Friday, August 29, 2014

"A Long Way Home" by Anna Drake (Novelette)

Genre:  Suspense

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  Newly minted widow, Angela Clark, learns that while her husband may be dead, her enemy is terrifyingly alive. Angela's challenge is deciding whether she wants to live or die.


I stared at the gentleman seated opposite me. Dark hair with wisps of gray at the temples. Aquiline nose. Narrow face. Expensive, tasteful suit, done up in a conservative, gray fabric. He wanted to know why I’d come.

“My husband, Jeffery,” I said, “died not quite a month ago. He was stabbed to death. He’d been walking home from our store after closing.”

Dr. Ivan Gregory placed his hands on his desk and nodded. “A violent death is always upsetting. But you say you’re not sleeping. You’re not eating. You need to understand those are normal reactions after what you’ve experienced. It will take you time to recover from this kind of shock. Grief has its stages.”

“But Jeff was murdered. Someone deliberately robbed him of life. Can you explain to me how I’m to get over something like that?”

Gregory offered me a reassuring smile. “I grant you murder complicates things. What you’re feeling at this moment is no doubt nearly overwhelming. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and time required, you can recover. You mention murder. So let’s begin with how you feel about your husband’s killer."

“Jeff was only thirty-four. We were deeply in love. We were thinking of starting a family. How do you think I feel?”

“Anger is normal under these circumstances. I take it the killer hasn’t been caught, then?”

“No.” My voice sounded strained even to my own ears. “Whoever did this is still running around out there. Free to do whatever they please.”

“And that bothers you?”

I leaned forward toward this man seated behind his wide, dark, teak desk. “Of course, it does. I know this doesn’t sound nice. But I want this killer hunted down. I want to be sitting there in court when the jury’s verdict is announced. I want to see the murderer flinch as he or she learns the price they’ll pay for taking my husband’s life.”

“I see.” Gregory scratched a few notes on his pad of paper before returning his gaze to my face. “There are websites online that can help you with this. They’re places where people left behind after a murder can share their stories with each other. Have you heard of such sites?”

“Actually, yes.” I repositioned myself in my chair. “I even have a list of some. My mother tracked them down. But I took that piece of paper she gave me and shoved it into a drawer. And I’ve never so much as looked at it since.”

“You don’t think visiting a few of the websites could be helpful to you?”

“No,” I said. Then I added in what was almost a whisper, “I’m not sure even sure I want to know.”

“You enjoy holding on to your anger?”

“Maybe,” I admitted. “At least this way, I feel something.”
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