The Greenhouse Murders By: L.M. Mercer


The Greenhouse Murders
By: L.M. Mercer

Justin stepped up behind her and wrapped his arms around Susan’s waist. “Of course not, baby, I was just teasing. So, do you want to tear it down and rebuild it from the ground up,” he asked as they stood looking at the structure, “or do we go for a refurbishment?”

“I haven’t decided yet. I think the decision will have to wait until we excavate the jungle,” Susan chuckled. “Do you think it’s safe to go inside and have a look around?”

“We’ll just go really slowly and very carefully.”

 After strolling over to the skeleton of a glass and scrollwork door and fighting to open the slightly warped frame, they stepped cautiously inside. As they began investigating the interior, each moved to opposite sides of the structure, following the remains of crushed shell walkways through the knee high weeds.

“This looks more like an English solarium than a greenhouse. Over there you can just see the legs of an overturned wrought iron table,” She mentioned while gesturing to the opposite side of the building.

“Well, I guess you have your work cut out for you,” Justin remarked. “Ready to see if the realtor has shown up yet?”

 When he received no answer, Justin glanced around and spotted Susan standing at the far end of the oblong building, apparently frozen in place, staring at the ground. “Susan,” he called

out while rushing through the undergrowth toward her. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

 As Justin drew nearer to Susan, he was able to see that she was staring at a section of blackened earth where nothing grew, which was hidden from casual view by the surrounding high growth. From a few feet away, he noticed the blackened shape in the soil resembled that of a human body. Lying next to the shadow-shape was a large whetstone disc, along with the wooden and oxidized iron remains of a small foot-operated grinding wheel.

“Susan,” he started to call, but stopped when a shadow passed over the ground between them. He started to look up, but heard the creak of metal overhead. Instinctively, Justin closed the distance between them and tackled Susan to the ground, just moments before a large pane of previously unbroken glass shattered on the ground, shredding the weeds that she had been standing among seconds before.

 He held his wife tightly in a comforting embrace for some time before standing and helping her to her feet. Since she was shaking uncontrollably, Justin wrapped his arm around Susan’s waist and quickly guided her out of the greenhouse.

“Are you okay?” he questioned, once they were safely outside.

“I guess it wasn’t safe after all,” Susan said with a forced laugh. “Wonder if the realtor has come yet?” She took a couple of slow deep breaths, then turned and walked somewhat unsteadily toward the corner of the house, brushing dirt from her clothes as she went.

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