Monday, December 21, 2015


"When's the last time you saw Ricky?" Seth gestured with his chin for Tiffany to step back, and got out of the car when she complied. He reached under his seat for his clutch piece -- just in case a walk around Hope's house revealed Ricky waiting in the shadows to ambush her when she finally got home.

Not that he could imagine Ricky showing that much patience, but he wouldn't put it past his childhood nemesis to have a couple six-packs of beer with him, drink himself into a stupor, and be in a bad, hung over mood, waiting for Hope to come home.

"Oh, maybe about five this afternoon. He came back and banged on the doors until Hank came out to go to work. They had more words, then it was quiet." Tiffany followed him across the street, but she stopped at the little gate when Seth stepped into the handkerchief-sized yard.

She stayed quiet while he walked around the outside of the house. Seth kicked himself for not thinking to take the flashlight from his glove compartment, then a moment later decided that would only make him an easier target. At least, it would make him easier for Ricky to find to attack if there was someone hiding in the shadows. He walked softly, holding his breath whenever a branch or leaf rustled. The sparseness of Hope's yard started a spark of something sharp and throbbing in his chest. The outline of one of those clunky plastic children's slides and a teeter-totter were the only signs that children lived in this house. He found some comfort in feeling grass under his shoes in the backyard, and a few lighter splotches that bobbed in the night breeze made him think Hope ringed her house with flowers. Other than that, this was a dismal little house to live in.

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