First published in Thrillers, Killers, 'n Chillers - read editor interview
Glenda turned from the window, placed the mug on the counter, and rubbed damp palms down the front of her brown slacks.
“So you’re my son.” She slid onto a cushioned stool, swiveled slender legs under the glass-topped table, and stared at the stranger. Black bangs loomed over his dark eyes. The head of a green dragon with red eyes peeked out from the sleeve of the young man's black t-shirt.
“According to the adoption agency.”
“I thought those records were sealed.” Glenda, back stiff, held his eyes with hers.
“When your adoptive parents are rich, you can do lots of things.”
“You’re rich? Dressed like that? And when was the last time you got a haircut?"
“You sound just like my mother.” Jonathan's gaze lowered to his lap where his hands lay motionless. “She didn’t approve either.”
Glenda swiveled out of the chair and retrieved a bottle of Dewars from the cupboard. Her eyes widened when his last statement sunk in. She returned to the table. “Didn’t? Is she—?”
“They died in a car accident five months ago.” He looked up. “Two days after I learned about you, as a matter of fact.”
“I’m sorry.” Glenda rose and retrieved another glass from a stained dish rack. Was it an accident? She chased the words from her mind. “So I guess I know why you’re here.”
“To see you, mother.”
“Don’t call me that.” She set the glass down and offered him the Dewars.
“No thanks?” She put a hand on her hip. “You don’t drink?” He shook his head.
They sat in silence. Glenda poured two fingers of amber liquid into the glass and swallowed it in one gulp. She had to think. This intruder could ruin everything if he found out the truth.
“My adoptive parents left me well-off. I thought I—”
“You thought you could buy my love?" She forced rage into her words. "I don’t need your money. I have plenty of my own.” Her eyes narrowed. She placed her palms on the table and leaned forward. “And anyway, how do I know you’re telling the truth. You could be after my money.”
They stared at each other as silence returned to the room.
“I need to show you something.” Glenda rose, stepped through the door and down two steps into the back yard. Jonathan followed as she led him into a forest of oak and pine trees. Forty paces into the woods she stopped and pointed.
Jonathan dragged his eyes from the aged mound of dirt to Glenda’s face. “It’s your mother’s grave--my half-sister--the lucky one who married a plastic surgeon.” Those were the last words Jonathan heard.
The last thing he saw was the unyielding shovel nanoseconds before it slammed into his face.