The Pineview Incident

The Pineview Incident by Kayla Griffith Read Free Book Online

Book: The Pineview Incident by Kayla Griffith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kayla Griffith
several burgundy floral arrangements scattered around the room. It remained the home of a small-town pastor, threadbare but well kept, though it did smell different, like sweet spices.
    No, it felt different. The memories belonged here, but John's influence no longer lingered in the room.
    “It's changed,” he said.
    This was Donna's home now, and that realization excited him. Weird.
    “Only a little,” Donna said.
    He nodded and for a long moment neither of them moved.
    “I, uh, have coffee going. Decaf,” said Donna with an apologetic shrug. She reached out her hand. “Can I take your coat?”
    Mark pulled off his jacket, feeling a bit naked without it.
    “Coffee's good,” he said. He'd been in this home a thousand times as John and Donna raised their little family. The kids called him Uncle Mark. Why should he feel so uncomfortable here?
    But the feeling of a boy trapped in a girl's bathroom remained. He looked around for something, anything, to occupy his time. Finally, his eyes caught the family pictures that lined the old bookcase where John had kept his theology books. The photos, each one in its own frame, cluttered every shelf. The top two shelves were lined with pictures he hadn't seen yet.
    “When did this all happen?” he asked. The faces in front of him were of young men and women, weddings, and babies. The children he'd once played with were nowhere to be seen.
    “While I was busy grieving,” answered Donna. She handed him a cup and motioned for him to sit on the old sofa.
    “You didn't get rid of it?” Mark asked with a chuckle as he sat down to the familiar tune of squeaking springs.
    “I want to. You have no idea how much I want to toss it, but there's always something else I need more.”
    Mark knew that. Donna's job as a school lunch lady didn't pay much and her husband's life insurance was a pittance. Money was tight, just as it had always been.
    “So what's your plan?” Donna asked, pulling him back into the present.
    “I want to call them and see if we can come over and talk. Then, we can approach the farm with caution, maybe wear our hunting camo and do a little spying.”
    Donna's eyes narrowed.
    “Just in case,” he added again. “Best to be safe.”
    “Of course. Because overweight sheep farmers just might be aliens.”
    Mark cleared his throat and tried to ignore Donna's tone.
    “No one is quite sure what's going on up there. I don't think the Gilbertsons are a threat, but we can't be sure until we go look. A little sneakiness is a good thing in this case.”
    “I'm not sure I want to know,” said Donna. “And I'm pretty sure I don't want to go sneaking through the woods in hunting gear to find out.”
    Mark looked down into his cup. “I want to know,” he admitted. He was more than curious. “We can go and make sure it's safe before we drive up and ask 'em ourselves.”
    “You want us to drive over there, knock on the door, and ask the family if they are secretly aliens? Seriously?”
    “We could take cookies. That might soften the blow.”
    Donna choked on her coffee.
    “Look, the Gilbertsons may be odd, but they're honest people, and they'll answer us honestly. Then we can put this whole damn thing behind us. This town is acting like one of those soap operas—not that I've ever seen one, mind you—and I for one am tired of it.”
    Mark watched Donna as she sipped her coffee. He'd forgotten how beautiful she was.
    Finally, she nodded. “Okay, we can go Saturday afternoon.”
    “We might want the cover of darkness.”
    “No, we won't. That's creepy,” said Donna. “Besides, I don't like being in the woods at night.”
    Mark took a gulp of coffee, not quite believing she'd agreed to go with him. They sat in silence for a few moments as Mark wondered how to tactfully ask the Gilbertsons about the possibility of polygamy and sheep sex. Nothing good came to mind.
    His eyes wandered until they came to rest on the picture of a newborn.
    “Life does go on, doesn't

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