BY: JOHN JUSTICE
Andy Falconer stood in the deserted house and looked around him without moving. The radio on his belt started chattering and he broke a rule by turning it off with the Squelch button. “Now, if the Alert signal comes across, I’ll still hear it. But for now, I need quiet.”
On a small wooden Lazy Susan, Andy found various kinds of medication, a talking calculator and a butcher’s block filled with good quality knives. At the rear of the counter top was a cradle used to charge a portable phone but the phone itself was missing. Andy was a good detective. Some said he was slow but he preferred to think of himself as careful and meticulous. The kitchen was filled with things that might be in any room of its type but everything was of good quality and spotlessly clean. The dish drainer contained a few cups, a cream pitcher and a couple of small glasses. The front of the double door refrigerator was decorated with magnets, some of which were very eye catching. There were musical instruments including a small upright piano, a violin, a French horn and a staff complete with musical notes. Andy’s pen busily made a list of what he saw. Conclusions would come later but for now, he needed to get a feel for who this lady had been and what her life was like. Lindsay Davenport had left her home and vanished without a trace. That’s all the police knew. Her sister Avery had come to visit, found the house open but empty and dialed 9 1 1.
Andy moved into the hallway and entered the dining area. Against one wall, was a folded walker and a well used wheelchair was placed at the table, replacing one of the matching sets of wooden ladder backed chairs. On the desk top was a small laptop computer and a spiraled notebook. Andy was drawn to the book immediately. The little blue binder contained lists of doctors, medical facilities and transportation companies. A tiny grin played around Andy’s generous mouth. “This lady couldn’t have gone far without help.”
A uniformed officer stepped through the door but stood quietly, waiting to be acknowledged by the older detective. He knew, from past painful experience, that nobody interrupted Andy Falconer until he was damned good and ready to talk. Anyone who did, got “THE LOOK!” Andy Falconer could and did freeze younger inexperienced co-workers in their tracks. His eyes would flash and a dead fish expression would cross the man’s face. At times like these, Andy spoke little but every word was a chilling threat. “Don’t bother me while I’m working. I’ll let you know when I can provide new information.”
Andy turned to the young officer and his shoulders relaxed. “Okay Mike, here’s what we have. Lindsay Davenport is physically handicapped. She can’t travel without help and needs to take medication on a regular basis. Look at these drugs Mike. This prescription is used by people with Epilepsy. This one is given to someone with a lot of pain. Her chair is still here but she isn’t. Mike, check with the phone company and find out which number was last called from this phone. Where is the nearest hospital?” Mike nodded. “that would be Saint Mary’s.” Andy took control of the situation and his orders were based on what he had already learned. “Good. find out if they have any recently admitted patients who are unable to talk. Her purse is still here, so I have a hunch she was able to call for help but only just. Move Mike! This is serious!”
Mike walked quickly to the kitchen phone. Andy continued his search and found more evidence that the missing woman was handicapped but lived independently. The stair railings were reinforced and there was a special commode with arm rests fitted over the toilet. In the tub was a shower chair made of heavy plastic and the ordinary head had been replaced by a portable hand-held shower device. Lindsay’s bed was elevated and a shelf above the headboard contained more evidence that the woman needed to keep things within easy reach.
Mike came clattering up the stairs with a notebook of his own clutched in one hand. Andy turned to him with raised eyebrows. Mike’s expression said it all before he uttered a word. “Andy, I think we found her. Yesterday morning, an ambulance delivered a woman matching the Davenport girl’s description. She had no identification with her but she was clutching a cellular phone in one hand. When the doctors tried to check the number, they found that the thing had run out of battery power because Lindsay had forgotten to turn it off after her last call. You were right Andy! The call was placed to an emergency service. They found her unconscious and rushed her to Saint Mary’s. In the hurry to save her life, they forgot to take her purse. Andy, she’s still alive but she can’t talk, not yet at least. They have her on medication and she will, according to the doctor on duty, recover the ability to speak in a few hours. The doctor, Sahid Al Hossain is his name, indicated that she had a massive Epileptic seizure. he is amazed that the woman is still alive. I called the ambulance company and all they had on record was a case number, the time of the call and the address. Someone set the documents aside and forgot all about the incident until now. Andy, they aren’t supposed to do that! That woman might have died without anyone knowing anything!” Andy shook his head. “It happens, Kid. Someone is going to hear about this situation, that I promise you!”
