FanStory.com - Running Blind ~ Chapter Nine by Sally Law
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Running Blind
: Running Blind ~ Chapter Nine by Sally Law

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Previously, in Chapter Eight~

I was ready in record time, as Suzy helped me and my ever-growing tote to the door. Once outside, Lieutenant Miles Jean-Baptiste greeted me. "Madame Detective, I am at your service until your husband returns. Jackson said I'm not to let you out of my sight. Where to?"

So much for my plan to meet privately with Olivia Henry, I thought.

"How about Al's Barbecue and Such? Would you care to join us?" We walked together arm in arm trying to avoid an oil tanker illegally parked at the far end of the Motor Court Motel. "It looks like the lunch crowd is already having trouble finding a parking spot," commented Jean-Baptiste. "Perhaps the French cafe around the corner? The pastries are magnifique!"

"As long as they are dog-friendly," I said.

"And have Wi-Fi," Suzy added.

"But, of course! There is no other way to dine for people like us."

Suddenly, an unexplainable fear came upon me, causing me to stop. I was being surveilled, and I knew it. King felt it too.

**********

{Chapter Nine}

At our home on 17 East Main Street in Louisiana Township is a secret place, a former wine cellar we converted into a vault large enough to house my uncle's paintings. The garden path leading there is lined with the roses my dear Andre loved so much.

Flowers were his inspiration, no matter the color or place he called home. He talked to them--it's true, and would sit amongst them and paint from his wooden stool.

Who can say they own something of this magnitude, passed down by loving hands? Not many. Still, my uncle was a humble man and enjoyed the beautiful simplicity of a flower. To French-born painter, Andre Dupree, lovely treasures were meant to beautify a life--not possess it. I know his spirit lives in me in that regard.

"Money in the hands of good people has endless possibilities," Andre would say.

However, my uncle had seen all too well what money can do to the wicked soul, and he took great pains in making sure his fortune was directed to me.

A murdering criminal, most likely involved in a ring of art thieves, was after my paintings, and near me now in the streets of River Ridge. Suzy and Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste were feeling it, along with our dogs, Samson and King.

"Act natural while I scan the crowd," said the lieutenant in a low tone. "Samson and I are going over to the restaurant's menu board for a looksee. We'll be right back."

I pulled an aikido stick from my tote and began twisting the pieces together. Suzy seemed puzzled, and asked, "What the heck do you need that for?"

"Suzy... do exactly as I say. Move towards Jean-Baptiste, and take his arm."

"No way! I won't leave you here...!"

"Suzy, you must trust me. Now, go!"

**********

Tony the Tiger couldn't believe his luck today... a cell phone store adjacent to Al's Barbecue and Such. After he polished off his meal, he posed a question to his traveling companion, going for round three at the buffet. "I am stuffed! Do you mind if I run to the cellular store and pick up a cheap phone? It's really for my mother. She's on kidney dialysis."

Big D about cried in his clam chowder. "Moms are so important. God bless ya for that." He rolled up his sleeve a little more to sport his tattoo of motherly affection.

Tony Alfanzi continued on script, "Where would we be without our mother's love?"

"Go on and get that phone while I finish up here," said the Texas trucker, dabbing his eyes. "They have pecan sweet rolls coming out of the oven in five!"

"Take your time," said the lying murderer. "I will be in and out in twenty minutes." Remembering his table manners, he excused himself, slipping on his borrowed Texas Rangers baseball cap. It was then he saw her. Is it really her? Impossible... improbable... how opportunistic! The Blind Girl is here in River Ridge? No need for me to hurry back to New Orleans. Rubbing his eyes, he looked again.

The tiger entertained another plan and headed for a local motel, knowing cash payment wouldn't be a problem in this relic of a town.

One surprise begat another, as the junior maintenance manager was holding down the front desk at the Motor Court Motel. The tiger made his way into the past, a scene decorated in black and white, and accented in pleather* furnishings. "I would like a room, please. Any one will do."

