Resurrection 7Posted: November 5, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Suzanna bolted upright, shocked out of her sleep. Still dazed, she clutched her arms to her chest, cellphone still in hand, looking around the room. Claire? No, the baby wasn’t making a sound…maybe I just…
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Her eyes darted to the clock: 12:52 am. Who could be knocking at this hour? They’ll wake up Claire. Darnnit, John, why did you leave me alone this week?
She sprung out of bed, and down the stairs, hoping to prevent another…
BANG! BANG! BANG!
She got to the door, pulling the edge of the curtains aside, and cautiously surveyed her visitors. Seeing a stone faced Chief Dalton and one of his officers – she couldn’t remember the name – her heart stopped.
Still clutching her hand to the chest of her Asbury sweatshirt, she slowly opened the door, just enough to stick out her head.
“Chief, is something wrong? Is John alright?”
“Mrs. Reeves, can we come in?” Dalton’s voice was low but firm.
“Uh…uh…” Suzanna’s mind was confused and anxious. She opened the door and let the officers in. “Uh…of course… what’s happened? Is John alright?”
In the entryway, Dalton motioned to the living room, “Maybe we should have a seat.”
Still in shock at the visit, Suzanna moved into the living room, sitting on the couch. She didn’t say a word. Dalton had to switch on the light. Truesdell stood in the archway while Dalton took a seat across from Suzanna.
“Mrs. Reeves, have you seen your husband tonight?” Dalton asked in measured precision.
“No, he’s away. I talked to him earlier. What is this about? Has something happened to John?” Her eyes now wide, focused intently on Dalton.
“Would he have had any reason to be at Bonhollow Park tonight?”
“Tonight? Of course not. He’s hiking and isn’t going to be back until Saturday.” Saturday was still three days away.
“You said you spoke to him, what time was that?” Again the question betrayed no emotion. Dalton had done this before, muting his own emotion kept the notification more sterile. And in murders, you never know when you’re talking to the killer.
Back in ’92 Dalton had notified another widow who acted exactly the same as Suzanna was tonight. Convincing. Turned out she had hired someone to kill her husband. Dalton made no assumptions any more, even with a preacher’s wife.
“Uh…” Suzanna looked down at her phone. “We talked at 4:05, he was almost ready to stop his hike for the day. He found a signal and called me. But I texted him just before I went to bed.”
“Did he ever respond to that text, ma’am?”
“Um…” Suzanna looked again at her phone. “Um…”
“Ma’am, this is important. Did he respond to your text?” Dalton’s voice had a bit of intensity, hoping to break through her fog.
Suzanna looked again at her phone. “No, not yet. I’m sure he will once he gets a signal. It’s always like this when he’s hiking.”
“When you spoke to him earlier, did he say where he was?”
“Well he was hiking, of course.” She was becoming more lucid. “Someplace on the Appalachian Trail. The Smokys. He went in Monday and he’s hiking to someplace near Townsend, Tennessee by Saturday.”
“Did he sound in any way distressed to you? Did he mention any sort of problem or trouble?”
“What are you getting at?” Suzanna’s heart was racing. “What’s going on here? Tell me now, did something happen to John?”
“I know this is difficult, Mrs. Reeves, and I will answer all of your questions in a minute, but I need to get some information first. Did he give you any indication of trouble when he called?”
Suzanna’s face was white and her voice breathless. “N..n..no, he just sounded like himself.”
“He didn’t talk about coming home early?”
“Would he maybe come home early as a surprise?”
Suzanna stood, “You tell me right now Chief Dalton what is going on.” She unconsciously stomped her foot.
Dalton stood up to his full 6 feet, gently placed his hand on her shoulder and helped her sit down. He sat again in front of her, leaning forward on the edge of his chair. Speaking softly he said, “Mrs. Reeves, we believe your husband has been killed….”
“But I just…”
“Ma’am we found a body. It had your husband’s driver’s license. Doc Sibley, who I believe is friends with your husband, also made a tentative identification.”
“I never wanted him to take those stupid hikes. How did it happen?” Suzanna’s eyes began to water, her face grimace.
“Ma’am, this wasn’t a hiking accident. We are not sure yet exactly what happened, but at this point his death is suspicious.”
“Suspicious? What does that mean?” She spit the words, standing again to her feet. “You have to leave! You have to leave right now!”
Once again Dalton stood as well.
“I know this is a shock, Mrs. Reeves, is there someone we can call to come be with you right now? To help with the baby?”
“Suzanna,” Dalton’s voice was assuring. He put his hand again on her shoulder. She was shaking.
“This is probably the worst day you will ever have in your life. Now look at me. You need someone here with you. Your baby needs someone here with it. Sit down here and tell me who I can call to come be with you. We won’t leave until they get here.”
His manner and tone calmed her and she sat back down. “Uh…yeah…you can call Polly Henderson….she is my friend…”
“Do you have her number?”
Suzanna didn’t reply, just handing the phone to Dalton. He handed the phone to Truesdell. “Find Polly Henderson in her contacts and write down the number. Then call her on this phone.”
“Chief, I don’t do so well on the phone…I won’t know what to say…”
Though whispering, the impatience was obvious in Dalton’s tone. “You go outside, you call that girl and you get her here pronto, even if you have to pick her up yourself.”
“Yes, chief.” Truesdell slid out the door.