Moon Shadows on the Path

Moon Shadows on the Path


Chapter 28

The rain stopped and I turned off my windshield wipers. About halfway to Myra’s home, I realized no one in the whole world knew where I was and that was not a good thing. I speed-dialed Cade but got no answer, only his voice mail. Leaving a message, I told him where I’d be. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be away from his phone long. I wouldn’t tell Jackie or Pat my plans. They would only worry.

A nearly full moon peered fitfully from between scudding clouds. A blustery wind buffeted my car, swaying the tree branches that reached toward the road. It was a wild sort of night, typical for March.

Turning onto the Carver’s long driveway, I slowed, searching the woods until I saw the narrow lane that led to Myra’s house. She had said her house was within walking distance from the mansion and she usually took a footpath, but I, coming from town, should surely come upon it soon.

My car’s headlights picked out a small, white frame building nestled in a grove of trees. Stopping in front of it, I turned off the car’s engine and looked for a welcoming light. The windows reflected only my car’s headlights. Was Myra not back from the Carver place yet? I would wait a few minutes before knocking. The sun had set about thirty minutes ago and darkness was closing in. Surely it took only a few minutes for Myra to walk home after she had finished preparing supper at the Carver house and cleaning up the kitchen afterward.

My eagerness overcame my intention to wait. Grabbing my flashlight from the dash, I opened the car door and closed it as quietly as possible. Walking up to the front door, I knocked. And knocked again. Nobody came to welcome me. I tried the doorknob. Locked. Flicking on my light, I shone it around the yard.

Could Myra be outside somewhere? Could she have fallen? Or, was her invitation to me only a ruse? Maybe she had had no intention of talking to me and was back at the mansion, laughing at my gullibility.

 I cautiously walked around the house. The yard was neat with well-kept flower beds. Tree frogs trilled from the woods and somewhere, an owl hooted. Completing my circuit of the house, I stood once more on the front porch, undecided about what to do next. Should I forget about talking to Myra and go back home?

Directing the flashlight’s beam through the windows only resulted in its reflection. I couldn’t see inside the house. Perhaps Myra had been held up at the big house for some reason and was late in keeping her appointment. I was a little early, so I’d try to curb my impatience.

Sitting down on the porch, I waited until it became  pretty obvious that Myra wasn’t coming. The best thing to do would be to go to the mansion and see if she was still there. Getting back into my SUV and driving would be quicker but that would alert whoever was in the house of my presence. Myra had specified coming to her house and not telling anyone of my visit. So, I would walk to the mansion as Myra did each day to and from work.

It wasn’t hard to find the path to the big house. It began at the edge of the yard where the woods ended. The trees were not fully leafed yet and through their branches, I could see the lights of the much larger Carver home, surely no more than a quarter of a mile away. There was the awful possibility that Myra might have fallen on that path or that somebody had injured her. My pace quickened.

My flashlight’s beam had no trouble picking out the well-worn trail. Trees pressed in on either side and the wind moaning through them sounded like voices from another world.

This is an excerpt from the latest Ned McNeil cozy mystery, Moonstruck and Murderous. Today, through August 25 (Sunday) simply share this link on your FB page or web site or in an email to friends to have a chance to win a personally signed print copy of Moonstruck and Murderous.

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