That Sinister Thing

#41

Paul figured that the boys would be at the parents house, but he would try to get Alma alone to tell her.  As he neared the house, he could see light son, but the boys’ vehicles weren’t in the drive.  He really couldn’t imagine Alma going to either of the her sons’ homes.  He pulled to the side of the rode to call Alma, find out where she was.
The phone rang and rang.  When Paul thought it was going to go to voicemail he heard,
“Paul, what’s wrong?”
A typical response so late at night.  Harlan had said the same thing many times over.  Once he told Paul,  ‘Son, when you call after ten, something is wrong.  You have a job to do, get to it.’ when he’d apologized for waking Harlan.  Of late, he’d have to wake Alma, and as often she would be the one to come out to console a family member after a car accident or just help someone through the process after a loved one was arrested.
“Alma, I need to stop by and talk with you.  Are you at home?”
“Yes.  . . .  Paul, you know. . ”
Paul cut her off, ” yes, I will be there in a minute.”
Paul wiggled the phone in his breast pocket where it just barely fit.   He drove the few hundred feet from the drive, turned right and parked again. After turning off the engine he sat for a bit.   Alma had heard the crunch of tire on the drive, and rose to open the door.  When Paul looked up from the gear shift there was Alma standing at the front door, lighted room showing her silhouette in the storm door, for once, there was no shadow behind her of Harlan.  Paul broke down and cried.

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