Sunday means another sample from the upcoming e-book featuring my published and new short stories. After being shopped around to several of the big name markets at the time where it was well-received but again just “not quite right” this one appeared in the Spring 2007 edition of Mouth Full Of Bullets. I don’t remember now what gave me this twisted little idea…….
Package of Pain
Mike Thornstein sat in his truck in front of his own house as a light drizzle coated the windshield. The package was there again, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. He had been promised by everyone that it was all over. The investigation was supposed to have ended months ago. He had been cleared, publicly exonerated, but nothing changed.
It sat there wrapped in plain brown paper on his stoop. When they first started showing up every Friday like clockwork, his colleagues had searched for the sender. Each one had been mailed from a mailbox in Fort Worth. Television had “Walker,” but all Mike had were bureaucratic bosses who decided the packages weren’t a threat. When the sender wasn’t identified after a few weeks, manpower and resources were delegated elsewhere. Mike was still on suspension while awaiting assignment, albeit very unofficially, and the packages were still coming. Something had to be done to end it.
The windshield wipers slapped across clearing the glass. Visible again, the package sat there waiting for him. He turned the engine off and listened to it tick as it cooled. The glass slowly misted over as the drizzle continued. The package dissolved from view into globs of water on the glass. Sitting there, watching the mist fall, wasn’t going to solve the problem.
Mike heaved himself out of his old truck and crossed the leaf-strewn yard. Rain and wind had stripped most of the leaves off the trees, leaving just a few to decorate the leaden sky. Everything dripped water and matched his mood perfectly.
The package was small and light, just like all the others. Wrapped in brown paper and twine it bore the Fort Worth postmark from the downtown office. Beyond that, it was like all the others and would offer up no clues as to the sender. Mike shook it softly as he looked in vain for a return address. Nothing rattled.....