"We've been waiting for you"
“Sorry Honey but I don’t remember a ‘Craig.’ You sure you don’t want a drink?”
“Yeah I’m sure,” Sam replied. Kathy was in her bathrobe at the kitchen counter, refilling a glass of seven and seven. Sam wondered when the last time she took a shower was.
“What about ‘Sutter?’ Did you ever hear of a place called Sutter?”
“Doesn’t ring any bells,” Kathy said, carrying her full glass around the counter, dodging a cat and taking a seat across from Sam at the dining room table. “Why?”
“I don’t know yet,” Sam admitted. “It may be nothing.” That wasn’t true, but there was far too much for Sam to explain… at least until she had more answers.
“I meant to call this morning to check on your uncle but the day got away from me.”
The day has a way of doing that when you start drinking before noon, Sam thought but didn’t say. “I called before I came over. The nurse said his head cleared up a bit, he asked about me… she told him I was okay but his pain shot through the roof and she had to drug him again.”
Kathy shook her head. “Poor guy.”
“Yeah. I’ll try to see him later tonight. If not it’ll have to be tomorrow night.”
“Why can’t you— oh right you said Captain Hoskins changed your shift. Did he say why?” Kathy asked.
Sam had gone in to work for a few hours in the morning, despite it being her day off. Before she had left the station, Captain Hoskins informed her that she would be working days, starting tomorrow.
“He said it was standard, to provide variety in training…” Sam said.
“But you don’t believe him?”
No, she didn’t. She wondered if Detective Barnes’ suspicions had begun to rub off on Hoskins.
By way of an answer, though, Sam simply shrugged.
“Well don’t you worry,” Kathy said as a cat jumped in her lap. “They’ll see you for the superstar you are. Just a matter of time.” Kathy petted the cat. She had so many at this point that Sam couldn’t keep track of their names. “So… what about your windshield?” Kathy asked, trying to sound innocent.
“It’s not my windshield you want to know about, you old busybody,” Sam replied. “It’s that mechanic.”
Kahty feigned offense. “What?”
“I haven’t called him yet but I did check with my insurance. They’ll cover half.”
“You should call him.”
“I’ve been busy, you know.” Sam looked at the time on her phone. “Speaking of which, I gotta run.” She was due to meet Nina in twenty minutes.
Guilt weighed on Sam as she drove her Mustang toward Elm Street. She had told her mom that she had gone in to work earlier in the day to catch up on paperwork, but that wasn’t entirely true.
Part of the reason she had gone in was to run a background check on Uncle Brewin.
It was the first time she had done a background check on a friend. But after last night, Sam had told herself that the action was warranted. And the results… had been interesting.
Brewin had played football in high school, went to Texas A&M on a scholarship, focused his schooling on engineering and from there went into the Army—Airborne, then on into the Green Berets…
And that was where his history ended.
There was a huge gap… almost thirty years. The next piece of available background info centered around Brewin’s role as the CEO of a private security firm. That was over ten years ago and only covered a five year span.
What had he been doing in between the Green Berets and the security firm that was so classified?
The more she thought about it, the more she felt that Brewin, Eclipse, Raggedy Man… all must be connected to her past either right around the time of her parents’ car accident, or before.
And so after performing the background check, she had filled out paperwork requesting her juvenile records. It would take some time to get them, but once she did, maybe they could help shed some light. At the very least she should be able to get the name of her social worker prior to her going into foster care: the guy from her nightmare about the hospital…
Sam suppressed a shudder as images of a similar dream, this one from last night, returned to her. It had taken her several hours to fall asleep after coming home from Brewin’s house, despite taking sleeping pills. When she did finally nod off, she experienced a repeat of her hospital nightmare: she was a little girl running through empty halls, the overhead lights shutting off, plunging her into darkness. This time, however, there had been a light spilling out of a doorway at the end of the hall…
When she had gone to the doorway, she was greeted with the hospital cafeteria. She walked in to find the large room empty… except for one table. The John Doe from the church sat at that table, facing her, his throat a bloody, vacant ruin. Next to him sat Uncle Brewin, his breathing tube in, his eyes peering out from sunken sockets.
“We’ve been waiting for you,” he had rasped.
Taking a deep breath, Sam pushed the grim reflections from her mind. Clouds had formed in the dusky sky as she pulled up in front of the bakery. The lights were on, but the “closed” sign was up. It was Sunday, so the shop had been closed all day. In fact, most businesses in Blackrock were closed on Sunday. There were some folks in the town who wouldn’t even mow their lawn on The Lord’s Day of Rest.
Sam exited her vehicle; the first drops of a light rain fell against her jacket as she crossed the sidewalk and knocked on the shop’s glass door. Nina emerged from the back room wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants. She stopped at the door, her dark eyes dodging this way and that, looking around as if to ensure that Sam had not been followed. She opened the door and stood behind it as Sam entered.
“So what was it that you—“ Sam began as she turned to face Nina.
The little girl’s closed fist flew out, almost too fast for Sam to see. It collided with Sam’s left temple, and all went dark as she crumpled to the floor.