Saturday, September 6, 2008

Murder on Main Street-part 4

Jan Warren wrote this installment of the 6 part series called Murder on Main Street. I will post the 5th and 6th installments in the following Saturdays.

Jan Warren's bio:
Jan Warren loves the Lord, her children, grandchildren, cooking, country living and writing. She writes inspirational romantic suspense and has finaled in 2007 in the Daphne du Maurier, and took first place in the 2006 Where the Magic Begins contest. She also writes book reviews for Armchair Interviews. Visit her Web site at

Murder on Main Street-part 4

Icy fingers of shock remained wrapped around Tory Bradford’s insides as she and Detective Ethan Jamison waited for the animal control officer to open her car to extract the rattlesnake. The officer reached for the door. Tension filled the air as the gathering spectators edged closer.

“Stay back, folks,” the officer hissed. He jerked the handle. Nothing. He turned toward Tory and glared. “You locked the door?”
Snickers rippled around the crowd. Heat burned her cheeks as the people pinned her with their stares. “M-maybe when I escaped.”

The officer pressed his face against the driver’s window. “I see the keys in the ignition. Do you know your keyless entry code?”
“Sure.” Tory hoped she remembered. She tried the code. Silence.

More snickers. “Break out the window. We don’t have all day,” a man yelled. Murmurs of agreement spread throughout the crowd.

Detective Jamison raised his hand for silence. “I don’t think that will be necessary.” He leaned closer to Tory and smiled. “Try again.”

Think! She reversed the numbers and prayed. The metallic click of the releasing door locks made her jump back.

A flick of the animal control officer’s hand and the driver’s door swung open. “Whoa! That’s the biggest timber rattler I’ve ever seen!” He jabbed a pole with a forked end into the vehicle. Loud thumps and muffled expletives were followed by his exit. He clutched the five-foot snake behind its neck, fangs exposed. The crowd backed up as the viper and his wrangler headed for the truck with the cage.

Tory turned from the sight, nausea threatened to close off her windpipe.

“Ms. Bradford, you said your car was locked last night. Who else has a key or the entry code?” Jamison’s blue eyes narrowed.

“I only have the one set.” She rubbed her aching forehead. “Mrs. Beavers knows the code so she can get supplies out of the car when I’m busy. Oh, and she told my fiancĂ© who used it once to leave me flowers.” She should have called Barry. He’d be worried about her when she didn’t show up for their morning tea.

Another officer handed Tory her purse from the car. Jamison intercepted the book she’d used to deflect the venomous strike. Two puncture marks were evidence of her encounter. A chill slithered down her back at the memory.

“That was a close call, Ms. Bradford. A bite from a snake that size could kill someone of your slender build.” After placing the book in a plastic evidence bag, Detective Jamison touched the indentations.

If she didn’t know better, she’d believe the handsome detective sounded concerned. Then she saw something in his expression. Worry?

“Y—you think the poisoned tea was meant for me, too?” She hoped he would correct her, but he glanced down.

“Could be.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Maybe you should leave town. Just let me know where you’ll be staying.” His cell phone rang. He hesitated then huffed. “I’ve gotta go. Let me know what you decide.”

Numb, she nodded, and he walked away. The last of the spectators disbursed, too. Who knew, the very person responsible could have been watching from the crowd, amused at her cowardly response.

The icy fear which had surrounded her since Gilford Richard’s death turned to heat as anger raced through her veins. “I will not be run out of town by some lunatic.” Now all she had to do was find out who and why before they succeeded in killing her.

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