For chapter 13 click here: Chapter 13
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)
Samantha was in her kitchen, savoring her second cup of coffee while reading the morning paper. It was that moment of quiet that she treasured most. Ashley had left for the university. He taught a 9 o’clock class. Those were few hours she used to organize and plan the rest of the day. She sometimes ran errands, did the laundry or called her friend Courtney to chit-chat. The day was hers till 3 pm when Ashley usually dropped by for an hour or so before returning for his Graduate Seminar or to supervise the students working under him for their doctorates.
There was a knock on the front door. Samantha first ignored it, thinking it to be a door-to-door salesman or someone looking for donations to some charity. Why would they come so early in the morning? Ashley and Samantha owned a charming, medium-sized, colonial house just outside the campus. The closest neighbors were about twenty feet away. There were no reported robberies or vandalism in the vicinity. Still it’s better to be careful, she thought. It was broad day light and she knew Courtney would be at home. In case she shouted she would be within hearing range. Her mind was occupied by thoughts that strange things could occur in unsuspected places.
When the knock persisted, she walked to the door and peeked through the keyhole. A man dressed in casual business attire was standing on the stoop with his back to the door. He was looking away at the house across the street. She opened the door with a bit of trepidation.
“May I help you?” she addressed the man from behind.
He turned and smiled as he handed her his business card and said,
“Connor. Connor Flaherty, from the FBI. You have a couple of minutes?”
Samantha hesitated as she took his card. What could this be? Is Ashley in trouble for something he did at the University? He always confided in her and told her everything about his work. Perhaps one of his students is in trouble with the law. She was not aware of any of her neighbors involved in illegal activities, in case they were under investigation.
“Do you have any identification?” She asked. She wanted something more official than his business card
“Yes, of course.”
Connor reached for his wallet and pulled out a credit card like badge. The words Department of Investigation were across at the top, an emblem to the left followed by bold letters F B I and his picture. At the bottom were the word Special Agent and his signature to the right.
She was not sure if she should invite Connor inside. He saved her by clarifying.
“I am really looking for Dr. Wilkins. Is he home or should I come some other time?”
“Most mornings, he is at the University. Would you like to visit him there?”
“Well, I tell you what. You can have him call me at his convenience. My number is listed on my card.”
“Officer, what’s this about?” Samantha’s said showing concern.
“I would really like to talk to him personally.” Connor said calmly, without displaying any emotion.