A NIGHT’S SLEEP – PART 5

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This is the last part of A Night’s Sleep.  Enjoy the end.

JENNIFER FELT UNEASY ARGUING with herself.  “This is crazy,” she said.  “I’m convincing myself of my innocence.  I am innocent.  I didn’t do anything.  I’m the victim.  My family is a victim.  Peaches is a victim.  I’m not going to think I did something wrong when I didn’t.”

But maybe she should not call the police right now, she thought.  Her argument was convincing to herself.  But what about strangers?  Someone may be trying to set her up.  She needed to be ready to defend herself against that.  Not stand by and allow it to happen. 

The first thing she could do was to give Peaches a proper burial.  Her family should not see what they did to her.  After that, she could then start to figure this out.

Jennifer rushed and put on an old tee-shirt, an old worn pair of jeans, and sneakers.  She then ran into the garage and got a sheet of thick plastic and a shovel.  The plastic came from a roll of plastic that her husband used on the garage floor when he painted the walls. 

Jennifer spread the large piece of plastic over the bedroom carpet.  With her yellow dish gloves on she rolled the plastic tightly around Peaches.  She duct-taped the plastic to secure it.  Nothing could leak out.  She then dragged Peaches’ body down the stairs and out the back door.

A six-feet fence and large trees with lots of leaves hid their backyard from their neighbors.  The backyard was long and narrow at the end.  She grabbed the shovel where she had leaned it against the house.  Then she went to the furthest point of the backyard.  It was where she would dig.  She was ten feet away from the spot when she abruptly stopped.

Jennifer looked around the yard.  In front of her was a deep hole.  It was around four feet deep.  What was going on?  Who dug that?  It couldn’t have been her?  Could it?  It would have taken her hours.  She would have remembered that.    

Jennifer forgot about work and her presentation.  That hole had her attention.  “They dug it,” she said.  They meant to kill Peaches all along.  She wiped a tear from her eye.  

She carefully pushed Peaches into the hole.  Then she said a quick, silent prayer.  As she covered Peaches up with dirt, she decided what to tell her family.  “Peaches ran away.”

Then she realized her presentation was in two hours.  She hurried and covered Peaches and ran toward the house and tripped.  She landed face down and slid on her stomach.  It knocked the wind out of her.  “Shit,” she said.  “Damn it.”  She looked down by her feet to see what she tripped over.

The point of a man’s shoe stuck up out of the ground.  Part of a pant leg also showed. 

She stared at the shoe.  Flashes of the night before began to surface.  It was hurting her head as it came into focus.    

She remembered dancing at Windam Bar.  She and her two girlfriends had gone for a night out.  They had a few drinks.  Then they took a taxi home. 

The next thing she remembered was fighting with a man.  She did not remember why he was at her house.  She just remembered fighting him.

He stabbed peaches.  She stabbed him.  Something came to her. 

She ran inside.  Her phone?  She stood in the kitchen, looking around.  Where was it?  She spotted it on the floor next to the refrigerator.  Her shirt and skirt were on the side of the island.  Her heels were in the sink.  She picked up her clothes.  None were torn or damaged. 

A light was on her phone.  She had a message.  She listened to it.  “Hey, I’m on my way over, looking forward to spending more time with you.  Glad we met.  It’s Brad.”

She was having trouble breathing.   

A wallet was on the corner of the counter.  She eased her hand on it and opened it.  A driver’s license was in the front.  She squinted and read the name.  “Brad Needle.”  She swallowed. 

“What did I do?  What did I do?”

She knew she had blackouts when she drank.  But nothing like this.

A blinking light caught her attention.  It was a cell phone halfway under the refrigerator.  She picked it up.  It had a message.  No.  It was a recording.  She listened to it.

“Are you crazy!” she yelled.  “Don’t take a picture of me!  Where are my clothes?”

“You took them off,” a man’s voice said.  “You’re shit-faced.”

“Don’t call me that!” she yelled.

“You’re crazy, bitch,” he said. 

She heard rumbling sounds.

“What the hell are you doing?” he said.  “Put the knife down!  You crazy, bitch.  You’re going to be on Youtube.  You’re a crazy shit.”

“Give me that damn phone!” she yelled.

“You cut me!” he cried.  “What the…” 

She listened to grunts and gurgling and threw the phone down.       

See you next time with something new.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Stephen Wallace    

A NIGHT’S SLEEP – PART 4

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The things we do when we are alone show up at times on their own.  Enjoy Part 4.    

