Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Coming Home" Pt 3

Howdy Folks,       

Because we've had so many requests for more of "Coming Home" I thought it would be fun to post a few more pages. If you're just now joining our journey parts 1 and 2 were posted 4-9 and 4-10 … We pick up our story still in Chapter one, Billie has gone to meet Roy at Martha's diner. We will end in Chapter two, on page 10 ... They say you should hook your reader in the first 10 pages (or less) Let me know if Billie has you hooked.

 I hope you enjoy. 

                                                      Coming Home Pt 3

Billie looked at her watch. The second time in three minutes. Five after eleven. Roy's paperwork must have taken longer than he'd planned. She'd give him one more cup of coffee, and then drive to the Sheriff's office to discuss her employment with Sheriff Lovell. Actually she wasn't totally disappointed in Roy. Sitting alone in Martha's diner for half an hour gave her time to catch up on the local news first hand. Some of what she'd heard here, her mother had already told her, like what a shame it is that Barilla's Theater was closing. Now folks would need to drive forty miles one way to Dawson to see a movie. Dawson had a new theater though, eight theaters in one building. Folks here in Barilla, the Hondo county seat, thought that was a big theater. She smiled. In Nashville they had a Cineplex with twenty theaters under one roof. Still, Billie thought, the county seat should really have a theater. She made a little bet with herself that it wouldn't be very long until Barilla had a new theater. Maybe a mini-Cineplex like Dawson. After all, Barilla was starting to grow.

She thought about the statistics she'd studied in the package Sheriff Lovell had mailed her. One thousand new residents since the '00 census. A new courthouse, new high school, and a newly repaved four lane interstate with a daily traffic count of almost two thousand cars. Crime was up too. Last year the murder rate in Hondo County had doubled. Two murders. Of course it had only been a single crime. But there had been two victims. Billie had agreed it made sense for two counties to combine their sheriff's departments. Glad though, she could come in after all the inter-county wrangling was finished. Even if she would be the lone Detective covering eight hundred square miles. Eight hundred square miles, two courthouses, twenty-five thousand people – and five murders.

Billie checked her watch again. Eight minutes late. If Roy was going to be her partner he'd need a refresher on punctuality. Of course she hadn't given him her cell number so she couldn't fault him for not calling to give her a heads up that he'd be running late. From her booth by the big front window she had a grand view of town. She leaned to look down Main Street which was exactly seven blocks long and sported one traffic signal located in the intersection between the new courthouse and the only other edifice of any remarkable stature on Main Street, the Staked Plains Museum. Which had only two years ago moved into the old courthouse. The street was wide with plenty of parking; she noted the most favored mode of transportation in Barilla seemed to be pickups at least ten years old. She checked her Vette. Yea, that'll stand out.

The Sheriff's car slid to a rough stop behind her Vette. She jumped up as he leaped out and moved too quickly toward the sidewalk. She hadn't seen Sheriff Lovell in two years but he hadn't changed one iota. Except for the way he looked overanxious as he trotted around her car.

They met on the curb.

Sheriff Lovell offered his hand. They shook. Billie quizzed him with her eyes. "Figured that to be your car. Listen, we've got to go. Get in, ride with me."

"Where are we going? I'm ah – not…. I mean….Interview in the car?"

"Yea, something like that. Let's go, Detective Weston. Right now."

                                                                   Chapter Two

"I want your trained eye on this. There's going to be a lot of people at the scene." Sheriff Lovell shook his head as he drove the county's car at a dangerous speed. "A woman driving by called the State Police before she called us. They're already on the scene, messing it up."

"What scene? Sheriff, we haven’t talked. I'm not a deputy yet. I haven't been sworn in."

Without slowing, or shifting his eyes from the road Sheriff Lovell reached beside him, grabbed a paper bag and, not too gently, shoved it into Billie's lap.

She looked at him. Looked in the bag. A gold badge in a leather case, and a black hand gun in a leather holster.

"Raise your right hand."

She did.

"Do you swear to enforce and uphold the laws of Hondo and Dawson Counties? I forget the rest of it."

"I do."

"Good. You can put your hand down." He swerved recklessly around a grain truck and a wreck of a pickup with a slightly worse off camper on the back. "Like I said, there's going to be a lot of people at the scene. Ignore them. Do your job. Use the all the training the FBI gave you." He looked at her. "And listen Billie. You talk to me. Only me. There's something home-grown about this. The State Police'll try to mess it up. You keep it home-grown." He looked at her again. "I want answers."

"Sheriff, are you going to tell me what this is all about?"

He slammed on the brakes and slid off the road into the sand. Dust swallowed the car. The grain truck and pickup camper drove by. He looked at her. She could see he was tearing.

"Roy was ambushed." Sheriff Lovell dropped his head in his hands. "He's dead."

Billie gasped. She stared at the man next to her, holding his head, crying like any ordinary father would cry over the death of his son. She waited. A few minutes wouldn't make any difference now. Except for the damage State Police Troopers could do to a crime scene. She'd grown used to that over the past five years. State cops, local cops always stumbling around the crime scene, moving things, touching things. Just being in the way. The thought occurred to her – now she was the local cop. For almost three minutes already. Sworn in, in a speeding Sheriff's Suburban. By a well respected Sheriff on the way to the scene of his own son's murder.

He wasn't ready, but after a few minutes Billie knew it was time to go. "Sheriff, want me to drive?"

He wiped his face, snorted. "No. I'll get us there." He grabbed her knee and squeezed it. "You figure this out Billie. Don't let anybody get in your way." He wiped his face again, forced an almost invisible smile, "He was all excited about your date."

She nodded. Sheriff Lovell put the Suburban in drive and punched the gas. By the time the wheels were on pavement they were doing ninety again. In the seconds it took for Billie to remember Roy's eager face from earlier that morning they were swerving around the grain truck and pickup camper again.

Gitty Up~ Dutch Henry

To continue you can read Pt 4 here --

To start at the beginning here are the links to Pt 1 & Pt 2


  1. Kathy Adams MeadowsApril 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Dutch, this novel has to be finished! Please!!!

    1. Howdy Kathy, THANKS! ... I'm playing with it ...