The Harrowing Tree

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Chapter Thirteen

THIRTEEN

Don’t you ever stop reading?”

Harriet looked up from her book, laid out flat atop the counter, and smiled as Pennilyn heaved her bony body up onto the stool across from her. Between them, Donnie prepared her breakfast and put a menu in front of Penny.

Donnie had had a long morning. Having woken up to two dozen calls from Arlo the night before, he reported to the police station early that dawn, but there was nothing he could do. But he’d thanked Arlo by giving him the day off—he was his only employee, after all. And Donnie knew he would be lost without him.

“You act like I don’t eat here every morning, Donnie,” she said, and peered past him at the omelet cooking on the stove. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

“Coming right up,” Donnie said and, reaching down into the cooler under the counter, brought her a beer.

Hattie thought she heard her mutter something along the lines of “Pure ambrosia,” and crooking the bottle between the counter and her fist, punched off the top, sucking it down like it was water.

“No hangover?” asked Hattie.

“Indeed,” Pennilyn scowled, “but I’ve got the cure,” and she held her drink above her head.

There came a small chuckle, and both turned to one of the tables towards the back of the room where that new officer—Officer Darby?—sat at a table. Alone. Sucking down a beer, just the same.

“She’s got the cure, too,” Pennilyn said.

“A cure for a different ailment, I assure you,” she said, but offered a brief smile.

“Come over here. We drink together.”

The cop was hesitant, but after a moment, she hobbled across the joint and joined them at the counter, which formed the three sides of a square—while Donnie’s stove made up the forth—and Andi took a seat on the opposite side, adjacent to both Harriet and Penny.

“Heard what happened, Officer Darby,” the old woman said. “Jillian Sweetwater?”

She nodded, slowly, rubbing at her neck. “It’s Darcy, actually,” she said. “Officer Andi Darcy. And no. Whoever hit me is still out there, I’m afraid.”

Hattie shook her head. “Dreadful, really.” She extended her hand. “I’m Harriet Brackett. Friends call me Hattie.” She nodded to Pennilyn. “Kerry was our friend.”

Officer Darcy seemed bewildered that Kerry Greaves would have so many older friends, but if it bothered her, she didn’t let on.

“She was well liked.”

“Very,” agreed Hattie.

And then the officer’s eyes lit up. “Can I ask you something?” Andi said.

“Shoot,” said Pennilyn, even with the bottle to her lips.

“Kerry . . .” Andi looked down at her drink, trying to formulate what to say. “Did she ever spend time at a lake?”

Hattie laughed. “This town has over a dozen lakes, missy. I’m afraid you’ve got to be more specific.”

Andi nodded. “A favorite lake, maybe. Somewhere with a manmade beach?”

Harriet shared a glance with Pennilyn. “There’s only one place I can think of,” said Hattie. “That’d be Hadley’s Cove. But only we know where that is. It’s not common knowledge to the town.”

Andi’s eyes widened. “Can you show me?”

Andi’s boots crunched through the thin layer of fresh snow as Pennilyn Clarke led the way through the woods. There was a small footpath hidden amongst the thick, colorful trees, about a half-mile long, perhaps even shorter, that easily could have been mistaken for a simple patch of down-trodden earth.

The path bisected a clearing, upon which tall grass swayed on either side, now mostly collapsed from the previous night’s snowfall. And just beyond, it continued through another layer of trees, down a small hill, and stopped where it touched sand, and beyond it, an open lake.

Andi was stunned. “You’d never know there was a lake here,” she said.

“It’s actually a pond,” Pennilyn said, as if there was a significant difference.

Hattie rolled her eyes. “There’s a town beach down a private road further down, but it’s only open to those who live on the water,” Hattie said. “We’ve been breaking the rules for a long, long time.”

Andi smiled at this. “And what pond is this?”

“Calvary Pond,” Pennilyn told her, and she brought them down to the water. “This was Kerry’s favorite spot in down. She loved to bring us here and take photos all the time.”

“Especially in the summer,” said Hattie, and stopped. “If you don’t mind my asking, Officer Darcy, why exactly did you need us to show you this?”

Andi scanned the small stretch of beach, which ended in a small row of stones, and then a step down into the water. Manmade, Andi guessed, by how the sand above the water didn’t seem to match the sand below.

