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Where the Sunflowers Grow

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When Faith discovers her ex-husband's exes are being murdered one by one, she must get to the bottom of it before time runs out. Is her ex the killer? Or is it all just a big coincidence? Is she next? (Contains some scenes that may be triggering to some readers.)

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Part 1, Chapter 1

Faith sat on the couch, blue eyes glued to the television. Her right hand brought down a metal spoon onto a bowl of cereal. She had awakened late and decided a bowl of cereal would be the fastest breakfast. At least until they could get some toaster tarts. Those were good hot or cold, she felt. As she sat eating her breakfast, she listened to the newscaster seemingly drone on about stocks and trades. She wasn't interesested, but her husband had left the remote on his chair and she hadn't noticed until she'd sat down. So she just sat and watched while she ate her breakfast.

The camera on the tv changed to face a newscaster. She wore a serious look on her face. Blonde curls swayed slightly side to side as she shook her head. A picture of a woman came up on screen, replacing the newscaster's image for a moment before being put up in the corner of the screen. Faith drew in a breath. She knew who this woman was. She'd seen her in her ex-husband's old photos. She was her ex-husband's second wife. What was her name again? Cecil? No. Kelly? No, that wasn't it. What was the name?

"The family of 35 year old Caeci Danmore say they last saw her, she was headed to work. Danmore is an employee of Good Eatz Sweet Treatz in Clearview. Fellow employees say she never showed up for work that day. Police are urging the public, if you know anything, call the tip line at-" The newscaster read off the number and gave a website, but Faith wasn't listening anymore. What could have happened to Caeci? An ominous feeling gripped her, but she tried to shake it off. Caeci had probably decided to skip town to go party or some nonsense. Yes, yes, that was it, she concluded. Caeci had skipped work and skipped town to go party, that had to be it. So why couldn't she shake the feeling something horrible was about to happen?

Rising from her chair, she carried her empty bowl to the sink. It made a clinking sound as it fell. Caeci. That was it. That was her name. She turned on the sprayer and sprayed off the bowl. Once satisfied that it was clean enough, she opened the dishwasher beside the sink and placed the bowl in. It wasn't quite full enough for a load yet, so she simply shut the door back, clicking the latch back into place. She hoped that the feeling she had was wrong and that Caeci was safe somewhere, but that feeling nagged at her her mind and churned the pit of her stomach.

At work later that day, she stood at the printer, thinking about Caeci. What had really happened? Was Caeci just out partying somewhere? Low whirring noises began coming from the machine, grabbing her attention. Her eyes narrowed at the machine. "Oh come on! What is wrong with you this time? Is it another jam?" She sighed and rolled her eyes as a yellow light on top of the printer began flashing. Yes, it was probably another paper jam. In fact a paper jam was almost a guarantee at this point. She let out a breath in annoyance. The new girl at her job consistently refused to take the time to load the paper properly. Faith had dealt with three months of this. She'd tried confronting the new girl, Cassie, but every time she did, the woman would brush it off. She didn't have time for that, she had her job to do! Besides Faith wasn't her boss. Faith's patience was beginning to wear thin. Paper jams were starting to become an every day thing. And clearing a paper jam almost every day was getting tiresome fast.

"Here, let me help with that." The voice so close to her caused her to jump, momentarily interupting her thoughts. "Eeeek!" She jumped and cried out, whirling around to see Leo standing there with a huge grin on his face. She gave him a sheepish grin. "Sorry, Leo." "Excited to see me?" He joked in his Australian accent, letting out a small chuckle. His brown eyes sparkled with mischief. She let out a little chuckle of of her own. "Sorry. I guess I'm a little jumpy." She shrugged. He placed a hand on her shoulder, gripping it lightly as he looked into her eyes. "Ok, that's not like you. What's up?" She shook her head. "I know it sounds crazy, but my ex's ex-wife has gone missing. I saw the news report just before I left the house. I can't shake the feeling something terrible happened. I'm trying to tell myself she just ran off to a party or something like that, but I just don't know... What if he had something to do with it? Leo, what if he did something?" Leo stood nodding in acknowledgement, appearing to listen to and consider every word.

A moment later, Leo shook his head as he began to check out the printer. "Like you said, she probably ran off to go party. Nothing to worry about. Just chill out, 'kay? You're just getting yourself all worked up." Faith nodded, knowing that was probably the case. In fact it had to be the case. Caeci had gone to a party to live it up or maybe took a trip somewhere to enjoy some scenery. Wherever she was she was ok, and Faith was worrying over nothing. That feeling though. That feeling continued to nag at her mind and twist her stomach. "And we have a paper jam!" Leo announced, as he began tossing twisted, kinked and torn wads of paper out. Faith let out a breath as her gaze focussed on Cassie, who sat at her desk, obliviously looking at her nails. She returned her gaze to Leo, who stood straight for a second and combed his fingers through his dark hair before diving back into the printer. "Sorry." She said, watching him work. "I've told her and told her. She just refuses to listen!" Leo spoke as he pulled out another bundle of ruined paper. "It's not your fault. We will have to do something soon though, 'cause all this paper waste is costing the company." She gave him a nod, then went back over to her chair.

Two days later, Faith stood at the sink, rinsing off her cereal bowl. It was the weekend, so both she and her husband were off work. He sat in the living room, watching the news. She could hear it clearly since the kitchen was right next to the living room. She had told him about Caeci being missing and the ominous feeling she had. He had dismissed it, saying that the woman had probably took off to party, or maybe moved to Mexico. Why Mexico? He didn't know. "We now bring you disturbing news in the case of missing local Caecie Danmore." A male broadcaster announced. Faith put the plate down in the sink a little too hard, causing a loud clinking sound. She quickly stepped over to the doorway to watch the broadcast. She had to know, so vave it her full attention. "The body of Danmore was found this morning in Alder Field. Danmore appears to have been stabbed once, through the heart. A plolice investigstion is ongoing. You are encouraged to call or visit the website with any information you may have."

The newscaster gave the number and website as Faith tried to mentally absorb what had just been said. Caeci was dead. Not at a party having the time of her life. Not in Mexico. No. She was dead. Stabbed through the heart. "Oh no," she breathed. Her husband twisted around in his chair to look back at her. "Faith? Honey, look, I know what you're thinking, ok? But it's still not necessarily anything to be worried about. It was probably an angry boyfriend or something. Maybe a mugger. You're not worried, are you?" She nodded her head, brown waves of hair bouncing with the movement. "I am, Carter. I'm trying not to be, but I just can't shake that feeling that something really bad is happening. What if it was him? What if he comes after me? Why did he kill her?" Her husband rose from his chair, moving to stand in front of her. "We don't know that if he had anything to do with this, ok?" He responded, placing a hand gently on her cheek and gazing into her eyes. "It probably is just a coincidence, all right? Now stop worrying, you'll get wrinkles." He joked, giving her a sly grin as he gently bumped his forehead against hers. At 40, she already had some small wrinkles starting and he had a few of his own. He brought his lips up to kiss her forehead. "Okay." She gave a slight nod, trying to convince herself. "Ok, yeah. Yeah, you're right. You've gotta be right. It's probably just a coincidence and I'm just letting my imagination run wild." That was it. It had to be a coincidence. It just had to be! Try as she might, however, she just couldn't convince herself of that.

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