Mystery and Crime Fiction posted May 30, 2021 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4... 


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Olivia has a flash; Floyd and Boyd.

A chapter in the book Running Blind

Running Blind ~ Chapter Three

by Sally Law


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

Previously, in Chapter Two~

Lyle poured Olivia a French Roast coffee and set a slice of the pecan-cinnamon cake on a white plate. "Here, try this."

The morning chatter went on for a few minutes until Olivia bolted for the kitchen sink, heaving. "BLARGH...!"

Lyle quickly moved to corral the house guests outside, while Shirley did damage control inside.

"Olivia, are you okay? Let me get you back to your room," Shirley offered. After the door was shut, the former nurse offered her ear. "Was that the flu, or something of the nine month kind?"

Olivia sat on the edge of the bed with her head bowed. "Would you believe me if I told you--I don't know. I have no memory, Shirley. I came to consciousness in a mental hospital after someone found me in an alley behind a jazz club in New Orleans. No purse, wallet, house or car keys. Not even a library card! I escaped from that hell hole, and here I am. Oh Shirley, what am I going to do...?"

**********

{Chapter Three}

{Louisiana, April 1990}

A flood of pent-up emotions flowed freely from Olivia Smith onto a newfound friend. As she rested her head upon Shirley Reynolds, she felt like her mother had returned to her for a moment.

Shirley leaned Olivia back on the bed and put a cool cloth to her head. "Let me get some soda crackers for you. It will steady your stomach. I'll be right back."

Again, the motherly care sparked a brief memory. This time she saw her mother's brunette hair tied back as she moved about in a yellow sun dress. Fresh tears baptized her again, stirring hope.

Shirley came back and noticed the change in Olivia's expression. "Are you feelin' better, hon?"

"Yes. I think I just had a flashback of my mother. One of the doctors in the mental hospital said I may get my memory back in bits and pieces. This is hopeful, yes?"

"I love and serve the God of hope. You have every reason to be hopeful, Olivia."

"Thank you, Shirley. I will take those crackers now," she said, opening her hands.

"When you begin to feel hungry, I will bring you something more substantial... like oatmeal with fresh berries."

"That would be great. I ate some wild blueberries on the road here, and they were delicious."

Shirley's eyes turned more serious. "I need to run by Rite-Aid and pick up some household items. Do you need anything?"

Olivia swallowed the last bit of cracker. "Let me give you a list and some money...."

Shirley held up her hand. "Sweet pea, I've got this. I can't even comprehend what you've been through...."

Olivia accepted the kind offer. "Lotion with aloe in it, and some aspirin. I was hit hard on the back of the head. It's still tender."

"Would you mind if I took a look? I was an ER nurse over at the River Ridge Clinic."

Shirley didn't like what she saw underneath Olivia's thick mane of chestnut-colored hair: a group of multiple head wounds, one of which was very close to the brain stem. She held back, not wanting to lay too much on the mystery girl in her care. "I would suggest Tylenol for the head wounds. It's easier on the stomach. But first, I need to rule out a pregnancy to adjust the proper dosage. I will add a pregnancy kit to the list. That way, you'll know for sure."

Olivia set aside her hesitations. "Yeah, let's do that. I haven't had a period since--I can remember!"

The laughter was heard down the hall and into the kitchen where Lyle had returned to prepare the house breakfast. He smiled and thought, how many times had Shirley taken a bad situation and turned it around?

**********

{On Country Road 15, west of River Ridge, Louisiana.}

The Dodge Charger came to a stop, heaving as the engine was cut. I heard Detective Lembowsky moving towards the car; and Jackson tinkering with the spare tire.

King and I crouched down in the shady spot. My hands formed a series of commands for him: Stay behind me until I snap my fingers, then disarm and disable the men.

King licked my hand in obedience and remained still.

"Thanks for stopping, gentlemen. We have help coming... they should be here any minute. I'm Lieutenant Mike Lembowsky of Lafayette Township Homicide."

As soon as the car doors creaked opened; guns were drawn. "Hands up, Lieutenant! You too, mister. Unload your weapons, nice and slow-like." Detective Lembowsky and Jackson tossed their weapons aside.

"All we want is the oil painting, then we'll be on our way."

I could tell by their Louisiana accents, these guys were local hirelings. Steadying King, I walked forward into the sunshine.

"The painting's mine. It won't do you any good without a certificate of authenticity."

"Don't know what you're talking about, lady. Our boss says it's in a black Chev-a-Lay SUV with that license plate."

"It's about as valuable as a paint-by-number without the certificate. I have it scanned on my cell phone. Would you like to see it? With your permission, I'll reach in my pocket."

No one objected, so I held up one hand and reached with the other.

"She's making sense. I hate when girls start making sense! Are you a cop?"

