Kendra drove by the little yellow house twice, before parking on the other side of the street. She tried to look through the front bay windows, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the woman she was about to confront.
As she was getting out of her car, a tall, thin woman walked out the front door. Kendra had expected her to look frail, and broken down. Instead, she was looking at an attractive woman, in chic attire, walking towards her car. Kendra’s heart was pounding and her mind was racing with second thoughts, but she couldn’t let this opportunity pass.
“Excuse me. Tammy?”
Tammy was startled by a woman running across the street, calling her name.
“I’m sorry, do I know you?”
“No. My name is Kendra. Please pardon the unannounced visit but I was wondering if we could chat for a minute. I know this may sound strange but I live in the old farmhouse you used to live in and I have a few questions about the place.”
Fear became transparent in Tammy’s eyes. She stumbled on her words, as she told Kendra she was busy and was already late for an appointment. She was in such a flustered rush, she reached for the car door handle but failed to grab ahold. She fell back on to the driveway.
Kendra reached her hand out to help her up. Tammy just sat there, looking at this stranger in front of her. Kendra remembered what Joe had told her – “be gentle.”
“Tammy, I promise I won’t take up much of your time. I found some things on the property that I would like to incorporate in to a novel I’m writing. I am just hoping you can help, that’s all.”
Tammy grabbed Kendra’s hand, pulling herself to her feet. Perhaps out of curiosity of what she knows, and the soft plea in her eyes, Tammy told Kendra to follow her inside.
Tammy put on a pot of coffee, saying nothing as she moved around the kitchen. Kendra could feel the air shift, as Tammy sat down at the table. There was a lack of emotion in Tammy’s eyes, but a polished, put-on demeanor about her.
“So, what is this book about and how do you think I can help?”
“Well, the farm house is just the setting. It’s really a story of revenge. My leading female character appears pristine on the surface but behind closed doors, she is living the life of a battered woman. At the point I’m at, she is conflicted between killing herself and killing her husband.”
Tammy stood up from the table. Leaning towards Kendra with sheer panic across her face, she began shouting at her.
“Who are you? Why did you really come here? Are you a reporter or some kind of cop? I’ve told everybody everything I know about Charlie’s disappearance. Why won’t this just go away!”
“Tammy, hold on. I’m not a reporter or a cop. I am what I say I am, a writer. Every since I moved in to that farm house, this story has been begging me to write it. I’ve dreamt it a hundred times. I have stumbled upon things in the back yard that are too much of a coincidence. Trust me, I wish this would go away for me too but it won’t. I need to know the rest of this story. Someone is telling me to write your story.”
Tammy walked to the counter, her back to Kendra. She was quiet for several moments. She reached in the cupboard, grabbed a bottle of Jameson and added some to her coffee. She didn’t even ask Kendra before she added some to hers as well. She sat back down, across from Kendra.
“Tell me what you think you know.”
“I’ve spoken to Joe Holland. I know he was a friend of Chucks but he also told me he had an evil side and he used to hit you. If my dream is any indication of what you survived, then the best thing that ever happened was him disappearing. I’m haunted by a scene that I can’t fathom living. I already know the ending to this story Tammy. You survive and justice some how works its self out. I’m not interested in blame or digging up the past. I just need to know what really happened. And what made the scales tip from victim to survivor for you.”
Tammy was nervous, biting her lip and looking anywhere but at Kendra.
Kendra pulled the tooth and gun casing out of her purse. She laid them on the table in front of Tammy.
“That headstone Joe made wasn’t really for the dog was it?”
“No, it wasn’t. I don’t know what possessed me to ever honor where that bastard lies. Charlie treated that damn dog with more dignity than he ever did me. I knew no one would question me digging a hole in the back yard for good ‘ol Chucks best friend. That dog dying just felt like someone giving me an answer of what to do with the body. ”
Tammy began to sob. Tears pouring down, as she unleashed the details of her life as a battered woman, always behind respected doors and at the hand of a man everyone loved. She felt trapped. She listened as Kendra described the scene that played out in her recurring dream. Tammy closed her eyes and simply nodded, confirming that it had really happened.
“I knew he was going to kill me that night, I could see it in his sadistic eyes. It was him or me.”
Tammy wrapped her thin bare arms around her chest, as if to try and stop her shaking. She rocked in her seat as she said softly, “I put a bullet in his head Kendra.”
“Why didn’t you call the police? It was obviously self-defense.”
“I told you. Everyone in this town loved Charlie. Plus, his old family money is what keeps a lot of crooked pockets around here full. They would have said I was jealous of his other lovers and after his money. I had no idea what to do with the body, I was so scared. I hid it in the chest freezer in the basement. Thank God that smelly dog of his died two days later. I made sure to make it known around town that Charlie’s dog had passed. Everyone seemed to feel even more sorry for the poor widow. That afternoon, I dug a hole in the backyard and Joe brought that grave marker down for me. He offered to help me bury the dog but I told him I would do it on my own. That night I dropped that dog right on top of Charlie’s cold, dead, sorry-ass body. It wasn’t until the next day that I remembered the tooth and the casing from bullet. I dug, what I thought was deep enough down, and threw them in. I moved out soon after.”
“No one questioned you about his disappearance?”
Tammy quietly smiled and her tone carried a new level of confidence.
“Of course they did. I was quite the distraught wife though. I spent most of my life pretending to love Charlie for other people’s sake. Faking grief over his loss just came natural to me. It was quite a pleasant role to play.”
Tammy threw back the last of her spiked coffee and indulged in a second. Her defeated demeanor seemed to have fallen off, as she shed the words of her story. She stood taller. Breaking a very long pause in their conversation, Tammy laughed out loud to herself.
“Ya know, not for nothing, because I am alive, but do you know I won’t even see a penny of his money?”
“What? Why not?”
“Because there is no proof of his death. The case is long closed but without the proof, the son of a bitch’s money stays locked up in the stock market and trusts. It’s like his last blow to me.”
“That’s unbelievable. I can’t believe you don’t automatically inherit that money. You deserve it. More than anyone around here knows.”
“Tell me about it!”
The two women raised their mugs, both drinking in the proclamation of Tammy’s injustice.
Suddenly, it all made sense to Kendra. She understood why and how she was connected to all of this.
“Tammy, you deserve that money.”
“I know I do, but there is nothing I can do about that.”
“Maybe there is. You have to trust me though. You have to know that what I am going to suggest, will benefit us both.
“Kendra, what are you talking about? I can’t go stirring things up and bringing attention on myself.”
“Tammy, you put the bastard in the ground but you weren’t able to make him pay. I want to help you make him pay.”
“Don’t worry about the how. Just get ready to leave this town with a story, they can’t resist watching unfold. I have a plan.”
Part three will be coming soon. I’ll be busy enjoying a vacation with family for the next two weeks. What do you think so far? Are you anxious to find out about Kendra’s plan? Let me know, feedback is always appreciated.