She looked at them both while she spoke, glancing between the two women. “Kerry Greaves, we believe, was murdered on a beach. A manmade beach,” she quickly added. “We found traces of sand on her body that helped to show us that she was not killed where we found her.”

Hattie’s eyes instantly went to the sand. “And you think it happened here?”

Pennilyn shook her head. “But we’re the only ones who know about this place . . .”

“Who exactly is we?” Andi asked.

“Jeannie, Mark. Tanner Driscoll. Donnie Dooley. Old Resa. And us,” Harriet said. “But you don’t seriously think that one of us could have . . . could have done this, do you?”

Andi hesitated before offering a brief shrug. “No telling, really. But I needed to see it for myself. And there’s nothing here. Or, at least there doesn’t seem to be.”

Which was true. No signs of a struggle. No turned up sand. No blood.

The pond was a silver straight, ringed with trees ablaze with color; some held snow amidst their branches and, when the wind blew, it could be seen swirling down in small dustings, like phantoms, gliding out onto the water.

She liked it there, out at Hadley’s Cove.

“How’d it get its name?” she asked them, and both women simply stared at her, still working through the idea that they are, in fact, suspects in this investigation. “The cove,” Andi clarified. “Who was Hadley?”

Hattie lifted her chin and nodded. “Reverend Hadley. She was the first female reverend.” She looked past Andi and Pennilyn. “The Rev both baptized Jeannie and Mark in this lake when they were children. But she later died. Cancer, I believe. So, they started calling this Hadley’s Cove. To remember her.”

Andi listened and nodded. “Do other people know about this place?”

“Surely someone does,” said Hattie. “Some traveler. A hiker or two. But we’ve been coming here for years on end and have never once stumbled across another living behind.” She stopped herself and smiled. “Human. Never came across another living human. But a cow . . .”

Pennilyn wipped around. “I don’t want to talk about that day.”

Andi raised her brows, and Harriet went on to say, “Little Verne—he owns Heathshire farm—”

Andi thought back to the farmer who’d discovered Kerry’s body and grinned to herself. “I know him.”

“Well, one of his cows went wild and decided to take itself for a walk. It was missing for days. We finally found it here—”

“I said I don’t want to talk about it!” Pennilyn growled.

Hattie raised her hands in surrender. “Long story short,” she whispered to Andi, “there is a bald spot on Pennilyn’s head because—”

“Don’t make me shoot you, girl!”

Hattie grinned and backed away. “Fine, fine,” she said, and gave up on the tale.

Andi thought she got the gist, though, and smiled.

“Donnie loves it here,” Harriet said, somewhat wistfully. “We picnic out here a ton in the summer. Not much this year, but a lot in past seasons.”

“Tanner, too,” said Pennilyn.

“Tanner Driscoll.” Andi said the name and stared out across the pond, only she wasn’t seeing the water, she was seeing his eyes. The wrongness of them. Like the emotion in them was never really . . . right, in a sense, she supposed, but even that didn’t make much sense to her.

“Poor dear,” Pennilyn said with a sigh. “Coming here helps to take his mind of things.”

Andi looked back at her. “Was he particularly close with Kerry?”

“Wasn’t that, hon,” Hattie told her. “Mark’s wife, Gab and their two kids were deported.”

Her eyes flew wide. “Deported?”

Pennilyn explained, “He spent some time oversees. I forget where—somewhere in South America, right?”

Hattie nodded. “Bolivia. He worked as a photographer. Kind of gave that up, though, when he came to Bellriver.”

A photographer. Just like Kerry.

“Bolivia. Right,” said Pennilyn. “That’s where he met his wife. They had a few kids. But when Tanner’s mother passed, he moved them here. Only . . .”

“They were undocumented,” Andi said, realization dawning on her.

Pennilyn lowered her head. “Someone would have found out sooner or later, but . . . it’s still sad to think he’s all alone in that house without Gab.” She shook her head. “Well, it’s officially freezing,” Penny griped. “Have you seen enough, Darby?”

Andi shot her a look and the woman returned it.

Had Andi seen enough?

“I’ll walk her back to the car if you’re good here,” Hattie said.

She told them she was and they headed off, Pennilyn going on and on about the cold and her feet and that stupid cow—and Andi hoped she was talking about Little Verne’s, but she wasn’t sure.

She stood there on the bank of Hadley’s Cove and watched the water. It was never silent, always lapping against the stones, the gentle breeze carrying its spray into the air.

