Tuesday, February 21, 2012



Gail flees New York City afor the Adirondacks after witnessing a murder, followed by Special Agent Jason and the hit man. Who will reach her first?


Inside Dagon House, one of the three women Jason didn't know took his arm and led him to a chair, standing over him. Gratefully, he sank onto it, glad to be sitting down inside a house, out of the rain. Between the throbbing in his head and the pain in his arm, he couldn't think straight. He had no idea where he was, though he knew one of the women had brought him here from—what? Some kind of accident? But all three were strangers.

"In case you didn't catch my name, Jason," the woman said, "I'm Anita, and I'm a nurse. We're going to get that jacket off and take a look at that injured left arm of yours."

Even though she was careful removing the jacket, he was forced to clench his teeth against the pain. Anita set a towel on his knees and he watched blood drip onto it.

"Krystal," she said, "please bring me my first aid kit."

"I know where it is," a child's voice said. "I can get it."

"Krystal will take of that," Anita said. "Just what are you doing out of bed?"

"I heard someone knock and I got scared."

"As you can see, everything is all right. Take Rex upstairs with you for company. "

"That man's arm is all bloody, Mom."

"I'm going to fix it. Go back to bed. Now."

"Come on, Rex, " the child called. The brown mixed-breed dog wuffed and followed the dark-haired girl from the room. Jason figured she was about ten. She had her mother's hazel eyes. The blond woman who must be Krystal had already disappeared.

"You have a long gash on your forearm that needs stitches," Anita told him. "I don't know what else might be wrong with the arm, but I don't think any bones are broken."

Krystal returned with the kit, set it on the table beside Anita and opened it.

"I'll pad your arm with gauze to stop the bleeding till we can get you an emergency room.," Anita said.

"No ER." Jason's tone was clipped.

Anita gave him an assessing look. "Do you have any other injuries?"

Involuntarily, Jason's right hand rose to his forehead.

She took a penlight from the kit , bent over and shone it into one eye, then the other. Then she ran her hands over his head, He winced when she touched the left side.

"Some swelling," she said. "So you banged your head in that car wreck. Your pupils are both the same size, so you're okay so far, but you really need an X-ray to be sure you don't—"

"No X-rays. No hospital."

Anita looked at the woman who'd brought him here.

"He has a reason," the woman said.

So she knew him. A blade of fear sliced through Jason. Why didn't he know her? But she was right. There was some reason he couldn't be taken to any hospital. If only he could remember what it was.

Anita looked from her back to Jason. "Since I told you no one asks questions in this house, I'll have to give you both the same courtesy. But I do recommend you see a doctor, and will be glad to drive you to an ER. "

"That's not an option," Jason told her.

"Okay, understood. You both need to get out of those wet clothes." She turned to Krystal. "Why don't you take Gail upstairs and get her into something dry. Once she's set, you could see if there are any men's clothes in those attic trunks." Focusing on Jason, she told him, "I'll stitch you up first. Got to warn you, though. I don't have any local anesthetic, much less any curved needles or sutures. I'll have to sterilize a regular needle and thread for the job."

"Do whatever needs to be done." Now he knew Gail was the name of the woman who brought him here. Why didn't it sound familiar? What the hell was wrong with his mind? And what was this no questions business?

The stitching-up hurt him every bit as much as Anita had warned, plus her moving his arm caused excruciating pain. When she finished and was bandaging up her work, she shook her head. "What is it with men? Wouldn't have bothered me a bit if you'll yelled every time I stuck the needle in. But, no, men like you always have to prove how rugged they are."

Men like him? What did she mean?


Jane Toombs

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