From inside the cabin the next morning, Blake watched Kelli drive away. Yesterday afternoon she’d stuck close to the property, clearing brush and moving rocks, avoiding him as if he had some contagious disease. Now, he figured he had at least an hour. Being a million miles from nowhere had its advantages. Even so, he waited a good ten minutes before he went to the house in case she’d forgotten something and decided to come back for it.
The deadbolts to her rooms were fastened although he expected no less. He went outside to check the windows and spotted Kelli’s bedroom curtain fluttering. A stroke of luck. She’d locked her doors but had left her window ajar.
The screen came off with a touch, the sash lifted easily and Blake hoisted himself through the opening, trying to ignore the uneasy feeling of stepping into a universe beyond his normal boundaries. At a glance, her bedroom told him no more about Kelli Carpenter than she did in the flesh. The dresser displayed an assortment of dried plants in a clay pot, but no photographs. Nobody to think of while she dressed, slept, and went about her life? The top drawer revealed a pile of neatly folded utilitarian cotton underpants and bras. He couldn’t see any of those under the clingy red dress in the picture.
In the second drawer he found T-shirts, and sweaters in the bottom one. Everything looked like it belonged to the Kelli Carpenter he’d met. He moved on.
Beside the bed, a white porcelain reading lamp sat on a white-painted nightstand. What was it with this place and white? He sat on the bed and eased the drawer open. Nothing visible but a box of tissues and the paperback he’d seen in the living room when he’d arrived. Tucked into the corner of the drawer was some kind of a satiny fabric. A pouch of some kind. When he moved the tissue box to reach for it, he discovered another box, this one of ammunition for a thirty-eight revolver.
When it hit him that ammunition meant gun, but there was no gun in the drawer, he decided he absolutely didn’t want to be caught in her quarters. Maybe she was one of those people who practiced good gun safety and kept the weapon and ammunition separate. Or maybe she had a loaded gun with her. His heartbeat quickened when it dawned on him she might have blown his brains out if he’d done anything to piss her off.
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