Sirens blared outside and William stood shaking in front of her. He slowly raised his hand toward her and pointed the barrel of a western style Colt 45. She tried to scream but her voice was stilled, and then she tried to run but kept falling down. Staff members in bloody pools were reaching for her. Finally, she began coughing and woke up. “Argh.” she looked at the clock; it was four o’clock in the morning. I’ve been in bed three and a half hours. Got to get William out of my head. Nan took a drink from the water bottle on her nightstand and then rolled over. The next sound she heard was the loud beep of her clock radio. She tapped the button and the sound changed to her favorite local radio station.
Suddenly, an announcer broke in, “Bagatelle photographer sought in local killing.” The reporter went on to say that William Cordberry was being searched for, and asked the public to report any sightings. The report described William, his truck, and his normal hangouts.
Gabriella, the upstairs maid, handed Nan her shoes. “Where’d they get all that information?”
“I don’t know Gabby, probably from us, I mean the Bagatelle.”
Nan hurried to finish dressing and to get ready for work. By 10:30a.m. she was in the kitchen with Juanita and Gabby.
Juanita poured a cup of coffee for Nan. “Do you think they will find him?”
Nan shook her head. “I don’t know; this all seems so rushed and incongruous – just not right. William wouldn’t do or be involved with anything like that.”
Juanita touched her hand, “I know. You have spoken highly of him.”
The morning Bagatelle newspaper was open on the kitchen table. William’s picture coming out the employee entrance was clearly visible. The tag line read, “Cordberry leaves Bagatelle at 12:43 a.m. Southern Water Investment Company security photo.” The Southern Water Investment Company sat opposite the Bagatelle parking lot. One of their cameras had a general view of the parking lot side of the Bagatelle building, including the employee door.
“I left at a quarter after twelve, Sheryl was with me. She held the elevator for me.” Nan played with her coffee cup. “I wonder if William was in the building all along?”
Juanita slid a small plate with toast in front of Nan. “Eat or you’ll get light headed.”
Nan ignored her, sipped her coffee, and tried to read the paper. “I guess I’d better get up to the plant. There’s going to be a lot hitting the fan today.” She picked up the slip of paper Juanita had placed by her cup. “Hmmm, Psalm 31:24, ‘Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord’.” She dropped the note into her briefcase. “Thank you Juanita.” She picked up the toast and took a bite. “Without you and Gabby,” she paused, “and the Lord’s encouragement, I am lost.”
“Would you care to take a cup of coffee with you? I have a travel cup.” The cook opened a cabinet and began searching for a container.
“No Juanita, but thanks.” Nan reached into the refrigerator and produced a diet Pepsi. “I’ll ride with this today.” She gave Juanita a quick hug and stepped out the door. The fall breeze was cooler than expected. Maybe I should get a sweater. Nan turned around to go back into the house but Gabby met her in the doorway, holding a light jacket for Nan.
“I knew it would be chilly Miss Nan.”
“Wow, I honestly don’t know what I would do without you.”
“I pray that all will be well with your friend.” Gabby handed Nan the jacket.
Nan slipped on the jacket while Gabby held her briefcase and Pepsi. Seconds later she was in her car and headed down the tree lined streets of New Orleans. “Thank you Lord for giving me the courage to go one more day.”
Ahead of her car and standing in the middle of the street was a man in a dark coat. He was waving for her to stop.
“Oh, dear Lord, I need you now. It’s William.”
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