When Jane Darcy ventured inside; it was pitch dark. She could hear every step she took, her heart throbbing in her ears. She felt confident that she would find clues; but the potential of discovery made her feel anxious, and uneasy.
She knelt down in front of the hutch near the door, and looked at the photograph that she had seen earlier that day. The storefront behind the couple looked expensive; if only the name of the shop hadn’t been cut off, or the background had been in better focus, she might have been able to identify the building.
She snapped off a picture with her camera, and tiptoed into the living room. Nothing seemed too unusual; besides a general sense of disarray and clutter, and a moderate buildup of dust.
Jane snapped off a picture of the living room, in hopes of spotting something in the photograph later. Just as she was entering the hall, she laid her hand on something soft. It was a man’s jacket; one that had seen better days, with a rip in the elbow and a fraying edge.
Holding it up to the light of her flashlight, she was suddenly startled by the sudden rapping on the front window. A frigid cold shiver ran down her spine as it dawned on her what the sound meant; Sadie was home, and Margaret had dashed into the bushes.
“Where can I hide?” Jane whispered to herself.
Getting caught by Sadie in her house was unthinkable; but where could she go? She couldn’t go out of the front door, she would surely be seen. Where was the back door?
Jane Darcy frantically raced to the window and tugged on it, before her eyes caught the glimmer of several large nails that kept the window sealed shut. Sadie clearly didn’t want any burglars coming in the house through the windows.
She heard Sadie on the front doorstep; there was no mistaking it, she was only seconds from entering the house and flipping on the lights. Jane quietly darted down the back hall from the living room, and as she retreated into the shadows she heard the door open, shut, and the lights in the foyer came on. Then, there was a voice.
“Get in here, Ted.” Sadie said in a low tone, followed by a second set of footsteps.
She knew she had to find a hiding place, but any noise she made could blow her cover. With luck, the hallway would lead to the kitchen. Forcing her feet to move, she pressed on, with her back to the wall, down the dark corridor.
“I don’t want you around here anymore, it’s too dangerous.” Sadie’s voice cracked lightly; and Jane could tell whoever she was talking to, made her very emotional.
She could see shadows begin to move into the living room. Jane was being closed in, if they looked down the hall they might see her; when suddenly, her hand fell onto a doorknob. Soundlessly pulling it open, she retreated backwards into the black chamber and pulled the door to behind her.
Backing into a broom, she realized it was a utility closet. It didn’t get her out of the house, but with luck; she would be concealed here for at least a little while. Leaning her ear to the slight crack left in the door, she listened closely.
“No one will suspect me here, Sadie.” A mysterious voice said, it was a man; and someone who didn’t have the regional accent.
“Are you kidding me? I’ve already had weird things happening around here, and there was a strange girl that showed up today. You have to get out of here,” She sounded hysterical, “Get out of town; give it up Ted, it’s not worth it!”
“There, there, Sadie; you know I can’t do that.”
Sadie audibly sobbed, and someone comforted her quietly.
“I’ll leave, but promise me you’ll remain calm. Everything will be fine; I know what I’m doing.”
“At least,” Sadie’s voice broke in, “You left your jacket here, take it with you.”
Jane heard someone walk to the opposite side of the living room, when suddenly it struck her; clutched in her hand in the darkness, was that same jacket she had found in the living room.
“Ted!” Sadie screeched, “It’s not here!”
…To be continued, next week on Sunday, May 30th! Jane Darcy needs your help to solve the hair-raising mystery surrounding Pinecrest; keep your magnifying glass handy, and don’t miss the next exciting chapter!