The beach was minimal, sloping down to the rocks and the water beyond, clear and bright for about ten feet out, until the ground dropped off and fell into shadow.

It was the beauty that kept her there, certainly, eyes fixated on where the water struck the tree line of the opposite end—but it was the absence that astonished Andi. A space so completely devoid of people that it gave her pause.

She stood there, straining for stillness, fighting against the cold, and let her eyes fall shut. Her body still ached, but there, standing before the water, feeling the cold drops land on her cheeks, her nose, her lips, Andi felt like she’d fallen straight into the void of infinity. The spaces between light and dark, between silence and sound.

And for the first time—possibly the first time in her entire life—Anderson Darcy wondered if time had stopped.

It was there that she drew the newspaper from the inside pocket of her coat and read. When she’d finished, her teeth set at the nonsense, the idiocy of it all, she stared at the front cover, that picture of Chief Lizzie Hastings, staring off into the distance, past the camera, past the photographer.

And suddenly, Andi recalled where she’d seen that photo before.

The paper fell from her hands and dropped into the water.

Andi ran.

Mercer was already at the home of Sullivan Harris, directing the team of Hilltown officers assigned to helping them search the house when he received a call from his trainee.

“No,” he said by way of greeting, taking a sip of his coffee from the Depot, “you cannot help out today, Darcy.”

“Mercer, listen.”

He was instantly at attention—bot because of what she said, but because of how she said it. So commanding. Like it was serious.

“I think I’m onto something.”

“Spill.”

“Can you meet me at the Depot.”

“Darcy, I was just there. How important is this?”

“Important,” came her response. “And don’t tell the chief. I don’t want her knowing what I’m up to.”

Mercer put the back of the hand holding his coffee to his forehead and squinted. “Alright. But this better be good.” And he hung up.

When he got to the cruiser, he heard, “Where you off to?” and turned to find the chief waving at him from the front steps of the house. “Coffee run,” he lied. “One cup wasn’t enough.”

“Hurry back. This is a big house. Lot of ground to cover.”

“Then I’m going to need as much caffeine as I can get.”

Andi was waiting for him out on the steps of the Depot when he pulled into the lot.

“What’s going on?”

She held up the newspaper with the article about Chief Hastings on the front page and pressed it into his chest.

“I thought the photograph that goes along with the article looked familiar. And it was. There’s a copy of it hanging on Donnie’s wall.”

Mercer shook his head. “Is that really why you called me out here?”

“Just listen. Donnie put me in touch with Ollie Haskell. He runs the Bellriver Ringer.”

“And?”

“And, he wouldn’t tell me who wrote the article, but he let it slip that whomever wrote the article also took the picture.”

“I’m listening.”

“It was Tanner Driscoll. Apparently, he took the picture at one of the town festivals, and Donnie asked if he could hang it amongst the rest.

“So, it was Tanner.” Mercer thought this over. “Never would have pictured an article like that coming from a man so . . . docile, I guess.” He shook his head. “I still don’t see why this couldn’t have waited. Not that I’m not glad to know who did this—”

“I don’t think Sullivan Harris killed Kerry Greaves. And I sure don’t think it was Jillian Sweetwater, either.”

“Then who? Tanner Driscoll?”

“You said when you found Jeannie yesterday in St. Luke’s, Tanner was there.”

“So?”

“Does he strike you as a church-going man, Mercer?”

“Not really. But his friend did just die.”

Andi ran her hands over her face and pressed them flat against her hat.

“Did you know his wife and kids were deported? Or that he used to be a world-traveling photographer?”

Mercer stared. “You’re kidding.”

“Wouldn’t make it up, Mercer.”

“I didn’t know the guy until just the other day. Of course, I’ve seen him around, but I never knew any of that.”

“It gives him motive.”

“Does it, though?”

“What if someone . . . told?”

Mercer stiffened. “You mean ratted on his undocumented family?”

“It would explain some things.”

“Like?”

“Well, what if it was Kerry when she was with Sullivan Harris?”

Mercer said, “I think you’re grasping for straws, Darcy.”

“Maybe. But I have a bad feeling about him. And I want to check him out.” She loosened a nearly inaudible sight—only, it was just audible enough for him to hear—and glanced up into his eyes. “I want you to come with me.”

Mercer stared down at her, looking somewhat lost. But after a few moments, he seemed to gather himself and nodded.

“Brief. We’ll have to be brief. The chief thinks I’m just getting coffee.”

