The past is like a tiger you’ve put in a cage. You might think you’ve tamed him, but one day as you pass by, he’ll reach through the bars and claw you bloody.
I’d spent the morning hoeing the weeds away from among my tiny, tender carrot and pea plants, and after taking a moment to admire the neat, pale green rows, I started for my kitchen and a glass of cold water. It was May. The sky was so blue it hurt my eyes, and the air smelled of growing things. When I came inside, blinking in the relative darkness, I almost tripped over Eddie, who sat with heels propped up on the table and my iPad in his lap. Frowning at a screen so smudged it was a wonder he could read anything at all, he asked, “Loser, who’s Jacob?”
A familiar face rose in my mind, friendly in repose, determined on the job. “Used to be my partner.”
“You got an email from him.” His tone turned chiding. “It’s two days old.”
When I took on the role of Eddie’s guardian, he’d become my conscience.
“Here.” Eddie leaned back in the kitchen chair, tipping it onto two legs in order to hand me the iPad. I didn’t bother to ask if it might be safer to get up and walk two steps. “Better see what he wants.”
With a sigh, I took the iPad and touched the circled 1 that signaled an unread email.
I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, but I thought you’d want to know. A couple of our guys caught a missing person case last week, a prostitute named Carole Ann Minier. When they searched her apartment, they found a florist’s card in the drawer of her nightstand that said, “I’m sorry. You’re the only woman I really love. D.” They ran the card. The prints on it came back as belonging to Darrin Lousiere.
The other weird thing, which might not connect at all, is that a street person named Aisha Star was also reported missing last week. Apparently she’s been telling the world that you and she are best friends. It might mean nothing, but the two disappearances coming at the same time is weird.
Let me know if there’s anything you want me to do on this end.
I leaned against the wall, fighting the rush of memories that threatened to overwhelm me. I’d never heard of Carole Ann Minier, but Darrin Lousiere was once my husband. He and our infant daughter had been savagely murdered three years earlier. The trauma of loss combined with being the main suspect in their deaths had caused a mental breakdown that left me living on Richmond’s streets for over a year. I’d met Aisha there, though she and I had not been friends. Abuse of drugs and alcohol had left Aisha in a state where she couldn’t recognize the truth if it appeared before her with angel wings and a halo.
Two women were missing, one connected to me and the other to my husband. What did it mean?
“What does he want, Loser?”
I brushed a lock of hair from my forehead, brushing away the past at the same time.
Richmond and the events Jacob described were far from here. In the last year I’d
Eddie clicked his tongue to remind me he was waiting for an answer to his question
about Jacob’s message. “He’s just checking in,” I said. Using one finger, I tapped
out a quick reply. Jacob -