PART 4

JENNIFER SAT UP NEXT to Peaches.  She needed to pull herself together.  Whoever killed Peaches was a threat to her family.  They were more of an animal than Peaches ever was.  What if they were still in the house?  That murderer may still be waiting to make a surprise attack on her.  It was then that she knew what she had to do.  She had to find the killer.  Go room to room and find him or them.

If someone was inside the house, she needed a weapon.  She did not have a gun.  She and her husband did not believe in having guns around their children.  Knitting needles?  They would work.  It had been so long since she knitted.  Where were they?  She needed something.  It had to be something that caused severe harm to another.  The same way the killers did to Peaches.      

Her eyes settled on the knife sticking out of Peaches’ side.  She grabbed the knife, bit her lip, shut her eyes, and snatched it out.  The thought of what she had done filled her mouth with saliva.  It took her thirty seconds or so to calm herself.  She then got to her feet and became dizzy.  She braced herself against the wall.  “Alright,” she whispered.  “Where are you?  You damn murderer.”

Jennifer stumbled down the stairs.  She intended to be quiet and sneaky.  She was neither.  But she was slowly feeling better.  At the bottom of the stairs she stopped and listened.  Did she hear someone in the family room? 

She swallowed and ran into the family room.  The knife cut through the air as she swung it.  Swinging the knife and moving fast left her dizzy again.  But she could see well enough.  Nothing appeared out of place.   

Jennifer squeezed the knife and went quietly through the house.  Leaning to her right she could see the front door.  It was locked.  She then ran to the back door, wobbling as she did.  It, too, was locked.

The locked doors baffled her.  They were locked from the inside.  That meant the person had to be still inside the house.  She checked the kitchen.  Drawers were open.  Spoons, forks, knives, broken dishes were on the floor.  Why hadn’t she heard all this destruction? 

Maybe her theory was right.  They did drug her and rape her and tried to rob her.  Peaches scared them and tried to protect her.  That was when they killed her.  The bedrooms, she thought.  They are in the bedrooms. 

She ran back to the hallway and stopped and looked down it.  Three bedrooms were on the right.  She rushed inside each one.  She wielded the knife with the intent to kill.  No pausing.  Catch them off guard, if she could. 

No one was inside the bedrooms.  It was a letdown.  She wanted revenge.    

She went back upstairs.  Maybe she should call the police.  Why didn’t she think of that earlier?  Yes.  She would call the police.  But first she needed to think.  She stood over Peaches and stared down at her. 

Things were not adding up.  Something was off.  But she was having trouble grasping it.  Whatever they drugged her with was distorting her ability to think.  A little voice inside her head was saying things she did not want to hear.  She was trying to ignore it.  But it was not going away.  It started the moment she yanked the knife out of Peaches.  It was a soft whisper. 

You’re the only one here.  Does this seem odd?  Are you sure you didn’t do all this?  Are you in denial?  Some people do things that they would rather forget.

“No!” she yelled and clamped her hands over her ears.

Happiness is often ruined by our own hands. 

There is one more part to this story.

Enjoy your week.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Stephen Wallace     

A NIGHT’S SLEEP – PART 3

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Enjoy this 3rd installment of A Night’s Sleep.  Some secrets are too deep to remember.

PART 3

JENNIFER PATTED THE FLOOR and heard splashing sounds.  “Damn it,” she said and began crying.  “Damn.”  She smacked her hands on the floor again and again.  Urine splashed on top of her stomach, legs, and arms.  How could she have peed on herself?  The impact on her tail bone must have caused it.  It was sore.  She thought about the phrase ‘losing control of her bodily functions.’   

She laid there wet and miserable.  For a moment, she did not care.  Then she felt cold.  She abruptly quit crying and lifted her head.  Her eyes went down her body.  Why was she naked?  Where were her clothes?

Her thoughts went to rape.  Had they raped her?  How many had there been?  Was it for hours?  Did they hurt her while she was out?  She needed to collect evidence from herself and take it with her to the doctor.  Or maybe she needed to go straight to the hospital.  Get dressed.  Drive herself.  Have emergency staff meet her at the door.   

She rolled over and grimaced.  The pain in her back was getting worse.  She took several deep breaths and crawled to the bathroom doorway.  She stopped to catch her breath and rest her back for a minute.  Then she looked out at the white carpet in her bedroom.

“What was that?” she asked herself.  “What the hell?”  She swallowed and was even more worried.  Something was wrong.  Something was wrong as hell.  She started to panic.  Anxiety was taking over.  Not now.  Where was her anxiety medicine?  In the nightstand?  She could take that.  She could handle that.     

