Today, I am 36 years old (young). Those that know me, would tell you that I’m still a 12-year-old boy trapped in a grown woman’s body, at least as far as my sense of humor is concerned. I feel like I am approaching a stage in my life where everything seems to be falling into place. I’m doing what I love, I’m surrounded by people who love and encourage me and I have great kids. I also have the best fans on the Internet!
I rolled around today’s post in my head for a while, trying to figure out just what to write. Funny, poignant or serious? Nothing seemed right, then finally I decided to share with you the first chapter of my novel. You’ve seen my updates on my Facebook page about how far along I’m getting and I’d thought you all would like to see it. Here it is just for you, the working title right now is What Really Happened.
Everything was perfectly fine, until it wasn’t. The house was dark; the only illumination coming from the television that was now playing an old Leave It To Beaver episode. The DVR had cut off a long time ago reverting to TV Land. Jeff arose with a start because the house was silent. He was accustomed to falling asleep watching TV and life just going on around him. Melanie would continue her chores and take care of the kids while he got some much-needed rest. It wasn’t that his job was hard, just for some reason all his good thoughts, the ones he won all those awards for, came in the wee hours of the morning. Most nights he stayed up writing long after Melanie fell asleep.
Tonight, it was too quiet. Jeff quickly got up off the couch and looked at the clock, 11:05pm. Melanie would be asleep by now but it was odd that when she came home, she didn’t wake him. He walked up the stairs from the family room and down the hall to their master suite. The bed was empty, undisturbed from this morning when it was remade. He walked back in the other direction towards Jack’s nursery, he laid there sleeping and the girls’ rooms were empty as expected. Sarah’s room, Pepto pink, affectionately called the pink nightmare by Jenny who preferred navy blue because that was as close as Melanie would let her get to black.
Scratching his head, he called her cell. It was the first of many calls and voice messages to her phone that evening. Starting with, “Call me back please” and ending with “Where the hell are you?” After about the fifth call without an answer, Jeff began to worry and tried remembering what was on her grocery list but he couldn’t. He went to the pad in the kitchen, grabbed a pencil from out of the drawer and shaded the top page. BINGO! He checked the cupboards, he checked the fridge. No milk, no eggs, no unopened boxes of cereal. She never came home from the store. Maybe something had happened to the girls, maybe she had to leave the store and go straight to the neighbors.
He called up Kate, their longtime friend who was watching the girls, they were fine and no she hadn’t heard from Melanie since she dropped them off. This was not like her. Jeff’s brain was muddled and he didn’t know what to do next. Not thinking, he grabbed Jack, put him in his Prius and drove over to the parking lot.
There was a nip in the air, Jack had fallen back into a deep sleep on the car ride over. The security lights illuminated the lot to reveal only a few cars. Then he saw it, parked right beneath one of the lights dead center of the lot, Melanie’s car. He drove around it and upon seeing no sign of her decided to pull over and go in for a closer look. He looked in the back window and saw all her bags sitting there but no sign of her. Then, out of the corner of his eye, a gold flicker. He looked down to see one gold sandal, Melanie’s sandal and in that moment, Jeff knew she was gone.
He stared at it in disbelief, he knew what had to be done next but dialing the numbers made it final. He ran his hand through his short blond hair, tugging at it a little to help relieve some of his anxiety. He tried Melanie’s phone again, one last time in the hope that he was wrong. It went straight to voicemail. Her voice filled his ears and told him that she was unavailable. He didn’t bother leaving a message. He called the Police and waited as instructed for them to arrive. He looked back at Jack who was resting peacefully in his car seat. Jack looked more like his mother than him. He had her curly brown hair and button nose. Melanie was athletic and would not have had the best of her taken easily. She would have fought and fought hard. Jeff hoped that she didn’t hurt herself trying to get away. He hoped she was still alive.