The Greenhouse Murders By: L.M. Mercer


The Greenhouse Murders
By: L.M. Mercer

Uneasy about the mysterious shadow that had passed overhead moments before the glass fell, Justin glanced over his shoulder to check the greenhouse roof. Not seeing anything unusual and reasoning that if anyone had actually been on the roof, even more glass would have rained down on them, he followed after Susan. Maybe the shadow was just a big bird, he reasoned.

                                           § § §

 Justin walked around the corner into the front yard as Susan retrieved a large manila envelope from beneath the windshield wiper of the SUV.

“What’s that?” he asked, coming up next to her.

“Well, it says, ‘To: The Anders. From: Jeb Smith of Maple Woods Real Estate, Incorporated’. We must have missed him while dodging falling glass.” Susan opened the envelope and shook out the contents: a small ring of keys, the property deed, and a handwritten note on a sheet of corporate letterhead. “Listen to this. ‘Sorry I missed you. Would have looked for you, but I did not want to interrupt anything. Feel free to contact me if you have any question or require further assistance.’ He didn’t want to interrupt anything? Did he think we were just gonna start rolling around on the ground the minute we arrived?”

“I’m sure I don’t know, but this is the country after all. Who knows what they do out here or how they do it?” he said with a wicked smile.

 She punched him in the shoulder and after returning the papers to the envelope, Susan raised her hand, the keys lying in her open palm. “So, are you going to carry me over the threshold or what?” she asked with a wicked smile of her own.

 Justin made a face and walked toward the cottage. When he was almost to the front steps, he turned and ran back, then scooped a shocked Susan off her feet. “Just hurry up and unlock the door so I don’t drop you,” he said, pretending to pant from the exertion of carrying her.

“You are so very funny, smart-ass. I’m gonna remember that comment and it will come back to haunt you when you least expect it.”

 The sun began its slow descent in the western sky as the couple entered the house. Inside the front door, Justin let his wife down on the light-colored plank floor. An ice-cold breeze blew out from the interior of the darkened house just as her feet touched the wood. Thinking nothing of the eerie wind or where it might have come from, they stood facing inward, waiting for their eyes to adjust to the dimness. From where they stood, the first floor spread around them; the front door opened into the main entry, with doors leading to the kitchen, dinning room and sitting area. A door in the back wall lead to the study and to the right of the front door was a door closing off a short hallway, which according to the realtor description contained the downstairs bathroom and the stairway to the second floor. Since the house came partially furnished, there were pieces of furniture scattered throughout the ground floor. Among the pieces, a small half-circle table stood next to the front door, covered with a layer of dust. Resting atop the table and sheathed in dust, was a beige envelope addressed to ‘Master and Mistress Anders,’ in a bold sweeping script.

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