Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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Ken Denton and his wife, Sarah, lived in a two-bedroom apartment. After their two sons moved out they decided to sell the house and move into the apartment, after all they really didn’t need the room anymore. They had a two bedroom apartment and that was plenty.

Sarah worked for a family-owned restaurant doing their books and taxes. There were three restaurants in the county and she handled all three.

Since Ken’s heart attack he had to take a pay cut. He wasn’t able to lift the 50 plus pound cartons of plastic parts his factory made anymore. They did offer him a place in their shipping and receiving where a forklift would do the heavier work and the younger people could lug around the heavier cartons. Ken usually handled the phones and paperwork.

His wife was already at work when he got back from his jog. Ken didn’t like the way the one detective looked at him, as if he suspected Ken of the crime. He was holding back the dream he had the night before, and thought if he said anything the one detective, Marsden, would think he was off his rocker.

He took his sneakers and jacket off in the small coat room off the kitchen. After finding the leg the memory of that damn dream was coming back. He wished his wife was home.

Ken decided to shave and then take a nice warm shower and get ready for the day. He still had plenty of time before leaving for work and figured the shower would get the chill out of his bones.

After shaving he stripped down then turned on the water and waited for it to get to the right temperature. He got in and let the water run over his head and body. Ken started washing his short dark hair. The warmth was great and he felt himself relax a little.

As hard as it was not to think about that dream it crept up in his mind anyway.

He saw the woman, cut into pieces, lying on a large steel table. Her face, covered by her long black hair made it difficult to see who she was. Maybe it was better that he couldn’t see her. What if he knew her?

The man in the dream picked up her right leg and examined his work. He ran his fingers over the brightly red-painted toenails. Ken saw him smile through the surgical mask he was wearing. Then he heard an owl give out a quick hoot three times. At that point the man looked right into Ken’s eyes and placed his finger to his lips and said “Shh.”

Ken had shot up in bed and scared his wife.

“What’s wrong?” she’d asked wondering if he was having another heart attack.

He sat there for a minute. “Nothing, just a bad dream.”

“You’re soaking wet! Want to talk about it?” Sarah asked, worried about him. She wondered if he should have stayed off work the entire three months the doctor recommended instead of going back as early as he did.

“No, no,” Ken said and got up to go get some water. “Go back to sleep. I’m fine. I’m going to put on fresh pajamas and I’ll be back in bed.”

“You sure?”

“Yes. Just going to get some water and change.”

Now, even standing in the warm shower Ken’s body started to shiver. Those eyes were the darkest he had ever seen. Almost hypnotic. He didn’t remember ever seeing eyes like those. They had to have been part of the dream. Or did they? Now he knows the leg was real, but those eyes? He shivered much harder and decided to finish his shower and dress in something warm.

Ken made himself a sandwich and sat at the kitchen table. He really wished he wasn’t alone right now. It bothered him that he’d known about the leg before he saw it.

As he ate his sandwich he went over everything from the morning. Nothing out of the ordinary came to mind. Just the one guy leaving for work as he always did. There were no other people out and no vehicles he didn’t recognize. He didn’t hear anything, either, or smell anything.

He hoped the cops didn’t make him feel nervous with their questions, because he didn’t know anything. He’d seen on TV the good cop bad, cop routine and wondered if they really operated like that.

Ken felt bad for whomever that leg belonged to. He seriously considered changing his jogging path.

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