I Found A Knife

A Story site from EldonHughes

Chapter Five --
I Lost a Knife

They broke it?” I asked. 

I was sitting on a bench in front of the Sheriff's office facing Tulley. He was in an old metal lawn chair, carefully positioned in the shade of the arched canvas awning that covered the sidewalk to the front door, out of the way of the direct afternoon sun.

He looked at me and shrugged. “Said it broke when they were getting the blade open. You saw how rusted up it was.” The Sheriff's office is located on a slight hill, at the head end of the main street of Joshua's Hollow's downtown business district. Tulley looked back down the street, pausing to wave at Mrs. Marcum, sweeping the sidewalk in front of the office supply store.

“Anyway, they didn't find any blood on it. Turns out it was some kind of primer paint, lead based, by the way.  You might want to think twice about sanding down any of the walls down there. That lead stuff'll kill you.” He raised up and shifted his chair again, moving a little farther into the shade. “Had 'em check it for fingerprints, too, just in case. Didn't really expect to find anything...”

“Did they?”

“Did they what?”

“Did they find any fingerprints?”

“Sure,” he said. “Yours and mine. Nothing else, though. It's just an old knife. Was probably some young kid's keepsake. Something he found and stuck in the box like a treasure chest.”

“Yeah,” I nodded, considering it. “Maybe that's what the bus ticket is too. Something some kid found.”

“...uh huh,” Tulley said. Tulley wasn't listening to me. I followed his gaze back down the street. Mrs. Marcum had gone inside, maybe to help a customer. Her place had been taken by her daughter, Holly. Holly was 17, cute and perky in a pink sleeveless top. White blond hair and white shorts set off against the firm, deeply tanned flesh that only youth provides.

“Tulley, does Mrs. Marcum know you sit up here and lust after her young daughter?”

He settled back and laughed. “Ain't lust. I just admire the skillful way she works a broom. Besides, son, at my age, and a man of my position? Forget lust. It's more like watching the flowers bloom. Every few years this town seems to produce another crop of beautiful flowers and strong, fast growing young bucks.” He looked over at me. “You ever been over to that botanical garden up in St. Louis?” I nodded that I had.

“I used to go a couple of times a year. And not just for the pretty flowers,” he said. “I used to love to watch the gardeners, the folks that worked there. They were professionals; you got to respect that. They took such pride in caring and nurturing their charges, their plants and flowers.” He looked back down the street. After a minute, he said, “Was a time I'd sit up here and I felt like that's what I was, a gardener watching over the new spring greenery, the young flowers. Keeping them from harm, protecting them from the cold world in the winter...  I stopped going over there. I was sitting here one afternoon a while back and it occurred to me... I'm not the gardener, anymore. I don't have the strength, or the influence, or whatever. These days I'm more like that old security guard at the garden gate. Or, maybe one of those old folks that used to tell me where to park on busy days.”

“So, you think the knife could be fixed,” I asked, not wanting to dwell on his sorrow. “I mean, I know it's not worth anything, but hey, like you said, it's a story.”

“Hell son, I'm sorry. I didn't even think you might want it back. I mean it was broke and all. And there wasn't any blood or anything. So, it wasn't like it was evidence. I just threw it out.”

Up Next: Yellow Roses are for Remembering


Book One of the Poison and Wine series by C.H. Valentino and Eldon Hughes.

    There's a battle underway in New Orleans. It's a game being played between the voodoo Barons Samedi and LaCroix.

    Danni Toussaint has a nail in her chest, the mark of her debt to The Baron Samedi. To repay him, she steals souls.

   Michael Belew works for the Sisters of New Orleans. Nuns in the 9th Ward are missing, and he suspects voodoo is the cause.  He's desperate.

    He drafts Danni to help find them. Now they are pawns in the Baron's game.

There is no winning the game. There's only survival. But even that could cost Michael his soul.

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I Found a Knife

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