Excerpt From Quota

Posted by [email protected] on May 1, 2014 at 2:10 PM

     Drake sat at his desk and leaned on his elbow with his hand on the side of his face. He hated school, and pretty much, everyone in it. He gazed out the window and wished for freedom. His life was a joke. He got along well with his dad, but his mom was pushy and demanding. Nothing was ever good enough for her. He’d show her someday. She thought he didn’t know, but he did. He knew, all right, and she’d pay for it. Yeah, he thought, maybe this would be the year she’d pay for it. The bell ending class snapped him to and he loaded his books in his arms and filed his way to the hall with the rest of the cattle. At least today was the last day before Christmas vacation.

     Lunch was uneventful, as usual. He sat in the corner and watched the fake exchange of emotions take place. People are strange animals, he thought. He opened his notebook and scribbled. He looked up again and smiled. More like a sneer. Should he warn them? He never had before, but maybe this would put some excitement back in the game. She thought he didn’t know, but he did, and she would pay for it.

     Rachel rushed through the front door and marched straight up the stairs to Drake’s room. She opened his closet door and started digging. Every shoe had a mate, and the shoe missing a mate, the one in question, could not be found. She sat on the floor and dug deeper. There it was, tucked in the back corner, the other shoe from the photo with traces of blood. She sat back and stared at the evidence in front of her. What was she going to do with this? She pushed off the floor, went to her bedroom, and opened her walk-in closet. She found an old luggage bag and stuffed the shoe inside. She grabbed some sweaters off their hangers and stuffed them in as well. She placed the luggage bag on the top corner shelf and stacked other bags on top of it. She sat on the edge of her bed and listened. Why did it always have to be so quiet?

     Daryl sat on the park bench outside his office building. It was cold, too cold to be sitting on a park bench, but he didn’t care. It was snowing again; it always snowed in Montana in December and it was one of the things he loved about it. He thought about Rachel and her obsession. She thought he didn’t know, but he did, and she had to be stopped. There was only one way out of this and Drake had to be kept safe. This year, her obsession would stop. He’d make sure of it. He glanced at his watch and realized his next patient would be coming soon. He rose from the bench and walked toward his office building, feeling the shadow following close behind, and had a plan formulating in his mind on how he could stop Rachel from doing more harm.

     Rachel sat on the couch and took another sip of wine. Daryl would be home soon and she had to find a way to talk to him about Drake. What was she going to do with the shoe evidence? Should she continue to hide it and wait for the best time to bring it forward? When was the best time? She had to plan it out carefully. For years, she’d been hiding the secret and now it was getting out of hand. She leaned back on the couch and swirled the wine in her glass. Everything was about to blow up in her face. How she hated Montana and the life she’d built there. She wished she’d stayed in Seattle instead of moving to this god-forsaken town. The last few years had been building up to this moment and she wasn’t about to have it ruined now. Stay calm, she told herself. You can do this. Family or not, she had to finish it.

     She was still seated on the couch, on her third glass of wine, when Daryl returned from work.The alcohol she’d consumed had built up the courage she needed to address the issue. She held her glass up, as in a toast, and smiled when he walked in the room. “We have to talk about Drake.”

     Daryl stood for a moment, accessing the situation. He sighed deeply and sat on the couch next to her. He watched as she swirled her wine, hating the person she’d become. “What do you want to talk about?”

     “Drake, of course.”

     “Yes, you said that. What about Drake?”

     She tried to sit forward, but gravity was no longer cooperating. He pulled her by the arm to a full sitting position, took her wine, and set it on the coffee table. She pointed a not so steady finger in his direction.

     “Drake is in trouble.”

     “Drake is fine.”

     She shook her head. “No! No, he isn’t. He’s got some serious problems that need to be addressed.” She paused. “I found the shoe.”

     His brow creased at her words. “What shoe?”

     She swayed on the couch. “His other shoe.The missing mate. Bloody. I have it, you know. This missing shoe.”

     He moved in closer. “What are you planning to do with this….shoe?”

     She swayed again and fell against the back of the couch. “I don’t know yet, but I have a plan.” She pointed her finger at him again. “A really good plan,” she laughed.

     He stood and held a hand out to her. “You’re drunk and need to go to bed. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Drake is not in trouble and I have no idea what you’re talking about regarding the shoe.”

     “They found a shoe at the crime scene. It matches Drake’s, but I could only find one, and it’s bloody. What do you think that means?”

     He grabbed her by the arm and jerked her off the couch. “It means you’re drunk. Are you accusing your own son of murder?”

     She wobbled in front of him, and when she spoke, her breath smelled like a stale wine barrel. “I don’t know what to think anymore.” She pushed away and made her way upstairs. It took a few tries, and Daryl thought she’d fall back down them, but after a moment he heard the bedroom door close. He ran his fingers through his hair. He had to speak to Drake about the shoe. What had Rachel done? Whatever it was, this time she went too far.

Click here to read Quota

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