A second snippet from my ongoing novel at NaNoWriMo...
Tim and I arrived on the second floor landing to spy two bedrooms. One was completely empty and the other, being Rachel's, looked as though she were still around. Her closet was open revealing a rainbow collection of blouses, dresses, and skirts. I walked in the room, resting my feet in the thick carpet, and ran my hand along the smooth wood of a vanity continuing next along the top of her hair brush. Golden strands were meshed in among the bristles. I shuddered. It was spooky, roaming around in a dead woman's house. Except for the open closet, the room was neat. No clothes or shoes scattered anywhere. Even items on the dresser were lined up in meticulous fashion. One had to conclude Rachel Fitzsimmons was an extremely tidy person. What irony that death left such carnage on her immaculate front porch.
"The attic is up here," Tim said, grabbing a straight chair to stand on in order to push open a door in the ceiling. He pulled a ladder down and turned to me. "You go first, and I'll catch you if you fall." He grinned.
"You want me to go up that ladder?"
"It's pretty steady. Don't worry."
I shook my head in doubt, but proceeded anyway. His large hand felt warm on my waist as I made my way up the shaky steps, with relief arriving at the top.
"There's a string to pull right there. Tug it and it will turn on the light." Tim's voice sounded far away once I stuck my head into the dark cavern. I reached, flailing my arm around, until I felt a cord. I yanked it and there was light. I gasped. A mountain of boxes came into view, stacked from floor to ceiling.
"You can see there is a lot of stuff to go through," Tim's voice chased after my gaze. "Pull yourself in so I can come up the ladder."
I crawled off on my hands and knees, then stood, brushing dust off my white uniform slacks. With the sloped ceiling, I had to be careful where I stood, keeping to the center of the room where the ceiling was high.
Tim arrived coughing. "I have a dust allergy, so you can imagine how much I like this job," he said, crawling over to the middle where I was, standing when the room would accept his total six feet. "We started to go through this stuff, but there is so much. I was hoping to spend some time here with you, maybe a week or so of evenings, going through some of these boxes. Maybe with all that you know about Joe, something will come up."
"Well, we have our limits. The man has amnesia. I don't know anything about his past."
"Yeah, but you know his personality. I have a hunch it can help. Are you with me?" His eyes appeared soft gray and mysterious in the dim light.
I gazed around the attic at the cobwebs, dust, and stacks of boxes and sighed. It was the least I could do to help Joe. Maybe there would be something to send the police off on someone else's trail where they should be, so they left an innocent like Joe alone. "Okay," I said. "Let's get started."
An hour and a half later, after closing yet another box, I felt as though we'd accomplished nothing. We went through dozens of cartons and not a single clue as to who would want Rachel Fitzsimmons dead.
Copyright 2005 JO Janoski