Blythe Howard perched on the highest steel beam of the bridge at Cow Bay Gut, some thirty odd feet above the churning water, remembering. This was as good a place as any to kill herself.
At fifteen, she was pushed off this exact spot by a local boy, as the strong rip current flowed toward the old dock upstream. She could still recall her startled terror; could still taste the plunging shock of cool river water mingled with colder, salty ocean.
They called her From Away because she wasn't a native islander, was too chicken to jump off the bridge like the other kids, and therefore didn’t fit in.
In the thirty-five years that had passed since that summer, the sensation of being an outsider had never left her.
Only an idiot--or someone From Away--jumped off this bridge when the rip current moved in the opposite direction, toward the sharp rocks of the breakwater and out to sea.
Like it moved now.
She fished her cell phone out of her pocket, stared at it a moment, then flung it into the water. It disappeared beneath the dark swirls. Something else floated by. Seaweed, or maybe a jelly fish. Her butt had gone numb from sitting on hard steel and Blythe shivered. Maybe she wasn’t ready for death by drowning. Maybe she should find another way. Something warmer. Less smelly and icky.
A Few Dead Men
The air spun in her chest and Darcy decided if she didn’t take a real breath soon she’d suffocate.
She climbed into her car and headed to the Lookoff, where farmland stretched along the muddy waters of Minas Basin in a checkerboard of pale green and brown. Soon the land hooked west like a crooked finger into the Bay of Fundy.
Cape Blomidon rose up like a chunk of red clay carved by a giant hand. The tide was out and the sandstone headlands angled sharply down to the rocky shore. Slate gray water pulsed restlessly toward the horizon.
Her father would take her and Isabel to this place when they were children. Not often, but sometimes. After fierce, hushed voices hissed behind slammed doors.
Mommy’s sad today, their father would say. She needs to be alone.
So they would drive to this stretch of land, where she and her sister would run and dance and giggle, pretending they were wild fairies and their father would stare gloomily out at the water until it was time to go.
The Haunting of Hayley
She wanted to tear her hair out. She wanted to tear his hair out. Even though most of it was already gone.
I'm washing my hands of this whole thing,” Meredith shrieked. “Do you hear me? I’m not cleaning up this mess for you. It’s up to you to deal with Storm, to deal with your mother’s questions and everything.” Oh, people would have a field day with this news. Her mother. Eleanor. Gail. One more thing poor, klutzy, hopeless underachieving Meredith didn’t get right.
The doorbell rang. She brushed past her husband, not trusting herself to look at him a moment longer.
Gail stood on the porch.
“Hi ho, Meredith,” Gail greeted her, flashing a toothy grin. “I’ve come for the cookies.”
Meredith opened her mouth and screamed. She screamed as though someone was cutting her chest open with a scalpel and ripping out her heart. A blood-curdling scream that was born in her soul. She screamed until Gail disappeared.
The Good the Bad and the Hair
Joel heaved a sigh. “Man, you know, we had a fight and we said some things, but she’s talking about splitting maybe. Going to college. So where does that leave me? I mean, she says she loves me. But she doesn’t show it, you know?”
There were times when I was very nostalgic about my teen years. My first date, my first kiss, movies, sleepovers, the prom. Now wasn’t one of them. Teen love was riddled with angst.
“Look, Joel, I told her to call her mother to let her know where she is. And I’ll tell her you’re looking for her.”
Joel was trying to be cool, but beneath the bravado there was genuine concern in his eyes. And hurt. “Thanks.”
“Say, Joel, I wondered if you could do us a favor?” Cooper said. “Hannah left her car in town and we need to pick it up. Could you give us a lift?”
Good plan. I didn’t feel like driving around in a car with a corpse.
“No problem man, but what about your car?” Joel said, eyeing the Buick.
It has a dead body in the trunk.
Cooper scratched his head and wouldn’t meet Joel’s eyes. “I flooded it.”
“Whatever.” Joel was halfway to his car. The fact that Cooper was a mechanic and the chances of him flooding a car were one in a thousand didn’t register with Joel. He didn’t care about our problems. He had enough of his own. “Hop in.”
Gone Groom Gone
"There," Callie said. "Didn't that shower feel better?"
"No. I feel like I'm betraying Nathan." Serenity yanked the tie tighter on her terry robe, sunk into the chair beside Callie and looked pointedly at Doreen, who was leaning against the kitchen sink eating a strawberry tart. "What's that?"
"Some pastries left over from the reception," Doreen said. She held out a box. "Here, try one. I've switched suppliers; they're incredible."
"I have no intention of eating food from my wedding reception until Nathan is here to share it with me."
"Suit yourself. But by tomorrow these will be stale."
Serenity heaved a melodramatic sigh. "I can't believe I'm back in this drafty old house, in this stupid town, instead of at the Rapture Inn, sitting in a Jacuzzi, drinking champagne and staring out at Niagara Falls."
Callie almost choked on her coffee. "Drafty old house? I know architects who are green with envy that we live in this house. It's the oldest stone structure in Bay County. Coursed rubble limestone with a slate roof."
"You and your rocks and decrepit buildings," Serenity mumbled.
"Stones." Callie pointed a finger at her. "Which, stacked on top of one another, built the house you grew up in. And it isn't decrepit. It's historic."
"And having a shower isn't a crime, Serenity," Callie continued. "I'm sure Nathan wouldn't expect you to wear your wedding dress for days on end."
"Days? You think he'll be gone for days?"