Welcome to chapter 8! As always, remember this is an unedited free write. Comments, critiques, questions are welcomed. You can read previous chapters by clicking the link to the left on the bottom of the post. I’d love to hear from you! Enjoy!
Since Cory had an early class before he went to work at the bookstore, they called it a night after taking a leisurely stroll around the Village and then back to the parking garage where Erin had parked just that morning. Somehow it seems so much longer ago than that. A lot had happened in one day.
“Try not to worry,” Cory comforted with a hug. “We really can’t do anything more for awhile.”
“I’ll really try,” Erin answered as she unlocked the driver’s door of the Bug. “But you know how my head works. I can’t stop it if it wants to go running off in different directions. Kinda like herding cats, you know?” She laughed as she settled into the driver’s seat and stuck the key in the ignition.
Cory closed the door and waved her away as she backed out of her parking spot and drove away.
Knowing she probably shouldn’t, but unable to stop herself, instead of heading home, she turned the Bug toward Hazel’s house. It’s not that she didn’t trust Scott, she reasoned, quite the opposite, in fact. But sometimes a woman is just a tad more observant. That estrogen locator device and all. It would make her feel better if she looked around for herself. As she wound around the hilly roads, she replayed the voicemail message in her head again. What had she said? She thinks she knew what happened? She didn’t think it was an accident? She was afraid?
What could she possibly have found out after 20 years? And why hadn’t she called Erin’s cell phone? The questions just kept coming. Soon, she pulled her car into the short driveway in front of Hazel’s dilapidated house. She couldn’t understand Hazel’s hesitation to let people come and help her keep it up. Landscaping was hard to maintain in the hills as rocky ground and steep drops were common.
To look at the outside of the 70s home, one would think it was abandoned. Plywood covered windows and the brown paint was chipping so badly there were more bare places than there were painted ones. Erin grabbed the flashlight her father always insisted she carry in her glove box, and stepped out of the car.
She didn’t really know what she was looking for, but she started with going up to the front door. Maybe she had come home between Scott’s visit and now. Erin pounded loudly on the door and yelled for good measure, “Hazel! Hazel, are you in there? It’s Erin Harrison!” She stopped to listen for anything from the interior, but was met by stone silence.
She stepped to one side and tried to shine her light in a small crack in the plywood over the front window, but she couldn’t see a thing. Careful to watch her footing through the tall weeds and broken pots from long-abandoned plants that were once carefully tended, Erin tried to make her way around to the back yard. In the darkness, even with the flashlight, she feared injury, so she turned back and headed to the detached garage.
Suddenly her cell phone chirped with Pepper’s text tone: “You home?”
Erin knew she couldn’t lie to her friend, so she responded, “umm, not exactly.”
“What does that mean?” Came the quick reply.
Erin debated how much to say. She decided prevarication was the way to go: “made a stop on my way home. Be there soon.”
“I’m coming over” came the reply.
Knowing she was on a fool’s mission anyway, Erin turned aside from her path to the garage, climbed back in her car and headed for home, no more wiser than when she came.