Friday, December 23, 2016

Episode Ten: No Pew

All at once, Sierra's world erupted into chaos. She saw a red light flicker on the paperwork in Detective Kincaid's hand as she heard Kahra barking aggressively. Jordan yelled something from the kitchen, but it was unintelligible over Kahra's barking and the crash as Deputy Jones bodyslammed the detective into her. A loud thump and screams came from near the doorway - Sierra peered out from under the two and saw Kahra had knocked Hannah to the floor from behind and kept her pinned, despite her cries.

"STAY DOWN!" Deputy Jones growled as he low-crawled to the window of the master bedroom; the red light danced around the room and blinked off. Sierra nodded as Detective Kincaid rolled off of her.

"Kahra, no bark," Sierra hissed, and the dog silenced. Looking Hannah in the eye, she continued,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Episode Nine: "Sisters, Sisters"

Sierra stepped into the hallway and motioned for Detective Kincaid, who stood at the end of the hall chatting quietly with Deputy Jones. Sierra could hear Luke moving around in his room and gave a little wave to Jordan, who was leaning in the doorway of Luke's room. Jordan raised an eyebrow at her, making her heart flutter. Looking past the detective, Sierra noticed Deputy Jones looking at her curiously. Concerned about Teddy's earlier statement that the deputy had been near Liberty Heights at the time of Susan's - Sarah's? - death, she waited until Detective Kincaid got closer and kept her voice even.

"Is everything okay?" Detective Kincaid asked.

"Oh yes - Hannah's just wondering if she would be able to take her mom's pillow with her. We figured we'd better clear it with you," Sierra explained. Deputy Jones nodded, a sad, understanding look on his face, and started picking at a hangnail as Detective Kincaid entered Hannah's room.

"Hmm," she said. "I can't think of any reason you couldn't, kiddo - but I'll go in there with you just to make things all official."

Hannah smiled and thanked her, then looked from Sierra to her desk. The detective noticed the look and asked softly, "Was there something else?" 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Episode Eight: Yea, Though I Walk ...

As Sierra stood at the end of the Smiths' driveway trying to digest what she'd just learned from Sarah, her phone pinged with a message from Jordan. It read:

Smith called Luke - hemmed up in town for night. Wants kids to go home - CREEPY! I told Luke they can stay here. They'll need some stuff. Called Deputy Jones, he's coming out with some detective to document what kids take in case it comes up. You almost back?

Sierra texted back with her own location by the Smiths' driveway; Jordan replied they'd be right out. Sierra went ahead and did her post-walk stretches while she waited. Within a few minutes, she saw Jordan, Luke, and Hannah walking around the curve of her driveway toward the road. Kahra gave a soft whine and wagged her tail as they crossed the road to the Smiths' driveway. Hannah asked if it was okay to pet the dog -when given permission, she sat in the soft grass and began to pet Kahra and scratch behind her ears. Luke looked incredibly irritated and stood to one side of the small group, so Sierra approached him.

"Luke," she said softly, "I don't mean to be rude, but Jordan said in his text that your dad wanted you to stay at the house tonight. That seems kind of odd to me. Do you know why he'd say something like that?"

Luke snorted. "Bob's been acting really weird for months. This is just one more thing

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Episode Seven: The Other Side

During lunch, Luke and Hannah discussed some of their interests with the kids, Jordan, and Sierra. Sierra asked a few questions about the curriculum their mother had chosen for them and learned that the bulk of their program was self-led. Sierra found that Susie's homeschooling plans were very similar to what she did with her own family, and offered the Smith kids the opportunity to peruse the library and see what was of interest to them. It turned out that Luke had lined up an apprenticeship at Foxwood, the biodynamic farm that surrounded Liberty Heights. He was very interested in seeing Benning's chickens and rabbit colony, so the two boys headed to the garden space with Caisson, discussing the care and keeping of the animals. After hearing Hannah and Ranger bounce between a variety of scientific subjects, Cadence recruited the two to help her troubleshoot a few issues with her sewing machine. As everyone finished up bringing their lunch dishes to the kitchen for Campbell and Knox, whose day it was to do kitchen clean up, Jordan glanced at his watch.

"Babe, it's a pretty nice day out. Were you still planning on your walk with Kahra?", he asked Sierra.

Satisfied that their kids were pulling Luke and Hannah in and helping them feel comfortable, Sierra said yes and headed to the bedroom to get ready to go for her walk.  Placing her Glock 19 in the bedroom safe, she replaced it with her smaller Glock 26 in the compression holster of her Dene Adams concealed carry corset. Readjusting her yoga pants and T-shirt over the corset, she pulled on a hooded sweatshirt and slipped her cell phone and keys into the pockets, then tied up her favorite walking shoes. After saying goodbye to all the children and Jordan, Sierra

Monday, November 21, 2016

Episode Six: Stew On This

All of the children were seated around the table, enjoying bowls of venison stew and cornbread, when Jordan and Ruger arrived back at the house. Jordan washed up while Sierra moved to the kitchen to get Jordan's lunch out of the Crock-Pot. He leaned over and gave her a peck on the cheek and whispered, "I saw Bob Smith heading out of the neighborhood in his PreeWuss on my way home. I assume those are his and Susie's kids with us now?"

