When the Flood Falls – Excerpt
By Jayne Barnard
At eight o’clock, driven indoors by mosquitoes, Lacey paced from room to deserted room. Without Dee or her gangly dogs, the house was too quiet. Her footsteps echoed from the glossy log ceiling as she reexamined the place. Had Dee really left her briefcase open on the hall stand, exposing confidential client papers to potential visitors? Those magazines on the dining room sideboard were scattered rather than stacked. The drawer beneath them was not quite closed either. Small things out of place were not like Dee. None of this should be triggering Lacey’s old cop senses. Yet she had been home for nearly six hours with no word from Dee, no hint about who she suspected of planting Friday’s nasty surprise. Could she have gone today to tackle someone? She couldn’t walk far with her ankle barely healed, and her vehicle was parked out front.
Lacey paused by the huge living room windows. Beyond the spiky shrubs and jagged borders, past the Nexus and her Civic, tall spruce-tree shadows edged across the driveway. The golden sunset vanished. Behind the peaks a spreading pile of murky clouds meant more rain on the slopes and the snow pack. More water slithering down the steep mountainsides. More of the churning brown torrent that was the Elbow River. She didn’t need to see it to know it was rising inexorably toward the bridge. The walking trail over on the town side had begun to fall away earlier. By now this bank must be crumbling too. Dee could walk that far, slowly, but she wouldn’t let Boney and Beau near the water when it was running high and wild. After months of the stalker, she hated and feared the darkness, too. She wouldn’t stay out alone if she had a choice.
At a dead end, Lacey called Dee’s phone yet again. Something buzzed upstairs, barely audible over the evening breeze singing in the spruce. She reached the upper hall in four leaps but the buzz had stopped. She hit redial and heard it again, almost at her left hand. On the hall table Dee’s phone vibrated, rubbing against a vase that amplified the slight sound.