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S. E. Schenkel
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Vacillating between the hate he’d nurtured all his life and the burgeoning wish to be the man his father never was, Acey decides to look at the evidence in the case against his father, Karl Tapp. What he finds is proof of full-blown incompetence, a suicidal old man and a killer who wants to put a son alongside his father in lockup.
It was an awesome evening—the kind that could make you believe winter had been given the boot for good. Except it was April, and snow in April was a Michigan tradition that I dreaded.
I collected the mail and headed up the driveway.
An envelope slipped from the bundle, caught a breeze and took a detour under Webb’s car. I dumped the rest of the mail on the trunk and got down on my knees. The thing had landed on the far side of the front wheel. Legal-sized white envelope with an official looking return address. But what really got my attention was my name. My full name: Acey Albert Tapp. Few people even knew my middle name, let alone used it.
Leaning against the car, I studied the sender’s information: Veeder and Volks, a law firm out of Clovis, Vermont.
I ripped open the envelope, pulled out the typed letter and started reading. Seconds ticked off. Countdown to a growing disbelief. A ballooning sense of panic.
The squeak of the side door cut into my shock.
Megan approached. “Is something wrong, Acey?”
I handed her the letter, moved to the front bumper and stared at a pair of robins romping about in the neighbor’s oak. After a long moment, I turned toward Megan. “You’re a pretty slow reader.”
“I’m working on something to say.” She approached, took the envelope from my hand and slipped the letter back in. “It’s not like you didn’t know this day would come.”
Her hand warmed my arm.
“Not like I wanted it to, either.”
The robins flew off in tandem, the bigger one giving chase.
“What are you going to do?” asked Megan.
“Give back in kind.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Her hold tightened.
“An eye for an eye. Absence for absence.”
There was a long silence. Fingers meshed with mine, took a firm hold. “You can’t,” she whispered.
“Like hell.” I kicked at the concrete. Wanted to go butt my head against the house. The home I’d inherited from Ma, the place she and Karl had purchased for their life together. Karl. My father. The man I wanted, most of all, to forget. Only how do you erase a marriage or the seed planted by the sorry-sick-son-of-a-bitch... when I was the offspring?
My eyes started to go soft, welling up with rain in the forecast. I steeled myself, did a string of blinks. Eyelids like little squeegees clearing away unwanted tears.
I glanced at the envelope and the hand holding it. Those slender fingers I loved to feel on my skin. Tease me with their little touches.
Another side-door squeak. The boss this time. He stepped down to the stoop and blocked the door from closing. “Any reason why the mail can’t make it into the house before you start ripping it open?”
Despite the letter, despite its message, I smiled. There was nothing like Webb’s loveable grumpy voice to bring me out of a sulk.
I said, “While we’re on the subject of reasons ‘why’, maybe you can explain the purpose of allowing flies into the house. Woops, and there goes a bee. Hope he makes it to your bed and not mine.”
Webb let the door close and moved toward Megan and me. He stood there, hand on a hip, crooked as a quarter moon, those all-knowing eyes trying to make sense of the scene.
I plucked the envelope from Megan and handed it to him.
“What’s this?” said Webb.
“Read it and find out.”
He removed the letter, read it, stayed silent for a long moment and then asked, “When are you leaving?”
Without saying another word, Webb handed the envelope back, took the rest of the mail off the car’s trunk and went into the house.
Mysteries have always captivated me. Any kind. Mysteries of faith, creation, people. The mystery of an empty house, trap door. A neighbor’s weirdness. But I didn’t start writing mysteries until two events collided: a power outage and working under the dictatorship of the manager of a grocery store. The outage and its subsequent boredom handed me pen and paper, and my boss supplied the drive to write a story titled - “Murder in the Meat Department”. From that day until now, writing has been right up there with oxygen and chocolate.
Numerically, I’m grandmother to eight, stepmother to four, and sibling to five. I was a member of a missionary group (aka nun) for seventeen years, worked for ten of those years in Africa, have been married for over thirty years. And if you can’t figure out my age from that, you and I have equally appalling math skills.
As for my personality, what I feel, think, value... You’ll find clues to that in my mysteries.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 379
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