But then, 45 days ago, she found the jagged, haphazardly scrawled note that Thomas had left for her in what appeared to be the start of another manuscript. Nestled between pages 16 and 17, and in a fashion typical of Thomas, the note was an Easter egg—what some call a clue, hidden in plain sight. His first order of business was to congratulate her for finding the note he had left in her “between years.” And then he urged her to find the place where he had hidden her “official” birthday card along with a stash of cash and supplies that she could use until the appointed time came. Rounding out the odd combination of items found in Thomas’ secret hiding place, was a diamond necklace with an oddly shaped key attached that resembled one of those cheap souvenir trinkets found at the overpriced shops at Disneyland. Thomas concluded this unwelcomed birthday adventure with another note—this one more carefully crafted, telling her that he knew she had longed for a SIMPLE KIND OF LIFE—written out in all caps. He also acknowledged that she’d be confused, but that she would be okay.
No, that was wrong. Thomas didn’t assure her that she’d be okay—he had assured her that she would be fine. And Thomas Jensen never said, fine.
Fine was a four-letter in their house.
Fine was the word Vanessa, her mother, had thrown out all those years ago the day she left him. Well, the day she left, her.
But Ellyce couldn’t go down that bunny trail right now because one of the two men who were in the process of ransacking her home was making his way down the hallway towards her father’s bedroom. Ellyce cupped her hand over her mouth, willing herself to be quiet, but she was having little success. She’d always made fun of those perky, b-movie actresses in scary movies who hid in the closet and took breaths so rapid and heavy that the neighbors down the street could hear—not to mention the killer right outside the closet door. Yet, ironically, that was exactly what she found herself doing, and keeping quiet during a crisis proved more difficult than she ever could have realized.
Thanks for stopping! Join us tomorrow for more from Chapter 1. See you then!
*Cover graphic from Pexels via Pixabay