Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan

Posted on Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Three days later, Connor pulled up in front of the address Claire had left for him. He’d wanted to see her right away, but he’d been out of the dating game for eight years and didn’t want to look desperate.

Yesterday, thoughts of her had led him into Denise’s formal dining room. He wanted to throw out all the dust-covered cherry furniture, but the impractical writing desk was all he could carry out alone. He carried it outside and threw it on its side with a clatter. He stood looking at it next to the rest of his trash with a half-grin of satisfaction. He felt more liberated than he had since Denise left.

1201 Archer Street was a two-story single home set on a tiny piece of land. It looked as if it had been beautiful at one time, but now paint peeled in uneasy strips from the siding and the front yard was overgrown with weeds. The two concrete steps leading to the front door were cracked and crumbling.

Connor paused a moment before knocking. Maybe he should have called her first. He could have easily found her number using her name and address. No, he decided quickly. He opened the screen door and knocked three times on the storm door. Claire left only the address. If she meant for him to call, she would have left a number.

The door was answered by a tall, wiry woman with short, black hair cut in a shapeless style. Her face bore a striking resemblance to Claire’s though she was certainly older—not old enough to be Claire’s mother; perhaps a sister. Her eyes were shaped similarly, although their blue shade was lighter than Claire’s. She had the same narrow, delicate nose, the same chin.

“Can I help you?” asked the woman.

Connor shifted his weight from foot to foot. “Hi,” he said. “I’m here to see Claire Fletcher.”

The woman’s face paled. She hesitated before opening the door wide with one trembling hand. “Come in,” she said.

Connor stepped inside the foyer. The woman turned to the flight of stairs opposite them and yelled, “Tom!”

Connor felt a prickling sensation in his arms and legs. Unconsciously, almost of its own volition, his right hand slipped inside his jacket to rest on the butt of his pistol. “Is something wrong?” he asked.

The woman ignored him, her eyes fixed on the steps. Waves of raw, scarcely contained energy rolled off her. A disembodied male voice barked back from somewhere above them. “What?”

“Tom! Get down here right now.” The woman’s voice rose an octave and realizing it, she covered her mouth with one hand. She did not look at Connor.

His palm was dry and steady, resting on his weapon, though the logical part of his mind could divine no possible danger at hand.

Tom came trotting down the steps in blue jeans and a long-sleeved, button-down shirt. He looked to be in his thirties, about Connor’s age, although his brown hair was thinning at the top. His eyebrows rose quizzically at the woman, but the rest of his face smiled kindly at her. Connor eased his hand out of his jacket.

“Brianna?” Tom said, taking her elbows.

She nodded her head toward Connor but did not look at him. Tom turned his bright smile on Connor and extended a hand. “Hi,” he said. “Tom Fletcher.”

Connor blinked but shook hands with the man. “Connor Parks,” he replied.

Tom clapped his hands together. “What can I do for you, Connor?”

Before Connor could answer, Brianna said, “He’s here to see Claire.”

Tom was obviously someone whose face lacked the ability to hide emotion. Whereas Brianna’s face had paled, Tom’s flushed a deep red at the mention of Claire’s name. Shock and confusion played havoc with the man’s features. He wouldn’t make a very good criminal, Connor thought.

Tom stared at Connor as though he’d shown up holding Claire’s decapitated head in one hand. “Claire,” Tom gasped.

Finally Brianna’s eyes were on Connor, but he did not like the look of them at all. “Yeah,” Connor said. “Claire Fletcher. She gave me this address.”

Tom’s hands flew to his chest. “When?”

Connor shrugged. “Um, jeez, a few days ago. Wednesday, I think.”

“That’s not possible,” Brianna said icily.

“What?” Connor said.

Tom stepped toward him, a look of wounded pity on his open face. “Connor—Mr. Parks, our sister disappeared ten years ago. She’s never been found.”

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Genre – Psychological Thriller / Crime Fiction

Rating – R

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Website http://www.lisaregan.com/


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