In Heaven's Eyes

When Christian fiction author Farrell Gregory is drawn like a magnet to the cemetery plot where her father was just buried, she sees a cemetery worker dump a huge roll of rust-stained carpet into her father's grave. Horrified, she must solve a mystery, or someone will get away with murder.

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But now, before I could stop myself, I drove downtown and parked down the block from 2137 Spruce, a dirty white frame bungalow with peeling green trim and a wide ramshackle porch. Eying the place from my car, I noticed the straggly remnant of a long-dead potted plant still hanging from a hook on the porch ceiling, now listing restlessly in the cold winter wind. Two grimy, old-fashioned nylon-weave lawn chairs lay on their sides, apparently also victims of gale force winds.

The lights were on inside against the dim winter day, and I could see Ray, still wearing his ball cap, his long hair askew, carrying a bottle of beer to a low overstuffed chair that sat in front of a game show on a big-screen television. He sat down in the chair, which faced away from the window.

Not a minute later, I was out of my car, clutching a flashlight, pulling up my collar against the piercing, icy wind and striding toward his equally dilapidated garage, past his rusty blue Ford pickup, parked in the cracked and broken concrete driveway.

        Because the ancient building had settled over the years, the side door now fit badly and in fact, didnít even close all the way. Throwing caution to the wind, I went inside and began to close the door, cringing for a second, as it scraped the pavement beneath it, before I decided it was a bad idea, at which time, I left it partially open.

I donít know what I thought Iíd find, but after switching on the flashlight, I played its beam around the space, nearly empty but for a delicately woven lacework of cobwebs, a huge old and obviously much-used wood stove that took up most of a back corner, a stack of old rubber tires and a pile of tools that lay strewn beside a familiar roll of rust-stained gray carpet heaped on the grimy floor.

Standing over the carpet now, I trained my light beam on the rusty stain, wondering if that was what I had seen on the other gray carpet. Could my imagination have simply run away with me? I couldnít tell if it was blood or grease without touching it, and that wasnít going to happen any time soon. And if it were only grease, why would anyone have tossed it in an open grave? What was there to hide?

I shook my head, doubting my recollections, until my gaze fell on the wall, sprayed with a series of rusty red spatter marks which scattered in a wide arc and spread to the floor around my feet.

My mouth opened involuntarily, and I abruptly stepped back, shuddering. It had to be blood.

From beyond the door, a sudden nondescript sound made me start, and after switching off the flashlight, I fled to the narrow space behind the wood stove, where I crouched low, waiting. Seconds later, the door opened wider, with another ear-splitting screech, and an overhead light went on, illuminating the area. I scooted lower and held my breath, not daring to move.


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