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