Chapter 1

It had been raining all day. Grey clouds floated heavily over the little town called Greenville, releasing its cold water over the people, animals and houses of the town. As the darkness of the night started unfolding like a big, overgrown blanket, most people hurried inside to find something nice and cozy to do in the warmth. Smoke started rising from chimneys all over town, filling the air with a nice smell of burning wood. Streetlights were reflected in the wet roads, and lights shone out from most of the houses. It seemed dark and cold outside, but the lights brightened up the town. The wind roared in Greenville Bay making the waves beat the shore violently, Fishmonger Lake was totally void for fishing boats, and nobody was out walking in the rain. The cars were very few and far between, so even on the otherwise busyNorthern Road you could walk in the middle of the road for quite a long distance before you could hear a car coming. Most shops had closed at 6 PM, and when the diners and fast food joints saw that people were staying indoors in the storm, they also started closing up. The last to close, were the sports facilities and the cinema. The town got darker and darker as the hours crept along like a big, black caterpillar. A little after midnight, there were only a very few lights shining in town. Dr. Thorn was working late in his observatory, the night shift was on call at Greenville hospital and the Blacklock Hotel had a few guests that just would not stop drinking. The lights were also on in the Town Hall. The town council was sitting up into the early morning hours, debating who should take over the job as sheriff  after the old sheriff had turned in his towel after 34 years service for the city. The Greens, the Blacklocks and the Swifts were all there as well as the mayor, the fire chief, Dr. Willard from the hospital, and the resigning sheriff. They had pretty much agreed on the town budget, but they were split in two when it came to voting for the new sheriff. The Swifts, the fire chief, Dr. Willard and sheriff Johnson all voted for the old deputy, Joseph Sands. The Greens, the Blacklocks and mayor Rawlings wanted some new blood in the town that apparently represented progress and modernization, a Jack Groppel who was born and bred in Houston, Texas. After hours of debating, they were still five against five, and decided to call it a night. It was gone 3 AM when John and Susan Swift left the Town Hall as the first people to leave for home. The rain had finally finished, but the wind was still blowing pretty hard. They found their Jaguar parked where thy had left it in the parking lot. They continued talking about the new sheriff as they took off down main road.

– “I can’t believe the mayor will vote for a man we don’t even know”, John Swift said annoyed, brushing his black mustache with his fingers. He was a one of those tall, dark, handsome men that seemed to always be popular with the ladies. Even the small, oncoming grey by his temples seemed adorable.

– “We only have Mr. Blacklock’s word for him being what we need, and I must admit I don’t wholly trust in Mr. Blacklock. Do you, my dear?”

Susan Swift was too tired to speak by now. She just shook her blond, curly head. Then she leaned her head back and closed her eyes as John  turned into Station Road.

– “I feel like I could sleep for a week…” she moaned as John gave a small grin.

– “I know what you mean,” he agreed.

-“Town meetings have a tendency of doing that to you!”

Silence spread through the car. Susan’s breathing got heavier and heavier, and John wondered if she had fallen asleep. He turned left, passed the Blacklock Winery, then turned left again onto Northern Road. The car picked up speed, and it took them hardly any time at all before hitting their exit on the right. When John pulled up in front of  their woodland estate house, Susan had started snoring. John woke her up gently as he lifted up her head and gave her a kiss on her lips.

– “Off to bed, young lady!” he teased. Not that they were not all that old, but they were not that young anymore either. Their son, Johnathan, had just turned 22, and Samantha would soon be 20. Susan opened her bright, blue eyes, looking deep into John’s eyes. A smile spread across her face.

– “You are my handsome night in shining armour,” she started.

– “Uh oh!” John mumbled, smiling back to Susan.

– “Could you lift me up in your strong arms and carry me into bed?”

John kissed his wife one more time, smiling lovingly at her.

– “I am yours to command, my Lady!” he said. bowing deeply. He reached in to the Jaguar, pulling his wife out of the car.

– “Hmmm! Too much wine I think!” John uttered.

They both giggled, and John finally managed to lift up Susan. He turned around startled to see a man standing in front of him.

– “Mr. and Mrs. Swift?” the man said with a monotonous voice, as he if he was delivering a letter or something. But it was about 3:30 in the morning…

John put his wife down with a suspicious expression on his face.

– “This is hardly the time or place…” he started.

– “On the contrary,” the man said, stepping closer.

He was wearing an old fashioned hat, his eyes were grey, and his face had a big scar going down his right cheek. Hands in pockets, he stopped a couple of steps in front of them.

– “What is this about?” John said sternly.

– “I’m sorry it has come to this!” the man said.

He pulled a handgun from his raincoat pocket. There was a silencer mounted on the front of it. Two quick shots were fired, and John Swift fell down on the ground with two holes in his forehead. Susan screamed. Then the man with the scar fired again. Everything went dark for Susan, and she sunk down to the ground as life drained out of her along with her blood. Her raincoat fell open, revealing her dark blue dress and her white pearl necklace that matched her earrings. Susan Swift would never again paint her lips with that dark, red lipstick she loved, and her beloved husband would never kiss those lips again.

The rain started falling again. The door to the house got torn open, and Alfred, the butler, appeared in the opening. He had heard Susan scream and came running to see what was wrong. All he saw was a black SUV with no licence plates leaving the yard. Alfred ran out in the rain, not noticing the cold rain that whipped him in the face. He bent down to inspect John and Susan as Johnathan and Samantha appeared in the doorway.

– “Don’t come out!” Alfred shouted.

– “Call the sheriff’s office at once!”

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