When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Five

Part Five Brown Envelope

My apologies to those of you who have been following this story. I had hoped to get it out sooner but I am presently undergoing radiation therapy for cancer and as a result my energy and concentration levels have not been up to par. If all goes well Part Six should be up by the end of the weekend. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Now, I introduce for your reading enjoyment  When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Five by me, B. B. Wright.

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Louise nibbled on a small piece of garlic bread as she watched Ethan clear the table and load the dishwasher. A pleasant enough dinner, she thought, but… uneventfulDefinitely not what I expected. Putting down her garlic bread, she picked up her half filled wine glass and, sitting back in her chair, she folded her arms across her chest.  “Ethan?”

“Uh-Huh.” Placing the last dish into the dishwasher, he picked up his wine glass from the counter in front of him and turned to face her. “I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far?”

“I have! Very much!  But…Ethan…I think you’re here for more than just feeding me a great meal and talking over old times. Huh?  What’s the real reason for your visit?”

Ethan bit on his lower lip and looked at her long and hard before finishing the wine in his glass. “I kind’a hoped we’d get through dessert before…we discussed that.”

Taking a sip from her glass, she smiled and, raising her eyebrows, replied: “Then, maybe we should have started with dessert.”

He breathed deeply and let it out slowly. “Maybe… we should have.”

Placing his empty wine glass on the table, he disappeared into the living room and returned a few seconds later with a large brown envelope tucked under his arm. Sitting in the chair opposite her, he placed the envelope beside him and offered to refresh her drink from the partially finished wine bottle in front of him.

She waved off the refill and, with haunting undertones, asked: “Is it that bad that I need a drink?”

He poured an ample portion of wine into his glass and slid the envelope toward her and began massaging his chin as he watched her reaction. “In a word…yes, I think it is.  I’m sorry, Louise, for what’s about to happen.”

“What’s ‘about to happen’? What is this?” Her eyes narrowed as she scrutinized his face looking for an easy answer. Seeing none, she abruptly sat back in her chair as if the envelope was a viper about to strike.

“It’s an autopsy report. To be more precise, it’s Tom’s autopsy report.”

Bug eyed, she retorted: “Tom’s?  Why? How? There was no autopsy report. I would have known.  He…died from complications due to his prostate cancer. No! Whatever you’re about to show must be a lie.” Tears swelled up in her eyes as she stood up and walked into the kitchen for a tissue. “Why are you doing this to me, Ethan? Maybe you should go. NOW!”

He wanted to comfort her but at that moment he knew it was best to keep his distance. Too many unpleasant questions had to be asked and if he hoped to crack open his investigation some of them had to be asked tonight.

“Louise…please…Come back. After you’ve read it, you’ll understand why I can’t just pick up and leave.”

Several moments passed in silence before Louise returned to the dining room with a box of tissues and sat down. Dabbing her eyes with a balled up tissue, she eyed the envelope that lay a short distance from her. Her hand crept across the table and her fingers touched its edge tentatively.

“Ethan, how did I not know there was an autopsy report?”

“It was arranged through CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) working with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).”

“What was Tom working on?”

“He had been working on some highly classified stuff before his death. I know that doesn’t answer your question but in time you’ll learn.”

“You’re one sonofabitch, Ethan. You know that, don’t you? Once I’ve read it, I want you out of here. DO YOU HEAR ME? OUT OF HERE!”  She pulled the envelope toward her and spilled its contents onto the table. Picking up the report, she had barely started to read it through her teary eyes when she looked up at Ethan quizzically. “What’s lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome?”

“It means that Tom was murdered,” he replied, dolefully.

“Murdered?” Slack-jawed, her mind agonized over what she had just heard and the questions she knew she had to ask; her eyes feverishly skirted the room looking for readymade answers only Ethan could supply. “Are you telling me he didn’t have cancer?”

“No…Louise, he had cancer. I’m telling you that…someone wanted him dead before he had a chance to talk to me. And, whether you know it or not, you may have the clue to who did it.”

“But…murder?”

“What twigged us into the possibility that Tom was murdered was the Alexander Litvinenko case a few years back. I don’t know if you remember it because it got scant coverage on our news.” She shook her head in the negative. “Well, he escaped persecution in Russia by obtaining asylum in the U.K. It turned out he had been working for British Intelligence, namely for both MI5 and MI6. Litvinenko wrote two highly controversial books accusing the Russian secret service of staging Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts in order to set the stage for Vladimir Putin regaining power.

We were aware that Tom had prostate cancer, Louise, but we were also aware that it was not life threatening. Two weeks before he suddenly got sick, he alerted us that he had come across some highly sensitive material. Based on the symptoms exhibited in your doctor’s report and comparing it to Litvinenko’s death, the clandestine autopsy was ordered.” Feeling the tension gathering in his neck and shoulders, he stood up and stretched.

“Did you ever find out what the sensitive material was that Tom had discovered?”

