This week's instalment comes from Catherine Leggitt
(To read the story from the beginning click here.)
Callan and I stared out the window at the commotion in the garden, which seemed to have escalated to a cacophony. Peta and Margaret, faces inches apart, gestured and ranted at one another, though I couldn’t make out their words.
The rest of the family resembled circling vultures.
“Looks like they need a referee.” The smirk in Callan’s eyes belied his serious tone.
Dare I leave The Her alone?
“Hurry.” Callan waved me out. “I’ll guard Her.”
From the bed, The Her beseeched. Get rid of them. The chest rattle now a snare drum. There wasn’t much time left.
Leaving Callan with The Her, I headed for the garden, Hector padding close behind. I pushed through the screen door, letting it pop-bang shut, and I spoke above the din. “What’s going on out here?”
Margaret bellowed. “Why should Peta make decisions about my mother?”
Her mother. Me. “What decisions?” My gaze bounced between them.
Margaret squeezed her lips shut.
Peta narrowed her eyes to slits, a familiar trick to keep me from reading her thoughts.
“Come on. Out with it.” The Her’s life depended on haste.
“Peta talked to Dr. Marigold.” Margaret blurted. “Aren’t doctors bound by confidentiality?”
They are, of course, but Peta had her ways, abilities Margaret knew nothing about. “And?” I said. “What did he say?”
“She said… he—,” Margaret teared up.
“Oh for granny’s sake,” Bree interrupted. “Peta wants to have you put into a nursing home.”
Hector hissed, then vaulted onto Peta, claws extended, completely deranged.
“Get this bloody beast off me.” She slapped at Hector with bony hands.
I wrenched Hector off of Peta, though it wasn’t easy. “He’s never done that before.” He relaxed in my arms.
Herb and Greta, my daughter’s in-laws, snatched up their belongings, mumbling about rabid animals. Klaus scurried after them. “Come along, children,” he called to his teenagers.
Margaret lingered to give me a hug. “Never mind, mother. We’ll sort this out later.”
Peta’s beady eyes probed the house. Nose in the air, she sniffed. “She’s inside. Don’t for a moment imagine I won’t find Her.”
Memories of Peta’s temper left me speechless.
With a hard look, my cousin flounced to the kitchen.
Callan stood behind the screen door, face ashen. “She’s gone.”
Catherine Leggitt is the author of the Christine Sterling Mysteries, PAYNE & MISERY, THE DUNN DEAL, and PARRISH THE THOUGHT published by Ellechor Publishing. A native Californian, Catherine raised two daughters, taught school, and cared for aging parents before retirement drove her to the keyboard. These days Catherine crafts suspenseful and convoluted plots—exploring God’s mysteries through fiction.