Forgetting about her back, she crawled into the bedroom and looked at the carpet.  What happened to her white carpet?  What was on it?  Dark red was mixed in with dirt.  It was all over the carpet.  Lots of footsteps had been in and out of her bedroom.  Someone was bleeding.  Someone had tracked dirt and blood inside.  Someone had broken in.  She knew it.

With her senses heightened, she crawled around the bed, careful not to make noise.  The intruders could still be inside her house.  When she rounded the bed her hands hit something.  Her body fell forward.  She landed on it and gasped. 

Peaches, the family’s seven-year-old Labrador Retriever, was under her.  She struggled off of her.  A knife was sticking out of Peaches’ side.  It was a large butcher’s knife.  She was dead. 

“No,” she said.  “No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  It’s not right.  It’s not fair.  They killed you.”  She cried.  “They killed you.  They killed you when you were trying to protect me.”  She rubbed Peaches now red and yellow coat. 

Jennifer laid beside Peaches.  Tears streamed from her eyes.  She put her hands on his body next to where the knife was.  It was unimaginable.  What happened to you, she thought.  “Poor Peaches.”  She was so good.  Her children will be devastated.  How could she tell them their beloved Peaches was gone?  She covered her mouth and smeared Peaches’ blood on her lips and face.

Take care of yourself. 

Have a great weekend.

Stephen Wallace

A NIGHT’S SLEEP – PART 2

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I hope you are having a good week.  For those of us who are dealing with everyday life events under different and unusual circumstances, I hope things are improving.  I hope a little fiction brings an escape for all of us.  Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy Part 2.     

PART 2

JENNIFER OPENED HER EYES and blinked.  Her face was wet and sticky.  She was weak.  The smell of vomit hit her.  She lifted her head and tried to breathe away from the vomit.  Nausea had subsided.  But the vomit odor was bringing it back.

She rolled to her left and laid on her side.  What time was it, she wondered?  She could not stay there all day.  Her presentation was early afternoon.  Missing it was not an option.  Calling in sick could be a nail in her coffin when it came to her promotion. 

Competition for the Vice President position at the company was tough.  Then the firm hired Melanie.  She was a thirty-eight-year-old black woman.  The firm hired her to create an inclusive work environment.  Top management said that more minorities needed to be represented at the firm.

At first, no one in the running for the VP position considered Melanie a threat.  She was hired to fill more of a quota.  But within two months, people’s perception of Melanie changed.  Everyone saw her creative side.  She was a marketing genius.  She was smart but downplayed it.  She was on her way to that VP position. 

Jennifer could not make a mistake.  She wanted to take medicine for her condition—migraines, dizziness, forgetfulness, nausea.  It was ruining her life.  She wanted to feel normal.  But the medication that helped her made her loopy.  It made her unable to think in detail.  She could not afford to be that way around Melanie.  Melanie was like a Tiger, waiting to pounce.  Jennifer admired her and feared her.   That was why she had to get her ass off that floor and into the shower.           

Jennifer rolled out of the vomit and onto her stomach.  After a few breaths, she pushed up onto all fours.  She stayed in that positioned and counted to five.  On count five she brought one foot up under her and paused for a second.  Then she pushed hard with the back foot and pushed herself up and off the floor. 

She stumbled toward the bathroom.  But this time she could see.  The door frame was coming at her.  She turned her head to the side and missed it by a few inches.  But that threw her balance off even more.  When she turned to the front, the bathroom counter met her.  Right into the stomach.  She gasped as it knocked the air out of her.  As her knees were giving way, she planted the palms of her hands flat on the counter.  They squeaked as they were sliding off it.

Her butt hit the floor.  An electric shock shot through her tailbone and up her spine.  It incapacitated her.  She laid back and spread out on the floor.  Her head was pounding.  Her tailbone was probably broken or severely bruised.  Numbness ran down both legs and across her lower back.  Her lower back was probably injured in the fall.  She felt warm under her butt.  The feeling was moving down the back of her legs.

She lifted her head.  “Why?” she asked.  “Why me?”

Have a good week.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Stephen Wallace

A NIGHT’S SLEEP

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It would be a strange feeling not to remember what you did the night before.  Many of us have been there.  Some of us may have been there too many times. We will not discuss that.  Enjoy Part 1 of A Night’s Sleep.

