Continued from: With Drawn: Part 36 — Meet The Rogers
It was morning now, and Joanne Walsh knocked on her son’s door. There was no response. Jacob was generally up by now, and if he did oversleep, he’d at least answer his mother’s summoning.
Joanne yawned wildly. She didn’t sleep the night before. Besides the overwhelming occurrences of the recent weeks weighing on her mind—such as having a second dead husband in four years, that husband’s mysterious death, and having a son with problems in school and out of school—it would now appear that her son had some sort of secret in the abandoned house across the street.
A number of times throughout the night, Joanne had gotten out of her bed and grabbed a flashlight with the full intention of heading over to that house. She had even stepped out onto the Walsh’s front steps at one point. But seeing that dark house across the street, and realizing the secrets it might hold, convinced her that the investigation was something that should wait until the light of day.
And now, with Jacob not answering her knocks on his door, Joanne was feeling even more uneasy. “Jacob?” Joanne called through the door. “It’s time to get up, kiddo.”
Still no answer.
Joanne opened the door.
Jacob’s bed was empty and perfectly made.
Joanne turned and walked down the stairs, through the living room, and into the kitchen.
There was no sign of Jacob anywhere. His backpack, usually placed beside the backdoor, was gone.
Joanne darted back into the living room, calling out, “Jacob?” She called this out, even though she was sure that she would receive no response. Joanne looked out the Walsh’s front window toward the house across the street. Joanne grabbed her cell phone, and then she went out the front door.
As she strode across the street, Joanne dialed her cell phone. On the other end of the call, the Mystic Island Middle School secretary, Mary Huffington, answered the phone. Joanne said to Ms. Huffington, “Yes, hi. This is Joanne Walsh. Is Jacob Grist there at school?”
Ms. Huffington sounded as if she held her nose when she spoke. Ms. Huffington said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Walsh, it’s too early to tell. The students are just getting to homeroom now. Attendance hasn’t even been done yet. I wouldn’t be able to tell you if he’s here or not.”
Joanne said into the phone, “Okay. Please call me as soon as you know if he’s there. Thank you.”
The secretary began to say something more to Joanne, but Joanne had already hung up the phone.
By the way, the secretary would never make that follow-up phone call to Joanne. Ms. Huffington was about to be very busy with problems of her own.
Anyway, back on Savage Street, Joanne, still dressed in a robe and slippers, stepped onto the Hamptons’ property. She cut through the long grass to the backyard, heading to the bulkhead and yanking open the metal door with a rusty squeal.
Joanne climbed down the bulkhead’s steps, picking her way through the dimly lit basement to the stairs leading up into the house. Joanne climbed the stairs and then cautiously opened the door leading into the abandoned house’s kitchen.
“Jacob?” Joanne called in a shaky voice.
There was no answer.
Joanne crept through the kitchen and turned the corner into the living room.
What caused Joanne to gasp was not the intricateness of the mural that now stretched out before her. What caused her to gasp was the life-size figure of the man painted on the wall, and the fact that, under the streaked veil of paint spilled on the man’s face, she recognized that man as her former husband, David Grist.
Continued in: With Drawn: Part 38 — Home of the Assholes
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