Read an Excerpt
I parked the Dodge Hemi in front of the house on our cobblestone, circular driveway. The sky shone blue as sea water, the air nippy. Autumn in Georgia is my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of pecan trees. When we arrive in New Zealand, we will be enjoying spring.
I flung open the door. Our bags sat in the large foyer. “Jen, I’m home. I’ll put the bags in the truck.” No response. She must be upstairs. I grabbed the bags and tossed them in the bed of the truck, which had a roll top mounted.
I ran back in the house. “Jen, are you ready?” No answer! “Jen!” I walked toward the large kitchen. My heart picked up the pace. “Jen, where are you?” SAWWS’s laboratory is the cleanest manmade thing in the USA and Jen’s kitchen is next. “Jen, Jen where are you?” My eyes searched, my throat became raw. I went to the foot of the stairs. “Jen, Jen are you up there?”
I screamed, “Jen! Jen!” I started running through the house. Panic entered the inside of my body causing my skin to chill and a numbness flowed throughout. I covered all four thousand square feet downstairs, my heart racing. She had to be here. I just-I just talked to her. “Jen!” I screamed. I listened—nothing, only the grandfather clock in the den and the pounding of my heart. Where the hell is Rocky? “Rocky. Rocky, where are you?”
I ran upstairs, three steps at a time. “Jen! Jen, we have to go. Jen, where are you?” The eight rooms were empty, except for the furniture. Everything was neatly in its place. My heart pounded harder. She has to be here. She has to be here. “Jennifer, please, Jennifer, where are you?”
I ran down the staircase three and four steps at a time, almost stumbling half way down. I headed toward the basement door. “Jennifer” My eyes burned. “Jennifer, are you down there?” No answer. I raced down the basement stairs. The basement was unfinished, dark, and held no answer. My heart stopped. I had exhausted my search.
The garage, I forgot the garage. She must be in the garage. I ran up the basement stairs, through the kitchen to the garage door, flung it open and gasped. My lungs were out of air. I couldn’t breathe. “What’s that smell?” My ears were burning. “Oh, my God, Rocky, Rocky, what the hell.” I fell to my knees. He was stretched out on the concrete floor, blood oozing from his nose. No pulse. Rocky was Jen’s second love. I searched the entire three-car garage. Jennifer was nowhere to be found.
I ran and stumbled toward one of the six security phones in the house, picked up the receiver and dialed 10, which would alert all security personnel. All I needed to do was dial the number ten and hang up. You talk to no one. My knees started shaking. Someone would be here in less than a minute. The others would be on site within an hour. A chopper would be in the air within ten minutes. The FBI and the CIA would be calling within five minutes. I slumped into the overstuffed chair. The entire five hundred acres would be on lockdown within six minutes. No one enters or leaves until cleared by security and everything and everyone gets checked out.