Kane shut his eyes, his head still pounding, and his wet clothing - thanks to the cold rain - seemed to tighten, threatening to suffocate him.
Over a month ago he’d been pressed into service by eccentric old Macintosh Appleton, who claimed someone was trying to kill him. Kane believed it, too. He’d been the one to have the cocoa powder analyzed and read the report naming the deadly poison. He’d seen the knot on Mac’s head and believed the man had been pushed down the stairs. Then, there had been the cut brake line. Kane had been driving that time. He doubted Mac, at almost eighty, could have kept the old truck from going off the mountain’s curving road - not going that speed at least.
Then, tonight he’d been attacked by a strange dog, hit over the head, kidnapped by a policeman, and had been forced to hit said policeman over the head - knocking him unconscious. Not something a lawyer in good standing wanting on his vidae.
And Hallie Cider had the audacity to call him “horrible.”
|The urn lay where Kane dropped it|
He reached out and brushed away some cocoa powder sprinkling her cheek. She started to step away but then the creak and moan from upstairs turned into footsteps on the stairway.
She smiled, a tentative one, and took a step toward the doorway.
Macintosh Appleton appeared.
|As Hallie remembered him.|
But now his complexion was gray, his hair pressed to his head.
He looked older than his years.
He wasn’t smiling.
Probably because of the gun barrel pressed against his neck.
“Ivy!” Kane couldn’t believe it.
Ivy was smiling, but it wasn’t the gleeful kind that usually meant happiness. No, it was a wicked witch kind, portraying mirth and horror.
“I see that you still have feelings for someone...” Ivy spoke the words to Kane as she gave Hallie a quick appraisal. “...so inconsequential.”
“What?” Hallie sputtered.
“That’s right,” Ivy purred. “Back in high school, I didn’t even have to work at stealing him from you. It was easy. But, then, I did have help.” She frowned at where Crispin lay unmoving. “I do hope I don’t have to kill him, too.”
Hallie made a move, but the click of the hammer of the revolver being pulled back stopped her.
Then Hallie Mae Cider turned white and touched her neck. Her mouth opened and she gasped a little before falling to the floor.
Kane caught her right before she landed. He saw it then, and in an instant knew the truth. The urn lay on the bottom step of the stairs and the cocoa powder covering much of the floor and more.