Read an Excerpt
The pain was intolerable. Nothing wanted to work. Had she broken something? Could she even drive if she was able to get in the car? A fine mist of rain had begun falling. With every breath Michele had in her body, she pulled and strained to get to her knees. A hand reached out to her shoulders and pulled her up.
Panic enveloped her body. She began kicking her legs, swinging her arms, and fist, striking the person behind her. If she had to scratch this intruder's eyes out, that would be possible. No way would she be the next victim on his list. Another quick kicking stab to the intruder's leg.
"Ms. Martin, it's Sheriff Carter. I'm trying to help you. Just stop hitting me and let me help you." His voice sounded over the wind.
She jerked away prompting another fall. "Don't you touch me. Just don't touch me!" She screamed at him.
"I was only trying to help."
"I don't need your help. And above all, I don't want it! How did you know I was here? You could have been the one that locked me in the attic and started the fire. What are you doing here?" Her words were fast and sharp.
Her body trembled with anxiety. A mixture of sweat and raindrops fell from her face. A considerable amount of pain was running throughout her body. Blood was pouring from her cut hand. Even her bandaged hand was aching considerably. Her heart pounded profusely. All she could think about was at any moment her life would be total blackness. And she didn't know who to trust in the town of Lincoln.
"The reason I'm here. The Wilsons have an alarm that goes off if someone doesn't hit the code button when the door is left open for more than five minutes. A buzzer goes off at the policestation. Will happened to hear it and patched through on the radio. I responded to the call. I saw the fire and called the fire department. There they are now, in case you don't believe me."
She heard the siren and turned to see the fire truck entering the driveway.
Sheriff Carter rested his hands on his hips, eyeing another torn shirt and this time ripped jeans, instead of a skirt. "I could ask your reason for being here," He remarked as the wind began to whip up once more. "Seems like if you continue having this kind of trouble, you're going to need another wardrobe."
She casually noticed her torn clothes then eyed him, glaring intently at his face. After everything she had gone through could she really trust this sheriff? At this point she had no choice.
"There was a note in my mail."
"A note addressed to you?"
"No, Mr. Weldon. It told him to come alone to the Wilson's cabin. There would be information about Roy and Janet Wilson's murder. The message stressed to come alone. No cops, no one, and especially, not you nor I. Mr. Weldon had to go into Riley to check out a job. I decided to check it out."
"So you took it upon yourself to check it out. You could have at least informed me, instead of taking on the task alone. I could have told you it was no doubt a trap. Did you see the person who locked you up?"
"No. By the time I got upstairs, the lights went out. He knocked me over and ran out bolting the door behind him."
"How do you know it was a man?"
"His features, when he knocked me down, didn't feel like that of a woman's."
"What happened then?"
"I managed to break a section of the window. That's when I really began smelling smoke. The window had been sealed shut. In shuffling in the dark, I found a pole lamp to break it out."
She looked at her sore hand that again was swelling through the bandage. Blood was oozing from her good hand. More light drizzle of rain started falling down sprinkling on her face.
"My hand got hung on a jagged piece of glass when I climbed out on the ledge. That's when I tumbled to the ground and started crawling away from the house. You know the rest. It was either take a tumble or get burned to a crisp."
He drew closer to her. "I'm taking you to the hospital. You can kick and slap me all you want, but I'm taking you there. From the look of things, you're badly bruised. Your hand is bleeding fiercely, if you ask me." Pulling out a handkerchief from his shirt pocket, he wrapped it tightly around her hand, to control the excess flow of blood. "That tumble may have broken a few ribs. I don't know how much of the smoke and vapors you have inhaled either. After the initial shock has disappeared, you're probably going to feel an immense amount of pain surge through that body of yours."
Michele remembered the crate of papers. "I've got to go back inside."
"Are you crazy?" He asked, pulling her back from the cabin as she took a step forward.
"You don't understand. There are papers. Things that will show how corrupt this town is. I did manage to savage the diary. Even a few sheets from a ledger. Also things about Roy Wilson, and..." She stopped and eyed the burning house. She didn't wish him to know about her rape.