Excerpt from

Someone at the Door

Cathleen has agreed to look after her nephew Derek while Gwen is in the hospital having her second child. It's three o'clock when Cathleen gets a call at work: the baby is coming now. Gwen's call is cut short when she has to answer the door. Cathleen does her best, finishing up at work, rushing home to Brooklyn to pick up her car, driving out to Long Island. Gwen has said she would leave Derek with a neighbor. But the neighbor hasn't seen him.

Leaving her suitcase in the car, Cathleen started up the concrete steps to the front door. She had her key ready, but the door was open.

So she is home, after all this. She could have let me know.

The screen door was loosely closed, not latched. It took Cathleen a moment to remember that Gwen would never have left it that way. She hated flies in the house.

"Gwen, are you here?"

She listened, but there was no answer. The silence, the unlocked door, gave her an uneasy feeling.

Maybe Gwen was asleep. Cathleen entered the living room, where sunlight blazed through the patio doors onto the wheat-colored carpet.

The light was bright and hot. Gwen always pulled the blinds in warm weather, when the sun came around to that side of the house. At three o'clock, it should have been just beginning.

At three o'clock. . . .

It's all right. She's having a baby. She forgot.

Off the living room was a short hallway where the bedrooms were. She looked in each one. They were empty. The double bed was made up, and the spread, with its blue water lily pattern, was perfectly smooth, the way Gwen liked it. The way she would have left it if she were going out.

She wasn't sleeping. She didn't seem to be there at all. And yet, if she had gone out, she would have locked the door. It wasn't right. It just wasn't right.

"Gwen, answer me!"

Cathleen wandered back to the living room, automatically pulling the blinds herself.

She paused again, listening. She had caught a sound somewhere, something falling. A light, tinkling thing, like a spoon.

Derek. His favorite toy was a soup spoon. No one knew why.

Just beyond the foyer was the living room. Its windows faced east and were blocked by trees and bushes. In the dim light, something moved. Her young nephew sat crouched under the table. Derek, silent as always.

Books may be purchased from Amazon.

Mickey again

Home :: Newest Book :: Booklist :: Biography :: Blog :: Contact