. When he returned, he brought her inside and shut the door. “Don’t touch anything. Just look around and see if anything is missing.”
“Right.” Like she could tell if anything was gone in the mess that greeted them.
A leather bound set of the classics had pages torn from them, wadded and thrown around the room like litter. Her father had given those to her for her 21st birthday. She thought she had no tears left. But she did.
“Think, Belinda. What do you have that’s valuable enough to...” Her front door began to open. He shoved Belinda behind him. He whipped out the Glock 17 again and honest to God she thought he was going to fire it or die.
“Yikes, Linny! A woman’s head poked insided. She froze when she saw the gun. Soft and round and short, she took two steps backward when she noticed his uniform and badge. “Are you okay?”
“ No, Maddie, I think I’m not okay. You scared me to death! How did you know I was here?” Belinda said. “Somebody shot a gun at me. Somebody wants me dead and I don’t even know why!”
“I parked down the street and saw you both come inside.” She looked around her feet, horror written on her face. “The loft is a mess too. I was just over there.