Monthly Archives: September 2021

A Hard Rain; chapter eleven, part two

Leslie feels grimy, so she goes to take a shower.  She puts her hair up in a bun before getting in so it’ll only get minimally wet, and then she steps into the steaming hot water.  She turns the nozzle to the ‘massage’ setting and lets the water beat on her aching back.  After she is done, she steps out and puts on a pair of jeans and an Obama sweatshirt.  She quickly dries her hair and then returns to the laptop.  She knows she should do more research, but she is burnt out.

“Break into the rose.”  Leslie stares at the words John had said in her dream.  “Rose, as in Rose Duffy?”  Of course!  John had prepared a packet of information to be sent to Leslie in case of his death, so logic tells Leslie that he probably sent one to Rose, too.  Jealousy flares inside Leslie, but she tamps it down.  This is not the time to get emotional—she will deal with all that shit later.  She picks up the hotel phone and calls her cabby.  It’s time for a spot of B&E.

“Stay here,” Leslie tells her cabby as she steps out of the taxi.  She had him park a block away, and he had asked no questions.  He nods and pulls out Dickens again.  The sun is nowhere to be seen, and there is a definite chill to the air.  Leslie walks towards the house and sees—no cops.  She blinks.  No cops?  What the hell?  They should be crawling all over the place, but no.  The yellow crime scene is up, but there are no cops in sight.  Leslie goes around the house to the back door.  She rattles it, and it’s locked.  However, the lock is a cheap one, and Leslie is able to open it with her credit card and a lot of jiggling.  She slips in and takes a quick look around.  The house is devoid of much of anything.  The walls are white, gray, and steel-blue.  There is a harshness to the atmosphere that is oppressive.  Leslie shrugs it off and heads for the stairs.  She knows she doesn’t have much time, and she has a hunch that anything Rose has is hidden on the second floor.

Upstairs is more of the same in terms of décor.  There is little furniture in any of the rooms, and no photographs.  No knickknacks, no mementos, no sign that anyone actually lives in the house.  Leslie shivers at the coldness.  Her own house is not very cozy, but at least she has a few personal touches.  And, she has Josephine.  Josephine.  A wave of homesickness rolls over Leslie, and it surprises her.  She is not someone who is very attached to any place, but she suddenly wishes she was at home in her living room, watching the news, and cuddling Josephine on her lap.  She pushes that thought to the back of her mind as heads to Rose’s bedroom.  Once inside, she stops and stares.  The room is done in mauve, dusty rose, and salmon pink.  The bed has red satin sheets on it.  There are yellow roses on the bedside table, along with a battered stuffed bear who looks like he has a tale or two to tell.  Apparently, all of Rose’s personality had been poured into her bedroom—her sanctuary.  Leslie is more sure than ever that whatever John had sent Rose is hidden in this room.

Leslie pulls on her leather gloves and starts searching the room.  She feels guilty for rifling through Rose’s belongings, but it has to be done.  Leslie’s frustration mounts as she searches dressers and drawers and closets.  She can’t find anything, and she is this close to screaming.  She thumps her hand on the bedside table, accidentally hitting the teddy bear sitting there.  She frowns because he is lumpy in a way that a bear should not be.  She picks him up, turns him around, and sees a thick seam in the back that does not match the rest of the stitching.  She laughs when she remembers that John had told her to ‘bear it in mind’.  He had always been one for a bad pun.  Leslie is about to try to undo it when she hears a noise below.  She freezes for a minute before stuffing the bear into her purse and rushing to the door.  She creeps outside and towards the stairs.  She hears a noise in the kitchen which is between her and the front door.  The back door, the one in which she came, however, is directly below the stairs.  If she is quick and quiet, she should be able to escape unnoticed.  She tiptoes down the stairs as fast as she can, thankful that she is not wearing heels.  She races out the back door and runs to the cab.

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