Liquid Lies

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Book: Liquid Lies by Lois Lavrisa Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lois Lavrisa
town.
    “Here’s my card. If anything comes up between now and then, call me.”
    I nodded, put the card in my pocket then wrapped the blanket around me like a cocoon protecting me from the world. But thoughts kept ping ponging around. Who killed her? And why?

Chapter Ten
     
     
     
    At six am, I got out of bed, having tossed and turned the whole night. After taking a quick shower, I took Skipper for a walk. Afterward we came back inside the house.
    On my way to the kitchen, I smelled fresh coffee and the sweet warm aroma of baking. Aunt Estelle’s dear grey head was bent over the oven door, her oven mitted hands pulling out a golden cake as Skipper and I entered the room. “I cried all night,” she said. “What dreadful news about Francesca.”
    My heart felt leaden as I took in the enormity of Francesca’s death. “Me too.” A box cake mix, along with eggshells, oil and a container of milk was strewn over the counter. No extra weird ingredients in sight. This cake had a chance of being edible.
    She shook her head as she sidestepped to the counter and set the cake on a cooling rack. “You know me, when I’m sad and don’t know what else to do - I bake. By the way, this cake is for Francesca’s dad. He must be absolutely beside himself.”
    “I’m sure he is. And I’m certain the whole town is in shock too,” I said.
    “How could this happen? And why?” Estelle handed me a cup of coffee as she mopped her moist eyes with the skirt of her flowered apron.
    “From what little I know, Francesca’s death could have been intentional,” I said. “Also, I don’t see how a beheading could be an accident.”
    “Murder? In our little town? You’ve got to be kidding.” Estelle shook her head and sniffled. “Who could do that? And why, goodness gracious, dear sweet Francesca? Good Lord, this is a dark day for Round Lake.”
    “The police are working on solving the crime. Not that it’ll bring her back. If they could at least find the murderer, we could all find some peace.” The words came out of my mouth, but my heart didn’t believe them. How could you ever find any sense of solace in a murder?
    Estelle’s face was contorted in a way that I knew was filled with fear and worry. I switched the subject. She didn’t need to have this on her shoulders. “So what does your day look like?”
    “Oh. I have to bake lasagna for a meeting this afternoon. And I have this cake already done and don’t have time to run it over to the mayor. Could you please? As a gesture of condolence from us.”
    Actually, I was thinking of running away. “Sure.”
    ***
    As I rounded the corner of the Pike’s property, I saw a boy riding the old bike trail that Francesca and I used to scoot around the lake when we were his age. With a lump in my throat I remembered those carefree days. Francesca’s pigtails flew out behind her, the playing cards fastened to the spokes of her bike boldly identified her approach. Those long warm summer days, both of us giggling and playing without a worry in our minds, seemed so very long ago.
    As the boy drew closer, I saw with misgivings the stamp of Down’s syndrome in the small widely-spaced eyes and the tiny hands clutching the handlebars. He looked to be about thirteen, although he wore a Blue’s Clues backpack that indicated a much younger child. I wondered if anyone knew he was out here. With a murderer on the loose, would he be safe?
    “I’m Doug. Who are you?” He dismounted his bike, letting it drop to the ground. He strolled next to me, touching my arm.
    “Hi Doug, I’m CiCi.”
    “You have two letters for your name? That’s funny,” He said.
    “It’s a nickname for Cecelia Coe.”
    “Where are you going?”
    I pointed to Francesca’s house.
    “Barbie’s house? She’s my neighbor. She’s got long yellow hair. So pretty like angel hair. Don’t you think?”
    “Yes,” I said. Although my last image was of her wet hair tangled around her decapitated head bobbing in

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