She pulled into the lot at the museum and parked next to a small, low-slung car with two doors. Anna was pretty sure she'd seen Mindy tooling around town in the sexy little black sports car. Which meant that, if her car was still there, Mindy hadn't left the museum. Anna reached over to the passenger seat of her own Smart car and extracted the dress bags. She started toward the museum's front door, clicking the doors locked on her car as she walked away.
Traffic moved along the streets in the distance, but the part of Crocker where the Bickershaw Museum stood was quiet. All the shops and businesses around the place were closed for the night, their owners gone home to dinner.
The early Spring weather had grown steadily cooler as the day had progressed, and the cooler air touching the heated asphalt had created a haze along the ground, which felt eerie when mixed with the unnatural silence.
Anna moved more quickly toward the hulking frame of the building, the bags in her arms sliding against each other, in danger of slipping from her grip. She stopped once to adjust the load in her arms and heard the soft snick of something coming from around back of the museum. It sounded like a door closing.
Anna waited, listening for Mindy to come around the building, heading toward her car. No footsteps sounded on the concrete sidewalk leading around back and no other sounds lifted up from the haze. The night fell back into unnatural silence.
Anna started walking again, her gaze sliding over the façade of the big building. The windows along the front seemed to glare at her, their rippled, old glass capturing the light from the parking lot in uneven ribbons that segmented the glass.
She shivered as a moist breeze slipped through the trees. The softly rustling leaves sounded like whispers to her overactive imagination. Anna shook off her fears and started up the staircase.
Something flared inside the house, bright and quick like the flash of a match. She stopped, peered through the eye-level window, and saw nothing. Thinking it must have just been the play of distant headlights over the glass, she started up again.
The front door was locked so she pounded, calling Mindy's name. No one came. Anna bit her lip, trying to decide what to do. She reshuffled the dresses and started back down the stairs, deciding to try around back. Maybe the sound she'd heard had been Mindy going back into the building from an errand or something.
She hurried back down the stairs and followed the sidewalk to a small, unobtrusive wooden door at the back, lower corner. She figured the door would have been for servants in the original use of the house. Now she was hoping it led to the work area of the museum, where she assumed they kept the items in need of repair or storage.
Anna tried the knob and was relieved to find it unlocked. She stepped inside, further comforted to see the space was softly lit. "Mindy? It's Anna Yesterday. Are you here?"
Silence met her query, only the soft drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet breaking the stillness. "Mindy?" She started forward, walking toward the warm, yellow glow of light spilling from a doorway across the room.
As she neared the door, someone moaned. Anna slammed to a halt. She waited, listening. Another long, drawn-out moan brought the small hairs up on Anna's neck. "Mindy?"
She moved reluctantly forward, stopping in the doorway of the lighted room. It sounded as if someone was hurt. The room was lined in aromatic, cedar planking and filled with clothing racks that held bag after bag of what Anna assumed was vintage clothing—no doubt Lissie and Felix Bickershaw's clothing. Several of the bags were unzipped and dresses in all colors and fabrics spilled from the plastic, their hems looking more ragged than they should.
Another moan had Anna spinning on her heel and she found Mindy lying on the floor in a pool of blood, a large pair of black-handled scissors protruding from her chest.
Home . New Releases . Coming Soon . Single Titles . Series Titles . Printable Booklist
Bio . Sam's Blog . Contact . Appearances . Press Packet . Fan Fare Newsletter
Contests . Sneak Previews . Free Reads . Games . Favorite Authors & Pals
Sam's Online Store . Sam on Facebook . Sam on Twitter . Site