a mob surrounding a flame they're coming for you

They’re Coming For You – A Novelette (Part 8)

This entry is part 8 of 14 in the series They're Coming For You

The sheriff’s office smelled like a mixture of bad coffee, cigarette smoke, and ammonia. A small office, it didn’t have but a few desks for the deputies in one common room and one single office for the sheriff. When I arrived, the receptionist looked surprised to see me. I didn’t regularly come into the police station. When I did, it wasn’t to see the sheriff but his prisoners. Reynold’s and I didn’t see eye to eye on a number of things, including how he treated his prisoners. We kept a wide berth.

This time was different. The call last night spooked me to say the least. I didn’t know what Reynolds would do for me but I needed to feel like someone had my back, someone knew about it. I also wanted to talk to him about Tom, though I figured I wouldn’t get too far on that subject.

When I opened his door and knocked, he had his filthy leather boots kicked up on his desk and held a newspaper in front of him, covering the whole of his upper body. He didn’t acknowledge my appearance, so I closed the door a little louder than usual, hoping to grab his attention. Slowly, he lowered the newspaper and when he caught my smile, he collapsed it carelessly and threw it on the floor. He removed his boots from the desk, straightened out his cowboy hat, and interlocked his fingers together.

“Ah, Father Jonathan,” he said. He always called me Father or Reverend or Your Holiness when he felt particularly prickly. I wasn’t any of those things.

“Pastor.”

“Sure,” he said. “Take a seat. What can I do for you?” Before I could say anything, he chided, “This isn’t about Dirkson, is it? Cause we followed the letter of the law on that. We treated him like a princess at the ball.”

“I’m sure you did. But no, it isn’t about that. The other night my wife received an unusual call.”

“Oh?”

“They told her many disturbing details about when I traveled to Minnesota a while back on a conference trip. They knew a lot, like they had been following me the entire time. The thing is, they intermixed fact and fiction in a way that came back at me.”

“Did they threaten your wife?”

“No. She didn’t say but I don’t think so. No.”

“Did they threaten you or your family?”

“Again, no.”

“You think this is some kind of stalker, then?”

“Probably,” I said, feeling less and less like Reynolds would have my back. “Listen, I feel like our life could be in danger especially with what happened to Tom and the other strange occurrences in Norcross recently.”

“Ah,” he said, “I wondered if you would bring up Houtkooper.”

“It’s strange, isn’t it? I drove past the fire against this morning. It’s still roaring. And Tom…he didn’t do anything to deserve that. You knew Tom.”

“Yeah, but it’s a stretch to think you two are connected.”

“Okay,” I said, peeved that he’d say the same thing as my wife.

“What would you like me to do for you, Reverend?”

I winced. “I guess I was hoping you could just keep an eye out, have a patrol car near our neighborhood, something to give me peace of mind. I feel like this isn’t going to be the end of it.”

“I’ll look into it.” Meaning he wouldn’t.

When he saw my disbelief, he added, “We’re fairly busy around here. So, if that is all, then I’d like to get back to work.”

“Right,” I said, “sorry for bothering you.” I rose and walked for the door but at the last minute, I turned around. I wanted to ask him about Tom and if they had any leads on his killers, but Reynolds had already gone back to reading his newspaper. I frowned and lowered my head. I knew then I’d have to take things into my own hands. I couldn’t trust anyone but myself. I slammed the door and marched out of the police station.

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