Mel instantly hushed her. “Quiet! I can’t have anyone hearing this!” Janefer apologized and leaned in closer. Mel continued, “The man said something like,’She’s going to pay for what he did!’ Janefer, I’m so scared. I didn’t really recognize the voice, but if anyone finds out that I was conscious and could probably recognize the voice, then we could both be in danger! If you saw the car and I heard something, then we gotta keep it quiet! We have to find out ourselves!”
Janefer bit her bottom lip, trying to decide what to do. She stood up straight and found a chair to sit on, and sunk into it. “Mel, I honestly don’t know what to do. Who was the man talking about, anyway? You or me?”
Mel closed her eyes, deep in thought. “It obviously could be either one of us. Dad is the executive manager at the pharmacy, assuming he was talking about one of our dads. It pays good money, and the man could’ve been mad at Dad for not dealing drugs or something. But why would he target us? To get one of our dads to pay up or do something?”
Janefer sat up straighter in her chair. “My Dad is in the hospital, sick. It couldn’t have been him, right? I mean, my Dad was an amazing brain surgeon before he got sick. Could someone be angry at him because he performed an operation on a loved one and it wasn’t successful? That could be feasible, but I’d have to look into his records of patients and results on each one.” Mel shifted, grunting in her pain. She sighed. “I guess you’ll have to do all the footwork. I wish I could get out of this stinky hospital and move around.”
Janefer tried to sound cheerful. “Don’t worry, Mel. You’ll be on your feet in no time. Now, I’ll fill you in on info as I get it, but you rest now, kay?”
Mel pushed the button for more pain medication to be inserted into the IV tubes and snorted. “Yeah, right. The doctor told you the recovery process, right? Whatever. I’ll take it day by day. Thanks for stopping by.” She was drifting back into dreamland as Janefer quietly slipped out of the room.
Janefer felt slightly confused. Why would my Dad or Mr. Studd be targeted? Wouldn’t they try hurt them directly? Another voice interjected. My Dad’s in the hospital and because they can’t get to him he or she could be targeting me somehow! Conflicting voices fired around conflicting ideas in Janefer’s head. She was so confused. Janefer glanced at her watch. Ouch. I’m an hour late. Better fly. She dashed out of the hospital and furiously pedaled home.
Mrs. Davis was sitting at the table, sipping some iced tea when Janefer breezed in- her hair was windblown and tangled, and her back was drenched with sweat. Neither of them spoke. Janefer poured herself a glass of iced tea gulped it down. She leaned back against the cushion-padded chair. Her mother still wasn’t speaking. Mrs. Davis drained her glass and poured herself another cup. Finally she spoke,”Janefer, I really don’t know what to say. Why did you go off by yourself? It could have been dangerous.” Janefer sighed, knowing that this conversation was going to come up. Thankfully, she had prepared an answer beforehand. “Mom, I explained it to you in the note, remember?” At her mother’s confused look, Janefer stared at her face, a dozen emotions passing through,”You didn’t see the note, did you?” Mrs. Davis shook her head. “There was a note? I never saw one.”
Janefer got up and entered the dining room, where she had left the note on the table.
She gasped when she saw the empty table and, as she peered closer she gasped. “Mom! Come here! Hurry!” Celeste was beside Janefer in a few seconds. “What’s the matter?”
Janefer couldn’t speak. Her mouth and throat felt dry, parched. She merely pointed to the beautiful solid oak table where the note had been. There, engraved on the table in dagger-like chiseling, were the words: I know the house where you live. And next time- you won’t live to see it.
Her mother choked as swiftly drew in a sharp breath. “I’m calling the police.” Janefer just nodded her head, numb. Her knees started to wobble unsteadily as she sank into the black leather couches. How did they know where I live? Duh. Another voice told her. It’s easy to find out where someone lives now. It wasn’t such a big deal to Janefer that the person who hit she and Mel knew where she lived, but the last part of the note-‘You won’t live to see it’ gave Janefer shivers down her spine and a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“I’m so scared.” Janefer hated to actually admit the fact. She had usually been tough- hardly ever scared, and now- she was frightened- tremendously frightened. Maybe that’s what they want me to be- vulnerable, scared, frightened. I can’t let them win. I have to be strong. Despite her efforts of trying to reassure herself, it didn’t even place a dent in her fear. Janefer remembered as a child, how her mother had always talked to her about God. For some reason, a verse popped into Janefer’s mind that she had been taught when she was younger. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” She didn’t really believe it, but it did seem like a nice thought. To trust in Someone who had everything in control. Janefer had almost believed, but it had seemed fictitious and impossible. How can Mom believe in a God who she can’t physically see? If He is a merciful and just God, why does He let things like sin and bad things happen? Right at that moment, though, Janefer desperately needed someone to talk to. “God,” She prayed. “I don’t know if you are even real…..but, I’m scared, and…….well, if you’re there, could you please help the police to find justice? Umm, amen.” I guess. I have about as much tack as a horse trying to kneed bread dough. Janefer didn’t really believe that God- the One her mother believed in, would answer her prayer, anyway. It was probably a silly thing to do. The doorbell rang, interrupting Janefer’s thoughts. She heard her mother greeting the officer. Janefer heard them coming nearer as their voices grew louder. Janefer looked up as Mrs. Davis called her name. “Janefer,” She said. “This is, well, you know him already. Detective Whitby.”
Whitby nodded. His deep baritone voice rumbled as he spoke. “So you had a threat message engraved onto your table? How would they have been able to get in?” Janefer shrugged, then reddened. “Oh, no! I probably forgot to lock the door when I left to go visit my Dad and Mel!” Whitby looked uncomfortable. “Can I get you anything?” Mrs. Davis asked. “Juice, milk, coffee, water?”
“Coffee, if you have it.” Mrs. Davis trotted back to the kitchen to fix some coffee. Whitby gazed at the table. His eyebrows furrowed as he saw the message. “This is some threat.” Janefer nodded mutely. “I need to dust for fingerprints, and maybe take some photos. Was there anything out of place or missing?” Janefer shook her head. “I- I don’t think so. My note wasn’t there, and this is what it was replaced with. How could they have gotten in when my mother was in her bedroom?” Whitby looked at her. “My guess is they sneaked in through a window or back door. Do you have any windows open or doors unlocked?”
“No, everything was closed and locked-” Janefer stopped. “Well, except for the front door, and- wait a minute!” She sprang up from the couch and marched over to the another door that led off of the kitchen. Whitby and Mrs. Davis followed. Apparently the coffee had been made, and he was now sipping it every few seconds. She motioned for them to be quiet, and she opened the creaky door. “This door leads to a root cellar.” Janefer whispered. “I’ve explored down there before, and it’s really very creepy, but a perfect place for a burglar to hide.”
Whitby handed his mug to Janefer as he drew his weapon and flashlight and descended down the stairs.