The barn door only opened a couple of feet. It was hanging precariously off its hinges, the bottom wedged on the uneven ground. The light that flooded the barn came from a window at the far side, a window that had been covered with boards the last time I visited.
“Looks like someone left in a hurry,” I said, “They smashed the boards from the window to escape.”
“Look at that.”
Jack pointed to a bundle of clothes on the floor under the open window. It was neatly folded and tied with string.
Next to the clothes was a plastic grocery bag bulging with empty water bottles and candy wrappers and a flashlight, which was still turned on.
“Doesn’t look like they have a very healthy diet. Why would they need a flashlight, it’s not dark in here?”
Nothing moved in the barn, whoever had been there was gone, but only just. We’d scared them away. As I looked around, Jack walked to the window. Without turning around he beckoned me and quietly said. “Someone’s watching us. Don’t scare her away.”
I walked to the window slowly and casually looked outside. “Do you see someone?” I asked.
“Yup, over to the left, by the scrub oak, behind the old trailer.” I didn’t move my head, but moved my eyes to see what he was talking about.
Even from a distance I could see it was the young girl from the Saloon!
Jack knew it, “It’s the girl who left the locket isn’t it?”
“Yes, we need to talk to her.”
“I think we’ll scare her away if we try to talk to her now. She needs to see us leave before she comes back for her clothes.”
Jack turned his back to the window, I backed away from it a few paces. The young girl inched out of her hiding place, but only a little.
“Come on.” Jack said, “Lets walk back to the road.”
“What if we lose her?”
“How can you be so sure?” I asked.
“Whenever I’m with you I feel Miriam or Janie. This time it’s Janie, my daughter. She’s tied to this girl somehow and with your help, she drawing us together.”
“Jack I don’t feel anything right now. I’m in an old barn, watching a girl I saw in the Saloon, but I don’t feel anything.”
I followed him out of the barn, confused, but trusting his judgment. When we crossed the field and got to the dirt road he stopped and held his hand out to me.
“Look at this. I didn’t put it in my pocket, but here it is.”
The locked lay in the palm of his hand. It popped open in front of my eyes. I gasped. The photos had changed again.
“Look at the photos.”
Jack looked down at the locked and smiled. “Yes, Janie and Miriam.”
“Don’t you see what I see?”
He shook his head confused. He didn’t see a young girl with matted hair and sad eyes. That image was reserved for me.
This story is almost over. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I have many more short stories and novels up my sleeve. Some are waiting to be written. One is already available to purchase on Amazon for $0.99. Give it a try. Dead of July – eBook on Amazon.