Between the Lines

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 31

OK Car Repairs was located on the corner of a street in the industrial section of town, and had a large lot in which half a dozen cars were parked. Keeley and Kira walked into the front reception area, where a young man with a bad case of acne was hunched over a computer. Keeley walked up to the counter, and noticed he was playing some kind of game on the monitor. It held his attention to the point that he hadn’t noticed her and Kira entering.

“Excuse me,” she said and he reluctantly looked up, but didn’t apologize or even speak at all. “I’m looking for Bryan Ferguson. Is he working today?”

“Yeah, I think he’s in the coffee room taking a break.” The man waved in the direction of a glass door that led into a room at the side of the building, and bent his head to continue his game. Great work ethic, Keeley thought to herself, but then cringed when she realized she sounded a little too much like Edith Cressley for comfort.

With Kira following, Keeley opened the door and went into the small, windowless room. It was crowded with boxes piled up on one side, a leather sofa that had seen better days, a couple of vending machines, and a counter with a sink full of dirty cups and plates . A strong curry smell permeated the room. A man was sitting at the round table, drinking coffee and scrolling through his phone. He looked up casually, and then inquiringly.

“Are you Bryan Ferguson?” Keeley asked.

“That’s me,” he said. “And you are?”

Keeley introduced herself and Kira, then told him she’d like to ask him a few questions about a former classmate of his. He looked puzzled, but shrugged and motioned for them to sit down. When he discovered it was Joyce Williams that they wanted to talk about, his expression hardened, but he didn’t ask them to leave. It appeared his wife had not mentioned Keeley’s visit to him.

“I understand you dated for awhile in high school. What can you tell us about Joyce Williams?” Keeley asked.

“I’m not sure what you’re asking me for.”

“What was she like? Did she have family? Who were her friends? What were her interests? Things like that,” Keeley told him.

He shrugged. “She didn’t have any friends at school that I knew about. Her parents were divorced, I guess. I never saw or heard anything about her dad. She lived with her mother, but they didn’t get along, and she couldn’t wait to be on her own. The only thing that interested her was money and finding someone to take care of her. When she dumped me she told me it was because she didn’t want to be with anyone who couldn’t take her nice places, and buy things for her. Only person Joyce Williams cared a damn about was Joyce Williams!”

“Why did you go out with her?” Kira asked.

“Are you kidding? She was gorgeous. A bitch, but sexy as hell.”

Keeley asked him if he knew where she could get in touch with Joyce’s mother, but he said he didn’t know. There didn’t seem to be anything further to be gained, so they thanked him for his time and left.

“So, what do you think?” Kira asked Keeley as they drove home.

“I don’t know what to think. He certainly isn’t anyone I would want as a boyfriend or a husband, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a killer. He’s a big guy though, so he physically could have killed them, and disposed of the bodies. The question is did he, and if he did, how are we going to prove it? Trying to figure this out is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s interesting that Bryan and Sue both called Joyce a bitch, though. Do you think that means anything?”

They agreed that it could mean anything, or nothing, and they were really no further ahead after having talked to Bryan. Still, Keeley decided she would pass on what he had told them to Detective McDonald, and maybe she could find out if the police had talked to Joyce’s mother.

It had occurred to Keeley that there was a possibility that the caretaker of Joyce’s apartment building might still be working there. It was not unheard of for people to stay in jobs for quite a few years. It was definitely worth checking into. She phoned Daniel to find out where the building was located, and she and Kira drove over there after their meeting with Bryan Ferguson. It was located only a few blocks from where Keeley now lived.

Unfortunately, the current caretaker, a retired army officer who had bought the building only two years ago, had no idea either who the long ago caretaker had been, or where the previous owner could be located. It appeared that they were at another dead end.

Keeley and Kira thanked the man, and started back toward where Keeley had parked the car. An older woman was walking briskly along the sidewalk, shopping bags in each hand. As she drew closer, Keeley recognized her as one of her yoga studio clientele.

“Hi Emily,” Keeley smiled at her oldest and probably most dedicated student. “Do you live in this building?”

“Oh, hello Keeley. How nice to see you. Yes, I moved here when my husband died. I hated to give up our lovely little cottage, but I found it too difficult to stay there without him.”

“I didn’t know you’d lost your husband. I’m so sorry,” Keeley said sympathetically. “Was it recent?”

“Oh no, dear. It will be fifteen years ago next month. I still miss him, though.”

How sweet and sad that is at the same time, thought Keeley. Then another thought occurred to her. “Emily, you must have been here when Joyce Williams was living here. Did you know her?”

The older woman furrowed her brow in concentration. “The name sounds kind of familiar, but I can’t think why, exactly,” she said at last.

Keeley explained that she was referring to the young woman who’s remains had recently been found. The local newspaper had done a story on it, asking that any members of the public share any information they might have with the police.

“Oh, I seldom read the paper,” said Emily. “And never anything that isn’t good news. I didn’t see that story.”

There had been pictures of both Joyce Williams and Tom Freemont to accompany the article. Keeley had a copy of the article with her, so she showed the pictures to Emily. Instantly, Emily remembered that she had seen Joyce a few times around the area.

“We didn’t know each other well, just enough to say hello when we met on the street,” she said.

Keeley asked her if she had ever seen Tom Freemont with Joyce, but the woman didn’t think she had. “There is one other thing, though, I don’t know if it’s of any importance. Joyce lived in the back garden apartment.” Emily pointed to the right side of the building. “I live on the second floor, and my balcony faces the back as well. One night I was sitting out on the balcony, and I saw a young man down there. He was sneaking around near Joyce’s patio. I called to him, asking what he was doing and he took off running. I went down and told Joyce about him, and suggested she call the police. She told me not to worry about it, that she knew him and she would take care of it.”

Keeley listened with growing excitement. Was it possible that the trespasser was Bryan Ferguson? She described the way Bryan had looked in the yearbook picture, and asked Emily if that sounded like the man she had seen.

“No,” said Emily firmly. “The young man I saw, actually more of a teenager, was fairly tall with a slim build, and had blond hair.”

Keeley and Kira didn’t speak until they were back in the car. Keeley’s mind was racing, and she was appalled at the thoughts that were racing around in her mind. Apparently, Kira’s mind was similarly occupied, because after a few moments of strained silence, she turned to Keeley and said in a quiet, hesitant voice. “Do you think it’s possible that Daniel knew his father was having an affair, and was here looking for him that night?”

“Daniel didn’t kill them. I know in my heart he couldn’t have killed anyone!”

“I don’t think he killed them either, but it looks like he did know about the affair.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.