For the second day in a row, the Crab Festival was forced to share the front page headlines in the Island Breeze. The bottom of the paper featured photos from yesterday’s Crab Festival events and the midway. The top of the page was devoted to the discovery of a young woman’s body in Ft. Abercrombie. Hope Wilson was one of Kodiak’s three missing women until hikers discovered her body. According to the paper, the honeymooners had no relationship with Hope and were not suspects. Her body was on its way to Anchorage for examination. There was reason to suspect foul play and anyone with information should come forward as there were currently no leads on this crime.

            There was also the beginning of an article concerning Cecil’s assumed suicide, and Guy’s release from suspicion, but most of the story was on page three. Guy seemed to be relieved that he was not splashed across the front page. I knew that without the discovery of Hope’s body, things would have been different. The paper put together Aunt Cecil’s terminal illness, the last wish to be buried in the Princess Diana dress, and the dry-cleaning receipt. Luckily, my name was not mentioned.

            “I should leave and let you get some rest. After all, you are still recuperating” Guy said as he eased toward me on the sofa. His eyes moved from my eyes to my mouth and I learned forward anticipating the rush I had experienced with his earlier kiss. Instead, the phone rang. I wanted to ignore it but so much had happened this week and, sadly, the mood was broken by the intrusion.

            “Hello” I answered.

            The voice on the other end of the phone was Herbie Carmichael. “I wanted you to know that John Sinclair was released a few minutes ago.”

            That that five seconds of information was a lot to take in. “What? Why?”

            “There is really nothing to hold him on. He was charged with trespassing and paid his bail. He will go to court next week. Doesn’t look like he will serve any time beyond last night.”

            I was stunned. I hadn’t considered that he would be released so quickly.

            “Listen Brinkley, if you would like the police can watch your house. But I should tell you its crab festival so the City police are busy and could get called away. You should consider a restraining order.”

            My mind was racing and I became angry at the thought of me needing to protect myself against someone who, by my way of thinking, belonged in jail for the murder of his wife. “So, what’s next, you think I should leave town for a few days” I said with more than a hint of sarcasm.

            “Is that a possibility?” I couldn’t believe he was asking me that. “Listen if my wife or sister was in this position, I would want them to do whatever it took to be safe. Don’t think of it as running or hiding, think of it as being proactive.”

            “I’m not sure I can leave. The City police have questioned me a couple times about Libby’s disappearance and they may need to talk to me again.”

            “Don’t worry, I will take of that. Go visit family or friends for a few days” he urged. “I don’t want to scare you, but I don’t trust this son of a bitch.” That was all I really needed to hear.

            I turned to look at Guy and suddenly I couldn’t hold back the tears that I had dammed up the last couple of days. He held me until my sobs became whimpers. “Go pack your bag and I will make airline and hotel reservations for you in Anchorage” he offered.

            “Thanks,” I said “but I don’t need a hotel. I own a condo in Anchorage.”

            “Really?  You are full of surprises. OK then, I will book your flight and take you to the airport.”

            “Be sure to make it for me and the dogs.” I wasn’t about to leave my little family behind.

            Guy made reservations for a flight leaving in little more than an hour. I sent him to the shed for travel crates as I went through my pet files for shot records and health certificates. I figured anything I forgot for myself could easily be purchased in the big city.

            Normally I would call Ginger for a ride to the airport or to share my concerns but she was busy with the festival and I didn’t want to distract her. I was OK. I would call her from the condo. That thought reminded me to contact the property manager to let her know I would be staying there tonight. I would need an access code to get through the gate.

            “Marie, this is Brinkley Monroe. I am the owner of unit 1513.”  I recalled the day I signed the contract to purchase the condominium as if it was yesterday. It was my first venture into owning real estate and it was exhilarating. I moved to Anchorage when the real estate market had bottomed out and I bought the condo as a distressed property for only $30,000. Although a small, one bedroom unit, it was probably worth five times that now. It was sentiment, not equity, which kept me from selling my first real estate purchase. I used it more as a base camp, as opposed to a home, when work had me traveling around the state. It certainly wasn’t a home like my house in Kodiak.

            “Well good afternoon Brinkley. How is everything in Kodiak?”

            Marie had no idea that her simple question had such a complicated answer. “Great. We are in the middle of Crab Festival so I thought I would avoid the crowds and spend a long weekend in Anchorage” I replied.

            “That’s understandable” she said. I could hear dread in her voice. After all, it was nearing the end of her work week and now an out of town resident was calling with a last-minute request. “I can go by your unit and adjust the thermostat so it will be comfortable by the time you get arrive. I will check to make sure the water and refrigerator are on and I’ll open the blinds to let some light in. Can you think of anything else before I leave for the weekend?”

            “Only the password to get in” I giggled.

            “Oh yes, that would be helpful” she chuckled in return.

            On the way to the airport Guy discussed his thoughts for a memorial service for Aunt Cecil. It would be at least two weeks away so that family members had plenty of time for making travel arrangements. I also learned that Guy would have been heading for the airport even if he wasn’t taking me – his son was flying in from Seattle. Until he mentioned it, I hadn’t considered where his son was during all this. Turns out he had sent the boy to stay with his cousin on Bainbridge Island under the disguise of a Mariner’s baseball trip for good grades.

            Things were a little awkward at the airport once his son Joel arrived. We were introduced but it was obvious that Joel had no idea why they were hanging around the airport once his luggage arrived. I released Guy from this uncomfortable position by giving him a peck on the cheek and saying thanks for the ride and they should get back to town in time for dinner.


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