Andi nodded. “Luckily he lives close.”

Mercer sighed. “Let’s just hope he’s home.”

Chief Hastings still hadn’t been home. She was at the Harris house at the crack of dawn to meet her team and assigned an officer to watch over Sully and Petra while they worked.

Three hours later and they uncovered little. A few bags of unprescribed Vicodin, and a brick of cocaine hidden behind a panel in the back of the freezer. Sully had guns, too. A few revolvers scattered around the house—one beneath the couch, one on top of the fridge, one taped under the kitchen table. Not really hidden—more likely placed within reach. Obvious if you were looking, but out of sight to the naked eye. Easily accessible.

Only, Kerry wasn’t killed with a gun. And Hastings couldn’t help but think that, one blunt strike from a man like Sullivan Harris would really be all that was needed to kill a young woman like Kerry. And, when it came down to it, Petra wasn’t all that tall—was she tall enough to bring down a weapon and clobber Kerry without standing on a step ladder?

Hastings sighed and, after a while of helping the officers search, went and stood on the back porch. She immediately recognized it from the hours upon hours of searching through the photos they’d found on the SD card left by the body. This was most definitely the same house—and possibly, the photos they’d found might be the last ones that happened to capture Kerry Greaves alive.

Hastings shivered at the thought.

And then she remembered something else from the photographs. A silver line, like something in the distance. She walked to the railing of the porch and peered out, but the trees were too thick; the pictures had been taken at a higher angle, like whoever had taken them was up in a tree.

She couldn’t very well go higher, but maybe down below she might get a better look at what lied beyond. It might not be significant, but something was pulling Chief Hastings towards it. Pulling her to move. Pulling her towards that straight of silver.

“I’ll be back,” she told Officer Gunderson, the same one who’d found the key in Kerry’s room at the home of Jeannie Fellows and Mark Shumway. “There’s something I want to check out.”

Mercer didn’t notice anything initially wrong or off about Tanner Driscoll. There was definitely something about his eyes . . . something Mercer couldn’t quite put his finger on. But he knew better than anyone that a person could not be judged solely on their face—otherwise, he suspected, no one would ever call on Mercer himself.

But Andi didn’t feel right about him. Not one bit.

“Can I get you anything to drink?” Tanner asked, opening the door wider and, with a sweep of his arms, invited the officers deeper into his home.

The very first thing Officer Mercer noticed as he entered the small home was the seemingly endless amount of picture frames on the walls, housing photographs of all different kinds and sizes. Of places and faces.

The ones that stood out to him the most were the photos of Tanner standing with his arms wrapped around an ethnic woman, two kids crouched before them. Their faces were everywhere, blended into the multitude, draped along the walls.

“Coffee, maybe?” asked Mercer, scanning the room.

It was simple, plain. Very minimalistic.

Tanner nodded, grinning. “I’ve got coffee. It’ll just be a minute. Feel free to make yourselves comfortable.”

Mercer thanked the man. “Take your time.”

Andi, slow to do so, settled into the small loveseat against one wall, across from a larger couch and a glass table that fell between. She looked around, finding it odd—odd that there was no television, no bookshelves. No books.

“What does he do all day?” she whispered.

Mercer nodded towards the photos on the walls. “I think I can guess.”

“Here we are,” Tanner said, entering a few moments later carrying two cups of coffee, balancing a small tray in the crook of his arm with sugar and cream.

“Thank you, sir,” said Mercer, accepting one of the mugs. He motioned towards the walls. “Did you take these?”

Tanner glanced at the photos and loosened a small sigh. “These, no. No, my wife took these. Well, most of them, anyway.”

Mercer pointed to the woman in the pictures. “That her?”

Tanner offered a small nod. “Gabriela. She went by Gab. And those are our two kids, Josie and Max.”

Andi glanced around, noticing a severe lack of anything that indicated anyone else lived here, much less children.

“Gone,” he said, his voice quiet. Tanner ran a hand over his brow. “Uh, she left a few years back. Took the kids.”

Andi shot Mercer a look, and he put a hand on her knee, instructing her to keep calm. Stay focused. They caught Tanner Driscoll in a lie and they needed to know what it was for. Why he was lying. But now all she could focus on was the warmth of Mercer’s hand, seeping through the thin fabric of her trousers.

