A Secret Grave 97: Dead Quiet

 

Ramona’s bad feelings usually pan out. I began to wash my brushes and get my palette ready to slide into the freezer for storage. It was only twelve-thirty and I could have worked for another two hours, but Ramona had me truly rattled and my focus was gone.

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Besides, I was curious about Caroline and Joe’s house. They lived in Hyde Park, near the university, convenient for Joe who was a mathematics professor at UT. But as we drove over there Ramona informed me that Joe was out of town: Mercer had arrived home from La Paz to an empty house and been there by himself for nearly a week. I began to drive faster, cursing Austin’s lunchtime traffic. Finally we pulled up in front of a small grey two story house with a lush front yard and one car in the driveway – Mercer’s secondhand Honda that he’d bought with money saved from working for me.

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Craftsman House, David Sawyer, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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We hurried up the walkway to the front door. The windows were curtained. The house seemed very still and dark, as if no one lived there or something bad had happened. I could feel my heart begin to beat fast in my chest. Next to me, Ramona was fingering the large gold cross that sat right above her cleavage and that she never took off. She reached up and pressed the doorbell.

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Ramona (Nicole Jeffords, Oil on Canvas, 2014)

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No one answered. We could hear the bell chime in the interior of the house, but there was no movement. Ramona pressed the bell a second time. Still nothing. We looked at one another. “Don’t they have a dog?” I asked.

“Joe’s guide dog, but he’d be with Joe.”

“I have Joe’s number in my phone. I could call him.”

Ramona put her hand on my arm. “No, wait, Mama. Let’s see if the door’s locked.” She reached for the knob and turned slowly. To our surprise, the door opened.

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/12/11/flat-line/

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