"Jordan, chill about the car," Sierra said softly. "I know you might think it's a political thing, but you should really stop and think about

Friday, November 18, 2016

Episode Five: In Which We Meet Bob

A few hours later, things were winding down in the library. Sierra had supervised and helped out where necessary, but since all of the children were old enough to read and write fluently, she was more of a facilitator than a tutor these days. As everyone cleaned up their projects and put away their resources for the time being, Sierra made her way to the kitchen to start dishing up lunch. As she walked into the hallway, the driveway chime pinged, alerting her to the fact that Jordan had replaced the batteries on his way out that morning (she had wondered how Teddy had gotten to the front door early that morning), and that someone was on their way down the driveway. Feeling the reassuring weight of her Glock 19 in its Blade Tech IWB Kydex holster, she was at the front door with Kahra as the visitors made their way to the front porch. The children had heard the driveway chime as well, and Caisson and Knox stood in the hallway behind Sierra. 

"Looks like it's Bob Smith from across the road," Sierra told them when she saw the light blue Prius round the slight bend in the driveway. "He's got a teenage guy and a younger girl with him."

"Oh, that's Luke and Hannah," Caisson replied. "Cadence and I talked to them about a week ago at the community center. They said

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Episode Four: Envision A Library

By 0900, the family had finished breakfast, discussed the untimely demise of Mrs. Smith, completed their morning routines, and tackled their chores. Jordan had hopped on his rugged Trek Police Edition bike and ridden to the Liberty Heights community center, Ruger trotting at his side, to get his CrossFit WOD in and then lead a self-defense class for the neighborhood's senior citizens. Sierra sat in the family library and watched the children filter in to begin their homeschool lessons.

One of the many upsides to homeschooling their children was that Sierra constantly found herself learning new things in the process of facilitating the children's education through their skills and developing interests. Budding seamstress Cadence was often

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Episode Three: The Children Awaken

Sierra glanced at her watch as her tea steeped. 0700 - time to make sure the children were up and about. As the thought crossed her mind, Sierra heard the door to one of the bathrooms close and the shower start up. Good - her sixteen year old twins, Cadence and Caisson, were up and starting their morning ablutions as scheduled. Sierra walked down the hall and stuck her head into the boys' room. Her thirteen year old triplets, Benning, Campbell, and Knox, were rustling around making their beds, while ten year old Ranger was still zonked out on his bed. She couldn't help but chuckle at the blanket he had kicked onto the floor yet again - she always said Ranger was a living, walking furnace.

"Ranger - it's 0700! Teeth, toilet, clothes!" Sierra called as she headed back to the kitchen. She pulled a package of nitrate-free turkey bacon from the fridge

Monday, October 31, 2016

Episode Two: In Which We Meet Teddy

As Sierra was jotting down supplies to purchase at the warehouse store, the doorbell rang. Jordan sprang into action, press-checking the pistol holstered at his side, then swiftly transitioning to checking the backup pistols tucked away in his shoulder rig and both ankle holsters. With a single look from Jordan, Ruger the attack-trained German Shepherd took his position at Jordan's side and stalked to the front door with him. Sierra positioned herself in the hallway, as she and Jordan had discussed many times, so she was adequately prepared to protect the children if need be. As Jordan's right hand and helpmeet, Sierra knew she was the next line of defense in a concentric circle of layers of perimeters meant to protect the family and their home. Double checking her own pistols, Sierra nodded to Jordan that she was ready for him to answer the door.

One hand on the door knob, his foot braced against the door, and the other hand at the ready by his pistol grip, Jordan peered through the wide angle peephole installed in the heavy, solid oak front door, which had a metal frame reinforced by six inch screws set into the extra thick structure. Jordan's grandpa had reminded him when they built the house that a door was only as secure as its frame, and most houses lacked any real stability in their contractor-special cheap doors and short screws. Through the peephole, Jordan observed

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bibbidy Bobbidy BANG! Episode One: In Which We Meet Our Heroine

As Sierra added the 3c water, 12c flour, and 8T vanilla to the mixing bowl, Jordan burst through the door from the garage, where he had been counting cases of .45ACP ammunition stored behind the false wall he'd built with his grandfather, who told him 'The day will come, Bubba, when you'll need this to care for your family like a real man.' Sierra gasped as Jordan's bulgy muscles flexed - he was an avid CrossFitter and it showed - then turned on the KitchenAid(R) at low speed to start mixing the dough. Granny's recipe was good, but poor Granny didn't have a KitchenAid(R) to help with her daily work. The arthritis took away much of her kitchen joy. Pulling herself away from her ponderings of Jordan's muscles and Granny's hands, Sierra asked, "What's going on, dear? You seem perturbed!"

"MURDER!" shouted Jordan.