“We went to his usual drop-off location with the hope of finding it there but came up empty. So, either someone else got to it or else Tom hid the information in a different location.”

“But Ethan, how would I have the clue to who killed Tom? Or to anything else? How?” Standing up, she began to pace back and forth. “I don’t understand. How could I possibly know such a thing?” She stopped and glared at him.

“Louise, no matter how I looked at it, unraveling this puzzle always came back to you.”

“Ethan, what are you saying?” She rounded the table and headed toward him.

“I’m saying…”

A bullet shattered the ceiling fan light in the living room on its way to its mark and within seconds the frame splintered at the bolt of the outside door to the kitchen sending the door smashing against the wall.

Rhapsody in Blue: A Write at the Merge Prompt

Sylvia stopped half way down the stairs and let the music from the piano flow through her, gently kissing the shores of her soul. Her step softened as she descended to the bottom of the stairs and glided across the floor to the living room where the piano tuner tested the results of his art. Standing in the entranceway she watched Jameson’s hands dance across the keys breathing life back into the Heintzman she had bought barely a month ago at an estate auction.

She had met Jameson at the party of a friend around the time she had bought the piano. Unable to explain how she had known or how it had happened, by the end of the evening she had thrown her practical conservatism and finely tuned logic to the wind and had fallen in love with him.

She watched his shoulder length blonde hair sway to and fro to the rhythm and tempo of the music. Spiriting herself across the floor, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. “Oh my god! That was beautiful! What’s it called?”

“Rhapsody in Blue,” he said, separating her arms and turning to face her. “This piano was a steal. I hope you know that? And, now that it’s tuned…well…” He placed his arms around her waist and pulled her closer.

Disengaging his hands, she walked a short distance away before turning to face him. “What I’m about to ask I’ve never asked anyone before. And, quite honestly, I’m at a loss of how to go about asking it?”  She took in a deep breath. “But, here it goes anyway. Would you move in with me?”

To stop her from saying anything further he held up his hand. “Shush! Of course I would.”

“Would?”

“You need to know something.”

“We love each other. What else is there to know? Mind you,” she said chuckling, “I’d like to know your secret to staying thin.”

He pursed his lips. “That’s what we need to talk about.” He led her back to the piano bench and sat her down. He sighed deeply before beginning. “I have a rare condition called short bowel syndrome or SBS. Quite honestly I’m as normal as I am because of the Orphan Drug Act passed 30 years ago”

“Jameson…”

“Let me finish. Every night I attach an IV to my arm for 8 hours to get my daily nutrients since I can’t absorb the ones I need with solid food.”

“But, I’ve seen you eat.”

“Basically, I eat only for the pleasure of it.” He sat down beside her and, resting his arms across his thighs, looked up at her.

She took his hand in hers. “Whatever lies ahead, we’ll face together.” Tears bubbled up in his eyes. “Why don’t you play another tune? Something more lively.”

Turning to the piano with a large smile, he began to sing and play his rendition of the song Nagasaki while watching Sylvia’s gyrations in rhythm with the music.

The Trailer for “Betrayal of Trust”

Betrayal of Trust, indiepub, amwriting, amreading, crime, thriller, suspense, fiction

The 60 s trailer for Betrayal of Trust.

Learn about  Edward Slocum, Charlotte Bradley, Janet Thompson and a cast of hateful and loveable characters in this adventure, suspense series that is filled with romance (naughty bits and all) sharp turns of plot, intrigue, pathos and of course lots of betrayal that will keep both genders-teenager to adult- guessing at every twist and turn.

Betrayal of Trust by B. B. Wright

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow: Chapter Four

Country Home B

When Yesterday Becomes Tomorrow by B. B. Wright
Chapter Four

It was 3:20 in the morning when Louise switched on her night-table light and sat up in bed. Placing her pillow and the one beside her at her back, she picked up the novel “The Light Between Oceans” by M. L. Stedman from the table, leaned back and tried to read.

Disturbed by her repositioning, Pepper stood up, circled a couple of times before plopping down hard against her and resuming his sleep.

She struggled to finish the chapter she was reading but her mind kept drifting back to her conversation with Ethan at the Boar Inn and Pub the previous day. Placing the bookmark at the end of the chapter, she closed the book and placed it on the table and, folding her arms across her chest, she looked down at Pepper who had squirmed over onto his back and was now snoring beside her. The running shoe he had retrieved from the rocks at the beach lay beside his head.

Though she and Ethan had spent three hours over lunch catching up on old times, she had been unable to elicit any information about what he knew about the case Tom had been working on after he and Ethan had gone their separate ways.

Or did they go their separate ways? I never thought about that possibility until now, she mused.  “Hmm.” Tom became so distant then. Why?

Uncharacteristically, Tom never discussed anything related to his new position in 33 Division even when he returned home one day with a badly bruised cheek. Often, he would disappear for weeks at a time. “It’s police business,” he’d say. “So don’t fret, dear, it’s not another woman. But, I can tell you this. When this case breaks wide open there’s going to be a few high level heads rolling.” It was the only time she remembered him breaking his silence.