I put on a tough exterior. "Yes, I am, and a bad-ass! Now, get back in your car before you get into real trouble. You have one minute."

I stood with my blind cane, unmoved. "Go on. Get in your car while you can!"

The second in charge spoke. "Hand over your weapon, and... and... move aside!"

"Not a chance. Like I said, the painting's mine. Did I mention my German Shepherd is a canine officer?" I released King with a snap.

I couldn't see, but I certainly heard it. King was on the leader within seconds. Detective Lembowsky read them their rights while Jackson cuffed them.

"Tell me who you're working for, and I'll make sure you get police protection until the trial," I offered. "What do you say?"

"You would do that?"

"Yep. You have our word, right Detective Lembowsky?"

"Yes! You can double up with us and continue on to River Ridge. We will take your statements at the Sheriff's office there. You'll be able to contact your lawyer, and come under the Sheriff's protection."

"What about our car?"

Detective Lembowsky explained it in graphic terms. "Answer this. Do you want to live, or do you want your car? It's pretty simple. Whoever is running this ring of thieves is highly connected to the criminal underworld. I'd give you two days to live, max."

"The cops are right, Boyd."

"You'll be at risk either way," I said. "Your boss may not care about the certificate. He probably makes his money authenticating the art himself, then puts an inflated price tag on it."

"Can I discuss this with Boyd for a few minutes. Our mama ain't gonna be happy about this."

It finally hit me. "Floyd and Boyd Clarkston? How's your mama and them? I haven't seen your mama since the Christmas potluck."

Floyd declared, "I thought y'all looked familiar. Boyd, this is The Blind Girl... and her dog, King! We followed your uncle's murder trial from beginning to end. Oh man, I can't believe this!" Floyd cried. Just then, cell reception returned, and in time for a group selfie.

The moment was moving, especially when the brothers willingly gave up the name of their boss: Art Curator, Duran Gibbons. Honestly, this was the first time I had ever misjudged someone's character. Still, I'd see Mr. Gibbons soon, hopefully, and accompanied by an agent of the FBI's Department of Antiquities.

Today's interruption was worth it, knowing we had saved the Clarkston twins from being weighted down and thrown into the Mississippi River. They were, after all, still teenagers; and their mother was my friend. However, they saved me from the soiled hands of Mr. Gibbons, in a roundabout sort of way.

Jackson wrapped his arms around me and drew me away for a moment. "What am I going to do with you, Blind Girl?"

"Love me forever...."

**********

{Later that day, in New Orleans}

Anyone who knew Duran Gibbons personally observed his regular schedule. Locking his gallery's doors at precisely five o'clock, he retired to his back office with a cup of peppermint tea.

Reclining on his couch, he thought he'd wait for the call. He dozed, but not for long, waking to the feel of gunmetal against his cheek.

"What are you doing here? You must be patient with these transactions!"

"Where's the original Andre Dupree, Duran? You said it would be here by seven o'clock. Guess what? My cell phone has remained silent. The ungratefuls: they never call--they never write...."

"I have arranged for a heist. I expect them here at any moment. The owner will give it up, no doubt. She's not into bloodshed, and would never put the other officers at risk."

"Other officers? The broad is a cop?" The man leaned in uncomfortably close.

Mr. Gibbons found it difficult to breathe and swallowed hard. "Yes...a cold case detective... with Lafayette Township PD...."

"How nice," said the soulless criminal. "Perhaps she'll still be around to find you in a couple of decades."

"No...! Please...!"

BAM!

To be continued....

**********

{Main Characters}

Detective Sally Law, that's me, also known as the Blind Girl, Lead Detective for Lafayette Township Police Department: Cold Case Division. I'm also heiress to the Andre Dupree Art Collection and fortune.

Detective Jackson Law: my husband, and a consultant to the force.

King: my guide dog, Superdog, and ace crime-solver.

Detective Lieutenant Mike Lembowsky, Homicide, Lafayette Township Police Department. He also lives next door to us on Main Street in Lafayette Township.

Detective Lieutenant Janelle Harris and her German Shepherd, Vanta.

Suzy Fleming: My personal assistant.

Detective Lieutenant Miles Jean-Baptiste, Lafayette Township Police Department: Cold Case Division.

Mr. Duran Gibbons: Curator and owner of "The Duran Gibbons Gallery of Fine Art."

Floyd and Boyd Clarkston: Local criminals for hire, now seeking a better life.

{Louisiana of 1990}

Olivia Smith: Amnesiac and missing person, Camille Jean-Baptiste.

Albert Lee Reynolds: Owner and proprietor of Al's Barbecue; his wife, Shirley.

Pastor Lyle Henry: Pastor of River Ridge Mission Church and the community hostel.















Book of the Month contest entry

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Chev-a-Lay= Southern for Chevrolet.

How is your mama and them? Louisiana speak for: How is your mama and everyone still at home?
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