Darlene broke into a sweat as the man she’d tied up came to. Instinctively, she grabbed the nearby Glock, never looking away from him. Once she felt the cold metal in her palm, she realized the absurdity: she couldn’t bring herself to step on a spider- could she really pull the trigger? In her heart, she knew the answer.
“So, Jeff Weissman, why are you snooping around my cabin?” Darlene asked.
Jeff blinked several times. “Dolly? I can’t believe it’s really you.”
Darlene’s spine stiffened. “The only one person who has ever called me ‘Dolly’ died eight years ago.”
“It’s me. That situation was… complicated.”
Darlene pulled the slide back on the gun. The click echoed in the room. “It’s time to simplify it.”
The man she once knew as ‘Uncle Jeff’, now barely recognizable dressed as a beggar, wriggled but couldn’t free his wrists from the shoelace. “Can you untie me, please?”
“No. Start talking.”
He studied her for several moments. “Your father wanted me dead. I wouldn’t sell my half of the business, so he started skimming and shortchanged several customers. Of course, he blamed me and half a dozen other people pledged to bag me.”
“So you did what any chicken liver would do and faked your own death?” Darlene said with contempt.
“It wasn’t like that.”
“For eight years, I’ve been tracking your father, gathering evidence so I could turn it over to the police.”
Darlene laughed. “And they’d believe a dead man? Why are you really here?”
“Your husband is a major player in Andrew’s business.”
“Impossible. Father hated Scott. He never-“
“Wake up, Dolly! Your father isn’t who you think he is!”
His shout startled Darlene and she pulled the trigger. She hunched over and closed her eyes. After several seconds, she looked and found Jeff staring, wide-eyed but unharmed. She couldn’t tell if she felt relief or disappointment.
“Jesus,” Jeff muttered.
“Maybe I’m not who you think I am, either,” she whispered, hands shaking.
TIME (noun): (a) an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end <arrived ahead of time>; (b) an opportune or suitable moment <decided it was time to retire> —often used in the phrase about time <about time for a change>
This continues Darlene’s story (if you haven’t read the other parts and are curious about what has transpired so far, here are the links:)
Seventh Part (Indecision)