Author's note: Summer has a way of bringing changes, doesn't it?
The "Incident"The trip home was much smoother, thanks to my driving. Mrs. Barnett stood at the front door waiting.
"You've got mail, Seth," she smiled, handing me an envelope. I took it to the kitchen table and sat down to read my mail:
My Dearest Son Seth,
All is well at the old homestead. I got a job at Dairy Queen! Sydney joined a free swimming class down at the town pool. Milly is pregnant! Can you believe it? Ain't it wonderful! We miss you, Seth. Sydney wanted to draw you something. Its enclosed in the envelope. I hope your doing fine. I love you and am very proud of you, son.
It had a drawing attached to it; the drawing of our whole family that Sydney had made right before I left. Tears ran down my face. Jamie walked in the kitchen. For once her wild look turned somber. She wrapped her arms around me and said in her archeangel voice, "You're brave, Seth."
After Jamie left, I slipped the picture with me and prowled to my room. I skimmed through my Bible for a helpful verse. Then I remembered a verse Momma had taught me when I was but a wee little thing; Matthew 28:20. I quickly skimmed the pages....
...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
It was about midnight when I heard screams coming from the living room. Underwear and all, I basically jumped to the living room, to find Mrs. Barnett tied up in a rope, with duct tape covering her mouth, eyes swelled, tears streaming down her face, and a nasty scratch on it, too.
"Oh! Mrs. Barnett!" I started crying, rushing over to untie her. I looked around for the fiend who did this to such a genuine person. No one was in sight. Only an open front door.
"Mrs. Barnett, I am so sorry, I am so sorry," I muffled between sobs. I swiftly, but with great care, took one end of the silver tape over Mrs. Barnett's lips. She gasped for breaths.
"Oh, Mrs. Barnett, who did this?!"
She started sobbing. I untied her hands then rushed to the bathroom for a warm, wet towel. I dabbed it over the fresh wound on her delicate face. Mrs. Barnett started calming down.
"I... don't... know.... if... it... was... a man... or... a woman," she choked.
"I'll call the police," I said, springing to the phone.
"Seth! Are you all right?" asked a husky, familiar voice. Derek!
"You might want to ask Mrs. Barnett that," I managed to get out. Derek's green eyes grew large as he turned his head in Mrs. Barnett's direction.
"I'll carry her to her bed and stay with her until the police comes." Derek, with such easiness it suprised me, cradled Mrs. Barnett in his muscular arms and slowly carried her into her bedroom. Then, lo and behold, everyone's favorite redhead came bursting through the door.
"Is everything alright? I heard gunshots!" screamed Jamie, breathless. Had I really slept through gunshots?
Jamie's eyes widened at the puddle of blood on the floor.
"Where's Mrs. Barnett? Did you kill Mrs. Barnett?" she demanded. I, for the first time in a while, chuckled.
"No, Derek beat you here. He carried her to her bedroom," I pointed down the hallway. Jamie put her arms around me.
"Oh, Seth," she started crying.
I hated to ruin the moment, but the curiosity was killing me.
"What were you going to do if I had killed Mrs. Barnett?"
Jamie paused for a moment. "You'll laugh."
"You deserve it," I looked deeply into her walnut eyes, her face inches away from mine. I was trying hard not to let her see through me.
She cockily tossed her hair back over her shoulder then stroked her finger down my cheek. Man, how does she do it?
"What? Are you trying to get even with a little 15 year old?" She smiled coyly.
"Just tell me."
"You can't laugh," she looked into my eyes. I gulped.
She hesitated for a moment. "I was going to help you hide the body."
It took all of my willpower to keep from laughing.
I had a mental picture in my mind; Jamie and I dragging a body out the door and tossing it into Mrs. Barnett's truck's bed. Hilarious.
"Are you guys going to stand there all day and flirt or are you going to shut the front door?" laughed Derek. Jamie dropped her hand from my cheek, still staring intensly into my eyes. Then she gradually shifted her body to Derek, and shook it off. I just stood there in a daze staring at the confusing person in front of me.
She cleared her throat and smiled a devishely angelic smile. "Why would I want to do that when the cops are walking through the door?" I shifted my gaze to the front door; and, as stated, there walked in the sheriff. He had white hair and blue eyes, a slender build, but tall.
"Theft and attempted murder, you say? We don't get much of those," he mumbled, as if talking to himself, but it was clear that the sentence was meant for all to hear.
"Where's Katlyn?" his expression turned soft as he looked at the bloodsplatter on the carpet.
"She's fine, in her room," Derek managed to get out after the shock of Jamie's predictions.
"I'll go have a look, I called Dr. Schwan to come over and look, too," Sheriff Jordan called.
In case you're wondering, yeah, we're talking about Jamie's grandmother, Dr. Schwan. "What did you see?" asked Sheriff Jordan before heading to Mrs. Barnett. I told him the terrifying scene again, then he hurried to Mrs. Barnett's door, taking a deep breath. Here would come the gory details of the horrifying scene that had took place before I had arrived into the scene. I gulped as I walked through the door.
