Everyone has a secret. One they hide. Sometimes, one they run from—fast and hard, without stopping to consider the consequences of that mad dash for sanity.
Kelley Garrett? She’s got a secret. A big one. She’s hoping to shake its grip but even someplace as peaceful as Chincoteague Island may not be able to shelter her.
Then again, who knows? Maybe it will. That’s a chance Kelley’s willing to gamble on—with her life.
She heard her mother sigh. With a sigh of her own, Kelley waited for the admonishment, the unsolicited advice, the endless, never-changing diatribe sure to come next. She waited, and was surprised when it didn’t come.
“Ah, well. Yes, I suppose a day can get away from you now and again.” The voice was as soft as cotton candy, so sweet and innocent that it may have fooled someone else with its assumed sincerity. But Kelley knew the woman behind the voice too well. She wasn’t lulled into a false sense of security.
“Yes, I suppose.” Kelley’s fingers tightened on the cell phone. She wished she had the guts to cut the conversation off now, to snap the phone shut and shove it back into the pocket of her jeans. Hard and fast, into the farthest corner where even if it rang again she wouldn’t have to answer it. Had it not been her mother on the other end of the line, she may have been able to do it. But it was her mother, the woman who had brought her into this world, and she owed the woman more respect than she wanted to give.
In the end, Kelley’s mother was faster than she was, anyhow. Even if she’d been about to hang up, she would have missed her chance. The voice from the phone was whip fast and to the point.
“Well, just as long as you don’t let many more days slip by, Kelley. Have you given any more thought to what we discussed the other night? And the night before that? And last week?”
Softness turned hard quickly. Silk became steel and the questions shot like rounds from an assault rifle, ricocheting through her mind, causing a clatter that made the storm trivial by comparison. “A job, Kelley Garrett. You need a job. Not later, but now. Have you considered that? Are there any places on that island that could offer you the type of employment you’re qualified for? Because it’s time. You know it and I know it. Even Dr. Stevens knows it. You need to find a job.”
Her hand rose in front of her face, holding back the traffic that was her mother’s tirade. “Dr. Stevens? You spoke to Dr. Stevens about this?”
“Today. Just this afternoon, in fact. This afternoon, when you were letting time drift by as if you have an endless supply of it. Life is short, Kelley. You can’t let it pass you by forever, you know. Time is measured.”
Like a dragon rearing its head, Kelley’s temper roared to life. Her reply came in clipped bursts whose volume lessened with each volley. “Believe me, I know. Time is measured. No reminders, Mother. I don’t need reminders. In case you’ve forgotten. Measured time—stolen time—lost time? I know them all. Intimately. And a job? I’ll get one when—and if—I’m good and ready.”
“Kelley, I don’t want to—”
Her palm smacked the wide glass pane before her. The reinforced material, specially manufactured to withstand hurricane force winds and off-course seagulls, withstood the brunt of her anger.
“And tell Dr. Stevens to go to Hell. I fired him, remember? He’s not my therapist anymore. And one more thing, Mother—”
“But, Kelley, he just wants to help—”
Lightning speared the world outside, and for a heartbeat Kelley saw her reflection in the glass. The woman staring back at her looked as unpredictable, tortured and out of control as the raging storm.
“Remember, I cut Dr. Stevens out of my life. I can cut anyone out. Anyone.”
With a sound that was almost a snarl, Kelley slapped the cell phone closed. She dropped it to the floor and put her forehead against the cool glass. Her sobs came quickly. Her body slid down the windowpane and she slumped on the floor, shaking and gasping for air.
SANDSWEPT: A CHINCOTEAGUE ISLAND MYSTERY
by Sarita Leone
EBook formats ISBN: 978-1-60313-458-3
Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-60313-457-6
Buy Here from Whiskey Creek Press
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