Bookworm

I inadvertently flinched as the resounding echo of the doorbell pierced the quiet and snapped me out of my happy land of fiction quite rudely. Sighing, I rolled off the couch placing my bookmarked novel on the coffee table and dragged myself to the door.


The ringing persisted and I was soon standing at the door panting from running through the halls of our large house and very annoyed at whoever had the nerve to interrupt my careful inspection of Homer’s Iliad and make me burn off my lunch.


“What?” I snapped as I swung open the mahogany wood door.


All my anger suddenly withered into something on the verge of fear at the sight of the two large, burly men in black suits standing on the wood-paneled porch. They looked like FBI agents or the Secret Service dudes or, God forbid, the Mafia. Their shaded glasses, professional looking headsets, deeply furrowed scowls and the black tinted SUV parked in the long driveway enforced that conclusion.


“Ma’am?”


I realized I had been gawking this whole time and struggled to hold my composure. “Uh, y-yes?”


The FBI/Secret Service/Mafia guy to my right dug into the front pocket of his jacket and flicked a shiny gold badge in my still shocked face. “Detective P. Cloorsworth and Detective J. Lywiss, Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Phew, no illegal Italian assassins. I really shouldn’t let my imagination and reading make me go crazy. Wait, FBI? “Is Mr. Caluya home?”


“Um, no.” Gee, way to be intelligent, Kira.


The Lywiss guy glanced at Detective Cloorsworth as he pocketed his badge then turned to me. “Well, do you have any idea when he’ll be available?”


“He’s out of town until Tuesday,” I managed.


Lywiss slid his gasses to his nose to look at me above the rim. I felt like a small child. “Are you home alone?”


Detective Lywiss was not as tall and hard-built as Detective Cloorsworth but something about the way he stood and scrutinized me with his penetrating black gaze gave me goosebumps. I knew I probably shouldn’t be frightened out of my pants———after all, they did work for the government, right?———he had every right to ask if my fourteen-year-old self was in the care of a legible grown-up. I was also not one to judge, but I just couldn’t shake off the triple-dose of uneasiness he made me feel.


I gulped. “No, sir, my nanny, Elizabeth Troisi, is working in the garden.”


Lywiss pursed his lips and nodded once.


What’s up with that?


After jotting down some notes on a piece of notepad he magically produced from who knows where, Detective Cloorsworth handed me a business card and addressed me. ”When your dad comes home, tell him to give me a call. We have some catching up to do.”


I nodded, smiling meekly as they departed.


When the soft purr of the SUV’s engine died away I slid my back against the bolted front door, laid my head in my hands and tried to digest this disturbing visit.





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