I Found A Knife

A Story site from EldonHughes

Chapter Six --
Yellow Roses are for Remembering

I can't believe he threw away my knife.”

I sat there in the hot sun, staring off at nothing and argued with myself. The phone had rung and the Sheriff had gone inside to answer it.

He threw away my knife,” I thought. “Wait, my knife? When had it become MY knife? Didn't it used to be just A KNIFE?”

OK,” I told myself, “It still is just a knife. The my/a thing is moot anyway. Besides, it's gone. And besides, some more, it didn't open even before it was broken. If it wasn't gone it would just have wound up as trash at my place.”

“My daughter, making sure I knew what time supper was,” Tulley said as he came back outside. “Like it hasn't been the same time every night for forty five years.” Tulley shifted his chair safely into the shade again before settling back into it. “I'm sorry, son. I checked the trash can at my desk. You know, sometimes Molly doesn't always empty it every day? But she did yesterday. It's gone.”

“Doesn't really matter,” I said. “It was just a nice mystery, in an old house.”

“Well, I guess it still can be,” he said. “Not all mysteries have to be solved, you know.”

I nodded. “I would like to ask you something else about the house,” I added.

“You mean about the McColley family?” Tulley asked.

He raised a hand at my look of surprise, stopping whatever comment I was trying to think to make.

“Son, you have to remember where you're living these days. A town this size? Anything that might be news, or even look like it might be news, gets talked about by everyone eventually. Heck, things that aren't news get turned into news, just so folks can have something to talk about. So, yeah, you've been buying ol' Max breakfast the last few mornings, and he's been bending your ear about the folks that used to live in your house. No surprise there. I hear you've been doing some digging around at the library, too.  Got some of those ladies pretty stirred up.  I guess it wouldn't do any good to ask you to stop?  There are more of us around who new Miz' McColley than you might realize, including me.  You've got us reliving some hard memories.”

I shrugged, by way of an apology.  “I just wanted to find out how old the house was, and try to find the history on the place.  I wasn't looking for a mystery.”

'Yeah,"  Tulley said simply.  He shifted his weight in the chair.  After a bit he said,  “So, what's your question?”

I thought for a moment. I didn't think “ol' Max” as he put it, would get into trouble for telling me stories, but even so... I decided to stick with what I'd found in the library.

“The newspapers I found say Mrs. McColley died in the house about fifty years ago,” I started out.

“Yup,” Tulley said. “It was a sad night. Damn nice people, Miz' McColley was. You think about all the ways a person could die... car accident, plane crash, tornadoes and such... to get killed just because you fell on a window....”

“She fell on a window?” I asked. He nodded.   Tatum had said she fell down the steps in the basement.  huh... 

"And it broke, I guess... and cut her somehow?” I added.

He nodded again. “That landing, halfway up to the second floor, where the stairs turn left and go on up? There's that two foot stained glass window high up on the wall there at the landing. I noticed it was still there the other day when I drove by. Man, I bet that's real pretty in the morning, facing the rising sun and all. Anyway, it didn't used to be like that. There used to be a full window there, that ran all the way up that wall right there. That is, until Miz' McColley fell on the stairs and fell against it. She pushed her arm right through the window, trying to catch herself, I guess. The glass cut the artery up high under her arm. She bled out so fast, she was probably dead before she finished falling the rest of the way down the stairs.”

“That's horrible. And she was alone in the house?”

“It was her and the girl, Riley. Guess Riley didn't hear her cry out. Or, maybe she went into shock and didn't cry out at all. There wouldn't have been more than a minute before she was gone...”

“Anyway,” he said. “That's why there's just a wall there, now. Mr. McColley said he wasn't going to chance anything like that happening again. And, he put in the stained glass window, all full of yellow roses. Yellow roses were her favorite. He had it made and put it in up high, to catch the morning sun, in his wife's memory,” Tulley smiled sadly.

“Mister Tatum said that Riley disappeared that night,” I said. Then I mentally bit my tongue. Thinking of the stained glass window, and it's meaning, had made me forget my desire to keep Tatum out of this conversation.

“He did, did he?”

Oops. “Umm, yeah. He said that rumor had it that some kind of prowler killed Miz' McColley, and maybe took the girl off.”

Tulley gave me a grin. “I think maybe Ol' Max was working overtime to earn his breakfast, son. Sounds like maybe he was having you on some.  He don't mean anything by it,” the Sheriff added.  "Besides, it's been long enough now, that stories made enough rounds, that may be how he remembers it all happening."

I returned his grin with a sheepish smile of my own. “Could be,” I nodded. “I wondered, since I didn't find any reports in the old newspapers of the girl being missing... nothing about a search or anything.”

“That's 'cuz there wasn't one,” Tulley said. “She didn't go missing. She went to a family friend's house. She couldn't face the house after that night. She stayed at a friend of the family's until after the funeral, then she went to visit her Aunt, and just never came back.”

“Hmpf..,” I said. “You'd think Mr. Tatum would have known that.”

“You'd think that,” Tulley answered. “Was I you? I'd be thinking he owed me breakfast.”

He might just have a point. 

Up Next: Face Value


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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