My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Bill Benners Read Free Book Online

Book: My Sister's Keeper by Bill Benners Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bill Benners
Tags: Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers
    “ You sure you’re okay?”
    “ I’ve been having a lot of pain in my lower back lately. I hope it means I’ll be getting some use of my legs back.”
    “ God, wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
    She couldn’t hide the pain in her voice. “If I don’t have the pain to go along with it.”
    I patted her arm. Seeing her in pain was hard to tolerate sometimes and I had to leave. “I’ll see you later.”
    She opened her eyes and forced a smile. “Forget her age. Take that girl out again. You need a wife.”
    Truth was, if I could find a wife like my sister, I’d marry her today —wheelchair and all.
    At work, the projects were routine and uneventful  typical for a Monday, but I couldn’t get Ashleigh out of my head. Why doesn’t she call? I passed a mirror in the hall, stopped, and backed up. What would a girl like that see in me? There were dark splotches under my eyes. My skin felt tight and drawn. My God, is that a patch of gray hair? Where does the time go?
    I wanted to call and apologize to her for last night and see if we could get her shooting scheduled, but I couldn’t find a listing for her and decided if she didn’t call, I’d knock on her door after I got home. By noon I was feeling much better. By late afternoon, more like my usual self.
    When I arrived home that evening, the street was crowded with police cars and trucks. There were so many I couldn’t even tell which house was involved. I eased through all the vehicles, pulled into my garage, and let the door close the world out behind me.
    I’d just poured myself a scotch when the doorbell rang. As I approached the door, I could see three men crowding the porch. Sam Jones was one of them—the gumshoe that let my sister down. I unlocked the door and pulled it open. Sam looked up. He had dark brown skin, the beak-like nose of an Indian, and a patch of white flesh that covered his right eyelid. I’d always wanted to ask about it, but it never seemed the right time.
    “ How’s Martha doing these days?” he asked.
    “ She seems to get a little better each day.”
    “ I’m glad to hear that. Do you know a young lady by the name of Ashleigh Matthews?”
    My heart dropped into my belly and I could feel the blood draining from my face. “She lives next door. Why? Has something happened?”
    “ May we come in?”

    I LED SAM AND THE POLICEMEN into the kitchen as Sam introduced the two with him—a skinny white man named Melrose with the wide lip-less mouth of a lizard, and Crabby Staten, an older black man with gray sideburns and a thick scar across his nose. The heavy-set one, Staten, stood next to me with his arms folded like a nightclub bouncer. Lizard Lips set a black satchel on the breakfast table and stepped closer. Jones fished a small writing pad and mechanical pencil from his shirt pocket.
    “ What’s going on, Sam?” I asked. “Something happen to Ashleigh?”
    “ When did you see her last?” he asked, flipping through the pages of the notepad.
    I felt as if all three of them were watching me a little too intensely. The muscles in my neck knotted as I considered the reaction I’d get from my answer. “Last night.” That struck a chord and all three of them shifted in unison—like dancers in a Broadway production. Jones widened his stance as he made a note on his pad. Staten adjusted his thick leather belt and Melrose raised his foot onto the bottom rung of the barstool next to me.
    “ Last night?” Jones asked, his words dripping with insinuation.
    “ She came over during the storm. Her power was off and she thought I might be able to get it back on…and wanted to talk about some photography she said she needed. Why? Has something happened to Ashleigh?”
    Jones made another note. “Photography?”
    I sighed. “Yes. She is okay, isn’t she, Sam?”
    Staten arched his back and his leather equipment belt squeaked. “You the same Baimbridge with the place downtown?” he asked.

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