Mercer slowly shook his head. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

Tanner smiled, briefly. “It’s in the past,” he told them. “And it is what it is.” He shook out his head and flopped into the recliner adjacent to both the couch and the loveseat. “I take it you’re here because of Kerry Greaves.” He shook his head. “Why else would you be here?”

“Can you tell us anything about her?” asked Andi.

“I can tell you she was young. Too young,” he said. “She lived here most of her life, I believe. Can’t remember if she was born here or not.” Tanner shook his head. “Jeannie . . . She would know for sure.”

Andi stopped at the sound of the woman’s name—not the sound, but the way he said it, so drawn out, so . . . achingly.

Longingly.

She made a mental note of that, something to check out later. Could the two have a history? Was it enough to kill—but why kill Kerry and not Mark?

Andi shook out her head.

“Everything okay?” Tanner asked. “Do you prefer tea?”

“What?”

“You’re not drinking. Can I get you something else?”

Andi pushed the coffee further away from her, dead-set in the belief that one should never drink something a potential suspect serves them. Mercer, on the other hand, was already half done with his coffee, and she shot him a look of warning—one he saw and didn’t understand.

“Just not in the mood.”

“I can make you tea. Or get you some juice. Milk? Water?”

“No thanks,” Andi told him, nodding. “I’m fine, really.”

“You’d think all that hard work would make you thirsty—”

“Did you know Kerry?” she cut him off. “On a personal level?”

Tanner looked distracted, watching Mercer, but he said to Andi, “Not really. We ran in the same circle, I guess. Loved the same people. But we were never close.”

“Good coffee, huh,” he said to Mercer, who nodded and raised the cup to his lips.

In a fit of instinct, Andi hopped in her seat, as thought to get a better position on the couch, and discretely sent an elbow into Mercer’s ribs. He jolted and the mug was sent flying, where it skittered across the floor and shattered, spewing coffee everywhere.

“God, I’m so sorry,” Andi said, pressing a hand to her heart and searching Tanner’s face. “I’ll help you clean it up—”

“No, no, no. You sit!” And he forced a hand out, physically keeping Andi from rising out of her seat.

The moment Tanner turned away, the two officers shared a glance.

That was weird.

Tanner draped a towel from his linen closet over the spilled drink and then picked up the pieces of shattered mug, one by one, as meticulous as though he were performing surgery. He moved to the window after and propped it open, letting in the cold.

“Might start to stink,” he said, which Andi found odd. She loved the smell of coffee—even spilled coffee.

“It’s a little cool in here,” Mercer said, and Andi felt him shiver beside her.

“You know what?” Tanner smiled and clapped his hands together. “Why not take a stroll around the town common? I’ve been cooped up in this house all day and I could use a walk. You can ask me your questions along the way?”

Andi looked at Mercer, but he was already looking at her.

“Sure,” she said. “Sounds like a good idea.”

But it didn’t. It was freezing out. It sounded bizarre.

Tanner’s eyes darted back and forth. “Now where did I leave my damn boots . . .” He shook his head. “No matter.” He fished around in his closet and brought out a pair of tennis shoes. “These’ll do.”

Andi knew this to be entirely false—one step in the snow with those would soak his entire foot.

He slipped on his shoes, which looked like they hadn’t been worn in years, and led them to the door.

“So,” he said, sparing one last glance back at the mess. The spilled coffee. “You were asking about my wife?”

“No,” Andi said. “We were asking about Kerry Greaves.”

Hastings had her hands in her coat when she entered the tree line that was threatening to swallow up the house. Colors of all sorts exploded overhead, golds and oranges and bright lemon-yellows, reds brighter than the embers of a fire . . . Purely astonishing, as always.

“It’s a crime, don’t you think?”

She turned and shot her husband a look as they walked. “What? To ‘pay more than a dime.’” As that constant commercial on the radio said.

“Humorous,” Ben said, traipsing through the woods beside her. “And no. Just the idea that someone can be allowed to own something like this,” and he raised his hands to indicate the trees, the colors, the smells. All of it, like a dream made flesh.

“Makes you wonder what people think about our property, doesn’t it?”

Her husband shrugged. “Guess I never thought of it that way.”

“Me either.”

“Well, that’s a given, considering I am you.”

Hastings ignored this and traipsed deeper, moving slowly as the ground sloped downwards.

“What is it exactly, Lizzie, that you’re hunting?”

“A killer, Ben.”

“Not at this moment. I’m talking here. Now.”