Twelve hours later, Lindsay Davenport regained the ability to speak. One of her first visitors was a tall gray-haired man who introduced himself as Andy Falconer. He explained what had happened and how the clues she had left gave him enough information to locate her. Then, he made a serious suggestion. “Miss Davenport. I think you should wear one of those special bracelets. It is possible that we might not have found you at all. With your condition, as I understand it, you are in danger every minute. I wouldn’t want the same thing to happen again.” Lindsay nodded. “Neither would I. I promise you Sir. I will arrange for an emergency alert bracelet as soon as possible.” Another voice responded immediately. “You won’t have to, Lindsay.” Both occupants of the hospital room turned to find a younger taller version of Lindsay striding through the door, her long black hair flying out behind her. “Hi Avery,” said Lindsay with a shaky smile. Avery took Lindsay’s left hand and clipped a circlet around the woman’s shaking wrist. Avery explained how the device worked. “If you get into trouble, just press this button. A small transmitter will send all of your details to a response team. Everything about you will be on that screen in seconds. Your full name, address, phone number and physical condition will be there for everyone to see. I won’t lose my sister to her stubborn independence!” Lindsay grinned Ryley. “Okay Avery but how much is this going to cost me?” Avery shrugged. “It’s covered under your insurance. You should have had one long ago. It’s even waterproof so you can take a shower without removing the bracelet. I thought I’d lost you forever Lindsay! Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Avery burst into tears and took her sister into a warm embrace. Andy waved to them as he strolled out of the room.
Mike Cosgrove stopped at Andy’s desk later that evening. “I have seen some pretty amazing things in my five years here but I have never seen anything like that Andy. With that list of information, you were able to put me on the right track.” Andy grinned and then quoted Arthur Conan Doyle. “Elementary my dear Watson.” Mike looked blank for a moment and then he got it. His laugh rang out as he walked out of the Operations room. Andy smiled down at a leather-bound collection of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. “You may have been a character Mr. Holmes but your theories and practices are as real as they come.” Wearily, he shrugged into his suit jacket and walked out toward his car.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
THE PADDY STORIES: BOOK TWO
Fiction by John Justice, C 2018
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online booksellers.
Cover, free text preview, author bio, buying links, and more: http://www.dldbooks.com/johnjustice/
Oakland, California – the 1950s
From the protected environment of California School for the Blind, Pat Chandler enters an ordinary public high school, where he and his blind friend Carlos are a tiny minority. How will the teachers and other students treat them? Most of them have never met a blind person before.
For Pat and Carlos, challenges of this type are nothing new. Fortunately, Pat has Lucy Candelaria beside him. Her love and support, along with his own strength and determination, will give him the help he needs to succeed. In young Becky Simonson, Carlos finds a friend and loving companion as well. As time passes, they all develop new maturity and deserved self–confidence.
Naturally, as Pat grows into young adulthood, the issues he faces become more complex. The Paddy Stories: Book One featured the journey of the orphaned boy from Philadelphia to California, then his new life with Doreen and Bob Chandler, the loving aunt and uncle who adopt him. Book Two is filled with much hard work, a few confrontations, and many accomplishments for the young characters and their elders. Whatever the challenge, be it moving, remodeling, starting a business, or rescuing an abused classmate, they meet it with courage, creativity, and mutual support.
Throughout the book, music is central to the main characters’ lives. Pat, Lucy, and Carlos gain fulfillment and fame as the musical group “The Miracle.” The beautiful piano on the cover is the same model featured in Chapter 9. There could be no better symbol of the art that brings Pat and his friends so much joy—and will for the rest of their lives.
John Justice is also the author of the following three books:
It’s Still Christmas (fiction, C 2015)
The Paddy Stories: Book One (fiction, C 2016)
Love Letters in the Grand: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Big-City Piano Tuner (nonfiction, C 2017)
Full details are on his website. See the URL above.
John’s books were edited and formatted by David and Leonore Dvorkin, of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/ They also designed the covers.
ABOUT JOHN IN HIS OWN WORDS…
I have been married to my wife, Linda, since 1981. We live in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. We don’t have any children. I have always found that being creative was a part of me. I have written many articles for publication and have published several songs. Writing is now, and will always be, my dream.
If you’d like to contact John, you can Email:
Or phone: 215-657-2577
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