Chapter 4

Meriel was home in her pajamas talking to Kristy on the phone about what had happened at the café.  Kristy put her on hold to answer the door. She came back a moment later and told Meriel a cop had been posted at her door. Meriel’s heart dropped. Did Sam leave because he thought Kristy was in danger?  Did he know more than he was letting on?  Meriel walked over to her window and looked out. The old truck was parked across the street. She could see the agent inside.  Meriel told Kristy to lock all her windows and stay inside before ending the call with her.

Meriel pulled in a robe and headed down the stairs, walking across the street to the truck. Sam rolled down the window as she approached.

“Hey, Sam. Stalking me now?”

“Meriel. Hey. Umm no. I’m just keeping you safe.”

“No offense, but I can keep myself safe.”

Sam smirked. “I’m sure you could.”

“Did you send the officers to Kristy’s? Is that why you left the café?”

“Yes. I can’t explain, but I think you and her may both be in danger.”

“Well, then. Why don’t we go to Kristy’s and we can protect each other?”

Sam considered for a moment. “Get in.”

Meriel ran around the truck and got in. “Please hurry.”

Sam looked over at her before starting the truck and slamming it in gear. “Got it.”

Meriel looked out the window as they drove the couple miles to Kristy’s apartment. She took her phone out to call and let her know they were coming.  It went straight to voice mail. “I just talked to her five minutes ago.”

Sam stepped on the gas.  Meriel had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.

We arrived at the building. Meriel opened the car door and ran to the apartment building with Sam behind her. She pushed the buzzer. “Come on, Kristy.”

“I got it.” Sam said, taking a lock pick out of his pocket and picking the security door. A moment later it clicked open. Sam hurried inside Meriel followed. They bounded up the stairs to the third floor. An officer stood outside her door.

Sam passed him and pounded on the door.  When there was no answer, he kicked the door open.

“Stay here.” He said to Meriel before going inside.

Meriel didn’t listen. She followed. “Kristy?”

Sam checked the rooms, when he got to the bedroom he turned back. “Meriel, don’t.”

Meriel didn’t care. She pushed past the FBI agent and froze at the scene. Kristy was sprawled on the bed. Blood splattered the walls. The woman was torn apart. Meriel covered her mouth, her legs turning to jelly. She fell to her knees. “No, Kristy. No.”

Sam walked past her to check on Kristy. She was dead. No doubt about it. Her chest was ripped open.

He bet anything her heart was gone.

“No, no…” Meriel was in shock. She trembled as tears fell down her cheeks.

Sam walked back over Meriel. ” I told you to stay.” He snapped, putting his arms around her and forcing her up.

Meriel shook her head. “You should have been protecting her, not me.” She punched his chest. “You should have saved her!”

Sam awkwardly put his arms around and held tight. “Calm down.”

“Don’t tell me to calm down!  She’s dead!” The officer came into the apartment. Sensing him, Mer broke from Sam’s hold and turned on him. “Where were you?”

The officer was baffled. “It’s okay” Sam told him. “Just go out in the hall and call it in.”

The officer nodded and backed out of the room.

Meriel turned back to Sam. “But…”

“I know. You need to calm down. Now.”

Meriel’s shoulders sagged. “But, she’s…”

“I know.” Sam repeated, clearly frustrated with her. “The detective will be here soon. He’s going to have questions. You need to get yourself together

“Okay, okay.” Meriel took a deep breath. “Okay.”

“Good.” Sam took Meriel by the arm and led her into the living room. “Sit.”

Meriel did as she was told.

Suddenly, she felt numb. The image of Kristy fresh in her head. The next hour went by in a blurt.  The detective questioned her and Sam. When they were done, Sam drove her home.

They were silent on the ride, though she could tell by Sam’s body language that there was something on his mind.

It was passed midnight when she got home.

“Meriel. We need to talk.” Sam said as he put the truck in park. His voice cold and distant.

“Not now.”. Meriel said getting out of the truck.

“You’re in danger.” Sam insisted.

Mer turned and looked at him. “I know, Agent Richards, you can’t help me.” With that she shut the truck door and headed inside.