“Answers, my love,” she told him—and something deep inside told her she would find them.

“You have to be careful, dear. Your curiosity gets you into some weird situations.”

“And some even weirder places, for sure.”

He looked at her. “Don’t do that?”

“Do what?”

“You know what.”

She sighed and shook her head, blond ringlets floating slightly around her head as a cool wind pushed through. “Ben, I—”

“You’re asking yourself if you hadn’t been so curious on the day I died, if I’d still be here today.”

“Can you really blame me?”

“Considering I’m not really here, no—”

“Stop saying that!”

“So, stop thinking it.”

And then he was gone. Leaving Hastings alone, standing in the middle of the woods, quaking—not quite shivering, because it wasn’t from the cold. No, this was something else. That same feeling of abandonment—the drop of the stomach kind of feeling of realizing one’s own loneliness. Like she was standing on the edge of a cliff, and she wasn’t sure how far the drop was, or what waited beneath.

Another cool breeze wafted through, and Lizzie Hastings stopped. Because it was then that she knew what that silver straight had been in the photographs, that horizontal line, blending in with the flash of the camera, the blaze of the sun.

She could smell it, for it was carried on the wind.

Water. A pond.

And where there was water—

Suddenly she was running, barreling forward, her limp forgotten as she pushed her way through the trees, sliding here and there over the freshly fallen snow.

And she could see it now, opening before her—not quite silver anymore, but blue and gray, gold where the sun dared spread its touch.

“It was water,” she laughed to herself, coming to a sudden halt where the trees gave way to white sand, bleached, not by the sun, but by something else.

And there, amidst patches of fallen snow, just out of reach of the lapping water . . .

Blood. Everywhere.

And right in the center of that blood, a single statue, no bigger than the other one.

An owl. Wings spread, beak wide, as if screaming.

And as Lizzie Hastings knelt, she saw it—saw what had been written there, perhaps frozen by the late-night frost. A message, deliberately etched by a single, careful finger.

Keep looking.

The entire town was out walking, it seemed.

Andi waved to Hattie and Pennilyn, who were walking with an older woman, crossing the town common to where Jeannie and Mark sat on a bench.

Though none of them realized, Jeannie was watching them. Watching Tanner. And she wouldn’t take her eyes off them.

“So, you never had a fling with Kerry Greaves?”

Tanner stopped walking. He looked as though he’d struck her.

“I was married.” The amount of disgust in his voice went above and beyond—and Andi wasn’t the only one who heard the lie in his voice.

Mercer couldn’t help but hear it, too.

“That doesn’t stop most people these days,” he said. “Loyalty is only as strong as a person’s lust.”

Tanner asked, “And you really believe that?”

“As much as I believe that you’re lying to us, Mr. Driscoll.”

“Why would I lie? What could I possibly gain? You believe I had an affair with Kerry? Sure, let’s put all sense aside and say that I did. Where does that put us? Did I suddenly have a hatred for Kerry simply because we fooled around?”

“Maybe,” Mercer said, squinting and nodding. “If things went south.”

Tanner sighed and started walking again. “This is all hypothetical, officer. I didn’t kill Kerry greaves. I don’t know how else to say it.”

From across the plot of snowy-grass, unbeknownst to the officers or even Tanner Driscoll, Jeannie Fellows took out her phone and punched in a number.

“What are you doing?” Mark asked her. “Who are you calling?”

“Tanner.”

“He looks a bit busy.” Mark nudged his chin towards the officers.

“It’s something we used to do,” she told him. “It’s a little sneaky, but if he answers, we should be able to hear what’s happening.”

She punched the call button and waited.

Across the town common, Tanner’s phone suddenly began to ring. Metallica’s Enter Sandman played from his pocket, “Exit light, enter night . . .”

And everything inside of Andi froze.

“The song,” she said, and hummed it inside her head. “That’s the song.”

She blinked and saw that car, hurtling towards her now—in a way she hadn’t the first time. And then, like the shifting of a mirage, or the extinguishing of a ghost, the resurrection of the real, she saw him. Saw his face. Saw him in the car that hit her, staring out at her through the windshield.

And before Andi knew what she was doing, she’d undone the clasp covering her gun and had her weapon drawn at the ready, trained on the man before her.

“Tanner Driscoll, you are under arrest for the murder of Kerry Greaves.”

And all at once, the town of Bellriver stopped.

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