PART 1

Jennifer Melton woke up and grabbed her head.  The light coming through the curtains was blinding her.  It also made her head throb worse than it was.  She could not remember what she had done to trigger a migraine.  Was it something she ate?  She could not recall.  Was it someplace she had been?  A bar?  Not that could she could think of.  Maybe it was stress at work.  Work had been relatively stress-free that week.

She covered her eyes and thought about not getting up.  She sighed and squinted and slung the blanket off of her.  The fast movement hurt her head.  Without considering how she would feel when she stood up, she put her feet on the floor.  She feared if she thought about it too long, she would stay in bed.  That would make her late for work.  Then her stress-free week would end stressful.

She grunted when she leaned over and pushed down on her knees to stand.  Her head went woozy.  Her body swayed from side to side.  She took a step forward and stumbled sideways.  Although she tried to keep herself upright, she could feel herself going toward the floor.  Her hands were flailing through the air.  Hoping to find something to grab.  The floor was coming at her and fast.

She managed to keep her head up as she hit the floor.  Her body bounced three or four times in the air as it slid across the carpet.  She stopped a few feet from the wall.  Her body must have gotten turned around.  She was headed toward the bathroom.

She immediately wanted to get up.  But her arms and legs were not cooperating.  They would not listen to her commands.  They would not move.  Her eyes were out of focus.  A giant blur was all she could see.  She laid there, trying to slow her breathing.  Her breaths were too heavy.  She just needed to calm herself and evaluate if she was hurt. 

She wiggled her fingers and toes.  Then she moved her arms and legs.  Her vision was beginning to focus.  Objects were coming into view.  She could see small white carpet fibers along the carpet.  The bed was clearer.  So were the chairs.  Now, if she could lift her head and get to her feet she would be okay.  If not, she was in trouble. 

Her husband was on a business trip.  He would not be back until eleven that night.  Her children were at her mother’s.  They were not coming back home until late that evening.  She had to get up.  What if she had a concussion?  That could create a severe medical problem.    

She rolled over onto her stomach and felt nauseous.  A giant wave of it swept over her.  She gagged and stopped.  Then without warning, vomit spewed from her mouth.  It brought so much acid from her stomach it burned her throat.  Without thinking, she inhaled to catch her breath.  Liquid raced back down her throat.  A new wave of nausea brought another wave of vomit with it.

This time she endured the acid burning her throat.  She coughed and coughed.  Careful not to inhale too deeply.  “What the hell is wrong with me?” She cried.  Her head was killing her.  Pound!  Pound!  Pound!  She could not hold it up any longer.  It hurt.  It hurt to hold her eyes open. Her shoulders were too tense.  She eased her head down onto the carpet into the vomit and laid there.

I’ll see you in 2 days. 

You may figure out this story before I see you.  I hope not.

Take care,

Stephen Wallace

THE CONCIERGE – Prologue Part TWO

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Enjoy Part TWO of the Prologue in The Concierge.  The book can be purchased on Amazon. Part ONE of the Prologue was posted on May 25, 2020.

TWO

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

THOMAS GEORGE SAT at a back table in Glasco’s bar. The five-person delegation from China sat at a table in the front. Ten feet in front of the delegation was a five-piece orchestra band. The classically trained musicians were putting on a private performance for the delegation. The band played a combination of classical music with a little jazz thrown in. The private concert was the final part of the delegation’s entertainment for the day.

Thomas chose Glasco to host the concert. It was one of the best bars in Atlanta. And it was among the top one hundred in the country. It was inside the Merle Hotel. The décor was serene but classic. A temporary stage had been erected for the band. The bar’s floor and tables and chairs were dark wood. Burgundy cushions were in the chairs and booths. Small chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The lights were dim to add to the ambience of the bar.

Members of the delegation sipped on the bar’s finest wines and sat quietly and listened to the music. It was two fifteen AM. The bar was usually open to the public. But not that night. It was empty except for the five delegates, the band, the server and the bartender.

Thomas caught the attention of the server and nodded at her. He was saying, keep their glasses full. He knew the delegation liked fine wines and cheeses and appetizers. He had spoken to the manager of the bar two hours earlier. He told him if the delegation ran late he would see to it that everyone who had worked the event was compensated.

The thirteen-hour time difference between Atlanta and China almost guaranteed the event would run late. It was three fifteen PM in China.

The band stopped to take a break. The leader of the delegation waved conservatively at Thomas to come up to their table. Her name was Sue Wang. The musicians left the stage and said they would be back in ten minutes.

