Chapter 2

Written by: Kalli Deschamps

Brad pulled a tiny, grimy notebook from the small safe. It had been years since he’d opened it or even thought about it but the contents were as vivid in his memory as if he had studied it yesterday.

“Why me,” he wondered? And how would they have known how to find him? His true identity had been hidden for fourteen years. Even Mandy had no idea. They had met and married a year after he had become a member of the exclusive fraternity known as the witness protection program. What was he to tell her? How was he to tell her?

“Brad, are you going to hide in that bedroom all day? What are you doing?”

“I’ll be out in a minute, Mandy. Just let me finish.” Reconsidering his original idea he returned the notebook, along with the balled up scrap of paper to the safe and spun the combination.

“Isn’t this a beautiful little chest? Look how well it cleaned up. And the colors! What do you think it’s made of?”

Brad ran his fingers across the smooth surface designs imbedded in strips of hammered brass. “There is an oriental process known as Cloisonné. Powdered colored glass is spread into pockets of metal and then fired to melt the glass into enamel forming these intricate designs.  I think that’s what forms the outside coating on the chest.”

“Never heard of it.” Mandy ran her fingers across the surface. “Whatever the material, it’s beautiful,” she murmured as she dabbed her towel into an inside corner to pick up a spot of moisture. “Why would someone want to bury it in the creek?”

“I don’t think it was in there for very long.”

“What makes you say that?”

“It wouldn’t look this good.”

“The kids said it was tied. Oh, by the way,” she asked, “Where is the note? What did it say?”

“Not much. I threw it away.”

“That wasn’t fair! You promised us! Why didn’t you keep it?”

He offered a lame excuse. “It wasn’t appropriate.”

“Not appropriate!” Mandy screamed! “What is wrong with you?”

The pounding of feet on the deck stairs announced the arrival of Jackson and Matt. “Where is it? Can we see it?” they shouted in unison before they spied the gleaming chest on the kitchen counter.

“Wow,” they cried. “That’s neat!”

Matt reached for the chest. “Can I keep it? I found it!”

Brad hugged Matt. “Maybe it belongs to someone else.”

“But it was buried in the creek,” argued Jackson.

Mandy offered. “Maybe it was part of a party or something. Scavenger hunt.” She added lamely.

“What did the paper say?” pleaded Matt.

“Your father thinks it’s inappropriate for us to hear,” was Mandy’s sarcastic comment.

“DAD----!” in unison.

The room was silent. The air ceased to move. Brad seemed to shrink into himself as he took a deep breath and whispered, “It said, ‘If you fail to return our property you will be killed. You have one month!’”

Kalli Deschamps (USA)

 

Comments

OHhhhhhhhhh yes! That isn't just a cliffhanger ending - I have fallen over the edge and am in freefall. Kalli, I always love reading your work. Nice and easy to read but a little mysterious. The heat gets gradually turned up by the kids and finally the truth is coming out - but wait...who are they? What is the property they want back?...What will Brad do about his family? You have created a situation where we ask so many questions and expect so much to come in this story. I can't wait to write my chapter. Loved it!
Kalli - what a great chapter. I loved it.