Louise recalled how thankful she had been that Sheila, Ethan’s wife, had continued to be friends. Sheila’s friendship had been a boon during Tom’s long absences. Not a day went by that the two of them hadn’t been out on some kind of an excursion whether to buy new clothes, attend live theatre in Toronto or Thursday morning breakfast at the nearby Tim Horton’s. Then, one day—a year later—it had all ended with a call from Sheila. The conversation on the phone had barely lasted twenty seconds. No explanation! Caput! Finished! Nothing!

Consternation and remorse still easily bubbled up in Louise whenever she thought about that day. Friends, she thought, don’t just pick up and disappear like that…unless… she really wasn’t a friend.

Begrudgingly, she had come to accept that for all of the time she and Tom had spent with Ethan and Sheila she had really never known them. A conclusion easily reached when she learned that Sheila had run off to Vancouver with Ethan’s new partner who became the head of the newly formed Drug Investigative Unit there.

She reflected: How does that John Lennon quote go? Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Her conversation with Ethan the other day about that time troubled her because he had treated the whole thing so nonchalantly. He had been unwilling to divulge so much as a modicum of information that might have shed some light on what had happened. When she had pressed him on it, his demeanor changed dramatically and he became quite defensive. So much so she had to quickly back off. Their conversation had remained strained for a time afterwards but by the time they parted any hint of it had clearly subsided. His reaction, though, continued to confuse her and—to her way of thinking—there was something that just didn’t add up. But, what it was, for the moment, eluded her.

She glanced over at Stedman’s novel on her side-table and let out a long, forlorn sigh. Tom was the name of one of the main characters in her book and she couldn’t help but feel that her life like that of Isabel, Tom’s wife in that novel, was about to unravel with dire consequences this evening during supper; a supper that Ethan had insisted on providing. When Ethan had admitted that their meeting in the park had not been an accident, she wondered what else was up his sleeve and whether he would drop it on her during the main course or during dessert. She guessed dessert. Life’s short, eat dessert first, she mused with a smirk. For me, it’s the time of greatest flavour.

Easing herself out of bed so as not to disturb Pepper, she headed downstairs for a glass of milk and the last slice of chocolate cake from a bridge party she had hosted the previous week.

As she sat at the kitchen table looking at her reflection in the window, she wondered what it was that Ethan needed to show her and why he felt it was so important that it be shown in privacy. Picking up her fork she cut through the triple layered wedge of chocolate cake and savored the morceau in her mouth before downing it with a drink of milk. Placing the fork down, she began to tap her fingers on her lips as she continued to reflect on her conversation with Ethan the other day.

She glanced at the wall clock. It was 4:30. Getting up, she walked over to the cordless phone and brought it back to the table along with her address book and sat down. After she finished the remainder of the cake and milk, she opened the address book, found the phone number she wanted, punched in the numbers on her phone and waited for the pickup at the other end.

“This had better be good Louise,” said the gruff, groggy voice of Jeffrey Deaver, the recently retired Captain of 33 Division who picked up on the second ring. “You know what time it is?”

Louise smiled: “Of course I know what time it is.” She quickly discerned she was talking to empty air.

“Good! You didn’t wake up Meredith! Now what’s up?”

“I bet you were snacking in the kitchen like me. Old habits don’t die even in retirement. How’s that wife of yours handling you being underfoot?”

“Meredith’s doing just fine. But, why don’t you just cut to the chase and tell me why you called.”

“Do you remember Ethan Cranston?” She shifted the telephone to her other ear and stood up and walked into the living room. “Your silence is deafening Jeff.”

“Yeah… I remember him. So?”

“He’s in Meaford and it’s no accident.”

“Fuck!”

“My sentiments too, but you have such a poetic way of saying it.” She opened the candy dish and popped a chocolate in her mouth and sat down on the couch.

“Did he tell you why he’s there?”

“He gave me a cock-and-bull story about investigating a murder if that’s what you’re asking?”  She turned on the table lamp as Pepper came down the stairs and jumped onto the couch and settled in the corner opposite her.

“Do you think he has connected the dots?” Jeff asked.

“I guess I’ll find out this evening.” Patting her side, she looked over at Pepper to invite him to snuggle against her which he readily acceded to.

“This evening?” Jeffrey queried with more than a hint of astonishment in his tone.

“Uh-Huh. He’s coming here for supper. Even bringing it,” she replied smugly as she ran her hand softly along the top of Pepper’s head and down his back. “By the way, is everything wrapping up at your end?”

“Just about.”

“What does “just about” mean?”

“A coupla days.Under the circumstances, Louise, that’s my best estimate.” She heard him take in a deep breath. “Why don’t I send some of my men around there tonight to keep an eye on things? Eh?”

“There’s no need for that. Really, I’ll be alright.” Giving Pepper a loving squeeze, she continued: “Somehow, I think you’re going to do it anyway. Am I right?”

“You know me too well,” he chortled.