Resurrection 10

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.

Polly Henderson

Truesdell went out to the porch to make the call. He took a deep breath and tried to calm his nerves. He was always bad at talking to people, but this was worse. Another deep breath and then he hit dial on Suzanna’s phone.

Polly had just gotten in bed when her phone buzzed. Grabbing it from the nightstand, she was surprised to see it was Suze. She answered cheerily.

“Baby won’t let you sleep, huh?”

Truesdell was caught off guard, “Um…is this Polly Henderson?”

“Yes, who is this?” Polly was surprised by a man’s voice as well.

“This is officer Truesdell. Ma’am I’m here with Mrs. Reeves. There has been…well, I mean…there’s…we need you to come here right away. There’s been an..um..accident.”

“Oh my god, is Suze ok? Claire?”

“Uh…yes…she just needs some help. We need you to come.” Truesdell’s voice was quivering and his heart racing.

“I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Polly hung up the phone and jumped out of the bed. Throwing on the clothes she had discarded on the floor earlier, she grabbed her purse and jumped in her Mustang.

Truesdell came in from the porch, opening and closing the door as quietly as possible. Mre. Reeves was on the couch, sobbing. Dalton, hearing him return, got up out of his chair and walked over to him in the entry.

“Did you get ahold of her friend?” he whispered.

“Yeah, she’s on her way.” Truesdell whispered back.

“OK, I want you to stay here with Mrs. Reeves until the woman gets here. I’m going to go back out to the crime scene.”

“But Chief…” Truesdell began.

“You don’t have to say anything, just sit with her.”

Dalton walked back into the living room, put his hand lightly on Suzanna’s back and put his face close to her’s. “Your friend is on her way, Officer Truesdell will stay here with you until she arrives.”

Suzanna didn’t say anything, just nodded.

Dalton straightened himself up again and walked into the entry.

“Go sit with her, Truesdell.”

“Yes, sir.”

Dalton went out and got back into the Explorer. He lowered the window and lit up a Marlboro. The force had a strict policy of not smoking in the vehicles, damages the electronics. This was a cigarette Dalton needed. He didn’t care.

He pulled out into Front street and headed back to the park.

Truesdell slouched into the seat Dalton had vacated. He looked at the floor in silence. The sobs made him uncomfortable, and his mind searched for what he was to do.

“Can I do anything for you, ma’am?”

Suzanna didn’t make any kind of reply. They sat mostly in silence, light sobs the only sound, and waited for Polly to arrive. It seemed an eternity when finally, 12 minutes later, the Mustang’s lights lit the front windows of the parsonage.

Seeing the lights, Suzanna got up quickly from the couch and opened the door. Polly bounded up the steps. Suzanna collapsed into Polly’s arms.

“Oh, Polly…oh, Polly…” she sobbed.

“Honey it’s alright. Tell me what happened? Is Claire OK?” just seeing her friend in this condition, Polly’s eyes began to tear.

“They say he’s dead. He died.”

“Who died, honey?” In her mind she was imagining it was one of Suze’s parents, or maybe J.W.’s. It was a reasonable assumption, young people don’t die.

“It’s John, they say he’s dead.” Suzanna’s face was buried in Polly’s chest.

“Oh god no. Oh god no.” Polly’s welling tears now began streaming down her face.

They stood like this, crying in one another’s embrace, for a minute as Polly processed what to do next. This was a shock, but Polly was good in a crisis. She could pull herself together and do whatever needed to be done. She wiped her tears, smearing her day old makeup, and helped Suze back into the house.

Truesdell stood aside as they came back into the living room.

“Now that you’re here, I’m going to let you all be to yourselves.”

“Yes, fine, whatever,” was Polly’s reply as Truesdell slinked out the door.

Polly helped Suze back onto the couch. Holder her tightly as they sat. Suze rocked back and forth, crying breathlessly. Once she calmed, Polly spoke.

“What happened? Tell me, please. I’m here for you. I love you.”

“They said he died…he was killed.” Suzanna couldn’t find the words.

“In Tennessee? On his hike?” Suze had talked through John’s trip often these last several weeks with Polly. Neither of them approved.

“No, not his hike. They said it was suspicious,” with that Suzanna again broke down.

“What does that even mean?” Polly said, more thinking out loud than a real question. She cradled Suze in her arms.

“Where’s Claire?” Polly was once again in crisis management mode.

“She’s sleeping upstairs. Oh my gosh, Claire…how can I…?” Suzanna dissolved into tears again.

Polly held her on the couch for the next twenty minutes as Suze cried herself out. When she was finally silent, energy completely spent, Polly stood up.

“I’m going to make us some coffee.”

Polly went into the familiar kitchen, grabbed the coffee from the freezer and put a pot on. As she did, she thought about next steps.

First, she needed to call family. That was a first step. Someone would have to tell the Reeves, the sooner the better. Maggy would be a comfort and a help. This is a time for family.

Polly didn’t know Suze’s parents, other than meeting them one time at the church. Maybe Maggie or Suze could call them.

Then she needed to find out what happened. J.W. was killed “suspiciously”? That doesn’t even make sense. She needed to call and get the details.

While the coffee perked, she went back into Suzanna, and sat beside her, putting her arm around her. Suzanna was silent, hugging herself and rocking back and forth.

“Honey, we need to call J.W’s folks. Can I call them?”

“Yes…please…thank you.” Suzanna’s voice was weak.

Polly got up and went back into the kitchen. On the fridge was a list of numbers, “Dad and Mom” was prominently written in J.W.’s scrawl. They had left the list for babysitters. Polly dialed the number.

Ed Reeves answered the phone after five rings. The Reeves had never made the switch to cell phones. “Damn things barely work anyway,” was Ed’s reasoning.

“Hello?” Ed’s voice was obviously sleepy.

“Mr. Reeves, this is Polly Henderson. You know me from church and I’m a good friend of Suzanna. There’s been an accident. You and Maggy need to come to the parsonage right away.”

“Is everyone OK? The baby?”

“No, it’s J.W. Please come now. I’ll give you the details when you get here.” When Polly was in crisis mode she was able to do almost anything needing to be done.

“We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

Polly then thought through her next step. She needed to find out what had happened. She dialed the non-emergency police number.

“Dispatch” the woman on the line was unemotional.

“Yes, this is Polly Henderson. I’m with Suzanna Reeves. The police were just here and told her her husband was killed. They didn’t give her any details. Can you tell me what happened?”

“Ma’am I don’t have that information. I can have Chief Dalton call you, but he’s working a crime scene. I don’t know how soon he’ll be able to call. I have your number as 606-555-1346, is that a good number for him to call?”

“Yes, have him call, but this woman just lost her husband. Isn’t there anybody who can give me more information? We’re lost here.” Polly pleaded.

“I’m sorry ma’am. I’ll radio the Chief and ask him to call. It’s all I can do.”

“Thank you,” said Polly dejectedly, hanging up the phone.

 

 

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