Sue had Thomas stand with her in front of their table. The rest of the delegation had stood. Sue spoke about their day and how Thomas had made it unforgettable. The rest of the delegation told Thomas—in their broken English— “Thank you.” Sue then presented Thomas with a box wrapped in red and gray wrapping paper.

Sue told Thomas the gift was for him for his graciousness.

Thomas understood the importance of receiving a gift and praise from the delegation. He warmly and graciously accepted it. He had gone beyond the limits of ensuring that their day was memorable. Not just because of who they were.

Thomas believed everyone should receive top-notch service at the Merle. It did not matter if a guest paid six hundred a night for a room or seven thousand per night for a suite. The service was the same. And these guests were paying seven thousand a night for each of the three suites they were in.

The delegation was in Atlanta to meet with the mayor and governor. They were going to discuss several business ventures that their company wanted to pursue with the city and state. The meetings were scheduled for the next day. The mayor had entrusted Thomas to show the delegation a good time.

Thomas had allowed the delegation to choose what they wanted to see. He cleverly gave them many options and asked their opinions on what they wanted. They visited Mercedes Benz Stadium, World of Coke, MLK Center, High Museum of Art, Botanical Gardens and strolled a few Atlanta Streets.

Lunch was a smorgasbord from various places. Hot dogs at the Varsity was one of those places. Sweet Auburn Barbecue was another. Eddie’s café was another stop. Eddie’s was known for its homemade soup loaded with meat.

Dinner was at Carac. Carac was a five-star restaurant inside the Merle. Its specialty was American cuisine. The delegation had wanted what they called American food. The private concert culminated the day.

After the concert, Thomas escorted the delegation to the elevators.

On his drive home, Thomas expected to get a call from the mayor. She would want to know what he and the delegation talked about. Sometimes he felt like a spy for whoever was the mayor.

If you enjoyed Part TWO, sign up for my email list to receive an alert when a new post is up.  Share this post with a friend, if you like.

Have a good weekend.

See you next week.

Stephen Wallace

Read Free Chapters of The Concierge – A Suspense and Thriller Novel

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This is the description of my book, “The Concierge.”  It is the first book in the series. 

The Concierge

Parents are going missing around the country.  Children are showing up alone at charitable organizations.  They will not give their names nor addresses.  Some refuse to talk at all.  But, the notes the children carry have these organizations hiding them from law enforcement. 

Individual police departments think these events are only happening in their cities and towns—the missing parents and children too few to raise a national alarm.    

One detective, however, is secretly investigating the missing parents and children.  Despite what top officials say, he knows it is nationwide. 

His research has led him to a man named Clay Vanster.  Clay appears to be rich and powerful.  Many people know him.  The problem is no one knows what he looks like or where he is.  Except for one person—Thomas George.

Thomas is the Head Concierge at the luxury five-star Merle Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.  He is the best in the business.  Rival hotels attempt to hire him every month.  His colleagues envy and respect him.  He has met and served Presidents—domestic and foreign.  Businesspeople around the world speak highly of him.  He raises money for charitable organizations and police departments.  Politicians, actors, and other influential people stay at the Merle when visiting Atlanta.  Thomas’s attention to detail attracts them and keeps them coming back.

No one has a negative or disparaging word to say about Thomas.  He is described as humble and sincere.  His charm mesmerizes people.  He is willing to help anyone in any way that he can.  Anything guests want he makes happen.

Detective Green wonders, with such a stellar reputation, why would Thomas have a business relationship with Clay Vanster?  If his research is correct, Clay Vanster could be involved in horrific crimes? 

Is Thomas’s connection to Clay a simple coincidence?  Who is Thomas George?  And what is the depth of his relationship with Clay Vanster?

The Concierge

You can see The Concierge and read more of it on Amazon. 

I hope you enjoy this sample. 

 

PROLOGUE

 

WHO ARE YOU?

 

ONE

 

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

 

THREE SMALL CHILDREN shivered outside of Chicago Children Center door.  They had knocked on the door and were waiting for someone to let them in.  It was twenty-eight degrees.  The wind chill felt like fifteen.  It was one thirty-two a.m.  It was March.

 

The two boys were four and five.  The girl was six.  They were blindfolded, scared, tired and freezing.  Their hands were shoved in their pockets.  Their breaths came out as steam.  Their clothes were dirty.  Their faces were filthy.  They had no idea where they were or who was coming for them.  The only thing they were sure of—even though they were scared—was to wait and not move as instructed.

