To go to chapter 1 of the novel click here: Chapter 1
(Author’s note: This chapter has multiple pages. Please click the number at the bottom to continue reading the next page)
It was a bright, clear day in late October when Owen sprinted out of his house at 7 am. He had donned his Under Armor shorts, T-shirt and Brooks Adrenaline sneakers — attire fit for a serious runner. He did his regular pre-run warm up — a few lunges, bending each knee and grabbing the foot one at a time by the ankle, before he crossed the street to run on a sidewalk in the direction of the traffic. A full day lay ahead of him with four new patients to see. New patients meant more time spent in getting their history of prior ailments and family background. The visit to Michigan to meet his long time friend Ashley for Thanksgiving was also on his mind.
A block away, a garbage truck was collecting trash. Today was trash collecting day. As the truck came down the street, he could hear the thumps of the mechanical arm as it periodically stopped in front of a house and unloaded the trash in a collector, disturbing the otherwise quiet neighborhood. An elderly Indian couple, in their early to mid seventies, walked slowly with hands intertwined, as if to support each other. He waved at them and they reciprocated with a smile. Two houses down, workers from a lawn service company were taking the equipment out of their truck. The truck was blocking the driveway and he had to run around.
A mile further down the street, at a T intersection, he stopped and looked both ways for any approaching cars, then crossed the street and turned left, following his normal route. Owen waved to his neighbor Ted, who was walking his dog Dusti, a German shepherd. Ted was talking to someone on his phone. Owen had picked up his speed and was fifty feet ahead of Ted when he felt a gust of wind as something passed to his left. It wasn’t another person, or a bicyclist but a brown object. He turned and saw Dusti get away from Ted — his leash dangling behind him, and chase a squirrel that ran across to the opposite side of the street. Dusti disappeared in the bushes in the back of a brick colonial house.
Upon realizing what had happened Ted increased his pace to go after Dusti. As he crossed the street, he saw a car whizz past getting very close to Owen. Then it sped away. Ted heard a noise like a boxer hitting a punching bag. As he swept the bushes away he noticed Owen flat on his back on the lawn — Dusti standing at the far end of the lawn, staring up a tree. There were no visible signs of scratches or bleeding, but Owen wasn’t moving. Ted called 911 from his cell, and then he called Agnes.
“What?” Agnes shouted. “Where? What happened?”
Ted told her where he was and said she should come there immediately.