Mrs. Barnett was lying down in her bed, clutching the picture of her husband. Sheriff Jordan cleared his throat. "Can you tell us what happened, please, Katlyn?"
She breathed a deep breath. "I walked into the kitchen to get a cup of midnight coffee. I looked behind me. A man about Seth's height, slender, and had a ski mask on. Told me if I screamed before he left he would do awful things to me. He had white hair. It was sticking out of the mask a tad," she gulped. I looked over at Jamie's shocked expression.
"I'M COMING!!!" screamed a voice that sounded like the summer wind. I looked. I supposed, Dr. Schwan. She was an elderly woman, with sky blue eyes so light, they almost were white. Her ratty but clean hair came to her shoulders, I think, because she was wearing a ponytail. She wore.... teenage style clothes. Teenage style sixty clothes. She wore a leather bomber jacket, a big dark pair of sunglasses, a poodle skirt, and some big leather boots. Sixties with a biker twist.
"Oh, Katlyn!" she yelped like a helpless dog. I now understood that all of the... elderly.... adults called Mrs. Barnett by her first name. I guess she frightens us kids out of our wits; I don't know why, she's really sweet. My heart beat (almost) faster than the day I met Jamie Lauren. We would get a diagnosis of how bad Mrs. Barnett was actually beaten up.
"Let's see..." murmured Dr. Schwan, taking off her sunglasses (by the way, are youn remembering its nighttime?).
Something in my head must've turned a light on. "Sheriff Jordan! The first night I stayed here, Mrs. Barnett heard something. She said it was someone, but I didn't see anyone. Do you think....?" I started. Sheriff Jordan nodded his head.
"Most definitely connected," Sheriff Jordan nodded his head.
"Seth, are you a danger magnet in Magoffin County, too?" teased Jamie. I let that one slide. The thought if Momma knowing something terribly wrong was going on up here frightened me... she'd make me come home. It wasn't that I didn't want to come home, it was that someone needed to be here with Mrs. Barnett if this happened again. I would make sure none of it got back to Momma.
"Let's see.... a broken wrist and the deep wound on her face is all I could find," she sighed of relief.
"Coming, Dr. Scwan!!" yelled a voice from the hallway. Dr. Scwan rolled her eyes.
In the doorway stood a woman, about 5' 6'' and 28. She had wispy coal black hair with glasses pushed upon her nose. Her eyes where green. She was nothing but a beanpole, Momma would say. This girl was oridanary, unlike Dr. Schwan. Dr. Schwan sighed.
"Everyone, this is my assistant,Gemma McConnell. She's really quite good at what she does, actually." Although there was that annoyed look on her face, you could tell her voice was full of grudging admiration. Gemma smiled weakly.
"Sadly, Gemma, I have to say you're a bit late today. I've already examined Katie," Dr. Schwan nodded toward the weak Mrs. Barnett.
"Hi," Mrs. Barnett smiled weakly. Everyone burst out laughing. It was a nervous, relief sort of laugh. Why did we laugh? Imagine it; three terrified teenagers standing by a wounded elder, with her best friend, the doctor, which is also one of the teenager's grandmother, with her nerdy assistant and the county sheriff. It wasn't funny; it was hilarious.
"We'll look more into this in the morning," yawned Sheriff Jordan. Derek yawned in agreement.
"I'll sleep in the floor if you want me to, ma'am," I offered Mrs. Barnett.
"Awww, shucks, Seth, don't you worry your little head about me. Now, go on to your sleeping quarters and get to sleep," Mrs. Barnett smiled. "That goes for the rest of you, too." She motioned them out the door, while watching Jamie yawn. The big scene was over, and everyone was okay.
"Goodnight, Mrs. Barnett," I softly whispered as I walked out her bedroom door. Jamie stayed in Mrs. Barnett's bedroom.
"Mrs. Barnett, I could stay with you and Seth. After all, I did take that first aid class,"I could almost hear Jamie smile.
"Alright, you can sleep in the floor of Seth's bedroom," she said after a long pause, then I heard the bed creak. She must've shifted over. I ran to my bedroom then laid on the bed. When Jamie walked in, she had on her Miss America smile.
"Guess who's sleeping over?" she asked. I swallowed.
Finally, at 1:30, I got settled in the bed after playing 20 questions with Jamie (she reminded me so much of Jason, it shouldn't have been legal) . Then, drearily, with her eyelids half open, she popped one more question;
"Why do you sleep with your Bible?"
This question, though it should not have, made me stir uneasily. My heart pounded.
"It makes me feel better," to hear me talk I sounded 5.
"Oh," she yawned. I felt the corners of my mouth tug as I watched her head hit the pillow as her eyelids floated down over her sparkling walnut eyes.