 

The girl pounded on the door with her fist.  Much harder than before.  Even though she wore gloves it stung her hand.  Waiting for someone to open the door she reached out to her sides and put her arms around the boys and pulled them close to her.

 

Clicking sounds came from inside the door.  The children jumped.  The door opened.  A woman’s voice said, “Oh dear.  Not again.”  The woman was forty-nine-year-old Helen Lisan.  She quickly pulled the children inside, almost tripping them.  “Take those off your eyes.”  She was pulling the blindfolds off their eyes as she said it.  “Jay!  Teresa!  I need you!” she shouted down a hallway.  “Stay here,” she ordered the children and ran outside down the steps.

 

She stood in the walkway, scanning the area.  Someone left them here, she thought.  Who left them?  She stared at the parking lot in front of the strip mall across the street.  It was empty.  She looked up and down the street.  No cars or trucks were parked along the curbs.  Parking there was illegal.  Cars were towed when they did.

 

She walked almost to the end of the walkway and stopped and looked around.  She did not see anyone.  But she could feel them.  They were there.  Anyone who took the time to drop off those kids would not leave them in the cold and dark alone.  Someone was there, watching.

 

Maybe she should call out to them?  Tell them she could see them.  Flush them out of hiding.  Who were they?  What were their intentions?  Why had they chosen her place to leave the kids?  Were they telling the truth?  She folded her arms and looked and waited.  A chill came over her.  It was more than just the cold she felt for wearing a thin sweater outside.  She was scared.

 

She backed up, scanning the area.  Halfway to the door she turned around and rushed back inside the building and locked the doors.

 

Jay and Teresa who worked at the Center were with the children.

 

“She was holding this,” Jay said to Helen.  He gave her the note that the girl had been holding.

 

Helen unfolded the note and silently read it.  Please don’t turn us in to the authorities.  Our parents will get us back and continue to abuse us and kill us.  Please help us.

 

Helen swallowed to compose herself.  She pulled Jay and Teresa away from the children.  “Feed them if they’re hungry,” Helen said.  “Get them clean and put them to bed.  No one is to know they’re here.”  Jay and Teresa nodded.  “No one.”  She stared at them.  “Just like before, I’ll take any blame that comes down.  They’re my responsibility now.”  Jay and Teresa said yes.  “Thank you.  Now go ahead and help them.  Hurry up.”

 

Jay and Teresa led the children away.  None of the children talked.  As young as they were, the man and woman who left them on the steps had made them understand the dangers that awaited them if they did not follow instructions.  The children did not want to go back home.

 

Helen went to her office and made notes about the children.  This was the fifth time in three months that children had been dropped off alone at the Center’s door.  It was always early morning hours—one to two o’clock.  No one was around.  No vehicles were around.  Each time the oldest child carried a note.  All the notes were the same.  Don’t tell the authorities.  The parents would abuse and kill the children.  Help us.  And all the children showed classic signs of young abuse victims.

 

Her duty was to call the authorities.  Failure to do so could cost her the Center.  And she was committing crimes—possibly assisting in kidnappings.  She had vaguely described the situation to her attorney.  Her attorney had indirectly let her know that the less he knew, the better.  Because if she were committing a crime, he would be obligated to report her.  That was why she had spoken to him in hypotheticals.

 

The facts were saying whoever dropped off the children were telling the truth.  Physicians, psychiatrists, and therapists who secretly examined, evaluated and spoke with the children saw the signs of abuse.

 

The evidence left Helen with no choice.  No matter how many children came to her, she could not live with herself if she turned them over to the authorities and they ended up dead.  She wished she had more information on the children.

 

Whoever had instructed the kids on what to do and say had done their job.  The kids did not crack under questioning.  They did not say their names or their parents’ names.  Nor would they say where they lived.

 

Helen assumed the kids saw the people who had helped them escape from their lives of hell as angels.  She would if she were in their shoes.  What else could she do?  She had to protect them.  The Center was now their safe place.

 

What Helen did not know was that this scene was playing out in more than twenty different cities in eighteen different states and growing.  Each charity wrestled with what to do.  The possibility that they could send a child to their death forced them to keep the children a secret.  And each charity wondered and feared who else, and what, they were protecting with this secret.

 

If you enjoyed the Prologue in The Concierge, stop by Amazon and purchase the book.  I have written other books.  They, too, can be found on Amazon under Stephen Wallace.  You can read free chapters of each book.

 

Take care of yourself.

Stay healthy and safe.

Thanks,

Stephen Wallace