"Welcome! I'm sorry, but the proprietor is on his lunch break. Is there anything I can get for you while you wait? A strawberry lemonade or ice water?"

Tony spied a vintage phone, straight out of Sheriff Andy Taylor's Mayberry. "I need to make a call. Does this phone actually work?"

"Sure does." The substitute clerk spun the phone around on the countertop. "Local calls only, sir. Help yourself."

Tony dialed the number halfway and hung up. "Young man, I'll take a bottled water, if you don't mind, and a straw."

"There are some straws in the break room. I'll be right back."

Pausing until the teenager was out of earshot, the bad cat dialed the number from his memory.

The pleasant voice of the receptionist picked up the line. "The Fountain Gallery of New Orleans. How may I direct your call?"

Cupping his hand around the receiver, he whispered, "Analiese Irving, please."

"May I tell her who's calling?"

"It's Tony."

**********

Big D finished his dessert, knowing he wouldn't need to eat again until tomorrow. Looking past the cellular store and into the street again, he scoured the area for the man traveling with him. It had been well over an hour.

More disturbing, the local sheriff and a few cops were gathered at his oil truck. He pulled out the wad of hundred dollar bills he'd received from the grateful hitchhiker. "Maybe this will satisfy them since I'm a traveling man."

Dwayne Cooper headed across the intersection with his sweaty hands shoved back into his jean pockets, hoping the fine wouldn't be too exorbitant.

**********

Jean-Baptiste stirred our group to action. "It's show time. Here comes the rig's driver."

I held out my badge and greeted him. "Good afternoon, sir. I'm Detective Sally Law with Louisiana Township PD. This is my partner, Lieutenant Miles Jean-Baptiste; and Sheriff Henry of River Ridge."

"I realize I'm illegally parked," he said, handing over his commercial driver's license. "Just tell me how many zeros, and I will take care of this infraction right here!"

I could tell he was an honest man, and tried to put him at ease. "I will pay for your parking fine, sir, for a bit of information. We have reason to believe your hitchhiker may know something about a double homicide in Frontier County where the remains of two men were pulled from the Vermilion River. Did you happen to pick up your hitchhiker in that area?"

"Yes...! He told me his fishing boat had capsized."

"Do you know where he is? We'd like to bring him in for questioning."

"He's vanished. Oh, man... I'm such an idiot!"

The trucker's undigested buffet was next, and hit the ground, a little bit too close to my boots.

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, Super dog, 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; and brother to missing person, Camille Jean-Baptiste.

Sergeant Dina Ray: Lafayette Township Police Department.

Dr. Marie MacLavish: Tri- County Medical Examiner and Forensic Anthropologist; married to Alan.

Mr. Duran Gibbons: Former curator and owner of The Duran Gibbons Gallery of Fine Art. Mr. Gibbons' body is in cold storage awaiting forensic examination.

Lonnie Hastings: Lafayette Township senior citizen found dead, submerged in his car, along with Duran Gibbons. Mr. Hastings' body awaits forensic examination.

Floyd and Boyd Clarkston: Local criminals for hire, now seeking a better life. Waiting arraignment in River Ridge.

Criminal mastermind, Tony Alfanzi, a.k.a., Anthony Fabio, and street name: Tony the Tiger. Likes to work alone unless it suits him to do otherwise. He has recently set his sights on The Blind Girl and her fortune.

Captain Will Moran: New Orleans Police Department.

Analiese Irving: Curator of The Fountain Gallery in New Orleans.

Spencer Whitehead: Buyer of 'Calla Lillies' for three million dollars.

Dwayne Cooper, "Big D": Truck driver

{Louisiana of 1990 and now}

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

Pastor Lyle Henry: Formerly the Pastor of River Ridge Mission Church and the community hostel. He is currently the Sheriff of River Ridge. He lives with his wife Olivia; and their daughter, Danielle.

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

Recognized

Author Notes
*Pleather: fake leather that sticks to the back of my legs every time I sit.

     

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