Makeup and Murder

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Chapter 10

It was the Beauty Maven product delivery day, but Dixie wasn’t enjoying it like she used to. She carefully checked each order on her computer before packing them, adding brochures and a few samples for each customer. It used to be her favorite thing to do each month, but today she had a sense of foreboding.

Louie was joining in, playing with lipstick samples and batting one across the kitchen floor. It appeared that he was gaining back some of his courage. He still checked each room cautiously before entering, but he seemed eager to follow her throughout the house.

Dixie spent the morning calling her customers and letting them know she would be delivering their orders soon. She pushed the idea of finding another dead customer out of her mind. A part of her was thinking about quitting the business, but she had no choice. If she quit her job, she would have to sell her home. There were no other available jobs in her small town.

Before she left, she checked the back door, gave Louie a pat on the head, and then set the alarm. She had a moment of hesitation once she stood on the porch with her box of delivery bags but then decided to forge ahead. She didn’t want to live in a prison of her making.

After she had packed the orders in her trunk and slammed it shut, she got into the car and tried to start the engine. It made a clicking noise and wouldn’t turn over. She tried again, but only her battery and engine light came on. Annoyed, she got out of the car and was heading back in the house when she heard a loud hissing sound, followed by a popping noise.

The next thing she knew, she was sitting on her front lawn, her car was on fire, and she had a loud ringing in her ears. Neighbors ran towards her, waving their arms and urging her to move further away. Another loud boom followed, and the rear of her car lifted off the ground before it crashed down again with a groan.

Dixie did a crab walk backward, trying to get away from the heat.

“Holy hell!” a neighbor yelled. “Someone call 911!”

The ringing in her ears continued, and when a man she had never seen before tried to pull her further away up to her porch, she struggled against him. After she had slapped him on the side of the head, he let go and backed away from her.

“Leave me alone!” she screamed at him.

The man put his hands up in surrender, and then he headed down her driveway. A few minutes later, a fire engine appeared followed by an ambulance and the police.

“Great,” Dixie said, feeling embarrassed. “I bet they’re sick of seeing me.”

She watched as the man who had dragged her away pointed her out to an EMT. She watched as the EMT slowly made his way towards her. She knew something was wrong with her eyesight because a thick, black line divided him in two. Nausea washed over her.

“Hello ma’am?” he began. “I think you may be hurt.”

Dixie shook her head, unable to understand what he was saying. It was all muffled to her.

“Can you hear me?” he asked, concern on his face.

Dixie shook her head ‘no’ after concentrating on what his lips seemed to be saying.

She decided to let him do whatever he needed to do and not fight him on it. She couldn’t understand him, but she realized that she probably needed help. She told the EMT she felt sick, and he nodded.

Dixie looked up and saw Detective Granger heading her way, taking long strides across the lawn.

“How’s she doing?” he asked the EMT.

“I don’t see any injuries, other than her hearing. It’s probably temporary, from the blast,” the EMT replied.

Dixie looked up at him and saw how concerned he was. He shook his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “What am I going to do about you?” he asked.

Dixie wasn’t sure what he said, but she shrugged and shook her head ‘no’ anyway.

Harlan put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it gently before he left to talk to talk to the Fire Chief. Dixie watched him walk away, and a small smile crossed her face.

When the EMT was done taking her vitals, he urged her to come to the ambulance and go to the hospital to be checked over by a doctor. When she stood up, however, her legs felt like rubber, and she almost fell. She quickly sat down again and tried to steady herself.

The EMT motioned for her to stay, and he went back to the ambulance. He returned with the other EMT and a gurney.

“No, I can walk,” she said, but they ignored her.

Harlan had been watching the exchange and decided to lend a hand, he shook his head at her and she gave him a sheepish grin.

“Now Dixie, don’t be difficult,” he urged, gently guiding her with his hands. He then helped set her down on the gurney and lifted her legs onto it.

“What about Louie?” she asked loudly, worried what would happen if she didn’t come home.

Harlan jotted down a note for her to read – he would take care of Louie and make sure he had food and water. He asked her for her security passcode, which she gratefully offered for Louie’s comfort.

The EMTs told Harlan that they needed to get going, and he reluctantly got out of their way. He turned and headed to the sidewalk where Officer Greenlea was interviewing people who had seen or heard the explosion.

Dixie wondered how had what should have been a simple day of delivering makeup turn so horribly wrong. She closed her eyes and gripped the sides of the gurney tightly as a wave of nausea washed over her. The EMT sitting in the back of the ambulance with her handed her a blue, plastic bag and patted her arm.

As the ambulance pulled away from the curb, she saw a huge fountain of water from the firetruck through the window. It reminded her of a trip she had taken to Virginia Beach. It was beautiful with white sandy beaches, waves, and her favorite – the dolphins who zipped effortlessly through the surf.

The beach could also be menacing because sharks could come in close to the swimmers if they weren’t paying attention. With that thought, her eyes flew o pen. Someone knew her well enough to plant a bomb under her car right before she made her bi-weekly Beauty Maven delivery.

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